The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Re-state of the Union

Will McAuliffe | Monday, January 29, 2007

The following excerpts are from various State of the Union Addresses throughout America’s history. Due to space limitations, there’s not much of each address, but I think that a pattern may emerge nonetheless.

Calvin Coolidge, Dec. 4, 1928: “The practical application of economy to the resources of the country calls for conservation … We have a conservation board working on our oil problem. This is of the utmost importance to the future well-being of our people in this age of oil-burning engines and the general application of gasoline to transportation.”

Herbert Hoover, Dec. 3, 1929: “Conservation of national resources is a fixed policy of the Government … Conservation of our oil and gas resources against future need is a national necessity.”

Harry S. Truman, Jan. 9, 1952: “In the Middle East political tensions and the oil controversy in Iran are keeping the region in a turmoil.”

Richard Nixon, Jan. 30, 1974: “These measures will require the oil companies and other energy producers to provide the public with the necessary information on their supplies. They will prevent the injustice of windfall profits for a few as a result of the sacrifices of the millions of Americans.”

Gerald R. Ford, Jan. 15, 1975: “But in all honesty, we cannot put all of the blame on the oil-exporting nations. We, the United States, are not blameless. Our growing dependence upon foreign sources has been adding to our vulnerability for years and years, and we did nothing to prepare ourselves for such an event as the embargo of 1973.”

Gerald R. Ford, Jan. 19, 1976: “Taking a longer look at America’s future, there can be neither sustained growth nor more jobs unless we continue to have an assured supply of energy to run our economy. Domestic production of oil and gas is still declining.

Our dependence on foreign oil at high prices is still too great, draining jobs and dollars away from our own economy at the rate of $125 per year for every American.”

Gerald R. Ford, Jan. 12, 1977: “In 1973 we were dependent upon foreign oil imports for 36 percent of our needs. Today, we are 40-percent dependent, and we’ll pay out $34 billion for foreign oil this year. Such vulnerability at present or in the future is intolerable and must be ended.”

Jimmy Carter, Jan. 19, 1978: “Every day we spend more than $120 million for foreign oil … Now we know what we must do, increase production. We must cut down on waste. And we must use more of those fuels which are plentiful and more permanent.”

Jimmy Carter, Jan. 21, 1980: “The crises in Iran and Afghanistan have dramatized a very important lesson: Our excessive dependence on foreign oil is a clear and present danger to our Nation’s security. The need has never been more urgent. At long last, we must have a clear, comprehensive energy policy for the United States.”

Jimmy Carter, Jan. 16, 1981: “An effective national energy plan is essential to increase domestic production of oil and gas, to encourage conservation of our scarce energy resources, to stimulate conversion to more abundant fuels, and to reduce our trade deficit.”

Ronald Reagan, Jan. 26, 1982: “By deregulating oil we’ve come closer to achieving energy independence and helped bring down the cost of gasoline and heating fuel.”

George H.W. Bush, Feb. 9, 1989: “And in some cases, the gulfs and oceans off our shores hold the promise of oil and gas reserves which can make our nation more secure and less dependent on foreign oil.”

George H.W. Bush, Jan. 29, 1991: “Most Americans know instinctively why we are in the Gulf. They know we had to stop Saddam now, not later … They know we must make sure that control of the world’s oil resources does not fall into his hands only to finance further aggression.”

Bill Clinton, Feb. 17, 1993: “Our plan includes a tax on energy as the best way to provide us with new revenue to lower the deficit and invest in our people. Moreover, unlike other taxes, this one reduces pollution, increases energy efficiency, and eases our dependence on oil from unstable regions of the world.”

George W. Bush, Jan. 29, 2002: “This Congress must act to encourage conservation, promote technology, build infrastructure, and it must act to increase energy production at home so America is less dependent on foreign oil.”

George W. Bush, Jan. 31, 2006: “Breakthroughs on this and other new technologies will help us reach another great goal: to replace more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025.”

George W. Bush, Jan. 23, 2007: “For too long, our nation has been dependent on foreign oil. And this dependence leaves us more vulnerable to hostile regimes, and to terrorists who could cause huge disruptions of oil shipments … raise the price of oil … and do great harm to our economy.”

I hope you’ve caught on by now.

For almost 80 years, our nation’s leaders have been aware of and supposedly have been attempting to conserve our domestic resources while at the same time attempting to curb our appetite for and dependence upon foreign oil. It’s up to us as Americans to make this administration, Congress and ourselves accountable for such a change. Only through the elimination of unnecessary tax breaks for big oil companies and establishment of incentives for alternative energies can we truly free ourselves from our oil addiction.

Will McAuliffe is a senior political science major with a serious love for the Colbert Report and Fox News. All letters of support, disdain or funny Backer experiences should be forwarded to his personal assistant at mcauliffe.4@nd.edu

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.