Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 22, 2005 / 13 Nisan, 5765

We're sending billions of dollars to countries that use a good chunk of them to promote anti-American ideas

By Mort Zuckerman

Mort Zuckerman
Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The average driver who pulls into a gas station these days and barks, "Fill 'er up!" focuses primarily on the surging price of gas and gives little or no thought to where it comes from or why the price is so high. Some may understand the surging demand that comes from a billion Chinese and a billion Indians who have joined the oil market as consumers—not only to fuel their cars and planes but as an ingredient in fertilizers, pesticides, medicines, paints, and plastics. Guess how many barrels of oil we import a day? A million? Five million? No, the staggering answer is . . . 12 million barrels a day, and we're heading for 20 million barrels a day by 2025. The price increases over the past year mean that we consumers will send oil producers an additional $50 billion this year— on top of the $120 billion we sent last year.

What makes this so maddening is that we're sending all these dollars to countries that use a good chunk of them to promote anti-American ideas, to spread radical Islam, and to finance the jihadists who are waging the war of terrorism against us. Some of these same countries are also using this largess to develop weapons of mass destruction. As if all that weren't enough, we're also spending hundreds of billions of dollars on a U.S. military presence to protect this Middle East energy source. It is a tax on consumers here— not to mention the fact that, yes, these same Middle East oil producers have enmeshed us in two wars over the past two decades. Their capricious governments are increasingly vulnerable to religious fundamentalists and Islamist terrorists who, any day, could devastate the world's economy by sabotaging production.

How dumb are we, anyway?

Illusions. There is much talk these days about energy independence—a fantasy. Any program to reduce our 60 percent dependence on foreign oil will take anywhere from five to 10 years. And neither the Republican answer— more production— nor the Democratic answer— more conservation— will solve the problem. Any coherent energy program will require us to do both. It is also fantasy to imagine that we can rely on alternative power sources from waves or windmills or solar panels. That kind of power is weak, intermittent, and expensive— costing roughly twice the cost of the electrical power produced by either coal or gas.

Most Americans believe they're entitled to cheap fuel, regardless of how much they consume. As gas prices rise, the American public looks for someone to blame, even though gas is cheaper today by at least a third than it was 25 years ago, if you adjust the peak prices then for inflation and for the drop in the dollar. Our gasoline tax is only 43 cents a gallon, compared with $4 in most of Europe, making a gallon of gas cheaper than a bottle of water. Is it any wonder so few Americans don't bother to conserve? When fuel prices did go up, drivers switched to smaller, less wasteful cars, and we began a program of energy efficiency. That was great, but when prices fell, we went back to the gas guzzlers, and now, with just 5 percent of the world's population, we use a quarter of the world's oil.

So what are the options? Higher fuel taxes and tighter controls by business. CAFE, the corporate average fuel efficiency standards imposed on carmakers, have barely risen in 20 years. By some estimates, reasonably phased higher standards could save us about a million barrels of oil a day.

On the production side, we are going to have to start building nuclear power plants, particularly since new nuclear technologies are safer and cleaner than ever. We are also going to have to look to find places to drill, such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which has become a symbolic issue to environmentalists. The refuge is far from the picture postcard of green forests and snowcapped mountains its defenders would have us believe. It's the Alaskan tundra, and drilling there would involve only a minuscule portion of the 18.5 million acres that are being set aside for conservation. Drilling there makes sense.

This isn't to say that we should overlook the environmental consequences of fuel consumption, particularly when you think about the fact that as China and India explode economically and are able to buy cars, we may have to face the possibility that the number of cars by the year 2050 will go from 800 million today to as high as 3.25 billion then—an unimaginable threat to our environment and a surefire guarantee of global warming.

Any energy program we come up with will involve some cost or controversy. But this is one of the great national issues facing the nation, and there is no justifiable excuse for avoiding the kind of informed debate that must take place if we're to put a coherent policy in place before too much more time elapses.

The failure of our elected officials in both parties to come to grips with this vital issue long before now is a national disgrace. Continued failure is not an option.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Mort Zuckerman is editor-in-chief and publisher of U.S. News and World Report. Send your comments to him by clicking here.

ARCHIVES

© 2005, Mortimer Zuckerman

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles