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How I will spend my summer vacation

By Phillip J. Hubbell
web posted June 11, 2001

This year for our summer vacation, it's my intention to take the wife and kid to our nation's capitol, Washington, D.C., so I can let my 12-year-old son see where his college money is going. I have explained to him that my tax burden is his tax burden and that if he doesn't want the same thing happening to his kids, he'll make it his life's work to stamp out the growth of Democrats, liberals and other assorted parasitical growths currently infesting the backside of Mr. Madison's Republic. We are in full vacation anticipation mode, having sat down at the kitchen table with the atlas and yellow highlighter and marked out the route. My daughter is 18 and has little interest in seeing the center of the free world, so I am leaving her home with her grandpa to watch the house, dog, and cats. My son will take a friend. Two adults and two twelve-year-old boys, off to see the seat of our government.

When I was a kid, the summer vacation in the car was an annual event, usually to visit relatives. Family driving vacations are not very common anymore. My wife doesn't fly, so anything we want to see has to be accessible by automobile, train, or boat. This year's trek will take us from the Dallas, Texas area, north through Oklahoma, through Missouri, across Illinois and Indiana, into Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, a four day stay in D.C., southwest into Tennessee, to Arkansas and back into Texas. If anyone on this planet is allowed to be angry with the government over the high price of gasoline, it's me.

The national energy debate has been holding my attention as our vacation looms near. Basically, there are two arguments. The Republicans tell us that the problem is demand outstripping supplies and a shortage of new refining capabilities preventing any short term increases in foreign production from having an immediate impact. So the Administration, which includes a President and Vice President with real world energy experience, has proposed a policy that will bring new refining capabilities on line to keep up with a purposed increase in domestic production. Since you can't build a new refinery quickly and since exploration and production of new sources of petroleum take time also, the Republican plan is a long-term process designed to give us a future of steady supply and the refining capability to meet demand, thus stabilizing prices. It also reduces our dependence on foreign energy sources. Short term pain, long term gain.

Like most well thought out proposals from conservatives, this set of policies is coherent, void of emotional extremism, logical and it will work.

The other set of arguments is from the Democrats. They tell us that the problem is demand outstripping supplies and a shortage of refining capabilities are preventing any short-term increases in foreign production from having an immediate impact. So, the Democrat leadership, consisting of people without real world energy experience, has proposed a policy that will continue to delay new refining capabilities through crippling regulation and environmental roadblocks. They also insist that the government artificially interfere in the market by setting limits on what the private sector can charge for gasoline and other energy sources while maintaining the government's cut of the profits through high taxation. They will block new exploration and production efforts so that caribou or dolphins won't be offended by the sight of drilling activities in either the barren Arctic or in the Gulf of Mexico. We will remain highly dependent on foreign oil and they suggest we turn off more lights. Short term stupidity, long term pain.

Like most well thought out proposals from liberals, this set of policies is incoherent, void of logic, based on environmental hysteria and will not work.

I think we should be wary of making energy policy based on the suggestions of a political party that appeals to people who think animals have rights, people who think felons are mistreated, people who hold benefit dinners for cop killers, and people who think taking money away from the person who signs my paycheck will make the economy better. Due to the lowered standards in public education over the last 30 years or so, we have a plurality of people who can't seem to grasp the obvious. Our purposely "dumbed down" population is growing and we are approaching the point where the really ignorant people will control the purse strings of the informed. Once we reach that point, the energy policy will consist of lowering prices, regardless of supply or demand, in order to placate blocks of voters.

On our vacation, we have choices very much like the ones facing the country. We are going to take a trip halfway across the country and back. Either my wife and I can drive or we could opt to let the 12-year-old boys drive. I have been driving for 30 years and my son has never driven. I have carefully thought out my route based on my years of experience going on long car trips. My son usually sleeps in the backseat on long car trips. Looking at the two scenarios from an objective perspective, I think we should let the grownups drive. Don't you?

Phillip J Hubbell is the author of Write Winger: Solutions for the Politically Oblique which is available from www.booklocker.com. Mr. Hubbell is a frequent contributor to the Viewpoints Page of the Dallas Morning News, and writes for several Internet Publications including writewinger.com and hlefty.com.

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