Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The misguided foible of U.S. energy security

The call for “energy security” emanating from the United States is dripping with unseemly protectionism. Never mind the predictable union soothers in the left - there is an extremely troubling fissure between supposed “market economy” politicians and their energy policy rhetoric. Wrapped in the hysteria of global terrorism and environmentalism, calls for energy security are a bold rebuke of free trade. Worse, they are a call for the most dangerous form of taxation – high energy costs. Economic growth, in the context of the energy policies being paraded in America, will be handicapped severely.

Americans intuitively understand the importance of cheap energy. They are the first to wave a flag of protest when the price of gasoline rises enough to impinge on their driving habits. However, they are not fully aware of the way in which cheap energy lubricates the wealth creation wheel. Just as under-developed economies are crippled by high energy costs, industrial and service economies depend and thrive on access to cheap energy. Many American jobs will disappear long before any alternative “eco-friendly” energy sources reach the necessary economy of scale. Current cap-and-trade proposals will undoubtedly prove this if they are enacted.

Even more damaging for energy consumers is the inflationary consequences of the profligate monetary policy debasing the U.S. dollar. If we look at the Gold/Oil Ratio since 1971 the average is 15. Currently, the ratio is 19, rising considerably from a low of 7 last summer. This tells us clearly that something is rotten in the state of the dollar.

So what about energy security? Americans should consider where they actually get most – almost all - of their energy imports. Look no further than next door – in Canada, Mexico, and Venezuela. Leaving the Marxist state of Venezuela aside for now, the resources in North America are considerable, and fuel billions of dollars of trade in energy products for Canada and Mexico.

The governments of North America should strive for an integrated energy policy that maximizes the plentiful reserves in situ. Yes, the price of crude oil is determined by global demand, but the North American energy market can be self sufficient with coordinated action. Look to energy states and provinces like Alaska, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland to lead the way. It is in everyone's interest to bring reliable and secure supplies to America. And these supplies are in North America. Let’s work together!