Free, while they last. The bumpersticker that says it all. To put one on your car is to make a commitment to building a two-party Texas. They look great alongside fading Yarborough stickers. Or by themselves. Gentlemen: Please send me bumper stickers. I want to build a two-party system in Texas. Name Address City and ZIP Call on me to help in the campaign .. The Democratic *Rebuilding Committee STATE OFFICE: P. 0. Box 1782, Austin, Texas 78767 Texas Can’t Stand 6 Years of Bentsen, Or 5 Minutes More of Smith! In their report last February, just six months ago, they said That last year alone, American consumers paid about five billion dollars more for oil products, about $24 for every member of a family, than they would have in the absence of import restrictions. That limiting oil imports, by thus raising prices and attracting resources to the domestic oil industry, leads to inefficient uses of capital and workers, hurting the efficiency of the whole economy. That the risks to security from potential interruptions of oil supply from abroad the basic argument for oil import limitations “do not, in the main, concern any danger to the functioning of the nation’s armed forces,” since the military’s oil supplies are “very unlikely to be placed in jeopardy.” That in the event of nuclear war, U.S. oil production would probably exceed “actual consumption in a shattered economy.” That the “1975 oil security of the free world . . . would be little affected by even the complete abolition of import controls.” That, as to what they called “the ‘special deal’ aspect,” beneficiary companies had obtained exceptions to the rules of the quota system, exceptions that were “special privileges through bilateral contracts privately negotiated with the Interior Department” with no public bidding, and that this was a “highly discriminatory” conferring of “a special benefit on particular companies.” And that the quota system is “no longer acceptable” and should be replaced by a tariff system. S0, WHAT HAS happened? Anyone in Washington who denied that major oil companies lobbied fiercely against the tariff system, before and after the report came out, would be dispatched on a sway-backed nag to join Lyndon Johnson at Credibility Gap. Nixon had already lost some political traction with oilmen, a slippery lot, because, despite his 1968 campaign promise, the depletion allowance was cut five and one-half percentage points. If he and his party colleagues wanted big oil’s money in 1970 and 1972, obviously they could not fail to protect the majors on a vital matter a second time. They had to choose, and they have chosen. The President’s Oil Policy Committee made its appearance. Certain changed conditions began to receive emphasis in the media. And lo, following the recommendations of his new committee, Nixon has agreed to “discontinue consideration of moving to a tariff system of control.” The cabinet-level study is bound, catalogued, and shelved in the public library. The Oil Policy Committee report, having drawn the politically desired conclusions, becomes the government’s policy. Of course it is true that conditions have changed. In oil, as in the world, they always do. Events in Syria and Libya have reduced oil supplies from there, in turn causing a tanker shortage, in turn increasing, at least for the time being, the landed price of foreign oil. The oil flow to Europe has been reduced, although admittedly by a comparatively small quantity. There is more uncertainty than before about just when Alaskan oil will become available, principally because of ecological questions. But none of these changes weakens the case against the oil quota system. A tariff can be adjusted upward or downward in calibration with the imported price of oil to control how much of it gets into the country. The issue raised by the oil quota system is not how much foreign oil to let in. The issue is the favoritism and private companies’ benefits under quotas in contrast to a tariff system’s impartiality and proVision of income for the Treasury that reduces the need for taxes. SOON THE COUNTRY will be presented well-marshaled evidence \(in a the production of oil from the black rock Formation in the Western United States would be profitable now and probably a good deal more profitable than exploring for and producing liquid petroleum. There is enough oil in this rock formation to supply the United States at present levels for 2,000 years. One does not need a presidential commission, cabinet-level or lobbyist-level, to tell us that the oil industry has stalled government and even private companies’ research into shale oil production, and for obvious reasons. The oil companies have huge investments in liquid petroleum reserves. The people of the United States own four-fifths of the oil in the entire Green River formation. If the people began to insist that the government organize its own oil company, much like the TVA, to produce oil from shale as needed, they would be astonished by how fast the oil industry would rediscover the compelling case for increasing cheap foreign oil imports from their vast overseas reserves. We could also count on the President appointing an advisory study commission to tell us why we ought not to do what we obviously ought to do. But that will go on happening as long as the oil industry controls our federal oil policy, as it does now. September 18, 1970 19
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