Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Examining the Lack of Logic in Charlie Hoffman's Editorial

The GOP is becoming more and more like the Frankenstein movie monster when it comes to how they approach everything: "Government BAD!!!  RAWR!  Government BAD!"  That is in part and parcel of Charlie Hoffman recent letter in the Argus Leader.  Unfortunately it has the same subtle of the movie monster rampaging through a helpless village.

Charlie comes out swinging with the opening line in his editorial letter when he writes, "What’s the best way government can help business? It’s simple — get outta the way."  Except Charlie fails to mention that many times Government is there to provide for businesses.  Look at the governors Future Funds and businesses like NBP.  In those situations, government stands there like a sweet little girl holding flowers by the river bed.

Charlie continues the lack of coherent logic when he writes, "When you tax something, you get less of it. By taxing energy, we will get less energy. However, the demand for energy keeps going up. This means the supply of energy is not able to keep up with the demand for energy."  If taxes are preventing people from using energy, how can demand for energy be going up despite the increased prices?  The law of supply and demand would suggest otherwise.  It also seems to fly in the face of logic when we are seeing a huge increase in energy production under the Obama administration.
"U.S. crude oil production increased to 7.5 million barrels per day in July, the highest output for any month since 1991," he said in a statement Tuesday. "EIA expects that U.S. monthly crude oil production will exceed U.S. crude oil imports as early as this October, the first time this will have happened since February 1995." 
New drilling technologies means energy companies have better access to oil and natural gas reserves previously out of reach. EIA said it observed similar production gains in natural gas.
So, how exactly has an increase in regulations and some taxes hurt the production of energy?

Remember that government is always bad until we want something done that we can't do ourselves.  We want roads, drinkable water, breathable air, food that won't kill us, police and fire to protect us, and businesses that won't take advantage of workers and put their life in danger.  I am a middle of the road guy when it comes to energy policy.  I don't think cap and trade is the best method to handle global warming.  I agree believe that we need to take pragmatic approaches to moving away from limited fossil fuels.  Buying into Charlie's "logic" is dangerous for everyone.  

"The last thing families in my district need are higher utility bills, more expensive gas and more expensive groceries. When policy makers say they are looking after the “average Joe” and small-business owners by attacking “big oil,” it seems rather counterintuitive to me," Charlie states.  I would think that the last thing families in your district needs is poisoned drinking water, cancer from pollution, unusable roads by out of control construction, or putting the lives of loved ones working at dangerous work sites to save a buck or two.  We can provide the ability to protect those people, but only if we can collect the funds to finance them.

I encourage people like Mr. Hoffman to avoid the logic of the Frankenstein monster as it applies to the role of government and try for a more nuanced approach.  Otherwise, we villagers will need to grab our pitchforks and torches to deal with the situation.

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