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Thursday, June 19, 2008

The USS Yorktown, the 35W bridge and oil

I'm a WWII history buff. Have been for years. In 1942, the USS Yorktown was heavily damaged in the Battle of the Coral Sea. She set sail for Pearl Harbor for extensive repairs. When she arrived, it was estimated that she would require at least three months of repair. As she was needed for the Battle of Midway, she was alloted 72 hours in port for repairs. She set sail three days later and fought at Midway where she was sunk. But, instead of being in dry dock, she helped mortally wound the Japanese Navy.

Last August, the 35W bridge across the Mississippi River in Minneapolis collapsed. It's a bridge I had been across thousands of times. A socialist friend of mine kept repeating that the reason the bridge collapsed was because Gov. Pawlenty vetoed a gas tax increase. He went on to say that it would take at least five years to build a new bridge. I said, "No. We could do it in a year if the government gets out of the way!" The bridge is controlled by a number of jurisdictions: the city of Minneapolis, the federal government, Hennepin County, the State of Minnesota, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Coast Guard (the Mississippi is a navigable waterway) to name a few. Then throw in the EPA, OSHA, MN Dept. of Natural Resources and a few others just for giggles.
Well, as the 35W bridge was/is critical to business all across the state. So, it was agreed to "fast track" the bridge and suspend a bunch of the regulations and just get on with it. And the new 35W bridge is set to be completed in under a year from the time the bids were let. And it will come in under budget. Not 5 years and $300,000,000 +. Newt Gingrich forcast that fast build possibility just days after the collapse.

So now, I keep hearing that it will take 5-10 years to bring new oil fields online. Nah. Well, yes it will with all the crap BS regulations from a myriad of alphabet soup agencies. However, get the Congress out of the way, kill all but absolutely essential regulations (and there precious few of those) and I'd bet the farm that we could bring oil fields online in under two years. Do something like telling oil drillers/oil companies that they get a 100% tax write-off for all their expenses. And only a 10% tax on oil revenue. Then, suspend all those crap EPA/OSHA regulations and tell the Exxon/Mobil/Chevron/Shell/ etc that they get the same deal to build 20-30 new oil refineries. 100% tax write off for all expenses. Nah, better yet, make that a 100% tax credit instead. Yah. That's the way to go. And a 10% tax on all oil revenue. And if they keep all that oil in America, the tax drops to 5% or less. just an incentive to keep the energy here.
Same type of deal for oil shale, natural gas, coal, nuclear. Cheap energy and the country hums and purrs along.


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