Things are looking very dicey in Oklahoma. CoS failed in the House. Dave Guldenschuh is there on the ground, and says the arguments used against CoS are the same that will be used against us. Former Senator Tom Coburn, a beloved political figure in Oklahoma, is currently hospitalized with advanced prostate cancer. He sent out a letter today, pleading with Oklahoma legislators to strap on a pair and defy these nutty Birchers. To no avail. Dave is really disgusted with them. He’s going to advise sponsor Banz to pull the bill, and try again next year. I concur. We shouldn’t take a chance. We need Oklahoma. If we fail on the floor, we may not be able to revive it next year. Prudence.
The only way we’re going to get Oklahoma is with the Reagan Initiative. Dave says no amount of education and persuasion will work. These legislators are beholden to people who want to kill our bill. They don’t listen. They don’t care. But they will listen to the oil industry. They’ll listen very, very carefully. And once the oil industry understands the implications, for them, of a supply side BBA, with land transfers and regulatory reform, they’ll be all in. I know these oil guys. In Alaska we used to say you can tell if an oil man is level headed. It’s if he drools evenly from both sides of his mouth. The Reagan Initiative is a drool inducer, for oil men.
Holly Fretwell of the Property and Environment Research Center is out with an important paper on the untapped wealth of federal lands in the West. I’ve invited her to present at the Seattle Summit. I bet she comes. PERC is at Montana State, in Bozeman. My wife and I will be renting a house in Bozeman for a month this summer, so I’ll shoot out to the campus to meet her. My eleven year old granddaughter will be spending a week with us. I’m trying to get her interested in attending MSU. I’ll take her with me.
There’s big money in oil. Big money jobs. My wife and I moved to Anchorage smack dab in the middle of an oil rush. Uncle Fritz called it a stampede. In ’69 they found an elephant on the North Slope, and they were in the middle of building the pipeline that would make Alaska rich. If you weren’t making at least $70,000 a year on the pipeline, there was something wrong with you. You didn’t need any skills. All you needed to do was join the Teamster’s Union. Alaska was a strong union state, and Jesse Carr, the Teamster boss, cut a deal with the oil companies. It was called a Project Labor Agreement, and it meant Jesse, and some other labor bosses, controlled most of the workers building the pipeline. The amount of waste was incredible. The oil companies didn’t care. What’s an extra two or three billion in construction costs? Chump change.
So, to me, the nicest part of the Reagan Initiative is all the high wage jobs that will result. I like to imagine hundreds of thousands of young Americans getting their first real taste of good money. The kind of money that will encourage them to have families, because they’ll be able to afford families. All those college grads, living in the basement with their student debt, will have a choice. Do I sit on my ass, and piss and moan, or do I go West, and make a life for myself?
I want to give them an option.