America must take a good look at its energy policies because energy not only fuels our economy, but is also a foundational element of our national security. During WWII we bombed Germany’s energy infrastructure, leaving its economy and military in tatters. Our military strength came from our economic and manufacturing dominance. That led to the United States becoming the world’s sole superpower and fueled the dramatic growth of a vibrant middle class at home.
America’s journey to global military and economic hegemony was in part rooted in the strategy summed up by General Motors President William Knudsen, whom President Franklin Roosevelt tapped to head all military production. Knudsen said in a keynote speech at the New York Auto Show in 1941, “Gentlemen, we must out-build Hitler.” And that we did.
Unfortunately, today we are on a very dangerous path. Our current policies have outsourced much of our economic and manufacturing strength. Our energy policy is effectively dismantling our energy infrastructure through executive and regulatory actions which are inflicting more harm to our own country. Since early 2021, our energy policy has been damaging to our economy, and it has made us less secure and more dependent upon adversaries and unreliable nations.
A recent TIPP poll (conducted in April 2023 of 1,414 adults nationwide) asked whether Americans agreed or disagreed with policies promoting “Pursuing mineral exploration and development within the United States to help energy production.” Only 12% disagreed while 72% agreed.
Another poll question asked whether Americans agree or disagree that “increased U.S. government regulations on critical metals needed for batteries, cars, cell phones, and the energy sector: emboldens foreign adversaries, like Russia and China …” Only 14% disagreed and 63% agreed.
Our free market should be tapped to meet our energy needs and to ensure that we have affordable and reliable sources of energy. As a nation, we explore for oil, transport it, and refine it more responsibly than any other nation. We have a strong track record of honoring our stewardship of the environment. For example, our air and water are far cleaner today than they were 30 years ago — even though our population and economy are much larger, and we use more energy. This is good news!
Federal mandates typically provide inferior results both economically and environmentally. But when government provides reasonable and achievable environmental standards for the free market to meet, we unleash beneficial innovation.
One example is the push to force Americans into electric vehicles (EVs). Some consumers want EVs, but most do not, given their costs. It may be that they need to drive long distances and the time for recharging isn’t feasible.
The push to coerce Americans into EVs is strange as they are not particularly environmentally friendly. The batteries are highly combustible, contain unrecyclable toxic waste, and must be recharged daily with electricity typically generated using fossil fuels. The billions in EV subsidies have not improved the environment or strengthened the economy. But it has increased our dependence upon the CCP and pumped billions of dollars into Beijing’s economy to fund its hegemonic goals.
Thus, the latest push by the White House for electric military vehicles by 2030 is dangerous to our national readiness, independence, and defense.
If we were to mine in America for the minerals required to make batteries for our computers, mobile phones and EVs, we would not be funding China’s slave labor camps or military expansionism. Instead, we’d be funding American families and businesses while stewarding the environment.
A third question in the TIPP poll revealed that there is still a lot of work to do to educate Americans with facts and sound analysis. It asked if respondents agreed or disagreed that “Stopping climate change is more important than securing America’s critical energy supply.” Sadly, 49% agreed, and only 36% disagreed with 15% who were unsure.
That Americans believe that climate change is an important issue compared to securing America’s energy supply is proof that the mainstream media’s constant alarmism is misleading Americans and making them ill-informed.
Facts are stubborn things. In the past 20 years, the US has done a better job of reducing its carbon dioxide emissions than virtually every other nation and we did it without being part of the Kyoto and Paris climate agreements. We did it based on the power and innovation of the free market.
Climate alarmists have been wrong for more than a generation — incessantly warning of catastrophic climate change — even though the climate has not been warming for more than 20 years.
The global climate has been far warmer in the world’s history than it has been at any time during the last 30 years. And human progress was much higher during comparatively warm periods. But the mainstream media won’t present these facts.
We must adopt energy policies — like The Lower Energy Costs Act (H.R. 1) — that will keep energy plentiful and affordable while empowering innovation to promote a clean environment.
It is time for America to stop dismantling our energy infrastructure and focus on real problems. Poverty isn’t helpful to achieving good outcomes in healthcare, education, mental health, or a sense of well-being and security. We need policies that give Americans the best opportunities to be employed, well-paid and self-sufficient. We can do that and be environmentally responsible — while at the same time, strengthening America’s national security.
George Landrith is president of the Frontiers of Freedom Institute.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller.