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Turning on the Spigots

therewillbe blood

From The Personal And Economic Benefits Of Cheaper Oil at investor’s Business Daily:

The U.S. imports about 3.5 billion barrels of oil a year. So a $20 reduction in price is equal to a $70 billion tax cut. And since we consume more than twice that much oil each year, the tax cut is closer to $150 billion. Gas prices at the pump are down 40 to 50 cents a gallon in some areas. Not bad.

Why are prices falling? Yes, the world economy is slowing down, and with it global demand for crude. That’s especially true with welfare-state Europe looking again like an economic basket case.

But a bigger factor is that Saudi Arabia is turning on the spigots. The Saudis aren’t stupid. They see the writing on the wall from the shale oil and gas drilling revolution in America. U.S. output is surging, with production double where it was just seven years ago. By pushing down the price, Saudi sheiks may be trying to drive out high-cost drillers to slow future production.

Another piece of very good news here is that the Saudis are crippling their former OPEC partners-in-crime. The Iranians and Venezuelans are screaming bloody murder and demanding emergency OPEC meeting to curtail production. The Saudis are in no hurry to do so.

The economic reality is that as the U.S. becomes more energy-dependent and can even reach energy dominance in the years to come, OPEC is becoming a toothless tiger. It can no longer hold the world hostage to high oil and gas prices.
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The Russians are also greatly hurt by cheaper oil.

While we may take some delight in hurting the economic interests of our adversaries with lower oil prices, we should be cautious. In the absence of economic gain they may seek gain by other means.

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Political Priorities


Political issues follow a simple priority.

  1. Security
  2. Economy
  3. Social
  4. Cultural

When our security is threatened we will address that foremost.  If necessary we will raise taxes, incur debt or whatever we need to do to protect out nation. While we need to look ahead to security issues in order to be prepared to address them when they are released upon us, the voters will tend to overlook the cost of weak security until action such as 911 wakes us up from the slumber.

When we feel relatively secure we will focus more on the economy and economic prosperity.  While there may be very different opinions on the means at least the ends will take priority in the voters’ minds.  A strong economy is essential to be able to withstand security shocks, but it will take a major security event to make the economy a less essential political issue.

The social and cultural issues will take a higher priority when we feel secure and prosperous. Gay marriage, voting rights, and precepts of social justice will be more important in the voters mind when the first two become less important.  The great advance in civil rights and feminism happened after WW II and during the economic boom of the 50′s and 60′s.  The Cold War seemed like less of existential threat until our young in Vietnam started coming back in body bags and then Viet Nam was the dominant political issue.

Voters may sacrifice their preference on social issues when security and economic issues are current causes of concern.  Claims of racism, sexism, and the war on women may make great news fodder but I gather than in the real world these issues are far less of a concern.

Women make a majority of college graduates and are well represented in the high paid professions of law, medicine and accounting.  Blacks are represented in the highest levels of government and increasingly in the 1%.  (Oprah, Dr Dre, Tyler Perry)  The problem of race has been supplanted by the problems of the poor and the uneducated regardless of ethnicity.

We should be happy when we are able to focus on social issues, but I would propose that these would be bother less of a perceived problem and more important to the voters if Security and the economy were in better hands.

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Protecting the Entrenched


The government’s protection of the entrenched is most noted by local efforts to ban Uber and the Tesla distribution model.  Of course, like most protectionist legislation, the stated objective is to protect the public, but the end game is to protect the existing companies from the competition of better ideas.

Recently in Louisville I called a cab for a ride to the airport. 45 minutes later a dirty cab- inside and out- driven by a man in his pajamas, still yawning from being called to work from  his deep sleep, arrived.  This is what they are protecting.

For slightly more than the price of a dingy cab, Uber will send me a clean SUV. No cash is exchanged.  The cab industry will have to improve or die.

Tesla is in demand and efforts to thwart their simplified distribution model will not likely be thwarted by efforts to protect their competition,

The younger more tech savvy voter will lean toward the party that refuses to stand in the way of market progress and their choices.

