Social Question

janbb's avatar

Someone's gotta ask it - your take on the State of the Union Address?

Asked by janbb (62561points) January 27th, 2010

I found myself alternating between cynicism and hope. The guy can give a speech – but right now it kind of feels like “there’ll be pie in the sky when you die.” Your thoughts?

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84 Answers

DeanV's avatar

Everything he said is impressive in itself, but I’ll believe it when I see it. I’m hopeful, though.

I’ve said it before, Obama’s going to go down as one of the best presidents in history just for fixing half of Bush’s mistakes, and this is a step forward even if it doesn’t end up like people hope.

Jude's avatar

I thought that he was great. I think he was trying to make Republicans look stupid for not supporting ideas that they typically run on in an effort to get them to take their focus off of purely partisan politics and actually work with him over the next year. It was nicely done in my opinion. A lot of smart strategy.

Bluefreedom's avatar

I’d like to be optimistic listening to his words but seeing is believing. Things are bleak all over right now and that’s the harsh reality of it all. It’s hard to accept at face value that Obama can and really will follow through with everything he discussed. If he does, terrific, but if he doesn’t, that’s par for the course and probably closer to the truth.

Cruiser's avatar

My shovel nor resolve is big enough to clean up after that mess…10 % unemployment and debt and deficit spending continues at historic highs….who is he kidding here??

cookieman's avatar

@dverhey: ”Everything he said is impressive in itself, but I’ll believe it when I see it. I’m hopeful, though.

Exactly my thoughts.

It disgusts me that Republicans and Democrats can’t find a way to work together. I don’t buy the “philosophical differences” argument either. If they want change badly enough, they’ll learn to compromise. Problem being, many in congress pay lip service to the very idea of change because the status quo serves their own personal interests.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

He’ll probably win a Nobel Prize for it next year.

Judi's avatar

I love my President.

zephyr826's avatar

It was a well-written and orated speech, and he still can inspire me to believe in something greater than the pettiness so prevalent in politics today, but it’s hard to be optimistic when things are so rough.

jrpowell's avatar

I just thought I should add that the response is staged. They get a copy of the SOTU speech first to prepare a response. It has been that way for years.

augustlan's avatar

I thought he did a great job. Inspiring, as always, but like others have said… I’ll believe it when I see it. I thought it was a ballsy move to bring up the Supreme Court’s decision on corporate campaign contributions. I clapped (all alone, in my house) when he said they’d work on overturning the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy this year.

Pandora's avatar

I got the just of it to mean that both parties aren’t playing nicely in the sand box and its the people (us) outside the sand box who are getting sand in our eyes. This is happening because everyone is concerned about covering their asses for the next election, instead of doing the jobs they were hired to do. And I couldn’t agree more.

I also did agree with the fight to get to first place with clean energy. I do believe it is going to be the next big thing to come along and who ever grabs it first gets the most cash for their country. And lets face it, we need it.
I’m a little hopeful but the reality is I think politicians will still do what is in their self interest. Until Lobbiest are gone, or politicians grow a spine and a concious, I don’t think there is a chance much will be done.
Oh, I especially loved the part where he said if anyone can come up with a medical reform bill that can meet all the requirements he is looking for he would love to hear it. I lMAO. Thats what I’ve been saying all along. People keep shooting down his ideas but don’t seem to have a better idea in its place. Bravo, Mr. President. :D

raoool's avatar

Obama is a good leader – smart, well intentioned (I believe) and well aware of the difficulties the US system imposes on government actually accomplishing anything. Moving his focus away from health care to jobs indicates he’s already surrendering a bit to the daunting challenge. But – unlike most politicians who are seemingly not real concerned with this reality – he does seem to want to try. Could just be the system simply doesn’t empower them. They (our ‘rulers’) are all about image impact and innocuous polls and their own survival in the system (i.e. re-election). We need to somehow instill real accountability at every level of government, or all the talk will continue to be just that: talk.

zephyr826's avatar

@raoool lurve. and welcome.

AstroChuck's avatar

“To the Democrats, I remind you we still have the largest majority in decades, and people expect us to solve problems, not run for the hills. To the Republicans, just saying no to everything may be good short-term politics, but it’s not leadership.”

Good stuff.

