Image via Shutterstock | pan demin
For the first time in over two decades, the US is now the largest producer of crude oil of any country in the world. Fracking has afforded our country a mechanism for returning to our halcyon days of the 1950’s and 1960’s when we not only produced all of the oil we needed for our own consumption, but for massive exporting as well. Now, I, for one, believe that we shouldn’t even be pulling this oil from the ground, let alone exporting it. Since oil is a critical component in fertilizers, and farming and food are even more important than oil, we should be saving it for decades from now when no one else has any for us to use for crops. Save it for future generations. A novel concept, thinking of future generations.
But that’s too smart and benevolent an approach.
Instead, those in power want to make more money NOW. To hell with future generations. Foolish as this is, this is the path we are on. That said, if we are going to hurriedly squeeze the precious product out of the ground, the least we can do to produce some tangible benefit for the masses and that is to use the revenue potential to fund a huge, desperately needed infrastructure project. Here’s how:
With oil prices (and thus gas prices at the pump and in our heating fuel) at low and affordable levels all over the country, we have an opportunity to raise gasoline taxes a substantial enough amount to fund a major highway/bridge/port/rail development project-- the likes of which this country hasn’t seen in the better half of a century. A surcharge as low as $.20 per gallon would be wildly effective. Let’s fix our crumbling infrastructure while at the same time creating some really good paying jobs, jobs that will last for 10 to 15 years just like the ones of the 1960’s and 1970’s. If we are going to sell off the clean skies our grandchildren would’ve enjoyed, we might as well build some roads and bridges and railway systems that will service their needs into their senior years.
This is a wonderful, once in a lifetime opportunity for us to leverage a questionable decision, pulling more oil out of the ground and pushing more carbon into the atmosphere, into at least one result we can live with, rebuilding our infrastructure. Let’s turn a terrible, albeit inevitable act into something positive. Let’s, for once, make a decision that benefits those that come behind us more than it does ourselves.