The year was 2008. America was in the early stages of the Great Recession caused by the government itself after years of interference with the free-market “economy” in areas like real estate, banking, and energy, along with excessive government spending in the form of bailouts and stimulus packages in a vain attempt to fix the self-inflicted problem.
George Bush took things up a notch when he abandoned free market principles to save the free market, while socialist Democrats threatened to flat-out abandon the free market altogether.
Leading up to the Great Recession, government interference had caused oil and gas prices to skyrocket before causing them to plummet, so congressional hearings were held with oil company executives in an attempt to pass the blame. During these hearings, Rep. Maxine Waters threatened to nationalize (i.e. socialize) the oil industry.
“And guess what this member would be all about? This member would be all about socializing — er, uh. [Pauses for several moments] …. would be about … [pause] … basically … taking over, and the government running all of your companies.”
Fast forward to 2020. America is in the early stages of another Great Recession caused by government interference with the free market economy by shutting it down in response to coronavirus hysteria, along with a bigger round of excessive government spending in the form of bailouts and stimulus packages in a vain attempt to fix the self-inflicted problem. And as was the case in 2008, the oil and gas industry has seen prices plummet to record lows due to this interference after a period of higher prices.
In response to this record-breaking negative impact, Donald “King of Debt” Trump is preparing to prop up the oil industry with a package of emergency loans that would accomplish something Maxine waters only threatened to do — giving the government ownership of energy companies.
The program, designed by Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, would require that the government receive an equity position from participating companies, much like Obama required of automobile companies in the TARP bailouts during the Great Recession.
American Exploration and Production Council CEO Anne Bradbury identified Trump’s real motivation with this program when she told the Washington Examiner, “We have concerns with a lending program that gives the government a stake in independent oil and gas companies or moves our industry toward nationalization.” And Mike McKenna, a fossil fuel lobbyist, warned that such ownership in the hands of a future administration could give government the power to force carbon reduction efforts on the energy industry or simply shut it down — a goal of the Green New Deal which is being pushed during the COVID-19 “crisis.”
This loan program isn’t Trump’s first foray into government ownership of critical industries — he’s been working on nationalizing the 5-G network, for example — but it still gives reason for concern because it provides another example of how Washington is using coronavirus hysteria to do what it couldn’t do before but has wanted to do for years: destroy liberty as they race America toward tyranny and socialism.
David Leach is the owner of the Strident Conservative. He holds people of every political stripe accountable and promotes conservative principles over political parties.