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Friday, May 5, 2006

Smokey Briggs

Sage Views

By Smokey Briggs

Save us! Put the feds
in charge of drilling for oil

Well, looks like I’ll be leaving West Texas to make my fortune. Unlike our pioneer forefathers that traveled west to make their fortunes, I’ll be heading the other way - to Washington, D.C. specifically, to work in the new oil patch.

Now roughnecking is hard, dangerous work and early in my life I discovered I was allergic to both hard and dangerous work. The two combined has a nearly fatal effect on my constitution.

But, you can make a good living at it when oil is selling for more than pumpkins the day after Halloween, and I like making money. I’m not good at it, but I like it.

After watching the nightly news - I do not know why I still subject myself to such silliness but old habits are hard to break - I knew I had found my new career.

Government roughneck.

I managed to turn on the lobotomy box just in time to catch a clip on the current gasoline crisis. I did not know we were in a gasoline crisis, but apparently we are.

A gas crisis, to me, is when I go to the gas station and they will not sell me all the gas I want.

What I learned from the news is that a gas crisis is when I go to the gas station and they charge me more money than I want to pay.

Shoot people, we have been in a rip-snorting gas crisis since the first time I filled up my motorcycle way back when.

Anyway, the talking heads were interviewing a bunch of bought and paid for politicians that we are stupid enough to keep electing.

At first the politicians had me worried because they all agreed on one thing - government action was required!

Now, I’ve seen enough government action in my life to know that when the government shows up to “help” you better put one hand over your wallet and run because you are fixing to pay through the nose.

The Socialist party, also known as Republicans, wants to stop adding crude oil to the government’s personal stockpile and start an investigation to see if the oil companies are making too much money.

Welcome to the Socialist vision of American capitalism - a vision that thinks punishing those who make too much money is a good idea.

Note to Republicans: Making all the money you can is how capitalism works you morons. Workers charge every penny they can get for their sweat. Oil companies charge all they can for oil. Evil newspaper publishers charge every dime they can for an advertisement.

The official name is free market capitalism and it is why America is the most prosperous nation in the world, or has been.

Of all of the politicians who are making hay about this crisis, one fellow actually had an idea that was not borrowed from Karl Marx’s, “100 Top Ways to Destroy an Economy and Enslave a People.”

Not surprisingly he was from Texas. Trey Martinez Fischer, a Democrat state representative from San Antonio, has suggested that to give Texans some relief from high gasoline prices maybe Texas and the Feds could take the tax off of gasoline for a bit.

Texas charges you 20 cents tax on every gallon of gas you buy. The Feds charge you another 18.4 cents for every gallon. Take that off the top and gasoline drops 38.4 cents per gallon at the pump and I would call that relief.

By the way, did you know that it was against the law for a gas station to publish the amount of tax charged on gas. Gee, why would that be against the law?

From the reaction of most Depublicans and Republicrats you would think Fischer suggested throwing babies into the Rio Grande in the hopes that gasoline prices would go down.

They might consider a lot of drastic measures, but cutting the flow of the money they use to buy votes, payoff campaign contributors and generally pad their own accounts with is sacrilege.

I’m not holding my breath waiting on this one.

For the record folks, all the breathtaking talk on television about the price of oil is mostly just hot air.

Despite what you have been told, economics is simple stuff. Three things can affect the price of oil, or any other commodity: supply, demand and inflation.

Here is where we are at: The lizard kissers and the politicians they bought have managed to shutdown new gasoline refinery construction in this country for decades.

Then Katrina wiped out some of the already-built refineries, so guess what?

Our ability to refine gas is not keeping up with demand. Supply is down and demand is up. In a free market, or any market, this situation spells higher prices. Throw in increased demand for oil worldwide as China and India expand and you have a recipe for high prices.

Don’t like high gas prices? Kick the next moron with a Sierra Club sticker on their car right in the shin. Gas will not go down, but you will feel better.

Inflation is the kicker in this scenario. Now, I do not care what Alan Greenspan and company has said, there is only one way for inflation to take place. Money becomes inflated, meaning it is worth less today than yesterday, when somebody is printing money faster than they are burning the used bills up.

Here is what the geniuses in Washington are doing. They know that they cannot raise taxes enough to cover all the regular spending and cover the cost of our little escapade in Iraq. If they did, we would revolt.

So, instead, they print fresh money and pay the bills with it the moment they can handle it without getting green ink on their fingers. Every dollar they print brings the value of the dollar in your pocket down. Right now the Federal Reserve claims inflation is about three percent.

If it is, I am a monkey’s uncle. You can go to the grocery store, the gas pump, or a department store and figure out that inflation is a heck of a lot higher than three percent.

A huge amount of the recent increases in the price of gas have nothing to do with supply and demand and everything to do with the fact that your dollars are not worth as much as they were a year ago.

Which brings me back to heading east to make my fortune.

The winning idea televised by the talking heads was this: “What we need to do is nationalize the oil companies.” (This was from the mouth of a Democrat, not that it matters a whole lot.)

Translated, this means put the government in charge of Exxon and friends.

Translated, this means taking the final step into the sweetly baited trap that is socialism and communism.

Translated, this means guaranteed shortages of gasoline.

Can you imagine Nancy Pelosi, the Marxist U.S. representative from California, as head of Government Oil Production?

Here, jump in my time machine and I will read you a few headlines from 2016, ten years after the GOP Company is founded and Pelosi is made the government CEO.

“Pelosi defends hiring 30,000 roughnecks ten years before drilling begins.”

“Pelosi christens first well site, warns several years to go before EPA, FEMA, DHS, CIA, Greenpeace, OSHA and Dept of Ag, give go-aheads to drill.”

“Blackmarket sales of gas declared nationial crisis!”

“Gas Rationing Over! Private citizens must ride bicycles by law.”

“American oil not competitive on open market. Pelosi demands tax hike to subsidize overseas sales.”

“Pelosi sets price of gas at 20 cents per gallon. Citizens get ration cards for two gallons per week. Crisis over!” It is as predictable as the sun coming up in the morning folks. The only thing government does well is spend your money in an inefficient manner.

Let the government start meddling (even more) in the oil business and you better have a good bicycle and like riding it.

Personally, I am putting in an application early as a Federal Roughneck. I figure the job will start at $50/hour with federal benefits and shoot; I’ll be old enough to retire before they even start thinking about actually drilling a hole in the ground.

That is my kind of work.

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