Ask any American voter. The two biggest issues in this 2008 election are the economic crisis and the energy crisis. Seldom are there easy answers to such complex problems. But, not this time. The answer is simple- more entrepreneurship and less government!
That means deregulation and decontrol. It means lower taxes and more incentives for private investment. UNLEASH THE FREE MARKET. Government doesn't solve problems- government causes them. American entrepreneurs will solve our energy problem- if only government will get out of the way. And those same entrepreneurs and that same free market capitalism will put America on the road to solving our economic problems as well.
This energy crisis and the economic crisis go hand in hand (and to some extent, the terrorist crisis as well). America's oil purchases abroad account for almost half the U.S. trade deficit. Every dollar we spend on foreign oil is a dollar that could be better spent growing the U.S. economy. How do we find the money to buy all that oil? We borrow it from those same countries, many of whom hate us. What do they do with OUR money? They use it to fund terrorism!
So, how do we stop this vicious cycle? Simple- we get government out of the way. Please, do not get me wrong. There is one area in which I am in consensus with the environmentalists and the Democrats. There is no question that the only long term solution for America's energy independence is to wean ourselves off of fossil fuel (oil) and replace it with clean and renewable energy. The fact is, that process has been underway for years and I am in total agreement that it must be accelerated.
But, the reality is that it may take another 20-30 years to be accomplished. In the meantime, the answer is drill, drill, and drill some more. President Bush took a first step today by lifting the â€œExecutive Banâ€� on offshore oil drilling. But that is only a small and symbolic start. Congress must throw out the government moratorium on energy exploration and production. Take the shackles off the oil and energy industries. Reduce the draconian bureaucracy that has not allowed the creation of a new oil refinery or nuclear power plant in over 30 years. Get government out of the way and let American ingenuity and entrepreneurship do what it has always done to make America the leading economic power in the world. Stop listening to liberal environmental extremists who want to drive America (by horse and buggy) back to the dark ages. They couldn't care less about the average working American. These radical environmentalists want to keep us all poor and beholden to them for handouts- that is how they buy your vote and keep themselves in power. It is time in my opinion to put the interests of Americans and the American economy FIRST.
Consider the Ethanol mess as â€œExhibit Aâ€� for why government must get out of the way. Government bureaucrats and politicians always play â€œbig shotâ€� and try to pick winners versus losers. Why? To prove how important they are- to justify their big titles, big salaries and big egos. And, of course, to help a handful of friends and big industry insiders who just happen to contribute to their campaigns. But, what can you expect? TheyÂ´re just about all lawyers (as well as career politicians), and when it comes to business itÂ´s all lawyers know how to do- screw things it up! It is no coincidence when lawyers become politicians they act exactly the same way. But now, they get to do it with YOUR MONEY!
Take ethanol as an example. Government tried to solve the energy crisis by picking ethanol as the winner. Big mistake. Ethanol has not only done nothing to solve our energy crisis, it has caused a worldwide economic crisis. The corn crops now dedicated to ethanol production have produced a worldwide shortage of corn needed for food (as well as cattle/chicken feed). That has in turn spiked grocery prices, caused shortages at the grocery store, and incited riots across the globe. Yet gas prices continue to rise, because it actually takes more than a gallon of gas to create a gallon of ethanol. And, it turns out that ethanol causes more pollution than gas as well. The result is an energy and economic crisis caused by government.
Despite all this, the Presidential candidates from both major parties are still asleep at the wheel. They both talk change. But, the only â€œchangeâ€� they bring to the table is more of the same tired big-government answers. Obama (the man with the most extreme liberal voting record out of 100 United States Senators) stands vehemently against drilling. He thinks government has the answer. He supports more of the same extreme environmental policies, heavy taxes, and big government regulation that got us to this crisis in the first place. John McCain is barely any better. He has just recently decided drilling is okay, but still refuses to allow any drilling in ANWR– which potentially offers 10 billion (or more) barrels of oil to American consumers. Worse, McCain is a big believer in big-government solutions for global warming. His proposed energy policies will surely damage the American economy, cost millions of jobs, and raise our electric and gas bills dramatically. Make NO mistake- the election of either Obama or McCain will be a disaster for the American economy and consumers.
McCain's Republican Senate colleague John Warner proposes a big solution (drum roll please): lowering the national speed limit to 55 MPH. After 30+ years of inaction, the best Warner can come up with is more draconian federal government control over our lives and a violation of states' rights. It is safe to assume that neither Republicans nor Democrats offer a solution.
The answer is the free market, fiscally conservative principles of the Libertarian Party. We believe in putting American consumers and the American economy FIRST. These same common-sense principals that will work to solve the energy crisis, will also solve our Education and Health Care crisis'. It is this simple- Get government out of the way. Deregulate and decontrol free enterprise. Unleash American entrepreneurship and ingenuity. Encourage competition. Lower tax rates- individual, corporate, and capital gains to the lowest in the world. Then get out of the way. The greatest entrepreneurs in the world will lead this great nation to energy independence and the greatest economic boom in world history.
But first let's drill, drill and drill somemore. Build new oil refineries. Build new nuclear plants. Encourage oil shale exploration and gas to liquid production. Build new clean coal plants. Our country has one of the biggest deposits of coal on the planet earth. Find a way to burn coal without emitting hydrocarbons and we become one of the world's biggest energy EXPORTERS. We can beat the oil producing nations of the Middle East at their own game. We create millions of energy jobs. The trade deficit becomes a trade surplus.
The liberal mantra that removing government restrictions on drilling will not affect prices for 5 years is PURE BUNK! The day- yes the very day- that we truly deregulate and untie the hands of the energy entrepreneurs, oil prices around the world begin to drop dramatically. On that same day, the energy speculators and traders that are undoubtedly partially to blame for sky high gas prices, will have no choice but to sell their oil contracts with both fists. Look for this current â€œoil bubbleâ€� to end not just with a whimper- but a crash of epic proportions. And, this is a Â¨crashÂ¨ that every working American can cheer. It's time to let Libertarian free market ideas rule. It's time to elect a Libertarian Presidential ticket.
Mr. Root is a successful small businessman, entrepreneur, author, business speaker and commentator. He is currently the Vice Presidential nominee for the Libertarian Party on the Presidential ticket of Barr/Root.