During the presidential debate on Tuesday night, President Obama and Governor Romney struggled at times to give any substantive policy specifics. We often hear platitudes which correctly speak to the ideological differences of each party, but there is often limited discussion on real policy differences in these debate formats.
Yet, in Tuesday’s debate we did hear specifics In terms of energy policy and the real policy differences highlight the economics of hope versus change. Romney clearly wants to build the pipeline from Canada to the Golf Coast, and Obama blocked approval of this pipeline. Romney wants to drill for more oil in North America, increase permits for companies to drill off the coast of Alaska and the eastern seaboard, and expand coal mining expanding the resources America is richly endowed with. The president’s policy is full of hope…hope for alternative energy to take off and “lead us to energy independence.”
Billions of taxpayer dollars have been invested in green technology, from wind to solar to electric automobiles (see the Chevy Volt), yet much of these dollars are being used to (attempt to) shift market incentives and the president is learning that artificial incentives do not change behavior. The costs are still simply too high for consumers to purchase electric vehicles or solar power for their home. Thus, the hope of green energy is not a policy that leads to change. In fact, the outcome is a failure to invest in traditional energy resources and subsequently higher prices for gasoline, in particular.
A new energy policy agenda is needed, and this policy should be based on reducing regulations and a strategy to find and extract oil that is located in the North America. This will ultimately change the scope of energy dependence on foreign sources, and it will move the decision on investment choices for energy to the market (where it should be).