Electronic Car Maker Telsa Reports Quarterly Earnings

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The Slow(er) FIx

kevin williamson

In The National Review Kevin Williamson writes The Thirty Years War


Unlike senators, governors have to do things — “governor stuff” — which means that they have to make compromises, that they cannot be ideologically pure, and that they have to live in the real world. That leaves them vulnerable to puritanical homilies from senators, as in the ridiculous 2012 Republican primary that found former senator Rick Santorum and businessman Herman Cain, both of whom were far from the levers of power for excellent reasons, preening and posturing as Rick Perry and Mitt Romney, a governor and a former governor who had faced very different challenges, were raked over the coals for having taken reality into account as executives. Romney’s rivals pronounced themselves shocked that Romney had governed as though he were in one of the country’s most left-leaning states, and Perry’s opponents were scandalized that the governor of Texas took into account the large number of illegal immigrants residing there.

I like Senators Paul, Cruz, and Rubio; each has his own virtues and admirable characteristics. But none of them has done one single thing of interest in office other than campaign for president since about five minutes after being sworn into the Senate.

The Democrats did not build the welfare state all at once in 1965, and Republicans didn’t have an honest shot at repealing it all at once in 1995. Everybody has a big plan, and Washington is full of magic bullets: leash the Fed, enact the Fair Tax, seal the borders. But what’s needed — what might actually result in a stronger American order — is a thirty years’ war of attrition against the welfare state and entrenched incompetency. Federal crimes and misdemeanors ranging from the IRS scandal to the fumbling response to Ebola suggest very strongly that we have management and oversight problems as well as ideological ones, but holding oversight hearings long after (one hopes) Ebola is out of domestic headlines provides very little juice for a presidential candidate facing a restive base all hopped up on Hannity. Being the guy who gets up and demands the repeal of Obamacare might get you elected president; being the guy who fixes the damned thing simply makes you a target for talk-radio guys who have never run for nor held an elected office but who will nonetheless micturate upon your efforts from a great height.


The Democrats may moan about their guy during his term in office, but at election time their strength is in their unity. Republicans have several groups, each with its own litmus test.  They demonize RINOs more than the opposition.  Governess Mitch Daniels lamented the RIMOs- Republicans in Mouth Only, those like Kevin notes here, who would reject a compromise that moves closer to their goal because it never goes far enough at once. It is necessary to ponder the ideal in order to clarify the ends, but the elected politicians must compromise in order to govern.  We did not build this mess in once election and we will not likely fix it with the election of a single loyal ideologue.

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Terrorism’s Enabler


“In this changing climate, moreover, it did not help that Chomsky, even though he sometimes called himself a libertarian anarchist, repeatedly rushed to apologize for or side with any totalitarian despot, whether Communist or fascist and no matter how murderous, provided only that the despot in question was ranged against the United States. To the consternation even of some formerly devoted admirers, this included Pol Pot, who had slaughtered one-third or more of his own people in setting up a Communist regime in Cambodia. As a result of all this, Chomsky, too, like Buchanan, was increasingly relegated to the margins and largely forgotten.

“After 9/11, however, and unlike Buchanan, Chomsky found a newly receptive audience and one bigger than ever. Arch Puddington of Freedom House summed it up in an article in Commentary:

9/11, a pamphlet-sized book of responses to questions from foreign journalists, sold over 300,000 copies in 23 languages. According to one survey, Chomsky is the most cited living author, and the eighth most cited of all time (just behind Freud). His speeches draw packed houses. At the World Social Forum, an annual gathering of the anti-globalist movement, he is a featured personality. The current generation of young leftists treat Chomsky as a celebrity, and pay him the kind of homage normally reserved for rock stars or cult icons. He is the subject of several reverential documentary films, which depict him as an isolated voice of truth against a corrupt and warmongering establishment, and he has even inspired a one-man theater work, The Loneliness of Noam Chomsky.” 

Excerpt From: Podhoretz, Norman. “World War IV.” Doubleday, 2007-09-11. iBooks.

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Pat Buchanan’s tilt towards anti-Semitism on the eve of the Iraq War caused him to be marginalized by the right.  Chomsky’s equally odious slant caused him to be a celebrity of the left.  Anti-Semitism has found a much more welcome reception from the left.