25 September 2008

An Upside of “Do Nothing”?

At the end of the month, a Congressional ban on offshore drilling will expire. This is due to doing nothing, which is something the current Congress and its leadership is quite good at. It is part of the reason Congress managed to achieve a single-digit approval rating earlier this year.

Reports are that the issue will be taken up again after the election. Apparently fighting the drilling effort would hurt some (Democrats) in bids to remain in power. So there’s a hoodwink going on here. Congress sees no need to risk damaging its sky-high approval rating (around 20%) just before election time. Only matters of urgent spending are entertained – hence the mortgage bailout. Expect the drilling bans to be reinstated just as soon as Congress comes back to “work” in January 2009, if not the day after the polls close in November.

In a related note, Victor Davis Hansen writes an interesting piece this morning, “Dr. Frankenstein’s Wall Street”. In it, he chronicles the ways in which our culture has created the current financial crisis. It is a very worthwhile read, and it hits on an important point: our country is what we make it. If we choose to endlessly pursue something – anything – then there’s a good chance that we will achieve that something. It seems very American to pursue a goal; it is important enough to be enshrined in our Declaration of Independence. But what we pursue needs examining here.

If we do indeed choose to become more energy independent, we cannot ease our way into it through inaction, no more than we can simply demand it and expect it to come to be. We have to pursue it. And there is where the “do nothing” solution is more a tactic than a plan. It is a way to put off until later what Congress chooses, for political reasons, to not address now. And we choose our Representatives and Senators. Do you know where yours stands?

No comments: