Government Is the Solution to Problems the Government Caused

Bruce McQuain has this take from Obama's oil spill speech last night:

The rest of the speech was an exercise in what Obama does best "“ selling smoke. He begins it with a false premise:

But a larger lesson is that no matter how much we improve our regulation of the industry, drilling for oil these days entails greater risk. After all, oil is a finite resource. We consume more than 20% of the world's oil, but have less than 2% of the world's oil reserves. And that's part of the reason oil companies are drilling a mile beneath the surface of the ocean "“ because we're running out of places to drill on land and in shallow water.

Of course his claim about drilling in deeper water because we're running out of places to drill in shallow water is false. 97% of the shallow water on the Outer Continental Shelf -97%- has been placed off limits by government. The oil companies are forced into deeper water not by the lack of oil, but by government refusing to allow them to drill there.

As an aside, Daniel Foster makes a great point:

There's an added layer of irony here as well. As Planet Gore contributor Chris Horner rehearses at length in his book Power Grab, the prime architect of the cap-and-trade idea was "” you guessed it "” former BP CEO Lord John Browne. So there is a special kind of cognitive dissonance going on in the juxtaposition of BP bullying and carbon tax cheerleading.

Update, via Planet Gore:

So you have a Nobel winner who knows nothing about oil running the Energy Department and you have an environmental lawyer who knows nothing about drilling as the head of MMS, the oil-drilling regulatory body.

So, choosing key people in the Energy department and MMS based on their knowledge of about 2% of the energy world (wind and solar) is a problem?


  1. Max:

    I could be sarcastic and tell you that Obama is about to change that: He will try to forcefully change the 2% to a higher number (yet to be voiced). I find it significant that there are no numbers when it comes to so-called "clean energy". This only tells us that there is no chance in hell it is possible, because otherwise they already had put forth like 20 % in 20 years or something (which is highly unrealistic).

    The best answer had been from Bill Gates, saying that it is nuclear for a few years and then even more nuclear though perhaps cleaner ;)
    Of course, going nuclear is only an option if the electricity market is deregulated AND clean energy stays out of the market. The more volatile energy sources enter the market, the less interesting it will be to develop constant and reliable energy sources with high investment costs (like nuclear energy or coal power). This is the sad reality as you must likely know =)

  2. morganovich:

    seems you ought to add ANWAR to the list of government restrictions on drilling.

    if you want to drill onshore, how about opening up the biggest virgin field we have?

  3. Val:

    On the way home from work today, I heard a clip of Chris Matthews on the radio where he was suggesting that the administration was failing in spite of its meritocracy... I thought that meritocracy was a structure wherein people reach positions of importance and responsibility in certain fields by their demonstrated merit in that field. I guess I was mistaken.

  4. the other coyote:

    I think the statistics Obama used - that the US has 2% of the world's oil and uses 20% - are false in that we have absolutely, postively, NO NONE ZILCH idea how much oil is really out there, world wide, and how much can be recovered with today's, tomorrow's, and next century's technology. Example: at $60 a barrel, North Dakota shale oil is profitable. At $30 a barrel, it's not. That's using today's tech. Who knows what tomorrow might bring?

    Plus, publicly traded US oil companies are required to be very conservative on reserves reporting. This results in underreporting in the millions if not billions of barrels. As you noted, Obama sells smoke.