cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
We are, by all signs, involved in an oil cost run-up driven by demand being greater than supply. It is exacerbated for us Americans because our monetary policy has seen an intentional softening of the dollar (our money is worth less than other peoples' money, so it takes more of it to buy a barrel of crude oil). I paid $4.20 per gallon yesterday with the price of crude oil standing at about $130 +/- per barrel. Predictions of crude oil prices of $150 per barrel or more are seen or heard regularly now. And, the cost of oil could well be higher than that by year-end.
How did we get to this point? We got there by congressional law making, by presidents rolling over and signing those bills, and by our country's increasing needs/demand for gasoline and diesel fuel. Why would we permit ourselves to become part of such a quagmire?
Politics! Politics played by those on both sides of the aisle. Conservatives seem to have lost their voices. Liberals never seem to lose their voices.
Laws were re-written more than thirty years ago to make it nearly impossible for a new refinery to be built. Those were the result of congress being rolled by the environmentalists and presidents either believing the rhetoric of the day or fearing the backlash should they stand up to the rhetoric. This has continued to this very day. We are forbidden from drilling within 200 miles of the California and Florida coastlines but the Chinese are already doing so as we sit on our thumbs. We are unable to pursue the shale oil deposits that span our northern plains and southwestern states. We have ample untapped resources that are readily available but our laws don't permit us to make use of those resources.
We see the 'global warming' group and the 'environmentalist group' driving our economy into the ground...and we have not found the moral outrage/courage to stand up to them and say "no more"! We could easily build new refineries in any number of locations around our country but we're not permitted to do so. We know how to drill and refine today without ruining our world. It takes from 6 to 10 years to bring a new refinery on-line so the time to have declared a moratorium on the rules that made it impossible to build new refining capacity has come and gone. But, the typical congressional response of "that will take ten years" should remind us that if we don't roll back those silly laws today, it'll take ten years from whenever we do roll back those silly laws. The time to begin is now, not next week or next month.
We witnessed the ridiculous 'hearings' held by congress in the past few weeks. We watched as Sen. Herb Kohl embarrassed himself by chiding the 'big bad oil companies' for making a profit. He is a former businessman who certainly understands that profit must be derived in order for businesses to exist and grow. He knew how that worked when he ran Kohl's Food Stores. He certainly must have some comprehension as the owner of the Milwaukee Bucks. His statement to the oil company executives that their profits didn't seem fair gives one a lot of insight. He knows better but he will play/pander to the crowd he favors. He 'feels' as do most liberals. He doesn't necessarily reason. He has his millions, so he can set out to control everyone else who aspires to similar success.
Sen. Kohl is but one of the 535 members of congress. Too many of those men and women are too intent on keeping their offices to actually vote the way they probably know they should. You have probably heard the old phrase that states you must "go along to get along". That should be inscribed over the doorways leading to the House and the Senate chambers since it is the rule that is followed by the vast majority of people who walk through those portals. That is true on the national stage, the state stage and the local stage.
The people who go to Washington and who do not give in and play by the Washingtonian rules are few and very far between.
Whose fault is this dilemma in the final analysis? Yours and mine.
We're the men and women who have permitted this to happen. We don't vote in the House or the Senate, but we do elect those who do...and we do not seem to unelect people very often once they've gotten into office. Rep. Steve Kagen (D) from the Appleton area stands for re-election this November. He is at his most defeatable point historically. If he survives the first re-election campaign and keeps his seat, he is likely to be in that seat for so long as he desires without regard to how he votes or doesn't vote.
We're so unconcerned about our vote, it seems, that we don't even think voting is sacrosanct enough to require valid photo identification before we're permitted to cast a ballot.
So, all this angst has been brought to us by us. Remember that the next time you buy gasoline or diesel fuel. Remember that the next time you go to the grocery store and try to make your food budget stretch. Remember that when you ponder whether or not you'll be able to take a vacation this year, or buy new school clothing for your children, or go out for a fish fry. Remember that when you try to stretch your retirement income to cover your basic needs.
And, when you've gotten yourself all 'cranked up', if that happens, make a resolution to get involved and stay involved and to talk with your elected representatives at every level of government and let them know what you think and what you want them to do on your behalf. And, if they fail you, fire them with your vote at the polling place.
Had you and I done that two decades ago instead of simply going with the flow, maybe we'd not be in the situation we find ourselves in today.