Friday, May 23, 2008

Oil, Dollar, Trade, and The Bush Impact

Below is a reply to a comment on a post on the Why We Vote RRStar blog -- I had to post it here because, well it was fun to write and took some work:

Don, thanks for the reply. Let me address each one of your points, and you have some good ones and some ... well let's see:

You should be concerned about the national debt. That is part of the reason that fuel prices are so high. A weak dollar doesn’t buy much overseas. That includes oil which impacts on food, travel and almost everything we do.

Partially right -- the trade deficit has far more to do with the falling dollar then does the does the national debt. The falling dollar in return actually boosts our material exports and makes home made and home grown products cheaper.

As a matter of fact, GM and Toyota (for the first time) are now exporting vehicles made here, Buicks to China!

It also makes it far cheaper for tourists to stay here in the States AND for foreigners to visit the States which brings money into our economy. (NPR - Low Dollar Draws European Shoppers to U.S., Even Minnesota feels benefits)

The high cost of oil actually drives down the value of the dollar, as MSNBC explains:
(T)here are new forces weighing on the dollar. High oil prices, for one, aren’t helping. Because oil is typically priced in dollars, the rise in the value of each barrel means every dollar buys less oil.

That has more to do with supply and demand, which is low in part because of the increased demand by China and India. Us demand has dropped because of the increase in price, but China actually subsidizes the price of oil in order to keep it's economy growing -- that would be like removing all gas taxes in the States AND reversing it and paying the oil companies to drop the price. That only increases demand and supersedes the free market.

Now, one reason supply is down is because the Democrats have blocked exploration and have placed a moratorium on coal-to-oil processing. Chuck Schumer blames President Clinton for 62 cents of the increase for vetoing ANWR drilling in 1995, well not in so many word -- he blamed Saudi Arabia for not increasing production by 1 million barrels a day which is what ANWR would be producing today if Clinton hadn't blocked it. (Remember one of the reasons at the time was that it would take ten years for the oil to reach market!)

40% of US oil and natural gas is off limits to exploration -- 40%! Every objective observer admits that US production is at embarrassing levels considering the current oil market.

If our national debt were really the problem with the dollar today we would be forced to raise our interest rates (which would increase the value of the dollar as well as it would increase demand) in order to entice investors in government bonds. Currently our rates are lower then Europe.

As you said, oil impacts everything we do and buy.

Read the whole MSNBC article linked above, it gives a great rundown.

Iraq did have chemical weapons.

Enough said -- Read UN Resolutions 678, 687 and 1441. Read together these resolutions do the following:
  1. Demand that Saddam Hussein leave Kuwait.
  2. Demand that Saddam Hussein immediately dispose of all weapons of mass destruction
  3. Require that Saddam Hussein provide ample proof to the United Nations that these weapons have been destroyed and that no active weapons program for such weapons exists.
  4. Allow any member nation of the United Nations to take military action against Saddam Hussein if the provisions of these resolutions are not completely complied with.
By your own admission Saddam was in violation of the resolutions.

The Institute For Defense Analysis (pdf file) study released earlier this year showed clear ties between Saddam and terror organizations including Al Qaeda's parent organization. There is no tie between Saddam and 9/11 as you point out, but the President didn't say there was. You are believing some spin and lies from your sources and are failing to understand that from day one the war was on ALL terrorists and the countries that support them, it really doesn't and shouldn't matter if they are al Qaeda or Islamic Jihad, they are our enemies -- and there is no question that Saddam supported terrorists.

Is the world safer? Terror attacks are down 40% since 2001. That includes Iraq. Bin Laden virtually surrendered in Iraq last week with his tape -- changing the focus to Palestine. This despite the fact that he had, as late as March, called Iraq the central battle ground in the War on Terror.

  • Iran -- The world has discovered that Bush was right to characterize Iran as evil! They are now isolated from the most of the world after it was disclosed that they had lied about their illegal nuclear program for nearly two decades. The UN agrees with the administration and disagrees with Obama.
  • Libia -- Gave up their illegal nuclear weapons program as a direct response to the invasion of Iraq.
  • Dubai -- Held its first parliamentary election in 2006.
  • Saudi Arabia -- Held their first nationwide elections since 1960 in 2005.
  • Kuwait -- In 2006 Kuwait, which already has an elected parliament, was the first Gulf state to allow women to run and vote.
Look, many of the dictators in the rest of the Mideast are in power as a result of the United States and Soviet policy of ignoring the freedom and human rights of the region and settling for stable allies instead. The President stated that, not only was that not working, but it feeds violence and hatred, and goes against Americans commitment to Democracy in the rest of the world.

Oh and the democracy thing is not a new justification -- it was there right from the beginning as I note above but I don't think you clicked -- "AUMF and actually listened to the President in the months before the war."

I hope this helps and thanks for the kind words.

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