RUSH: I wanted to alert you to the latest blowup between myself and the esteemed Democrat senator from Colorado, one Ken Salazar. I have here in my formerly nicotine stained fingers, ladies and gentlemen, a copy of the story at the Denver Post by Anne C. Mulkern: ‘Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh attacked Sen. Ken Salazar of Colorado today on the oil shale issue, while Democrat Salazar said the debate is not about lowering gas prices but about helping oil companies. The day after the Bureau of Land Management unveiled preliminary rules for selling oil shale leases in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah, Limbaugh quoted President Bush…’ This is from my Morning Update today. Here, let me read the Morning Update to you. I’ll do it live. I won’t even embellish it. I don’t need to go to the replay.
‘In the 2004 election cycle, Ken Salazar ran as a new kind of Democrat: a guy not beholden to liberal ideology, who would do what’s right for the country. That rhetoric proved effective in Colorado, and Salazar won his Senate seat. This week, the Interior Department will unveil new regulations to allow the sale of oil shale leases on federal land. In the Western states, those leases could eventually unlock up to 800 billion barrels of oil. Last month, President Bush spelled out what that would mean for America, saying that one major deposit in the Rocky Mountain West alone would equal current annual oil imports for more than one hundred years! But guess who’s blocking the way? Yep. Ken Salazar (Democrat-Colorado). Last year Senator Salazar slipped language into a bill to bar the federal government from issuing final regulations for commercial oil-shale development.
‘Even with $4-a-gallon gasoline, Ken Salazar (Democrat-Colorado) and his fellow Democrats are still preventing America from using our own resources to lower gas prices and create new jobs. In fact, Democrats — having killed off any chance of a gas-tax holiday — reportedly now want to raise the federal tax that you pay on each gallon of gas by ten cents, up to 28-plus cents per gallon! The moral, ladies and gentlemen (in case you haven’t figured it out) is that ‘new’ Democrats don’t exist. Running on change, running as a ‘new’ Democrat, running on being a moderate, only happens while running for office. In office, Salazar and his ilk revert to the same old liberals that they have always been — which means they don’t give a rat’s rear end about you or your gasoline price. That comes second, third or fourth, their own, the election,’ and, of course, party loyalty.
That ran on our blowtorch affiliate in Denver, 850 AM KOA. Salazar’s office or Salazar himself happened to hear about it and they called him or he called them, and he was on their morning show today reacting to this. That’s the tape that Cookie is working on as we speak. She should be able to get that done before the end of the program. Just continuing here with the Denver Post story, they quoted from the Update as saying, ”The moral, in case you haven’t figured this out, is that new Democrats don’t exist except when they’re running for office,’ Limbaugh said. … Salazar, interviewed later on 850 KOA, said that Limbaugh is ‘spreading falsehoods along with many of the people who want us to essentially give away the public lands of Colorado.” He also says that this is a giant trick to enrich the oil companies. You know, Senator Salazar and the rest of you Democrats are going to have to make up your minds who the devil is and stick with it. It’s either Big Oil or speculators. Now, you guys have moved on to speculators being the villain in the past couple of weeks and now all of a sudden you are back to Big Oil.
This is why, ladies and gentlemen, I have been pounding the issue here. It’s gasoline prices; it’s gasoline. Drill, drill, drill! Drill here; drill now. The Democrat Party is the one standing in the way of affordable gasoline. The Democrat Party is standing in the way of increased domestic supply. The Democrat Party is the one that’s worrying all about our foreign dependence and promoting all these things, alternative this, alternative that. There’s no such thing, to power your automobile or to power our airline aircraft! It just isn’t there. They are the ones standing in the way of it. Senator Salazar goes on KOA Denver today to say that I am lying and spreading falsehoods. (interruption) Well, I haven’t read the whole story. I haven’t heard the tape. I don’t know if he denied anything. So let’s not jump the gun, Snerdley. This is why I’m host and you are the Official Obama Criticizer working off a script. (interruption) Jeez. I don’t know that he denied anything. I don’t think he denied anything.
