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The finger on the invisible hand

Just Kidding about the Oil

Thursday, February 02, 2006

(SNN Washington) President Bush is known for his odd sense of humor. One of the oddest things the president does is insert jokes into the State of the Union address. This year the big joke was alternative energy.

One of the hot topics of Bush's speech was a crop called switchgrass. Switchgrass is a crop which could theoretically help reduce the popular corn in making grain alcohol (ethanol). The president announced that fuels like switchgrass would be a priority for his administration. However, this was just an elaborate hoax. In fact, the energy Department announced that, due to cuts to the budget of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, they would have to start laying off researchers.

Also the president made the claim that he was making it a goal to cut oil imports from the Middle East by 75% by 2025. He said that America could "move beyond a petroleum-based economy and make our dependence on Middle Eastern oil a thing of the past." This was also just a little practical joke.

In the two days since Bush made these claims, Allan Hubbard, the director of the president's National Economic Council said that the president only plans to decrease the import will buy 75% of the projections for 2025. It is projected that by 2025 U. S. will need 6 million barrels of oil a day from the Middle East, as opposed to the 2 million barrels currently imported. So if 75% could be eliminated, and consumption does not rise, Middle Eastern oil will slow to a trickle of about 1.5 million barrels per day.

Also, Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said that that the figures the president threw out were "purely an example." In addition, Bodman says when the president said "the Middle East" he did not actually mean the Middle East, but was merely trying to make his speech more dramatic. Maybe he didn't even mean "The Middle East", but just "A Middle East", like the middle of East St. Louis.

So with his little prank about oil, the president has now even outdone last year's joke about steroids in baseball. It's a sure bet that every time he thinks back to the State of the Union address, he has to suppress a little chuckle.

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