This letter is in response to the articles covering President Barack Obama's calling on Congress to end tax subsidies for the oil and gas industry.
This should make Americans ask the fundamental question: What is the difference between what a public nonprofit utility company provides and what a private for-profit oil company provides? After all, they both sell energy to all U.S. citizens. The difference is that natural gas and electricity are sold in the form of a public good, whereas oil is sold in the form of a private good.
Accordingly, on the grounds of promoting national security, the U.S. Congress should convert all oil companies to utility companies. This would eliminate the windfall profits and force the oil industry to earn just enough income to cover operating expenses, just as natural gas and electric utility companies are required to do. The resulting drop in gasoline prices would further stimulate the economy and lighten the energy stranglehold upon the U.S. by the Middle East. It would also eliminate the influence of the oil lobby.
In this case, desperate times call for deliberate measures. But as pathetic as the energy policy is in this country, the effort to develop alternative sources of energy won't really be accelerated until the oil dries up and the Saudis place solar cells all across their desert and then sell us the electricity.