The United States always has trouble making decisions that are related to energy sources. A report from the Financial Times reports the US has been increasing imports of crude oil from the Middle East. In fact, these rates have been the highest since 2008. Increasing dependency on oil from the Middle East is detrimental because US would have to increase security and involvement. We could reduce these risks by looking to resources closer to North America.
One of the largest sources of oil on earth is in Alberta, Canada. It contains oil sands, which contain clay, sand, and bitumen. The bitumen can only be extracted through a complex and expensive process. Also, oil sands are more corrosive than crude oil, so transportation will require more attention. However, building the pipeline would mean an estimated 3.75 trillion barrels of oil. The world’s known crude oil reserves are about 1.76 trillion barrels.
It is a matter of cost and benefits to decide whether the US should build the pipeline. Canada has been pushing the States to build the pipeline. Although, lawmakers are worried that the corrosive oil will cause multiple spills and accidents. I believe that the US should build it for a few reasons. The pipeline will allow the US to reduce dependency on the Middle East. Also, Alberta has a lot of oil so the amount of output will be extremely beneficial. The creation of this pipeline would be a huge investment, but the rewards will ultimately outweigh the costs.
As of March 1, 2013, government was unable to do anything about the sequester. Essentially, members of government failed to stop $85 billion in automatic spending cuts. As most of America will blame the President, such a blunder is not under President Obama’s control. As stated in the Constitution, the President can only advise Congress in his State of the Union address. Nowhere in the Constitution is the President allowed to do Congress’s work. Every time an issue like this comes up, Mr. President claims that “we shouldn’t be making a series of dumb cuts.” He also points to Republicans stating that it was their choice to not budge and allow cuts in military and education to occur. Although, many analysts do claim that the President is at fault for actually creating the sequester.
On the other hand, Speaker of the House John Boehner says “The House has already acted twice in the last two months to replace these cuts with smarter cuts. We’ve done our job.” He certainly isn’t wrong. The House had unanimously created last-minute solutions to the debt-ceiling twice before. However, these solutions were not enough to solve all of the problems with America’s debt issues. In the end, we have two parties blaming each other and little progress being made.
If one is to blame someone, then it is not going to be Democrats and the President nor Republicans. A complete bipartisan “supercommittee” consisted of six senators and six members from the House of Representatives. This committee was in charge of creating a deal that Obama and Boehner couldn’t create in mid-2011. If this group did not create a solution, then sequestration would have been the punishment. “The cuts were designed to be as clumsy and inflexible as possible, in order to motivate lawmakers to come up with a better approach.” Even though many lawmakers saw hope in the committee, members didn’t open up their partisan minds. Democrats on the committee wanted to raise taxes while Republicans demanded for large spending cuts.
Committees are the foundation of Congress. Most of Congress’s work is done behind doors in small groups. The “supercommittee” was a failure and it now costs our nation $85 billion in cuts. Some say that many members of the committee didn’t even care of their own. The group had the capability to forge a deal, but not a single member even thought about giving up their own partisan minds. We need committees that are willing to give up what they still believe in and to take a risk. If not, then we will remain in a world where people will blame each other over unnecessary cuts.
A repeat of the fiscal cliff is dawning upon us. By the first of March, $85 billion will have to automatically be cut. Known as the sequester, these cuts will mainly affect federal workers. An approximate 800,000 workers are to expected to face 22 unpaid days, spread out, but end up being very close to about 20% in pay cuts. Congress needs to make a solution to the problem they already created. This solution must not hurt the economy in anyway. From the executive branch, POTUS is still pushing for a combination of tax increases on the rich and increase in spending cuts. It is now Congress’s turn. Congress must either choose raising taxes or increase spending cuts. As Secretary of State John F. Kerry stated, the “price of abandoning our global efforts would be exorbitant.” He means that if the government were to continue with spending cuts, then we would lose a lot of money that were meant for monitoring terrorist activity in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This is even more important because of the “recent rise of Al Qaeda-linked militancy in North Africa.” This is why Congress and the President can not even consider of allowing the sequester to occur.
The United States needs these government programs to protect our citizens. The solution must be based on the middle class. Assuming that this solution will not make anyone happy, politicians must look at the benefits versus the costs. Congress must find a way to pull large amounts of money from the 1% of Americans and from large corporations and put that sum back into the middle class. The obvious solution is to raise taxes on the rich. However, after the fiscal cliff, raising taxes on the rich couldn’t even solve the budget crisis for one year. In his State of the Union address, President Obama stated that he wants to push the minimum wage to $9.00. This is a very necessary step to put more money into the pockets of the middle class and reduce the incomes of monopolistic companies. These are actions that Congress and the President could take to help rise the middle class without imposing spending cuts.