I get letters — well, mostly e-mails — and aside from those that start “Dear Idiot” or go off on a galaxy-spanning tangent, I’m always gratified that a reader takes time in a busy day to engage in civil discourse about differing views.
No one has a lock on right, or wrong — certainly not I — and I often respond to those who excoriate me for something I’ve written that raised their hackles, “I respect your view, and though we may disagree, I hope we can still be friends.”
In that vein, my recent “Drill, baby, drill” column about U.S. oil and fuel products being our No. 1 export last year, brought some rebuttals. A few excerpts:
“What you didn't say is extremely important: That is, that the revenue into our country from exporting oil products offsets revenue that is leaving our country to purchase the same thing. This is no small issue. In fact, it is HUGE. You also didn't give consideration to the security involved in having oil production outside of that controlled by cartels. These two issues are vastly more important than the small price effect on our own gas pumps of exporting our fuel products. Those exports are simply the free market system working to spread resources out to the best and most efficient use … We need domestic energy production. It is critical to our nation’s well-being in many ways. The fact that we export some of our production doesn't change that.”
Another: “Canada will produce crude oil from tar sands because it is in their best interests. They will find another buyer and that buyer is most likely China, after Canada builds a pipeline to their West Coast, not needing our State Department’s approval to do so. We then continue to buy much of our oil from OPEC. Our president is in a bind, because to approve the pipeline offends his environmental supporters and to disapprove it offends his union supporters. So — we kick the can down the road.”
And another: “This implies that evil Big Oil will shaft the American consumer no matter what the supply. What do you have to say to those who use the same railings about Big Ag? End users such as livestock feeders blame exports and ethanol production for high feed costs, which then convinces consumers that farmers are getting rich and ripping them off with high food and grocery prices. I make my living farming. I need high prices for what I produce to turn a profit. But I see both ends. If you kill your customer with high prices then eventually you will both go out of business. Fanning the flames of resentment and envy and trying to convince the public that some business — whether it be oil, farming, banking or any other — is sticking it to them is only going to make things worse.”