A collection of Venerable Old White Guys weighs in on the energy challenge
High Broderism has finally and fully descended on the energy debate. The AP reports that a “bipartisan group of 26 elder statesmen” (that sound you hear is a wave of spontaneous erections from the Beltway press corps … schwing!) has sent a letter to both presidential candidates, along with members of Congress and the press, warning of the coming energy crisis.
And what is the most important thing for everyone to do in the face of this crisis? The top priority? The transcendental imperative? “We must re-examine outdated and entrenched positions.” And if you don’t get the point: “Foremost we must rise above a partisan differences and be united in our efforts.”
And there you have it, the essence of wisdom in the D.C. establishment. The one thing everyone in it can agree on: That everyone should agree. That both parties are half-wrong and half-right, and that if they’d quit clinging irrationally to their beliefs and meet in the center, everything would be hunky dory. Oh, and they — the establishment — get to define where the center is, if that’s OK with you.
Sure enough, the letter is peppered with conservative and neoliberal buzzwords like “sound science” and “frivolous litigation.” We must, of course, “resist the temptation to rely on taxes or subsidies” (not a word about removing those that already exist). And the fifth principle of 12: “Immediately Expand Domestic Oil and Gas Exploration and Production,” which “create new investment and new jobs here at home.” (Except the fossil fuel sector boasts extraordinarily low labor intensity, and any dollar spent elsewhere — say, R&E — will produce far more further investment and jobs.) Then there’s nuclear and clean coal, on the list above “renewable sources.”
And so on. Feh. Chasing after further large-scale fossil and nuclear supply sources (market losers, despite the fealty to markets expressed earlier) really is pointless and counter-productive. It’s not some irrational partisanship or stubbornness to say so. It’s not a sign of wisdom to abandon that position in the name of a centrism defined by a group of center-right brahmins.