Any article on how politicians are gearing up to “do something” about oil prices is bound to contain more than the usual share of silliness. Still, though, this managed to stop me cold:

[Senator Harry Reid] also hinted at a potential element of compromise legislation: that any oil produced from wider access to federal lands off shore be reserved for domestic use and barred from export.

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Such a policy would, of course, be utterly useless in our highly integrated international market for oil, but it would at least yield some fantastic marketing opportunities. The domestic fuel could be stocked in star-spangled cans labeled “Freedom Oil.” Or, dispensed from special pumps that blare Toby Keith when you swipe your credit card. Perhaps lawmakers can arrange to have your windshield cleaned by a bald eagle when you fill up with Uncle Sam’s Offshore Blend.

Setting aside for a moment our legislators’ apparent total ignorance of energy markets, the real problem here is that this “compromise” doesn’t yield anything worth getting. If Congress is itching to trade away drilling rights to ecologically sensitive areas, they should at the very least ask for something meaningful in return. You know, like production tax credits for renewable energy. Or, climate change legislation. Or, I don’t know, anything other than this inanity.

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