When Nixon was president, we imported 25 percent of our oil. Since then, our "leaders" have wasted billions on subsidies for alternative energy. The result? Today we import nearly 70 percent of our oil.
Terrible as that sounds, I say, "So what?" Interdependence is just fine! And journalist Robert Bryce, author of Gusher of Lies: The Dangerous Delusion of Energy Independence, agrees. He'll be my guest on Stossel tonight (Fox Business Network, 8 Eastern, and again Friday at 10).
Bryce points out that while Saudi Arabia and Iran are oil exporters, they are gasoline importers. "If even Saudi Arabia and Iran are energy interdependent, why wouldn't we be?" he says. "Energy interdependence" is just a way of saying "division of labor" and "comparative advantage."
Our biggest foreign oil suppliers are Canada and Mexico. Do they threaten us? Venezuela or Iran might, but they need the oil money. They would hurt themselves if they tried to cut us off.
Even if they did try, we'd still get their oil. All the world's oil ends up in the same bathtub. The dictator sells to someone who sells to someone who will then sell to us. Chasing energy "independence" is pointless. Free trade is better. It makes us richer and more secure.
Thursday, January 21, 2010