creators.com opinion web
Liberal Opinion General Opinion
Linda Chavez
Linda Chavez
12 Sep 2014
Civilized Sport

I'm not much of a football fan, never have been, but I've lived most of my life in households where games … Read More.

5 Sep 2014
Can Obama Win the Fight Against ISIS?

President Obama, in the past, has demonstrated a way with written words, and he's done so again, this time in … Read More.

29 Aug 2014
An Honest Conversation on Race

After weeks of national angst generated when a white police officer shot an unarmed black man on the streets … Read More.

Obama's Oil Disaster

Comment

The night he locked up the Democratic presidential nomination, Barack Obama predicted that generations hence, people would look back on the historic day as "the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal." At the time, his words reeked of hubris. Today, they look positively delusional.

President Obama can't stop the oil leak in the Gulf, but he can and should be held accountable for the inept government response to cleaning it up and mitigating its worst effects on the shoreline. And you can bet that if George W. Bush were in the Oval Office, the media would be blaming the president for the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. But they're largely giving Obama a pass, implying that small-government conservatives have no room to complain when government fails to live up to its responsibilities.

Believing in limited government isn't the same thing as believing in no government. Even hard-core libertarians believe that the federal government is responsible for providing for the common defense of the nation. All the small-government conservatives I know believe that government has responsibility to protect the citizenry from attack — it's the primary reason we pay taxes and live in a civil society.

Granted, millions of gallons of oil washing up onshore in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida is not the same thing as a military or terrorist attack — but it is an environmental assault that requires federal government action. But the Obama administration's response was slow and ineffective. The president's first reflex was to try to distance himself from the crisis, hoping Americans would blame BP and leave his administration out of the picture. When that didn't work, he opted for photo-ops on the damaged shoreline and angry rhetoric. Now, nearly two months into the crisis, he's decided to use the oil spill to advance his own policy agenda, namely cap-and-trade legislation that would make energy more expensive and punish consumers.

The Obama administration can't stop the oil flow — only the oil industry has the expertise to do so.

But the administration can and should be doing more to protect the shoreline. The president has yet to suspend the Jones Act, which limits the ability of foreign-flag ships to join the effort to contain the spill. Why? Because U.S. maritime trade unions might complain. And he has not done enough to enlist the help and support of other oil companies who have experience dealing with spills. Why hasn't the president asked for help from the Saudis, for example, or enlisted supertankers and foreign skimmers?

Instead, the president delivered an Oval Office address this week — the first of his presidency — to try to turn the oil spill disaster into an argument for ending "America's century-long addiction to fossil fuels." And his primary means of doing so is to discourage further exploration for oil and gas on U.S. land and to further tax oil consumption.

The president claims that cap-and-trade legislation — which would cost Americans up to $200 billion a year in new taxes, according to the Treasury Department's own estimates — will help create incentives for new, green technologies. But whatever hypothetical jobs might be created in the future, the effect of the legislation would be to kill current jobs today. And with unemployment at nearly 10 percent and sluggish economic growth, the last thing we need is a job-killing tax amounting to $1,700 per year on the average household.

Americans don't want the president to transform the U.S. economy. They don't want him to cure us of addictions to oil — or anything else for that matter. They don't want him taking over companies like GM or driving other companies out of business — not even BP. They don't expect him to stop the ocean's rise or heal the planet either. But they do expect him to engage in effective emergency preparation and crisis response. And so far, he's failed to lead the government's efforts at both.

Linda Chavez is the author of "An Unlikely Conservative: The Transformation of an Ex-Liberal." To find out more about Linda Chavez, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2010 CREATORS.COM



Comments

0 Comments | Post Comment
Already have an account? Log in.
New Account  
Your Name:
Your E-mail:
Your Password:
Confirm Your Password:

Please allow a few minutes for your comment to be posted.

Enter the numbers to the right:  
Creators.com comments policy
More
Linda Chavez
Sep. `14
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
31 1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 1 2 3 4
About the author About the author
Write the author Write the author
Printer friendly format Printer friendly format
Email to friend Email to friend
View by Month
Authorís Podcast
Terence Jeffrey
Terence JeffreyUpdated 17 Sep 2014
Joseph Farah
Joseph FarahUpdated 17 Sep 2014
Ben Shapiro
Ben ShapiroUpdated 17 Sep 2014

6 Jun 2014 Being Pro-English Is Also Pro-Immigrant

17 Aug 2012 A Moral Question for the GOP

8 Jun 2007 Good News on Stem Cells