Best Business Commentary
March 4, 2008
The oil shortage myth
Ignore the oil-supply naysayers, says Nansen G. Saleri in The Wall Street Journal. “We are nowhere close to reaching a peak in global oil supplies.” The current consensus, based on “Sputnik-era” oil-extraction technologies, puts the “peak-oil-point”—or the “onset of global production decline”—at around 2030. But the world has “sufficient liquid crude” to “sustain production rates at or near 100 million barrels per day almost to the end of this century.” We might well move away from “a fossil-based energy system” this century, but it will be becuase of “superior alternatives,” not a shortage of oil. It’s an “overused observation,” but “the Stone Age did not end due to a lack of stones.”
A simpler housing-crisis fix
Washington is “scrambling for ways to slow the tide of foreclosures,” says USA Today in an editorial, but some of the proposals would cost “billions of taxpayer dollars.” A “better idea” is to simply “change the bankruptcy law.” Under current law, a bankruptcy judge can “work out payment plans” for debt on “vacation homes and family farms”—just about anything, in fact, but a primary-home mortgage. Getting rid of that “special status” for primary mortgages could keep 600,000 homeowners in their homes. Plus, it “could cost taxpayers next to nothing,” and if it worked, the whole economy would benefit.
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