Qingu's avatar

I thought it made sense. I missed the first third or so but I just read it.

My general impression is “Grow the fuck up, America.”

I have some problems with his agenda. But most of the things people are complaining about make no goddamn sense. It is incredibly frustrating and demoralizing to live in such a country.

Les's avatar

He echoed my thoughts on climate change… so what if you don’t “believe” in it… what is the harm in loosening our grip on oil and gas and coal just a bit? He was brilliant.

Mexicanamerican's avatar

Idk… To me it seemed like he had all these great ideas,but didn’t really say how he was going to accomplish for me it was hard to believe..

Pseudonym's avatar

I actually liked it.

His address on climate change was necessary, and we didn’t get that from Bush.
His point on community colleges was good, though I doubt the student-loan deal will work.
Michelle Obama’s obesity foundation sounded very good for the country.

But I must say, as with every state of the union, do they have to clap after every sentence???

ETpro's avatar

I thought he did an amazing job given the hand he’s holding. He inherited two unfunded wars, a single-year deficit of 1 trillion dollars, the heaviest job losses since the great depression and a National Debt touching $11, trillion. Rather than doing ANYTHING to deal with any of those problems, Republicans decided they could make him look bad by filibustering every single substantive piece of legislation that came to the Senate.

Tonight, I think he laid down a marker. When he called for recovering the rest of the TARP money from the big banks and using it to guarantee loans from community banks to small businesses, when he called for reforms to stop wild risk-taking on Wall Street, even when he called for ending tax breaks for corporations that off shore our jobs and giving them instead to companies that create jobs here, Republicans sat on their hands. No one stood up, or even as much as applauded. But by the end of the speech, think some of them began to realize they were getting boxed in. I was amazed that their side of the house also stand in applause for actually cooperating to get healthcare reformed.

We will see if any of that apparent good will can be put into action. Republicans actually have some good ideas on healthcare reforms. They could push for a reconciliation process that addresses those issues and can get the needed Republican votes in the Senate to clear a filibuster. Will it happen? We shall see.

Pseudonym's avatar

I also thought he made a great point: Saying that the other party is wrong doesn’t make you right.
People need to stop acting childish in that respect.

Qingu's avatar

@Mexicanamerican, I think it’s easy to forget that Obama is not an emperor. It’s up to Congress to pass laws, and laws are how we would enact Obama’s ideas. He can’t make an executive order to enforce cap and trade, or to pay for job programs, or to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

He can try to lead his party (and the other party, I guess), but Congress is a co-equal branch.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I thought some things he said were cheeky at best.

TexasDude's avatar

Bush’s fault.~

ETpro's avatar

@raoool Welcome to Fluther. It’s nice to see someone here even newer than me. :-)

Nullo's avatar

Beats me, I watched Time Bandits.

Cruiser's avatar

@Nullo Awesome movie!! Brilliant choice!! +6

Qingu's avatar

@Cruiser and @Nullo, out of curiosity, why exactly didn’t you watch the speech?

I ask as someone who didn’t watch any of Bush’s speeches. But that was mostly because he was a terrible speaker and his speechwriters failed to honestly communicate on most of his ideas, up to and including just lying about them.

DeanV's avatar

Was anybody else put off by the nuclear announcement? That was the one part of the speech that rubbed me the wrong way.

plethora's avatar

It didnt watch it .Actions speak louder than words and if you don’t know what’s coming at you by now, I guess you’ll catch on one of these days.

Pandora's avatar

@plethora, I just had to watch. I love a good thrashing. And watching the repulicans squirm was just too fun. ((Hugs)) missed not seeing you around

ETpro's avatar

@dverhey I liked that he was willing to take on the far left on that. The simple fact is that all the solar and wind and tide and biofuel we can currently embrace in the next 10 years isn’t nearly enough to free us from foreign oil’s stranglehold. The cost of importing nearly half our oil is draining the American people dry. It’s like lining up supertankers full of dollars and delivering them, one after another, to people who openly hate our way of life and may at any turn use those funds to try to destroy us.

I’m all for going full tilt on alternative energy, but till it’s ready for prime time, we have to use what is ready now. That means nuclear and domestic oil and gas exploration. These, we know how to do right now. Even clean coal is a great sounding slogan, but there is no such thing yet. Hopefully it can be developed, but right now, nuclear is a fact we simply need to come to grips with. Make it as safe as possible, and do it.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Smoke, mirrors and empty promises, just like all the rest.

