How exactly is giving tax breaks to oil companies, which are posting record profits thanks to the high price of gas, supposed to solve this country's energy problem?
That's the question we have to ask about the $14.5 billion energy bill that awaits President George W. Bush's signature.
Last year, Exxon Mobile earned more than $25 billion in profits, the largest profit posted by any corporation in the world. They made this huge profit despite the fact that the company's oil production actually decreased.
Is it wise policy for governments to basically bribe oil companies?
Government action has proven in the past it can help this nation deal with energy shortages. Policies enacted because of the energy crisis in the 1970s led America to dramatically decrease its oil consumption, bringing lower prices.
But don't look for anything like that to happen with this energy bill. Conservation seems to be a dirty word to authors of this legislation.
While looking for ways to make better use of the world's dwindling petroleum resources may be admirable, it is a policy rooted in the past. In this case, Congress and the White House missed an opportunity to launch the country, and the world, into a new era of energy production.
Instead of handing tax breaks to corporations who don't need them, what if we took that money and invested in a Manhattan Project-style effort to develop new energy sources? After all, fossil fuels will some day become extinct. We can either do something about that now or wait until the world runs out of gas.
Instead of investing in the future, Americans are going to hand out yet another large helping of corporate welfare, which does little to solve our energy problems. It is yet another example of the short-term thinking and pork barrel politics that permeates Washington, D.C.
It's high time that both parties stop thinking about the next election, and start working to create an America the next generation will be proud of.