Greenbacks, Gas and Guns

The U.S. future depends upon money being invested in our economy, the energy to run it and the guns to protect it from our enemies. The financial mess we are in has been made far worse by the dramatic rise in oil prices, a result of 40 years of curtailed American energy production. Added to that is a growing lack of confidence in the ability of our leaders to adequately protect America’s security. All this gets markedly worse, even catastrophic, if Sen. Barack Obama is elected. Let me explain.  

Obama would raise taxes by a trillion dollars on America’s entrepreneurs. Capital gains taxes would increase upwards of 75% and thus lower stock values owned by 150 million Americans. Sen. John McCain wants to cut taxes by $600 billion over ten years in order to make America more prosperous and more competitive internationally.

Obama wants $1.35 trillion in new spending. Another 0.7% of the U.S. GDP would be sent to the United Nations. That’s a whopping $340 billion a year, real money even to a liberal! Although not called “taxes,” Obama wants to tax carbon fuels by $285 billion plus $60 billion in “windfall profits” on the petroleum industry. At the same time, production of oil, tar sands and shale which he largely wants to prohibit, will increase imports, drive up the price of oil and constrain U.S. foreign policy as we are jerked around by OPEC.

Our current oil import bill is approaching $400 billion. Most renewable energy sources will do little in the near term to change this. However, McCain’s support for the aggressive development of oil, nuclear and coal could make a major impact in short order, especially if the regulatory impediments to energy development are cleared away, much as the Congress did in giving the go-ahead to the 1973 Trans Alaskan Pipeline System. New domestic oil production could reach 2 million barrels a day.

A combination of bio-fuels grown on millions of acres of unused public lands and plug-in electric battery operated cars along with coal and nuclear power could drive out another 2 million barrels of imported oil a day. In combination, such plans, coupled with fuel efficiencies, would reduce oil imports, bring hundreds of billions of new capital back to the U.S., create millions of jobs, strengthen the dollar, and reduce inflation.

Add to that the pending Alaskan natural gas pipeline deal, which Gov. Sarah Palin secured, and America’s energy independence comes even closer to reality as trillions of cubic feet of natural gas will reach small businesses, homeowners and farmers in America’s Midwest. This $40 billion project will have to be paid for with industry profits, of course. But even as Obama has said such a gas deal should be completed, he is going to tax away the very capital that would be used to finance the pipeline.

Inexplicably, Obama says high taxes are good for us and patriotic. But the Great Depression was preceded by a dramatic rise in both taxes and spending. Those new 92% tax rates on the “rich” endured for 30 years and helped give us three recessions in the 1950s. When Presidents Kennedy and Reagan cut top tax rates, the U.S. economy boomed. Capital gains taxes were also cut in 1997 and 2003 and economic growth expanded. How then can we believe that higher taxes on the successful would somehow help the U.S. economy?

The third leg of the security stool upon which our economy rests is defending our interests. Here again Obama is the “risky fellow.” He maintains a commitment to leaving Iraq on an arbitrary timeline, whether it makes national security sense to do so. Obama has called for cutting billions from missile defense programs, but in the debate with McCain surprisingly admitted they were needed because of the threats from Iran and North Korea. But his running mate calls missile defenses “provocative,” because “deterrence is enough.” What a great idea: mutual assured destruction with the mullahs in Iran and bandits in Pyongyang! In contrast, Sen. McCain has manned the ramparts of missile defense and for that we now have some 800 such interceptors deployed here and around the world. And his courageous push for a change in strategy and his steadfast faith in our soldiers’ ability to win in Iraq has been vindicated.

Obama still insists al Qaeda was not in Iraq. But Iraqi documents show al Qaeda there as early as late 2002. Sen. McCain is right that Iraq was put on the state sponsor of terror list in 1979 and was deemed a serious security threat in the 1998 Iraq Liberation Act, where it became official U.S. policy to change the Saddam regime in Iraq.

Obama also insists our soldiers had nothing to do with the Anbar awakening and the resultant dramatic improvement in security. Nonsense. Our military forces worked hand in glove with the Iraqi tribal leaders starting in mid-2006 without which the defeat of al Qaeda in Iraq would not have been possible. And as Sen. McCain noted, Osama bin Laden himself has declared Iraq the central front in their war against the U.S., a front which we have made into a victory for the civilized world and a defeat for the dark visages of the terror masters.

At a time when strong American leadership and strength of character is needed, Americans should not indeed turn to the “risky guy.” More punitive taxes, Socialist spending sprees and undercutting U.S. security are not a prescription for either prosperity or peace. The U.S. economy needs capital and lower energy costs to unleash our people’s ingenuity and enterprise, whatever their rank in society. And pretending that withdrawal and defeat from Iraq will not embolden our enemies is contrary to all the lessons of history. On greenbacks, gas and guns, I’m not with the “risky guy.” Give me the steady hand, the guy with the character of steel.