Morning Bell: Socialist Realism Comes to Congress

Conn Carroll /

Earlier this month the U.S. Commission on Fine Arts rejected a proposed design for the future Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial because “the colossal scale and Social Realist style of the proposed statue recalls a genre of political sculpture that has recently been pulled down in other countries.” If only the commission could make a similar condemnation of the energy policies coming out of liberals in Congress.

Like the show trials of Stalin’s Soviet Union, Democrats in Congress summoned the nation’s top oil executives before the House Judiciary Committee Thursday for their annual flogging. The New York Times reports: “Ah, the sweet, indelible signs of summer. Baseball. Backyard barbecues. And dramatic Congressional hearings over the rising price of gasoline. In what has become a regular show in the hearing rooms on Capitol Hill, the oil company executives took a second day of lashings on Thursday. On Wednesday, they went through a similar exercise with the Senate Judiciary Committee.”

The energy policy surrealism in Congress did not end with just hearings. Lawmakers also passed a completely symbolic bill that has zero chance of ever lowering gas prices. Their No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels (NOPEC) Act would authorize the Justice Department to bring suit against OPEC member countries in U.S. federal courts. The problem is a successful suit would take years to prosecute, and even if the government did ever come close to winning, the offending foreign governments would just remove their assets from the U.S., making enforcement of a ruling impossible. Like the oil executive show trials, this is just another harmless feel-good measure that will do nothing to help lower energy prices for the American people.

Unfortunately, when it comes to energy policy, liberals in Congress don’t stop at meaningless symbolism. They also actually propose the exact same collectivist policies as our terrorist supporting, socialism exporting neighbor Hugo Chavez. Chavez has nationalized his nation’s oil fields; Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) wants to nationalize our nation’s oil companies. Chavez has slapped a windfall profits tax on every barrel of oil produced by foreign governments in his country; Sen. Barack Obama wants to impose a windfall profits oil tax on every barrel of oil sold in the U.S.

Americans can survive, and may even be entertained by, the “theater of the absurd” liberals in Congress are producing by beating up on OPEC and oil executives. No harm, no foul. But their actual policy proposals are another story. Nationalizing the country’s oil industry, like Hugo Chavez has done, would be an economic disaster. Instituting a windfall oil profits tax, like Hugo Chavez has done, would also be a economic disaster. Like the designers of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, liberals need to go back to the drawing board when it comes to energy policy.

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