Advertisement

Letters to the Editor

Energy security

November 29, 2011

Advertisement

To the editor:

Congress is developing a plan to tackle the U.S. deficit and get people back to work after the supercommittee’s failure. I hope the plan will be focused on reaching consensus rather than more partisan posturing. Any deal that is struck, though, must make economic sense and should not burden our economy as it struggles to move forward.

The domestic oil and gas sector is hugely important to our economy’s recovery, employing hundreds of thousands of our Kansas neighbors and providing needed energy security for our country. Federal officials are considering a new proposal to levy a double tax on U.S.-produced oil and gas, while exempting companies with headquarters overseas. We already struggle to find and maintain quality jobs in the U.S.; why would we give an economic advantage to our foreign competitors? This proposal would push jobs overseas and force the domestic energy sector to make up their losses — higher prices on gas for American families. Too often our politicians forget that our neediest neighbors rely on oil and gas to heat their homes, transport themselves to jobs and their kids to school, and deliver their food.

As our economy works to recover, we know that we cannot harness its energy by placing new burdens on such important sectors. Rather, we need to promote job creation and economic growth by keeping tax burdens low. Then we all benefit from lower gas costs and more money in our pockets.

Comments

its_just_math 3 years ago

That's only part of it Sean. What about the EPA's staggering new requirements of coal/electricity production? They are going to suffocate it. Obama said under his cap & trade plan, energy costs would "necessarily skyrocket". Of course, even his closest minions could not swallow that plan. And some say Obama is a centrist. So, the EPA has been granted nearly unlimited power---unelected but appointed bureaucrats. All in the name of the hysterical "green" crowd.

jafs 3 years ago

EPA - Environmental Protection Agency.

Their job is to protect the environment.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years ago

What we need is a carbon tax levied on all forms of fossil fuels, and it should be levied on both domestic and foreign sources. The funds should be phased in over several years, and could be used two ways-- as rebates to consumers based on income, and to lower other forms of taxation.

This would allow alternative sources to find a level-playing field with fossil fuels, which have received many decades of government subsidies, and allow for the steady reduction in their use, thus shifting the economy away from dependence on them before they become our instrument of mass suicide.

jafs 3 years ago

Who pays the tax, if not consumers?

And, why not just end the subsidies to oil/gas companies, and allow alternative energy to compete with them that way?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years ago

The consumers do pay the tax-- that's the whole point. But as prices on fossil fuels rise, consumers would have an economic incentive to use alternatives. The rebates to low-income consumers would mean that the alternatives are also available to them. The rise in prices on fossil fuels would also rectify the unfair price advantage they get because of all of the externalized costs of the pollution they produce.

"And, why not just end the subsidies to oil/gas companies, and allow alternative energy to compete with them that way?"

That should be done regardless of whether a carbon tax is implemented.

jafs 3 years ago

Unless the prices rise incredibly dramatically, alternative energy will still be more expensive, and unavailable for most people, especially low income folks (even with rebates).

The pollution costs should be factored in somehow, in my view.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years ago

"Unless the prices rise incredibly dramatically, alternative energy will still be more expensive, and unavailable for most people, especially low income folks (even with rebates)."

Not if it's structured right. The devil is in the details, but there's been a good deal of work done on figuring those out, and it's pretty convincing.

Here's a couple of websites-

http://www.carbontax.org/

Australia just implemented such a tax--

http://www.cleanenergyfuture.gov.au/

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years ago

Restructuring the economy, which is what is really entailed in this proposal, will not come easy. But the fossil-fueled economy is a dinosaur, and we'll either do it rationally, starting now, or we'll see a complete collapse of not only the economy, but the ability of the earth's climate to support a large human population.

jafs 3 years ago

I agree that we need to find a way to live on the planet without destroying it.

But, I'm not sure we need to "restructure the economy", especially right now, with all of the other problems we're having.

Some day I'd like to have solar electricity, and a heat pump for heating/cooling, if it's practical. But, it's pretty expensive - estimates run about $20-$30K for that sort of thing. And we're very conservation oriented, and use much less energy/water/etc. than most folks.

We know somebody in CA who got a system without any upfront payments, but they're just leasing it, and the only reason it's affordable is that their electric bills ran about 3x what ours do, and the monthly payment was about the same.

Also, of course, they never in fact own the system that way.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years ago

"But, I'm not sure we need to "restructure the economy", especially right now, with all of the other problems we're having."

I disagree. I think we'll have disastrous consequences sooner rather than later if we don't.

This is because the costs of our current energy systems have been externalized and subsidized for way too long, and those costs will only get higher. Postponing the inevitable restructuring will only make it more painful, and the success in doing so that much less likely.

And by somewhat gradually phasing in the carbon tax, this will allow for a gradual move to alternative energy systems, and the prices for these will gradually drop because of increased r&d and economies of scale.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.