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Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 6:03 EDT

Perot, Pickens and Our Oil Future

July 15, 2008

The following editorial appeared in the Dallas Morning News on Sunday, July 13:

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Billionaires Ross Perot and Boone Pickens have far more in common than their bank accounts.

They’ve seen America’s future, and they don’t like it.

Perot fears the coming economic explosion of rising Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid costs, and so he recently launched PerotCharts.com, a Web site to spotlight these dangers. Likewise, Pickens, who made his fortune in the oil fields, has begun a sophisticated social networking campaign on the Internet to prod Americans, Congress and the next president to end the nation’s oil addiction.

These aren’t a couple of rich guys who remember the “good old days” with unrealistic nostalgia. To the contrary, they’ve amassed fortunes by thinking about what comes next.

The problem is that most Americans, including elected policy-makers, continue to live for the moment. The United States hasn’t had a coherent energy plan in decades. Countless blue-ribbon commissions have warned of out-of-control deficit spending and soaring entitlement obligations. The nation has unwisely postponed the inevitable day of reckoning, and now it is nearly here.

Both billionaires will do the nation a great service if their viral Internet marketing campaigns build the badly needed grassroots support to help wean us from foreign oil. Pickens’ deep-pocketed multimedia campaign includes PickensPlan.com and a Facebook page as tools to build buzz.

Pickens says natural gas could be used to power cars and trucks instead of gasoline, and wind power and clean coal could replace natural gas in generating electricity. He concedes that it is not a complete solution but would at least provide a significant step away from economic disaster.

Yes, America’s infatuation with oil made Pickens rich. Yes, he has significant investments in natural gas and wind power. But the United States must make different and better energy choices. Who better than Boone Pickens to champion this crusade?

Sometimes, when money talks, it makes a lot of sense.

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(c) 2008, The Dallas Morning News.

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