Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Definition of Irony

Someone at the PG must have a sense of humor, or irony, or something. Basically right next to Jack Kelly’s Sunday column, on how the democrats are to blame for high oil prices, there sits Sally Kalson’s column on how she is growing a “Victory Garden”. So the essay from guy who wants us to be able to drive SUV’s for some time to come is right next to an essay on not having to drive for food because you have the ultimate in local eating.

Poor Jack, he might score some points with liberals if he tightened up his message a bit. He starts his essay by noting the danger in drawing conclusions just because one event comes after another, such as blaming the Democrats for high oil prices. Then he proceeds to go ahead and blame the Democrats for high gas prices, although without citing one specific action that would have triggered the run up in high prices. Instead he notes that when President Bush issued an Executive Order ending his side of the ban on drilling off the west and east coasts, oil prices came down. Actually oil prices were flirting with coming down the week before, but had bounced back after Iran had test fired missiles. But at least Kelly had a quote from conservative economist Lawrence Kudlow. Kelly mentions nothing about falling US demand for oil as people use other methods to commute and cancel trips, but he does say that a Bureau of Land Management decision to open 4.9 million acres of land in Alaska to oil exploration, over the objection of environmentalists, contributed to a further drop in the price of oil.

Kelly does say that the price of oil is high specifically because Democrats won’t allow drilling off the coasts, in the ANWR and because Democrats won’t allow the coal to oil gasification thing. He says nothing about the previous six years when no one said anything about drilling. He then claims that it won’t take ten years for new drilling to bring oil (possibly true in some cases, but what about refining capacity), and finishes by stating global warming isn’t coming, and even if it is, it won’t hurt for fifty years; wheras while the democrats carbon control plan, cap and trade, will immediately cripple the economy (to the tune of $144 billion). He mentions a Heritage Foundation Study for the assertion about cap and trade, but no source for his assertions about global warming, Maybe he feels it is settled science that global warming is false from his previous columns on the subject.

The thing is, when Bush calls for a end to drilling bans, it probably does exert a downward pressure on oil prices (which we have yet to see at the pump). Unfortunately, it seems like 1985 all over again. If the price falls, there will be no incentive to keep riding your bike or taking the bus to work. Whether it’s this time, the next or a time after that, there will be point where the price of oil will go up and not come back down. Where Chinese and Indian demand will be big enough to keep the price of oil up. At that point, we may have drilled all the reserves we had off the coasts and in Alaska, and we or our kids will demand the government do something, and the government will say they already did that something in 2008. It’s probably time to deal head on with the twin issues of global warming and high oil prices once and for all. Jack Kelly’s position is exactly the short-sighted wrong position.


Jerry said...

Jack Kelly is nothing but a print troll. Seriously, did you even need to read past the headline to know that he was going to blame liberals and/or Democrats for something?

The fact that the PG continues to print him when he is so utterly predictable is, in my opinion, very closely related to the fact that print newspapers are dying out. Most people can detect the false equivalencies they present as "balance."

EdHeath said...

Yeah, I had a couple of points in mind. First, even false equivalencies contain some truth, and we can learn a bit from those truths, even while understanding what the writer intends. And second, I wanted to tease out the hidden message, that Jack Kelly and perhaps John McCain want to perpetuate the oil based economy, even though we have received a second message that it is unsustainable. Kelly, and perhaps McCain, are living in a fool's mirage, and want to drag us in there too. We’ll probably go along with them, it is easier than facing up to reality.