OPEC’s decision to keep oil production levels constant is the latest setback for the stumbling U.S. economy. Since there has been no change in the way oil is produced or traded – as a fungible commodity – there is no reason speculators cannot keep oil prices moving up toward the record $147 a barrel that it hit in July of 2008. In fact, some analysts warn oil prices won’t stop there this time.
Oil imports are a national security threat of epic proportion that distorts U.S. foreign policy, sends our patriotic young men and women off to needless wars, and is a massive transfer of our wealth to other nations, including some that would destroy us – if given the chance. It has been a problem we have ignored for decades.
U.S., energy tycoon T. Boone Pickens claims that based on the latest figures from the Federal Reserve Economic Database, the U.S. imported 62% of its oil, or 362 million barrels in May 2011, sending approximately $41.7 billion – $934,357.63 per minute- to foreign countries.
“The oil import numbers continue to be astronomical and our country continues to suffer as a result,” said Pickens, not without self interest because of his holdings in natural gas.
There is a sorry history here of failed government policy initiatives and big money lobbying against them going all the way back to the Carter Administration (1977-81), which proposed a comprehensive bill, crucial – then as now – to wean the U.S. from foreign oil after the first OPEC oil embargo and crisis. Carter failed to prevail against big oil, and we still have no coherent energy policy.
As is now the case – and was then – enormous sums of money are involved, and there are no lobbyists for American Energy Independence, but armies upon armies of them for special interest, multi-national corporations and Wall Street traders benefitting from the status quo – and they care not a sack of tea about our independence, quite the contrary.
“In a time of great economic turmoil, our crippling dependence on OPEC oil represents the height of fiscal irresponsibility – particularly when we have the ability to use our own vast domestic natural gas resources,” said Pickens.