A tiny fraction of 1% of Americans are the super rich – the ones who earn $50,000 to $100,000 per hour, even when they aren’t really working. Like the rest of us, they don’t like to pay taxes – but they can use their power and influence to see to it that they pay a fraction of the taxes they should pay.
Publicly they tell us it’s OK because they use their money to create jobs. The more taxes they pay, they claim, the less jobs they create. High unemployment rates? Not to worry, they say. It would be worse if they had to pay higher taxes.
The tradeoff seems reasonable to a lot of people – they’ll make more wise investments in the free market if we tax them less.
Nowhere is it more obvious than in the energy business that this country has been at the short end of this tradeoff. They have been telling us for years they know how to manage the energy sector. They assured us we will always have enough oil, gas, and coal to fuel the economy. And in trade, “our” government gave them tax write-offs so they would presumably invest in producing even more energy.
But they have made a terrible mistake and are incapable of admitting it. They were so busy looking at their hefty quarterly profits – boosted by hefty tax write-offs – that they failed to take notice over the last 20 years that there were ample signs that it was getting harder every year to find enough oil to fuel our economy.
There were more and more dry wells, no more gushers, ever shorter life spans for new wells, and, now, declining production for the last of the huge fields in the Middle East. And this happened despite unprecedented advances in discovery and recovery technology.
Common sense could or should have told them affordable oil wouldn’t be around forever. But they were mesmerized by some of the heftiest profits among the multinationals.
They continue to resist any effort to transition away from fossil fuels and insist that global warming is a scare tactic even when the mainstream media has been making it clear since January that there is a looming energy crisis. [URL’s to articles, Paul Robert’s book – perhaps annotated reference at the end]
A constant stream of articles in the mainstream press since January has made it clear that world oil production is winding down. The yearly oil production in all but one major field, Russia, is in decline. But the oil multinationals are still in denial. Worse, they use their considerable power and influence to discredit any efforts to either transition or even to think about it. Meanwhile, the entire energy industry continues to get hefty tax breaks.
Their only “solution” is military force that we all pay for. It’s expensive to have bases in all of the locations where major oil fields reside, and it’s very expensive to wage war and occupy another country. As we pointed out in a previous newsletter, including the hidden costs of oil at the gas pump would bring it up to at least $6/gallon. But, as long as these costs don’t show up on the price at the pump, people don’t think about it. including the hidden costs of oil at the gas pump would bring it up to at least $6/gallon.
Clearly, the super rich in the energy sector have failed miserably at managing the energy sector of our economy. All the trillions in tax breaks they got with their power and influence bought us and our country little in return. They only enriched themselves.
This brewing crisis will have consequences so terrible they are hard to imagine. Unless, that is, solutions are found. That’s why FITE will from now on make it a major focus of this newsletter.
For further reading on the end of oil, we recommend:
If you want to know about all aspects of the looming energy crisis, “The End of Oil” by Paul Roberts’ new book is an excellent resource. He pulls together the diplomatic, financial, political, and economic aspects of the problem.
For a shorter and more limited view, see Matt Savinar’s web site. But while Savinar is reasonably competent, he has the usual limitations of any doom-and-gloomer type in regard to solutions. In fact, he wrote to us that “The only ‘solution’ is to prepare to go back to a stone age existence.” We, on the other hand, believe there are solutions, albeit complex ones, that sufficient political will could implement.
A more complete bibliography is available on request.