Mad Maxine in the Plunderdome

John Hofmeister is the president of Shell Oil, and he is regularly invited to ritual excoriation testify before clueless Congresscritters. Last week he was subjected to a Congressional photo-op/interrogation in regard to fossil-fuel energy costs.

Representative Maxine Waters didn’t like his answer to her demand for a guarantee of lower energy prices if drilling restrictions were eased in the United States. She was sufficiently exercised to start channeling Karl Marx and Hugo Chavez more vigorously than is usual even for a bear of such little brain. She was not, as the Fox newsperson graciously speculated, looking for the word “nationalize.” She said exactly what she meant. At least her colleagues were amused.

If you haven’t seen this performance, now’s your chance:

Mark Steyn, on the other hand, is not invited to testify before Ms. Waters, nor even Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz. There is good reason for this, but he makes much the same point as did Mr. Hofmeister. Steyn is funnier, however.

The NOPEC ‘Fix’

I was watching the Big Oil execs testifying before Congress. That was my first mistake. If memory serves, there was lesbian mud wrestling over on Channel 137, and on the whole that’s less rigged. Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz knew the routine: “I can’t say that there is evidence that you are manipulating the price, but I believe that you probably are. So prove to me that you are not.”

Had I been in the hapless oil man’s expensive shoes, I’d have answered, “Hey, you first. I can’t say that there is evidence that you’re sleeping with barnyard animals, but I believe that you probably are. So prove to me that you are not. Whatever happened to the presumption of innocence and prima facie evidence, lady? Do I have to file a U.N. complaint in Geneva that the House of Representatives is in breach of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?”


Here’s another look at the same point from Pete Du Pont at the Wall Street Journal. Energy and the Executive shows why he’s not invited to testify either. Emphasis mine.

…Domestic oil production has declined, to 1.9 billion in 2007 from 3.1 billion barrels in 1980, while imports increased to 3.7 billion barrels from 1.9 billion. We now importing about 60% of the oil we use.

One reason for the imports is that our public policy has forbidden offshore oil drilling for much of the estimated 85 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 420 trillion cubic feet of natural gas (an 18-year supply) that are on the Outer Continental Shelf, and another 10 billion barrels of oil in Alaska. Together they could replace America’s imported oil for about 25 years, but the first President Bush issued a directive forbidding access to a significant portion of the Outer Continental Shelf. President Clinton extended the restriction through 2012 and vetoed legislation that would have allowed drilling in Alaska.

So America has large amounts of oil and gas, but our efforts to extract it have been significantly reduced by the federal moratorium on drilling. America remains the only nation in the world that has curtailed access to its own energy supplies/ Meanwhile China will soon begin drilling for oil off Cuba and in Venezuela.


When you’ve read those, check out Professor Mark J. Perry’s Blog for Economics and Finance, Carpe Diem, for more interesting information about oil prices and other economic issues.

Some other TOC reading related to oil prices:

Friday, May 02, 2008
Windfalls are where you find them

Sunday, September 02, 2007
Big Oil, Bigger Government

Wednesday, November 02, 2005