In the global economy the United States is no longer the straw that stirs the drink. We are quickly moving into the age of shortage and China, Inc., is buying up all the raw materials and manufacturing capacity with the money it made from U.S. sales. When are we going to realize that we are mortgaging our future by not buying more domestic products and thus letting our manufacturing base deplete?
The country needs to take a strategic approach to protecting our manufacturing base and raw material supply for our long-term security and financial well-being. We need FDR-type courage and leadership from our elected officials; unfortunately, none of the presidential candidates matches up to the task. Business as usual just won't do.
Energy independence would be a good start. The United States has enough oil shale deposits on federal land to cover needs for 400 years at the present consumption rate and the cost to extract it is $50 a barrel. Ethanol is fashionable, but oil shale is realistic. Yet it won't get to the market without government support. Remember when wind turbines weren't a cost-effective electricity generator? How about some dynamic leadership from Sacramento and Washington, D.C., instead of business as usual?
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Editor's note: A 2005 Rand Corp. study put the cost of extraction of the most easily obtainable shale oil at $70 to $95 per barrel in initial phases and dropping to $48 per barrel after 12 years.