Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Democrats Oppose Oil Company Property Rights

It would be more common to assert that Democrats oppose oil drilling. That's true, but it doesn't get to the heart of the matter. The Democrats believe in essence, wrongly — as wrong as it is possible to be on this issue — that they own all land in and around the United States.

Ownership, rational economists teach, entails the right of use and disposal. The contrapositive is equally true. If someone, like an oil company, does not have the freedom to use a given property, they don't own it.

And Democrats are determined to see that they never do.
“I am unalterably opposed to drilling,” said Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, who cited a massive oil spill that closed nearly 100 miles of the Mississippi River last week.
The spill to which the brain dead Senator refers involved a collision between a tanker and a barge. I.e. (a) something that will happen once in awhile; that's the cost of doing business in the real world, and (b) an event that is totally irrelevant to drilling in Alaska, producing oil from shale in Colorado, and other disputed areas.

Other Congresspersons are less rigid on the subject. Less rigid, but no less authoritarian.
Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) urged Reid to be “very careful about drilling off the coast of Alaska.”
Er, let's set aside the fact that the Senate Majority leader — a politician his entire adult life — couldn't drill a clean hole in a 12-inch pine board, much less an oil well. Senator Cantwell's statement implies that the eminent Mr. Reid owns and operates oil wells. He does not.

The putrid Ms. Pelosi has a similar view.
[She] told The Hill that lawmakers should focus on the National Petroleum Reserve on Alaska’s North Slope instead of offshore. “There are tens of millions of barrels in the reserve. If you want oil in Alaska, drill there,” she said.
This implies that Rep. Pelosi has the right to dictate to oil company executives where they should do business (and, by implication, where not). She does not.

No member of Congress has the right to determine when or where any oil company should search for or extract oil. The power, yes. The right, no.

And that difference is the entire problem in a nutshell.

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