Tuesday, July 08, 2008


Robert Reich's Advice

Let's not take it

From a NY Times interview with Robert Reich:
What do you make of the argument that the only way to lessen our dependence on foreign oil is to tap more oil wells here — in Alaska and off the coasts of Florida and California? When you consider that the oil we pump goes into a global oil market, offshore drilling makes no sense. We take the environmental risk, but we’d have to share the negligible price gains with Chinese consumers and every other user around the world.
This answer makes absolutely no sense. And it is the height of arrogance to demand that others the take 'environmental risk' (which is negligible) on our behalf.

Reich wrote this in support of a windfall profits tax on oil companies. He argues that cutting taxes actually costs taxpayers money, the government should discourage Americans from driving, that companies shouldn't return profits to their owners, increasing the supply of oil won't reduce its price and that the government should confiscate private capital for a government led effort to develop renewable energy:
They have more money now than they know what to do with. Their quarterly reports, out this week, will show galactic profits. But for them, basic research in alternatives is too risky. And why should we expect them to invest in alternatives to oil, anyway? They aren't even putting as much as they did five years ago into oil exploration, as a percent of their profits. They figure the best way to keep their stock price high is to use their windfall profits to buy back their shares. This may be good for their shareholders but it's terrible for America.
No, it isn't. What would be terrible for America is if we took his advice.


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