Government energy help

Within the contradictory bravado about energy in US President Barack Obama's State of the Union Speech Jan. 24 hid raw material for a constructive point about governmental help in the development of energy technology. Bringing that point into focus, though, requires reengineering of Obama's pronouncements. The president started well on energy by citing impressive increases these past few years in US production of oil and gas, acknowledging the huge potential of shale plays, and promising to "open more than 75% of our potential offshore oil and gas resources" to exploration and development. Then he ran aground. "We've subsidized oil companies for a century. That's long enoug...

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