A Delegate's Concern

By D. Price

Dear Bill,

I was elected to be a delegate to our state caucus this year. As I have been meeting with the county, state, and federal candidates, I have been asking them what they knew about peak oil, inflation, and the national debt. Their responses to peak oil have been anywhere from “I have never heard of the term peak oil” to “Is it an oil company?” As far as inflation and the national debt, it didn’t seem to be an issue

One of my first activities I had as a delegate was to meet with my fellow delegates at various meetings. At the first meeting, I answered random questions, from those who elected me, regarding the gross profits that the oil companies are making. I used your comparison of Microsoft and its 30% profits compared to the oil companies 9% profits.No one could rebut me on what I said. At the second meeting, I brought up peak oil. I would not give up the issue. I was like a Boston terrier on the end of a rope, refusing to be pushed aside. Each time, the discussion was quickly changed to the hot topics of education, illegal aliens, county issues, and the normal local and state issues. Finally, one of the other delegates informed me that he was personally working with people developing the Canadian Tar Sands and let me know that there is enough oil up there to last us 100 years. Though no one told me to shut up, I could see what I was trying to bring to the floor was a non-issue and I should not be worrying about peak oil. I can spit in a hurricane for only so long.

This past weekend I went to a special debate for the caucus delegates. It involved the campaigns for county, state, and federal offices. Up to that point, not one state office candidate that I talked with were interested to hear about peak oil. None of them knew what it was and most were too busy to discuss it further.

One candidate was running for a county commissioner seat. He was a certified professional engineer and a certified geologist. I found that he worked for Marathon Oil Company a few years ago. I asked him about peak oil, hoping to find someone with some knowledge of the topic. He had never heard of peak oil, but wrote down the title of Matt Simmons book: “Twilight in the Desert.” Maybe one possible convert. I am not holding my breath. Candidates rarely have time to learn something new that is not a concern of the general public.

The last part of the debates was held by those running for the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. The Senate candidates are too busy and their time is quite short since they have to run over the entire state in their campaigning. I was unable to talk to anyone.They gave their speeches and left.

I was much luckier with those running for the U.S. House of Representatives. After the debate, I asked each of them what they knew of peak oil. Not one had a clue, so I quickly gave each the “Reader’s Digest” version of what it was. I also mentioned to them that there was a book out there written by Matt Simmons called “Twilight in the Desert.”Surprisingly, one of them seemed interested, after I mentioned Matt’s name. He said, “I know Matt Simmons personally.” I replied, “I don’t think you know him as well as you should,” and recommended that he contact him as soon as possible. He promised that he would.

One final note: During one of the breaks I had a discussion with a professor of finance from a university in our state that is known by 99% of the population. I tried to start a discussion about inflation. He gave me two quick responses that were word for word in any one of my economics books or my money and banking book. I asked if he saw any problem with the current inflation rate. He said, “Not really. The Core Rate of Inflation seems to be well under control.” I gave a disbelieving cough after his answer.

I then asked him how he felt about the monstrous debt that we were building. I compared it to the weight of USS Missouri. I felt that we Americans could no longer manage holding that amount of debt over our heads. He replied that as long as out national debt was not over 6% of the GDP, we had nothing to worry about. I said, “It’s already over the 6%,” and walked away feeling hopeless about academia being any help.

As I walked away, he shot back, “Don’t stop holding up the USS Missouri for us. We need you there.” He laughed.

D. Price
Daily Reckoning reader

Editor’s Note: There’s another book out there that all of our elected officials should be reading: Empire of Debt. In fact, we recently sent all 535 members of Congress a copy. Based on their continued lack of action, it appears that many Beltway insider aren’t concerned with the nation’s balance sheet. We hope Empire of Debt will help change that. Learn more about our Empire of Debt Congressional campaign: