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Jim Hightower
Jim Hightower
7 Oct 2015
A Flagrant Liar for President?

We've got a new darling in the GOP presidential race: Carly Fiorina! Being the darling du jour, however, can … Read More.

30 Sep 2015
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With the 2016 presidential campaigns in full swing the burdens of the working middle class have taken center stage.… Read More.

23 Sep 2015
Grassroots Democracy-Building in Iowa

As Henrik Ibsen said: "You should never wear your best trousers when you go out to fight for freedom and truth." … Read More.

Bush and McCain Are Drilling a Dry Hole


George W. and John McCain have formed the Republican drill team. Drill in America's coastal waters! Drill Alaska's wildlife refuge! Drill in our national parks! Heck, drill on the White House lawn, too!

When it comes to energy policy, these guys have oil for brains, and now they're trying to use your and my anger over $4 gasoline to open up America's long-protected natural treasures to their oil buddies. If you enjoyed the lies the Bushites told while rushing Congress and the public into OK-ing their Iraq war, you'll love their current drill-drill-drill stampede, for it's being spurred by the same sort of exaggerations and prevarications.

Soaring prices are threatening our very way of life, they wail, and we must act this very second to stop the threat. There are vast reserves of oil there lying right under our own public lands and waters, they promise — trust us, we know they're there and they are vast.

But there are enemies who want to harm America: prissy environmentalists and meanies in Congress who are standing in the way of ExxonMobil and other beneficent oil companies that want nothing more than to drill into these vast reserves so they can lower your pump price. Let them drill! Set America free! "The need for congressional action is urgent," thundered Bush in a national radio broadcast.

Let's assess. First, the prissies and meanies who stand in the way include George W's daddy and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who chairs McCain's California campaign. Bush I issued an executive order in 1990 to stop new offshore drilling — an order that his son rescinded on July 14. However, a more authoritative congressional ban, first passed in 1981, is still in place, and Schwarzenegger opposes the Bush-McCain campaign to repeal it. The governor adamantly says of the ban, "We're not going to change that."

Second, the reserves that Bush and McCain want Big Oil to tap are hardly vast.

At the current rate of U.S. consumption (7.5 billion barrels a year), the Alaskan refuge would supply barely a year-and-a-half of that consumption, and the areas under moratorium in our coastal waters hold only a two-year supply. Even Bush's own Energy Information Administration reports that this amount of oil is so small that it would have an "insignificant" impact on pump prices, if any at all.

Third, don't sit idling at the pump waiting for the Bush-McCain drill team to help you. If the congressional moratorium were lifted tomorrow, EIA estimates that actual production would not even start until 2017.

Fourth, Exxon, et al. are global corporations that sell on the open market. They have no loyalty to U.S. consumers, and anything they extract from our public reserves will be sold to the highest bidder. That very well could be China or India (in fact, there's nothing to stop China's oil company or other foreign interests from winning these drilling leases and shipping the crude wherever they want). Congress could mandate that all oil from these lands and waters go to American consumers — but guess who has opposed such restrictions in the past: John McCain!

Fifth, if the giants really want more crude, make them drill on the 68-million acres of federal oil property they already have leased but are just sitting on. This would be quicker than developing new leases and much more productive — these leases are estimated to hold enough oil to double U.S. production.

Sixth, and most important, why the heck are Bush and McCain pushing this? Old Texas saying: When you've dug yourself into a hole, the first thing to do is quit digging. Instead of trying to squeeze a few more drops of petroleum out of our sensitive Earth, we should be focused radar-like on a crash program of conservation and development of energy alternatives — high-speed trains, urban transit, plug-in hybrid cars, a conservation corps to retrofit all homes and buildings, wind power, solar, etc.

But that will require leaders who don't have oil for brains.

To find out more about Jim Hightower, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at



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