The odds are he didn’t deny it. He’s just changing the subject, and says I’m lying; I’m spreading falsehoods. It’s a giveaway of the public lands of Colorado? I’m not trying to give away the public lands of Colorado! ‘Colorado controls 80 percent of the oil shale reserves in the entire country, Salazar said. The technology to develop that shale does not yet exist, he said, and there are unanswered questions about how much water it will take, where it will come from, and how many coal-fire plants will need to be built to process the shale. Moreover, Salazar said, the BLM has said it will be 2015 at the earliest before oil can be extracted from the shale. ‘This is not about the development of oil shale today that will help us with gas prices,’ Salazar said, ‘What this is about is trying to give millions of acres of land away to the oil companies so they can lock it up forever as part of their reserves.’ ‘I’m not going to let the federal government run over Colorado,’ he added.’
That’s what Salazar said. Once again come up with a demon, Big Oil, about whom they’ve never proven anything in terms of gouging or price-fixing or anything of the sort. But as I say, you guys in the Democrat Party are going to have to figure out who your demon is and stick to it. Now, I want to go back to a caller we had right before the break at the bottom of the hour who was talking about Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae. Dr. Thomas Sowell has a brilliant piece today at National Review Online, ‘Our Government Problem-Solvers: At election time, pol[itician]s can’t help but ‘do something,’ even if it makes matters worse. We don’t look to arsonists to help put out fires but we do look to politicians to help solve financial crises that they played a major role in creating. How did the government help create the current financial mess? Let [Thomas Sowell] count the ways. In addition to federal laws…’
By the way, this relates to Salazar. This relates. These people have all the answers! ‘In addition to federal laws that pressure lenders to lend to people they would not otherwise lend to, and in places where they would otherwise not invest, state and local governments have in various parts of the country so severely restricted building as to lead to skyrocketing housing prices, which in turn have led many people to resort to ‘creative financing’ in order to buy these artificially more expensive homes.’ Now, doesn’t this ring true? Salazar doesn’t want any of the property in Colorado turned over. He wants to keep it off limits for the production of oil and so forth. ‘Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve System brought interest rates down to such low levels that ‘creative financing’ with interest-only mortgage loans enabled people to buy houses that they could not otherwise afford.
‘But [as we all know] there is no free lunch. Interest-only loans do not continue indefinitely. After a few years, such mortgage loans typically require the borrower to begin paying back some of the principal, which means that the monthly mortgage payments will begin to rise. Since everyone knew that the Federal Reserve System’s extremely low interest rates were not going to last forever, much ‘creative financing’ also involved adjustable-rate mortgages, where the interest charged by the lender would rise when interest rates in the economy as a whole rose. In the housing market, a difference of a couple of percentage points in the interest rate can make a big difference in the monthly mortgage payment. For someone who buys a house costing half a million dollars — which can be a very small house in many parts of coastal California — the difference between paying 4-percent and 6-percent interest would amount to more than $7,000 a year.
‘For people who have had to stretch to the limit to buy a house [in the first place], an increase of $7,000 a year in their mortgage payments can be enough to push them over the edge financially. In other words, government laws and policies at federal, state, and local levels have had the net effect of putting both borrowers and lenders way out on a limb. Yet, when that limb began to crack, the first reaction in politics and in the media has been to look to government to solve this problem because — as always — it was called the market’s fault, the lenders’ fault, and everybody’s fault except those politicians who created this dicey situation in the first place,’ and I would suggest to you that our lack of domestic oil can be blamed on the same ineffective politicians standing in the way of progress there, now sitting around looking for villains to blame such as the speculators — or, as Senator Salazar blames, the oil companies again. It’s a common refrain.