Qingu's avatar

@dverhey, there is absolutely no reason I can think of that we should not build nuclear power plants, provided we also regulate their waste disposal and security.

Qingu's avatar

@CaptainHarley, “all the rest” of what?

Or were you just trying to express a vague attitude of aimless and unspecified cynicism and perhaps paranoia?

jonsblond's avatar

I haven’t watched a State of the Union address since Clinton was in office.

@Qingu I can tell you why I didn’t watch. My life will not drastically change in the morning because of anything that Obama said this evening. Much of the time watching these speeches is spent listening to applause and cheers. I can read all about it in the morning without having to look at Nancy Pelosi. I read to my daughter instead. A much better use of my time.

Rufus_T_Firefly's avatar

Truth. He spoke the truth. Hard facts, many of which I’m sure will be denied by detractors who have no answers of their own. Obama’s armchair detractors are and have been an integral part of the problem. Anyone still willing to place America’s future on indefinite hold, while our current problems grow bigger and bigger, deserve the obscurity in which they hide. Anyone still not willing to go forward deserves to be left behind.

plethora's avatar

@Pandora Those “repulicans” can really squirm can’t they? I prefer watching the Dems squirm. Quite frankly, I don’t think I have watched a State of the Union since Ronald Reagan. I may have watched Clinton cause it didnt matter whether I agreed with him or not, he was just such a good performer. It’s kind of like one long boring commercial these days. I certainly never watched either of the Bushes. How can you get to be President with speaking skills as bad as theirs?

Where ya been?...) Been missing ya..:)

Cruiser's avatar

@Qingu I watched and listened to every word…I just feel real bad for all the others who suffered so needlessly!

Nullo's avatar

Because, as @Cruiser said, Time Bandits is an awesome movie. Watching the POTUS read from his TOTUS about the plans that he hopes to change (which, incidentally, has been posted to the Internet in both text and video formats, should I ever need to find it and analyze it critically) simply cannot compare to watching the Seven Dwarfs hoodwink King Agamemnon and then go crashing onto the Titanic.

Qingu's avatar

@Cruiser, why did you suffer through the speech?

@Nullo, I’m curious as to why you think making fun of people who read from teleprompters is funny. I’ve noticed this has become sort of a phenomenon in right-wing circles.

Nullo's avatar

Aww, did I step on a nerve?
I don’t find the teleprompter jokes to be terribly amusing, but I do like the sounds in the ”-OTUS” suffix, all the more so when you can set up a string of OTUS words, or otherwise arrange them so that they rhyme with each other.
Sometimes I try to catalog all of the OTUSes, the more to put into a series. Right now I’ve got POTUS, TOTUS, FLOTUS, COTUS (FCOTUS?), and DOTUS (FDOTUS?) that I’m certain of. Less correctly, you’ve got the WHOTUS, where you can find all of the above on an average day.

I am a twisted poet of a man.

Nullo's avatar

If it helps at all, I don’t watch any blatantly political television.

TheLoneMonk's avatar

He could have made the speech much shorter by giving this address: When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Disssssmisssed!

I am terrible at watching speeches. I think he has done an admirable job and the speech was good, but as i said in another thread, I couldn’t take my eyes off of Biden’s bobblehead and Pelosi trying to work something stuck out of her teeth and then I fell asleep.

CaptainHarley's avatar


“All the rest” of the current crop of politicians. None of them know how to tell the truth, and you know they’re lying when you can see that their mouths are open.

janbb's avatar

@augustlan I also, was delighted to hear him mention repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” I hope he accomplishes it now.

