REFLECTIONS

Posted on March 27, 2011

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ENERGY PRICES ESCALATE

Are you annoyed by the escalating price at the pump?

If so, you’ve joined legions of Americans accustomed to a lifestyle of easy and seemingly painless energy consumption. We believe that we have a God given right to fuel hogging SUVs, two or three refrigerators per household, and old-fashioned light bulbs that generate as much heat as light.

Isn’t there something in the Constitution that guarantees our right to most of the world’s energy resources?

You’ll certainly think so to listen to the complaints that escalate right along with the price per barrel of oil. Why do we have to compete with China for oil?

The simple fact is that our energy consumption is more costly than we acknowledge measured not just in environmental disasters, but also in the blood spilled by our troops.

A confluence of awful events: the slaughter of protesters in the Middle East and a nuclear catastrophe in Japan ought to remind Americans that there is a steep price to be paid for our growing use of energy resources. Instead, we’ve seen the usual petty politics and finger pointing, a reflexive avoidance of assessing habits and attempting to change them.

President Barrack Obama is sticking with an energy plan that calls for not only for new energy sources, such as wind and solar power, but also broader use of nuclear plants. He is among many progressives who have endorsed nuclearr power as an alternative to planet warming fossil fuels. Obama encourages the use of electric vehicles.

But the fragile consensus between conservatives who clamor for nuclear power and environmentalists who hate coal may not matter. As Time magazine’s Michael Grunwald notes, nuclear plants are outrageously expensive. Also, the disposal of spent radiation rods is a problem.

It ought to be abundantly clear that what the nation needs is an intervention, a tough love strategy that forces us to admit that we have to change our ways.

But few politicians are brave enough to call for a steep gas tax. They know a nation of energy junkies isn’t ready to listen.

So we will keep paying more at the pump and at home as energy prices escalate.

But

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