As broadcast reporter John Stossel said, “It’s amazing how ideas with no merit become popular merely because they sound good.”
On Monday, T. Boone Pickens talked about how America must become energy independent. He said that our generation must take charge to make a change.
It sounds great to be energy independent. We wouldn’t have to keep financing foreign powers and dealing with the political repercussions.
However, to believe these things is ignoring common sense and basic economics.
First, Pickens talks about making the U.S. energy independent like it’s a new idea. Since President Richard Nixon was in office, the United States has tried to end its dependence on foreign oil. Today the U.S. uses more foreign oil then ever.
Secondly, this whole idea that cheap oil has put us in a trap is nonsense. In countries like Great Britain and Sweden, gas has always been expensive.
Cheap oil is a way for a working class, single mother to get to work. It’s a way for families to afford the gas for two cars to get to work. Energy independence would hurt all Americans. Let me also remind you that if we reject foreign oil, Pickens will probably be supplying our energy.
Also, are we independent on anything? On a small scale, all of us are dependent on each other. My mother and father do not farm, make clothes, or build houses yet my family is clothed, fed, and sheltered. It’s called specialization of labor and it’s a simple economic term.
If we try to do everything ourselves, our standard of living will be lowered. This is the same with countries. As well as getting oil from other countries, we also get clothes, food and other essential products. Trying to avoid imports would make everything more expensive.
In the case of solar and wind energy, neither has been profitable and that is why they have not been developed.
Nuclear energy is a viable option, but government has restricted that growth by increasing the permit fees astronomically.
A lot of people say that we need to be energy independent because we are buying oil from countries that we don’t like. People claim that countries like Venezuela, Iran, and Saudi Arabia are getting all of our money. However, critics of foreign oil ignore the benefits. We are getting a valuable resource that is difficult to obtain.
The costs greatly outweigh the gains of energy independence. People need to re-examine what they are actually supporting rather then just supporting something that sounds good.
Michael Lauck is a freshman broadcast journalism major from Houston.