Cruiser's avatar

@Qingu I suffered through the speech because I love to watch people stand up and clap and plus I have a thing for Nancy Pilosi….she is HOTTTT! WOOF!

plethora's avatar

This is not original, but conveys the gravity of the speech (TO ME)

Drinking Game For Tonight’s State of the Union Address


Obama says “let me be clear”
Do one shot

Obama says “change isn’t easy”
Do one shot

Obama says “make no mistake”
Do one shot

Obama says “Let me be clear, change isn’t easy, make no mistake.”
He’s screwing with you to get you drunk, so five shots

Joe Wilson yells something
Do two shots

Obama yells back
Finish the bottle

Obama says “jobs”
Do one shot, two if you’re unemployed

Obama says “health care”
Do not drink, you will not be given a replacement liver

Nancy Pelosi claps like a seal
Do one shot

Nancy Pelosi becomes a seal

Obama mentions Bo
Put beer in your dog’s water bowl

Joe Biden nods-off/laughs inappropriately/starts talking before the speech is over
Do three shots

Obama uses the term “Congressional leadership”
Do two shots carefully as all that laughing will make it difficult to swallow

plethora's avatar

@Les What is the problem with turning loose completely of foreign oil and controlling our own destiny, adding thousands of jobs at NO stimulus cost, by drilling on the biggest oil deposits in the world right here on our own soil?

Cruiser's avatar

@plethora As you pointed out we could drill, drill, drill baby and certainly eliminate most if not all of our dependency on oil…but us purchasing oil does two incredibly important things. One is it helps keeps the American dollar the number one exchange and reserve currency in the world as most oil purchasing and exchange is done in US dollars and 2, buying foreign oil allows for us to make incredibly important reciprocal arrangements with those countries to purchase US goods and services. We need exports to keep the US economy churning. Other countries won’t buy our stuff unless we buy theirs. Pretty simple for better or for worse.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@plethora, I wish to hell you had posted that yesterday. It would have been worth watching the speech for. (But I probably would have run out of gin soon after the introductions, and I certainly wouldn’t have made it in to work today.)

Qingu's avatar

@CaptainHarley, you believe that every single politician alive today is lying 100% of the time when they talk or, presumably, write?

That’s a particularly, um, unnuanced position.

Also a pretty convenient position. It lets you dismiss the entire political process en masse without having to go through the trouble of sifting through it for good ideas and things you can support, or even compromise on. I can certainly understand the appeal of South Park-style apathy and cynicism. I was all about this attitude when I was 12.

@Cruiser, “we could drill, drill, drill baby and certainly eliminate most if not all of our dependency on oil” —this is absolutely false. There is not nearly enough oil under American soil for that.

Cruiser's avatar

@Qingu I stand corrected we wouldn’t drill and get all of it we would mine it a bunch of it from oil sands too. But again as long as the Middle East, Russia, Venezuela etc. keep the price of oil low enough to make domestic oil and alternative energies too costly to implement we will not wholeheartedly pursue the domestic agenda and all the “not in my backyard” hand waving will continue as well.

Qingu's avatar

@Cruiser, even including oil sands there is not nearly enough oil in North America to satisfy current demand. Even a fraction of it.

It’s simply not a solution to the problem. It’s not even a good idea for delaying the problem.

Nullo's avatar

In the words of the ‘channers, sauce plz. I’m as optimistic as @Cruiser about our oil-generation capacity.

Qingu's avatar

In addition, oil sands and shale (much of which is found in Canada) is not productive or cost efficient to extract oil from. And exploring and developing these reserves takes time, sometimes more than a decade, and more money

And even if you are right to be “optimistic,” which no evidence shows you are, it’s simply not a solution to the fundamental energy problem. It’s not sustainable. It may delay the inevitable by perhaps a decade or two, but we are going to run out of oil. And meanwhile burning that oil is hastening climate change and will probably require massive relocation of infrastructure (which many countries simply cannot afford).

As Obama said, even if you reject the conclusions of the scientific community, it is a fact that renewable energy sources are going to power our future. There is already a huge economic demand for such technology throughout the developed world (which tends to believe science more than Americans). We should be spending our money and energy developing those, not developing what will certainly become the modern energy equivalent of buggy whips.

Les's avatar

@plethora – I’m not concerned at all with where our dependency on oil lies. I’m concerned with the effect we are having on the climate of the earth. In science, there are theories. By their nature, some people agree with these theories, and some people don’t. The theory is that humans are causing a detrimental impact on the climate of the earth due to our burning of carbon products. Now, I am a follower of this theory. I know there are those who disagree with the amount humans are having this impact. But what I’m saying is this theory and the possible solutions to the problem are win win. I’m not talking about eliminating the use of oil and coal. I’m talking about reducing our use of these things. If the theory is right and these things are causing an increased climactic temperature, then we’ll see a change. But even if we are wrong, and human byproducts are not effecting the climate to the extent that we think they are, then we’ve at least reduced our dependence on things that are disappearing faster than we can come up with new energy sources.

