Cutting Through the Oily Politics

In my spare time I am reading a book that sheds light on the current debate on energy in D.C.: "The Politics of Bad Ideas." It's a devastating critique of in-vogue supply-side economic ideas like "tax cuts will spur so much revenue that the deficit will shrink" or "tax cuts will increase the deficit, and thereby provoke the public into opposing big government." The book simply looks at the record and finds these claims to be utterly false.

Just look at the current situation. As George W. Bush slinks towards the exit door, the deficit the next Administration will inherit is about $500 billion. And the most eye-popping, shameful legacy can be found here, namely that the debt we will be passing along to our kids (a "baby tax," if you will) is approaching the $10 trillion mark. Yearly the feds pay more in interest on that debt we spend on agriculture, transportation, federal employees and education, COMBINED. This is the kind of book that makes you shake with anger and fear for your kid's future.

The same is true of the current energy debate. As I've written about before here, here and here, the current energy debate has been driven in to a sickeningly fact-free ditch by President Bush.

Call it the triumph of moronic ideas which can hurt us and our kids. Borrow and spend won't put us in debt! We can drill our way out of our energy problems! Dumb, dumb, dumb.

Meanwhile, down the street at the U.S. Department of Transportation another bad idea has taken hold: Bureaucrats are working on fuel economy standards for our cars and trucks. They are relying on ridiculously low gas price assumptions for their proposed standards ($2.50 a gallon through 2020, we should be so lucky). This has led them to lowball their proposal. Changing that one assumption would tether at least a bit of what's going on in D.C. to reality and save a lot more oil than we could get by drilling. We call it "drilling in Detroit," and are running this ad about it:

To send a message to Washington that we want real solutions not more bad ideas, click here.