Monday, August 4, 2008

Libertarian Chris Cole has to explain energy speculation to Liddy Dole and Kay Hagan

According to the latest Public Policy Polling report, Libertarian Chris Cole is pulling down 4% in the North Carolina Senate race with Elizabeth Dole and Kay Hagan. In one sense this is down from the 6% he scored last month, but not really. When you're running in the 4-6% range and the margin of error in a poll is 3.5-4.5%, you have to expect some significant volatility. Nonetheless, two successive polls in the 5% range matches what other Libertarians are currently pulling in North Carolina statewide races, and--as the race between Dole and Hagan has apparently closed to single digits--that 5% again looms larger and larger.

So we've now reached the point where--even if his funding is non-existent compared to the millions raised by the Demopublicans--when Chris Cole speaks, there are people out there starting to listen.

And when he speaks into one of the obvious controversial gaps [energy and offshore drilling] between Dole and Hagan, it has the potential to . . . well, shake things up a bit:

Elizabeth Dole recently changed her position on offshore drilling. In response Democrat Kay Hagan complains that production from new fields offshore or in ANWR won't come in to the market for approximately ten years. Dole was right in changing her position, and Hagan is right about the time lag for new gasoline at the pump.

But where Hagan is wrong and Dole is silent is about the impact of such a policy change on CURRENT prices at the gas pump. Only Libertarian Christopher Cole explains how that FUTURE production can lower CURRENT prices, prices which are dragging down our economy and strangling the family budget.

What Hagan ignores is the role of expected FUTURE supply on current price. Due to OPEC intransigence and possible interruptions due to Bush policy against Iran, speculators fear interruptions to oil supply for years to come. They have therefore bid up prices on present shipments, in order to assure their future inventory. With that future supply assured by increased access at home, that price pressure will be removed, resulting in immediate easing of pump prices.

Cole supports open access to offshore oil and natural gas deposits, as well as those under federal lands, such as the Alaska National Wildlife Reserve. Not only would that assure future oil supply, but it will provide economic growth and high-wage jobs in such regions as North Carolina's coastal plain. Cole also disputes the alarmist response of some on the left who complain of ecological risks, pointing out that major spills, such as the Exxon Valdez in Alaska, have always come from tankers, not rigs or modern land-based pumps.

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