Morning Bell: Pelosi Running Out the Clock at Expense of National Security
Conn Carroll /
The Politico reports today that according to Democratic House aides, Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s “energy agenda has been carefully gamed out in strategy sessions” with Pelosi taking “heat on gas prices while tacitly encouraging more vulnerable Democrats to publicly disagree with her and show their independence.” One senior House Democratic aide said, “The reality is we will have a new president in three months … we have many more options postelection.”
To deflect “heat” on energy prices in the short term, Pelosi is advocating releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), which she says “would bring immediate relief within 10 days.” Pelosi’s plan is not entirely fanciful. A major release of oil from the SPR could reduce gas prices. Pelosi, however, does not say how much oil she wants to release. And the exact size of the release would directly impact the size of the price relief — and our national security.
The United States consumes 20 million barrels of oil per day. Selling 70 million barrels of oil, like Barack Obama suggests, could reduce gas prices — for all of four days. Then, since there would still be no long-term increase in supply, the price would shoot right back up to its previous level. The United States could release 3 million to 4 million barrels per day, which would lower prices at the margin, but the SPR could maintain that pace for no more than six months. After that, the price of oil would return to its previous level, and the SPR would be empty. And at what cost? Our nation’s security would be at the total mercy of Hugo Chavez, Vladimir Putin and the oil states of the Persian Gulf.
Far scarier for the American consumer is what Pelosi and her liberal allies plan to do if they succeed in ducking votes on expanded domestic oil production this year. With increased majorities in the House, Senate, and with a sympathetic White House, the left will quickly move to increase energy prices.
Obama’s energy plan released yesterday calls for “an economy-wide cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050.” Such a plan would not just raise gas prices, which have already sent unemployment to a four-year high. As New York Times columnist Paul Krugman even admits “a cap-and-trade system would in effect be a tax on carbon, and really would raise energy prices.” The Lieberman-Warner energy tax bill debated this summer only sought to reduce carbon emissions by 70% by 2050, and economists predicted that that bill would lead to job losses approaching 1 million annually and a cumulative gross domestic product (GDP) loss of $4.8 trillion by just 2030.
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