Includes thoughts and comments about energy needs, resources, conservation and their relationship to politics at home and around the world.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

The political wars continue in this general election year as the primary season winds down with North Carolina and Indiana coming up. McCain is in as the GOP nominee for President but the battle continues with the Democrats Clinton and Obama. Obama leads Clinton in convention delegates but is still short of the minimum number needed to claim the nomination. There seems to be little doubt that their battle will now go all the way to the convention floor. Both candidates have taken positions I oppose relative to taxes, health care and energy.


Both Clinton and Obama would raise taxes by allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire. That would result in a top marginal tax increase of 6.5% and a return to higher capital gains rates. They would also push to stop any effort to eliminate the "death tax". They say they would do these things to reduce national debt but you can be sure the increased tax revenue would go to more welfare-state causes. Meanwhile, it would reduce funds available for investment in the economy.

Health Care

This is a pet issue of Hillary Clinton that goes back to her failed efforts in the early years of her husband's administration. She is hellbent on taking us into socialized medicine ala Canada and most of Europe. Most Canadians and Europeans I have talked with about the issue complain about the extremely high taxes they have to pay because of socialized medicine in their countries. Otherwise, they say the services are good except when it comes to elective major surgery. Many come to the USA for elective and high risk surgical procedures.


Both Clinton and Obama would keep us from developing new sources of crude oil such as in ANWR, in the Gulf of Mexico and off the Continental Shelf all of which show signs of large volumes of oil, natural gas and gas liquids. The economics still don't favor extracting oil from shale even though the volume of such oil in Wyoming and neighboring areas in the West is estimated to be quite substantial. Fifty years ago, studies showed oil shale development would be economically viable if crude oil were selling at or above $20/ bbl. Crude oil was selling at about $4/ bbl. at the time. Oil companies started to develop shale oil back in the '80s, but gave it up because of the poor economics. I don't know what the economics are today, but I don't hear any rumors indicating new interest in shale oil development. I can only assume the economics still don't look promising.

ANWR, the Gulf and Continental shelf should be opened now for development which would send a strong signal to OPEC that we are serious in our intention to become independent of their oil. At the same time, we must continue to develop and adopt alternative energy sources that make sense including nuclear, solar, wind, geothermal, fuel cell and tidal. Our government should re-institute tax credits for consumers who switch to hybrid powered automobiles. Thanks to the work of ExxonMobil scientists who have developed a special film to separate the positive and negative elements in lithium-ion batteries, such batteries will soon go into hybrid vehicles. This will result in significant weight savings over current batteries and lead to longer battery life as well. The end result will be even greater fuel mileage than is presently possible.


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