Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.
Presidential Candidate Joe Biden, after making a deal with the Bernie Sanders/Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic party, promised in 2020 to be the “most Progressive President ever.”
The public is inherently skeptical of campaign promises, and this one seemed totally antithetical to the good old Scranton Joe we all have known for years, everyone’s daffy uncle. After all, his campaign also promised to return our country to normalcy after years of “Russiagate” disruption, impeachment and mean tweets. So how “Progressive” could good old Joe become?
But lo and behold, in fact, Joe stuck to his campaign promise, likely because he had ceded all power to Bernie Bro Progressives under the leadership of former Obamaites. The centerpiece of his program was an is his war on fossil fuels. On his first day in office, he killed the Keystone XL Pipeline and declared oil leasing sales at an end. He soon promised a war on coal.
Although there was more to follow, this was all that was needed to fulfill the Progressive dream of restricting fossil fuels, which included, as planned, an immediate rise in fuel costs. This increase was good, the inner circle reasoned, because citizens would drive less and/or be forced into electric vehicles which, of course, are intended to save the planet, notwithstanding their tremendously earth-destroying components, which tear up 500,000 pounds of earth for every EV battery.
So wouldn’t this smooth move to limit fossil fuels be effective to save the planet? Yes, in the sense that it immediately caused a price rise, as markets anticipated, correctly, future restrictions. What could go wrong with this limitation on purportedly harmful fossil fuels?
Because of their simplistic, junior-high understanding of the world, Progressives did not anticipate that, gosh, the price of everything else would also go up as gasoline pump prices increased. Although an intelligent high school senior would have known this, the price of any product incorporated through a process dependent upon fossil fuels would also rise. What might these be? Everything.
Of course, personal travel, commercial transportation, meat (dependent of fossil fuel feedstock), and gasoline, would immediately see sharp increases. But there is far more.
As Professor Vaclav Smil has demonstrated, there are four staples upon which modern society depends: (1) ammonia, for fertilizer allowing 300-400% improved crop yields; (2) plastics, made from fossil fuels, out of which everything from car interiors, to hospital facilities, to clothes, to packaging, to computers, is made; (3) concrete, which requires cement forged at ultra-high temperatures, requiring massive amounts of electricity; and (4) steel, which depends upon large quantities of coked coal and natural gas. Yet windmills and solar panels do not work, practically, in any of these areas. So, the price of everything naturally has risen precipitously, as Biden stubbornly refuses to lay off fossil fuel restrictions.
But is the “only” effect a rise in the price of just about everything? There is, yes, a dramatic rise in the price of all goods and services, but there is far more about which we should all be concerned.
The country will now pay 200-300% more for its interest on the national debt. The present annual debt payments of $399 billion in interest on this debt in 2022 will balloon to $1.2 trillion by 2032, as present low-yield T-bills are retired. A reasonable person might decide that we could put that $800 billion differential to better use than funding the climate dreams of economically illiterate, sophomoric Progressives.
But that is not all. If we really want to have citizens buying electric vehicles, the scarce rare earth minerals required for large electric batteries will require free trade with element-rich countries like Ukraine and Afghanistan. How is that projected to go, in light of Biden’s foreign policy? China controls Afghanistan after our precipitous, abrupt withdrawal from the country, leaving $80 billion in military equipment and materiel. Ukraine has been battered by Russia, as Biden stands by the fence, refusing MIGs to heroic Ukrainians, likely leaving the East to our geopolitical rival, while the world takes note of our abandonment of our past security pledges, but one example the Budapest Memorandum.
More importantly, our national security is weakened when we must beg Iran, Russia and Venezuela for the oil we lack. Why not ask Saudi Arabia for help? Well, maybe it is not happy about Progressive efforts to arm Iran with nuclear weapons, all the better to insure the Saudis’ demise.
In any case, if a war breaks out, we will not have the fuel to fight, manufacture weapons, and power airplanes and cruisers. In the meantime, our energy weakness is driving Germany and other countries into the arms of oil-rich Russia. With all these negative outcomes, the question is what good it does to restrict America’s domestic fossil fuel production, when American and world fossil fuel needs are not decreasing but increasing.
Don’t Biden’s fossil fuel restrictions force renewables to increase? Renewables have increased, but because of growing demand, the total amount of energy from fossil fuels expended in the world remains stuck at approximately 84%. Needs for energy, mainly from fossil fuels, is increasing around the globe, including in the United States. Renewables cannot catch up and overtake this demand.
If we want to help backward countries develop infrastructure and fight disease, we have made ourselves less able to help, given vastly increased infrastructure costs and budget constraints caused by deliberately raised fuel costs, and consequent hits to our country’s balance sheet.
But notwithstanding all these issues, there is something the Progressives have accomplished. With but a few strokes of his pen, President Biden has assured the destruction of American prosperity, security and prestige.
After all, that is a Progressive goal, is it not?
John D. O’Connor is a former federal prosecutor and the San Francisco attorney who represented W. Mark Felt during his revelation as Deep Throat in 2005. O’Connor is the author of the book, The Mysteries of Watergate: What Really Happened.
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