Nullo's avatar

I googled “Nancy Pelosi clap like a seal.” They’re right. She does!

Cruiser's avatar

@Qingu Gee Qingu…do you want to end our dependency on foreign oil or not?? FYI there is over 1.124 billion barrels of known oil sources directly under our domestic feet. The US oil needs is hovering just over 7 billion barrels per year. That’s over 160 years worth of oil based on these known entities. I bet we find more oil under our feet as time goes by AND we develop better technology to extract every last drop. Of course much of these known reserves is shale oil/oil sands which is located very near posh communities in Colorado and these same communities are saying up yours to the needed pipelines to move the recovered oil. Cheap foreign oil will most certainly be satisfying our insatiable demand for the slimy black stuff with our current mind set.

Cruiser's avatar

@Nullo Hey!! You are dissing on my B-i-atch there Nullo! Watch it!! lol! ;)

CaptainHarley's avatar


No need to insult. I stay at a low boil over this sort of thing. All too many of our politicians change their tune to suit their audience at any particular time. It’s this tendency to place getting elected above telling the truth that irritates me.

Qingu's avatar

@Cruiser, your math isn’t right.

The article I cited says we have 21 billion barrels. I do believe you are right about the ~7 billion barrels per year (cite).

So that would be… like 3 years. Not 160 years.

You can “bet” that we’ll find more and that we’ll develop tech to get at it all. That’s reckless. And it ignores the fact that for much of the world, fossil fuels are soon to become an obsolete energy source.

And of course it ignores climate change but I’m going to go ahead and assume you think the overwhelming consensus of the scientific community is wrong for some reason.

Cruiser's avatar

@Qingu Sorry to throw you off…I cited a DOE research article that I got my fast facts from. You are partially right about the second half of your comment, I don’t buy into global warming but it is hard even in my skeptically addled brain to ignore the potential impact of humans upon our fragile global ecosystem. What we are doing to our rain forests and oceans is reckless and despicable.

Qingu's avatar

Your source is highly speculative. I quote:

The presence of an oil bearing transition zone beneath the traditionally defined base (oil-water contact) of an oil reservoir is well established. What is now clear, and as recently documented in a series of DOE Office of Fossil Energy reports, is that, under certain geologic and hydrodynamic conditions, an additional residual oil zone (ROZ) exists below this transition zone, and this resource could add another 100 billion barrels of oil resource in place in the United States, and an estimated 20 billion barrels could be recoverable with state-of-the-art CO2-EOR technologies.

Large volumes of technically recoverable domestic oil resources remain undeveloped and are yet to be discovered in the United States, and this potential associated with CO2-EOR represents just a portion, albeit large, of this potential. Undeveloped domestic oil resources still in the ground (in-place) total 1,124 billion barrels. Of this large in-place resource, 430 billon barrels is estimated to be technically recoverable. This resource includes undiscovered oil, “stranded” light oil amenable to CO2 enhanced oil recovery (EOR) technologies, unconventional oil (deep heavy oil and tar sands) and new petroleum concepts (residual oil in reservoir transition zones).

So it’s possible, under certain conditions, that may not be true, that there is an additional 430 billion barrels of oil under the USA… which includes a bunch of oil that we don’t yet know exists (“undiscovered”), how to get at, or how to refine.

430 billion ÷ 7 per year = 61 years. In this extremely optimistic scenario… what happens after that?

Qingu's avatar

And more importantly: why not spend the money, time, and energy we would need to (1) explore for this potentially nonexistent oil, (2) develop the new tech we would need to dig it up, (3) dig it up, (4) develop the new tech we would need to refine it, and (5) refine it, all the while (6) likely devastating the natural environment through the strip-mining and other techniques that the previous five steps would require and (7) putting that much more CO2 in the air which, while you apparently don’t believe causes global warming, the vast majority of experts on the subject do… when we could instead develop new renewable energy resources? (and export the renewable tech to other countries for $$$?)

