The only promise BHOII has kept: higher energy prices. That first paragraph below is a tight summary of why the choice for the rest of my lifetime is between (a) more fossil fuels or (b) lower standard of living. Alternative energies have their niches but are not going to be economically viable and widely available any time soon. Someday, but until then… Conserve, yes. Recycle, sure. But produce, produce, produce -preferably here at home for both national security and environmental reasons (we’re a much cleaner producer than Russia, Venezuela, Iran, etc.). There are opportunity costs when you choose to believe we can feed the masses with unicorn ribs.
From “Let Them Eat Windmills” by Mario Loyola:
The “alternative energy” movement has an enormous obstacle to contend with, namely that none of the alternative energy sources produce nearly as much energy, nearly as reliably, nearly as cheaply, as fossil fuels. Sources such as wind and solar are inherently intermittent and unpredictable, even when they are found in high enough density that it is economical to use them, which is virtually never. As long as fossil fuels are cheap, the subsidies to alternative sources have to be huge, and therefore politically painful. But even if oil prices reach a point at which renewables can compete on price (which would plunge the world into an incalculably deep economic crisis), there simply isn’t enough marketable renewable energy to replace the vast bounty of fossil fuels.
The president likes to target the “special subsidies” we give oil companies. What he’s talking about is manufacturing tax deductions, expensing for intangible business costs, and depletion tax allowances. These tax-related provisions, which the president misleadingly characterizes as special perks for oil and gas companies, are generally available to all American manufacturers. Eliminating them would in fact single out the energy industry for punitive tax treatment — and it already pays out a higher proportion of its income in taxes than virtually any other industry.
In the meantime, the cumulative costs of Obama’s energy-constriction policies are devastating — and fall primarily on the poor and middle class. Low-income families have to spend a much larger share of household income on gasoline, electricity, and food — the major variable price component of which is energy. For a family with an income of $50,000 per year, the percentage of income spent on gasoline has averaged around 5.7 percent in the last decade. So far this year, the percentage is up to nearly 8 percent. Only twice before have Americans spent this much of their income on gas. In 1981, after the last oil crisis, Americans spent 8.8 percent of household income on gas. In July 2008, when oil price spiked, they spent 10.2 percent.
Even before he got elected, Obama warned that saving the planet was going to hit American families hard. “Under my plan . . . electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.” So have gasoline prices, unemployment, and lost opportunity.