These people create these new laws that get everything all screwed up — and then when they go bad, they sit around as spectators and conduct hearings to find out who in the market cheated or broke laws! ‘Markets often get blamed for conveying a reality that was not created by the market.’ It was created by bureaucrats, senators, members of Congress. ‘For example, the fact that ‘the poor pay more’ for what they buy in stores in low-income neighborhoods is often blamed on those who run these stores, rather than on those who create extra costs through crime, vandalism, and riots. If the store owners were making big profits, the big chain stores would be rushing in to share in the bonanza, instead of avoiding low-income neighborhoods like the plague. Markets were also blamed for the Great Depression of the 1930s and New Deal politicians were credited with getting us out of it. But increasing numbers of economists and historians have concluded that it was government intervention which prolonged the Great Depression beyond that of other depressions where the government did nothing.’
Case in point: ‘The stock market crash of 1987 was at least as big as the stock market crash in 1929. But, instead of being followed by a Great Depression, the 1987 crash was followed by 20 years of economic growth, with low inflation and low unemployment. The Reagan administration did nothing in 1987, despite outrage in the media at the government’s failure to live up to its responsibility, as seen in liberal quarters. But nothing was apparently what needed to be done, so that markets could adjust.’ Nobody did anything. ‘The last thing politicians can do in an election year is nothing. So we can look for all sorts of “solutions” by politicians of both parties. Like most political solutions, these are likely to make matters worse.’ Thank you, Thomas Sowell — and thank you, Senator Salazar. We have a supply problem in oil; we’ve reached the tipping point at $4-a-gallon gasoline, and you want to stop any progress in adding to our supply so you can continue to demonize the oil companies rather than participate in something that would be genuine progress for the people who elected you and the rest of the people in this country.
RUSH: We’ve got the audio from Ken Salazar, and I read this Denver Post story, and they leave out the most important part of the story. They leave out the fact, ladies and gentlemen, that it was Senator Salazar who slipped language into the bill that bars the federal government from issuing final regulations for commercial oil shale development. He’s the guy that did it and they leave that out of the story. All right, he’s on this morning with the anchors April Zesbaugh and Steffan Tubbs. They asked Salazar what he thought about my commentary.
SALAZAR: Well, I think Rush Limbaugh is mistaken. I think he’s spreading falsehoods, along with many of the people who want us to essentially give away the public lands of Colorado, you know, the lands on the western slope. We control 80% of the oil shale reserves in the entire country. They are all located on the western slope of Colorado.
RUSH: I said that.
SALAZAR: You know the history of the booms and busts of oil shale. We also know the bust of the oil companies and the Department of Interior are telling us we don’t have the technology to be able to develop oil out of the shale, and if we are able to do it, it’s going to be about 2015. So this is not about the development of oil shale that today will help us today with gas prices. What this is about is trying to give millions of acres of land away to the oil companies so that they can lock it up forever as part of their reserves, and I don’t think that’s right. I’m not going to let the federal government run over Colorado.
RUSH: So the next question was, ‘Rush Limbaugh’s talking about you in the Denver Post this morning. It basically reads that you are a key player in this. You’re basically — the buck stops with you because of the way in which the language was inserted in a spending bill. Right now there’s no way in, at least in your near future you feel like you’re going to be swayed on this whatsoever?’
SALAZAR: Steffan, I know the facts of this too well. I’ve been on the ground in Rio Blanco county. I’ve visited with the oil shale companies. I have the letter from the president of Chevron that says that there’s no way that they’re ready for commercial oil shale regulations. I have the testimony on the record by the Assistant Secretary of Interior saying that they couldn’t in any way be able to produce oil from shale until perhaps 2015. So what is then the headlong rush to get it done now? The answer to that is that it’s a big giveaway to put all of these resources into the hands of a few oil companies. And that’s not how we ought to be dealing with our public resources. You know, I’m not against development of oil shale.
RUSH: Sure you are.
SALAZAR: I think that it ought to be looked at along with nuclear and a whole host of other things.
RUSH: Yeah, like we’re doing. You are looking at nuclear. Now, wait a second. We’re not going to produce a drop of this stuff until 2015, right? That’s how many years? Seven. But everybody’s saying 10. He admits seven. What’s wrong with seven? We’ve been through this whole argument. Anyway, the Democrat Party standing in the way.