Cruiser's avatar

@Qingu 61 years is a long time and like I said in my answer above we will continue to develop and refine our ability to extract every drop of the other 800 billions barrels still in the ground. You are also forgetting the one factor that ultimately will make that hard to get oil affordable. Peak oil depending on which soothsayer you believe has already happened so now we wait and see where the cost/price of oil begins to climb to. The Saudis have enough oil reserves to keep the US flush with cheap oil for the rest of my life time so I doubt I will live long enough to see us change our tune on oil. As long as Saudis, Russia, Venezuela have oil to sell they will sell it at a low enough price to prevent needed venture capital from investing in more costly alternative oil sources or the way more costly alternatives to fossil fuels. But sooner or later, the price of will climb to a point where shale/oil sands will seem like a bargain and then and only then will we pursue that as well and put any real effort into alternative energy sources.

Qingu's avatar

Why not just skip all that and put real effort into alt. energy sources now?

Cruiser's avatar

@Qingu Because they are too costly compared to oil when the cost of gas is anywhere below $4.00 per gallon!!!! It’s that simple!! As long as we keep getting gas below that price nobody will invest R&D dollars into making these alt engergy “ideas” into reality. The Saudis et al know this an will do all they can to make sure we keep getting cheap oil so we don’t have reason to pursue the alternative solutions in a meaningful way.

Plus what they are also trying to keep quiet is to produce these alt energies they will overall have a much larger carbon footprint than fossil fuels. So we don’t want foreign oil until people realize it will mean paying more for their gas and electricity then it’s not such an attractive idea. Those truths don’t make for good political agendas.

The only way out of this is to change our thinking and I don’t see that anyone has figured out a way to do that outside the influence of big oil and foreign political interests. Plus they have too strong of a grip around the necks in Washington to let any meaningful legislation take shape any time soon.

benjaminlevi's avatar

@Cruiser Gas is only under $4 a gallon because we subsidize the oil industry far more than we do so with alternative energies. Oil is only “cheap” when the oil companies get to externalize the costs of air pollution (to tax payers like you) and the costs of environmental degradation (to the entire biosphere). You have to include all costs that an energy source to figure out its real value.

Cruiser's avatar

@benjaminlevi and why is that? We can buy refined gas cheaper than we can refine crude here again why? Because of the pollution controls and regulations we enforce upon ourselves. Plus by doing so we would also kill a bunch of domestic jobs and more unemployed is the last thing this country needs.

You are very correct to say gas is very expensive now when you add in the associated costs. Same would apply to the alternative sources but in a much bigger and costlier way. The energy costs involved to produce the cleaner solutions is much more than the final cost of energy to produce a gallon of gas and relative output of energy and carbon provided by that gallon of gas.

Qingu's avatar

@Cruiser, oil is less costly than renewable energy because we’ve had 100+ years to develop infrastructure based around it and to increase its efficiency, plus (as benjaminlevi points out) it’s subsidized.

We have only scratched the surface for renewable infrastructure. Our power grid, for example, cannot handle energy from wind and solar farms. We can computerize it to make it more efficient, and we can also develop an infrastructure for electric cars—much of the inefficiency in the grid comes from “waste” electricity that’s generated all the time but isn’t used and doesn’t store well—but we can store it in car batteries that recharge overnight.

The energy costs for wind power and solar panels are not high (and solar is getting better and better thanks to improvements in materials science). I believe you are thinking of corn-based ethanol. Which is probably a waste of time, reduces the food supply, and is heavily subsidized from pressure from agribusiness. That said, there is some work done with algae biofuels that does look promising.

Cruiser's avatar

@Qingu You are not fully informed to the ripple cost effect of wind and solar. Both rely heavily on polymers all of which are derivatives of crude oil and require intense and costly processing just to produce plus the carbon foot print to produce the chemicals and then manufacture the turbines is ginormous. The carbon footprint/energy cost to produce and maintain are still way out of step with the final energy cost of refined gasoline again as you pointed out because of the industrial infrastructure already in place for the gas and oil industry.

So what do we do? Cheap gas or pay way more for our energy costs and endure more total carbon emissions as well?? Hardly makes sense to me.

Qingu's avatar

Support your claims, please.

