Thirty one years ago the Department of Energy (DOE) was established during the Carter Administration. They currently have 16,000 federal employees, and approximately 100,000 contract employees. Their proposed budget is up 4.7% from 2008. No one seems to know why the DOE was founded. The reason given 31 years ago was “to lessen our dependence on foreign oil”. Instituted on 8/4/77, the DOE is asking for 25.2 billion in discretionary funding in the US annual budget for 2009.
Certainly our dependence on foreign oil wasn’t 65 % thirty-one years ago. And thirty-one years from now, unless we’re allowed to drill in the US, our dependence will be much higher than 65 %. Currently, OPEC owns well over 70 % of existing oil producers. There is no agency controlling what OPEC can charge for a barrel of oil. There is no entity that can stop OPEC from gouging at will if it deems it is the most profitable route.
Drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) of the US, as well as the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) will significantly reduce our dependence on foreign oil. The DOE is unnecessary for elimination of that dependence. Right now, OPEC controls how much a barrel of oil will cost, and how much we will pay at the pump.
Elimination of 25.2 billion/yr will push America towards a balanced budget. In fact, if one looks at the current Executive Departments (15), many can be axed from the list, especially the DOE. Necessary departments such as Defense, Treasury, Security, Justice, Veterans Affairs, and Health and Human Services should stay. Most others add huge amounts of government jobs which produce nothing, and could at least have their expenditures whittled down.
The United Nations gets over $3 billion/yr from the US. Billions get pumped into population control and abortion programs (highly popular with UN). It’s time to jettison the entire UN when abortion and condoms are their main attack on population, especially when the world population starts to go downhill in 2020 directly due to killing the most defenseless by abortion and the rock-falling fertility rate. Those costs are only the tip of the iceberg.
Obama wants CO2 reductions because of “alleged” man-made global warming. But all data points to global cooling now. Many fail to acknowledge a “closed-system” of carbon on earth. Carbon emitted now could have been emitted 100,000 years ago, or even 100 years ago.
Ethanol from corn has been mandated as an additive to some gasoline to reduce global warming. Food riots (Mona Charen/National Review) have already erupted in Egypt, Cameroon, Indonesia, Ethiopia, and other nations due to escalating price of corn. In the US, the added food cost from the ethanol-use mandate was $15 billion in 2007 alone (Purdue University).
It is also (SCIENCE) estimated greenhouse gas emissions from corn ethanol nearly double those from gasoline for each kilometer driven. Another (SCIENCE) estimate finds clearing lands for energy crops creates a so-called carbon “debt” by releasing 17 to 420 times more CO2 than the annual reductions these biofuels would provide by displacing fossil fuels—if one assumes that CO2 causes global warming in the first place.
America can reduce taxes any time we decide. It just depends for whom one votes, and what our priorities are.
Kevin Roeten can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .