Ending Foreign Oil Dependence Is Not A Vote Against Free Trade

Original Publication Date: Jan 23, 2010

by Diane W. Collins


Last night, I watched an almost embarrassing display of illogic on John Stossel's new program, Stossel, at FOX. It left me shaking my head in Texas style and repeating, "You just can't fix stupid."


I have nothing against Stossel... usually handsome conservative men who write well are on my good list. (By the way, if you are not already aware, John Stossel of 20/20 ABC fame joined FOX Business and FOX News in October 2009. Big Oil PricesHis show, Stossel, airs on the FOX Business Network.) But, when someone states "foreign oil dependence is a crock," and continues with, "Any one who says we should end foreign oil dependence has his hand in your pocket"... well, that's where I draw the line.


Granted, the comments were made by one of Stossel's guests, but Stossel apparently supports the belief that foreign oil dependence is a crock and that ending dependence would harm free trade. This astounds me. First of all, someone needs to look up the meaning of the word "dependence." Here's the short version... dependence means you have no viable alternatives to your current situation. Independence means you have choices. Rather elementary. Ending foreign oil dependence does not mean we are going to stop importing oil when it is cheap. It means we are creating alternatives so we don't have to import oil when OPEC jerks our chain and the price goes up. Anytime you're importing more than you are currently capable of extracting from your own natural resources... you're dependent.


Let's open our eyes a little further. Big Oil incorporated alternative means for extracting oil on American soil and off shore quite awhile ago. And, Big Oil received government subsidies to do just that. So what is really going on? Is this a move on Big Oil's part to close out the competition by denying non-fossil fuel sources the same advantage? It seems so.


T. Boone Pickens, who appeared on Stossel's show to speak about The Picken's Plan, (a project which harnesses wind energy as an alternative to fossil fuels) was vilified as a scam artist. Pickens, who made his money in oil is heavily invested in the project and has shown an effort to work in a bipartisan manner to end dependence on foreign oil. He actively seeks government support in development from the current administration. How is this any different from what Big Oil sought from previous administrations? So, was Picken's being "spanked" for his non-fossil fuel involvement by Big Oil cleverly disguised as conservatives? Guess we'd have to ask FOX... or News Corp.


What galls me the most about Stossel's program on energy is I am a conservative. I believe in limited government, private enterprise and a free market economy. I believe in small business and the ability to get a fair shake. Small businesses create more jobs in this country than any other sector in our economy. We also develop most of the innovations, many of which are purchased by larger corporations. Small business conservatives worked hard to defeat Cap & Trade legislation and it looks like we've won. The 2010 elections seem to be going our way and this will mean better control over the EPA and the extent of their authority to regulate greenhouse gases. But fair, private enterprise competition in the marketplace for small businesses creating alternative energy sources should not be sacrificed to Big Oil sovereignty.


What I got out of Stossel's program was the same old Big Oil paradigm just presented under the cover of a libertarian banner. A paradigm that still says, "What's good for the goose, is not good for the gander." It left me feeling small business conservatives continue to have two wolves at the door... Big Government and Big Corporations.Diane W. Collins



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