On the face of it they seem nonsensical as both wind and solar, whatever the initial cost, produce energy long term. They aren’t one-use like biofuel or fossil fuel.

ETpro's avatar

@Cruiser Some facts to consider. World Oil and Oil and Gas Journal both put US total reserves at 21.317 billion barrels of oil. We currently import about 4.8 billion barrels of oil per year. So if we replaced that with domestic production, we’d exhaust our reserves in about 5 years. Also, some of that 21.3 billion barrels is already in production. Other parts of it are either too expensive to be economically extracted even to at today’s high prices, or are in environmentally sensitive areas we’ve chosen not to exploit. But even the total reserve would not satisfy our thirst for anywhere near long enough to make “Drill baby drill!” a comprehensive energy strategy.

There is additional oil here. Lots of it—maybe as much at 3 trillion barrels. But that is in oil shale, tar sands and deposits on the outer continental shelves. All of these reserves are beyond our ability to exploit today at any price. We do not possess the technology to do it, and if we did, it would make $100 a barrel sound like a dream.

Cruiser's avatar

@ETpro I beg to differ…our ex scoutmaster in our scout troop works as a field engineer for Shell Oil specifically on the oil sands project. They do have the technology and have for years, they can get at this oil and successfully built and ran a pilot plant…but as you pointed out it is more costly to do so than the pricing today will support these efforts BUT he said their biggest hurdle is getting the pipeline built as it would have to go through some posh neighborhoods and approval for water rights for the massive amounts of water required to heat the ground to extract the oil.

Here is Shells statement on the pricing dilemma from a great article on the issue of the shale oil project…

“The Green River Formation of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming “holds the equivalent of 800 billion barrels of recoverable oil—as much as the U.S. would use in 110 years, at current consumption levels, and three times the proven oil reserves of Saudi Arabia,” according to a Nov. 13 press release from the Bureau of Land Management.
In order for surface retorting to be profitable, oil barrel prices had to stay in the range of $70 to $95. When barrel prices dropped in the early 1980s, oil shale was deemed unprofitable and abandoned.”

Again, the Saudis won’t make the mistake of leaving oil prices that high too long just to keep Shell on their heels for a long time to come unless our Government gets behind a domestic oil program. The big question is why is our Government not doing so??? I am far too skeptical about all the big oil money tied up in our government to give a sensible answer to that question.

ubersiren's avatar

This sums up my thoughts on Obama’s plans for the economy.

ETpro's avatar

@Cruiser He’s probably right on extraction costs. My last data point on costs is old and suspect. Point is that there isn’t much we can do domestically by drilling today unless we decide we want to pay way more a barrel for domestic oil than the world oil prices.

Qingu's avatar

@Cruiser, do you have an independent analysis on the oil shale?

Pardon me if I’m skeptical of a press release from a company that stands to benefit from continued subsidies that props up an industry model they’ve based all their business on…

Nullo's avatar

Isn’t that the guy that predicted the fall in the first place? Nice.

ubersiren's avatar

@Nullo One of them, yep.

Cruiser's avatar

@Qingu I sincerely doubt even an independent analysis on oil shale would change your mind…and yes there are quite a few of them…just google it if your really have a genuine interest…I did.

Cruiser's avatar

@ETpro Personally I think this all has more to do with the fact that all international oil is traded in US dollars which makes the US dollar the number one reserve currency and we need other nations to buy up our rampant debt and the oil trade in US green backs gives us that power to literally demand them to buy our debt. I look at us buying foreign oil no matter what the cost as our goodwill gesture to keeping the US dollar graciously “accepted” as the preferred currency.

There has been robust behind the scenes posturing by other nations, China, Iran, Saudis and Russia to name a few to abandon the US dollar and that would F#@& us up so royally we would be screwed and force us to take off the gloves and get aggressive with our trade agreements. Just pray and pray hard that there is a president in office that has the steel balls to stare down over half of the developed world when that day comes.

ETpro's avatar

@Cruiser I think you’re probably right and that it’s a fool’s game. There is no way you can just keep building a house of cards infinitely high.

We paid down more debt as a percentage of our Gross Domestic Product right after WWII. We would benefit from being forced to roll up our sleeves once more just as the Greatest Generation did, and pay it off again. I say, “Bring it on!”

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