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Up the creek with less oil, record debt

Here's another reason we're going to be sorry that we've allowed this administration to plunge the United States into record debt - we're going to start running out of oil in the next decade or two.

Sound silly? Not according to the world's oil exports.

The new issue of The Week magazine devotes a full page to what it describes as the indisputable fact that the world is rapidly draining the vast reservoirs of oil under the Earth's surface. And because we've been so slow at developing alternatives to oil, we're due for a traumatic reaction.

There are few products, particularly here in America, that aren't somehow dependent on oil. It heats our homes and businesses, powers our factories and farms, fuels our transportation. Even fertilizers, insecticides, plastics and fabrics are made from oil.

The world, according to the magazine, is currently consuming about 70 million gallons of oil every day. It's anticipated that by the year 2030, that will increase to 120 million gallons. Unfortunately, the United States alone consumes about one-fourth of that oil and continues to need more. Most of it now, of course, comes from foreign countries, not all of them with stable governments.

Experts are now saying that as the supplies get tighter - and they will - we better get used to $2 per gallon gasoline. In fact, within 10 years, many predict, that could easily climb to $7 to $10 a gallon.

As oil becomes more scarce, we'll have to revert to increased use of nuclear power in some parts of the country and burning inefficient and polluting coal in others, adding to the already growing problem of global warming - unless we develop alternative energy sources.

As the magazine points out, "With the oil still flowing, there's not much economic incentive for private corporations to gamble tens of billions of dollars developing uncertain alternatives."

The truth, though, is that we'd better.

That's why the out-of-control federal deficit is going to be an impediment. In an effort to fight an ill-conceived war on top of giving enormous tax cuts to the wealthy, we're so mortgaging the future that we can't afford to make the fixes that will be so important to our standard of living.

Instead, we've decided to saddle our kids and grandkids with trillions in debt, a health care system that doesn't work, and an energy supply that's running out.

Sometimes there's a blessing in being old.

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