I have learned a lot of facts over the last few weeks...
1. Ida Tarbell, the muckraker journalist who turned popular opinion against John D. Rockefeller, and eventually the dissolution of the Standard Oil trust, was driven in her efforts because Rockefeller had put her father, an oil refiner, out of business. Standard did so by using innovative new technology that caused refined products to fall in price to the consumer.
2. The cost of Medicare to the 40 some-odd percent of us who pay taxes is over $1.2 MM. That is, 40+ years of 100% of taxpayer income.
3. The average taxpayer pays in $100k into Medicare over his or her working life, and will use $440k in Medicare. This differential is not paid for. The Chinese are balking about paying for our healthcare, and are warning us our kids and grandkids better pay for it.
4. Polls overwhelmingly say that Americans don't want politicians to mess with their stash of Medicare. In other words, f*** the kids and grandkids. I need my "free" heroin.
If I were running for office (and most of you dear readers are hugely relieved that I am not), I would run on the plank that I would defend to the upmost American's rights to free healthcare, to the current point of bankrupting the country, enslaving future generations, making sure there is no future opportunity other than life in the grey world of totalitarian state benevolence, perhaps forcing doctors and nurses to work for no compensation as well, and wear attractive, multi color gimp balls while at it. It is an AMERICAN right, goddamit, to have free stuff! Free healthcare! And all of you would vote for me, relieved that SOMEONE understands your noble right, and is willing to fight to the political death for your free stuff. Anyone who denies you, dear reader, of free stuff you want or need, is a greedy inglorious basterd. That's what you want to hear, isn't it?
I was thinking that every American should have free oilwells. How would that work? We take a few dollars out of every paycheck, and when you are 65, you get to drill two wells. So, ten years ago, when the average was a 5000' vertical, unfracked well, the cost would be only a half million or so... about the amount of medicare we would use. With the government paying for everything, they would fix prices. Or, if they privatized it, and used insurance, the insurance companies would fix the price of a various components of drilling a well.
Thusly, since everyone will drill wells, and the government will pick up the tab, any efforts to reduce costs will go straight to the oil field service provider, because the price is fixed, to "control" costs. What a beautiful system... don't have to compete for market with cost, so all your R&D pays off as attractive profits. In this world, all sorts of innovation takes place, because the price is fixed and you don't have to compete on costs. You the sole provider? Hell, a million dollars for a screening mechanism that works on certain formations is the "Cost". It gets baked in as a fixed cost, and the result is cheaper and cheaper screens that don't cost less and less, just more profitable. Why limit ourselves to vertical wells? Lets go out horizontally 12,000'? We still have a two well limit. We can do this! Our costs are now 4 times higher than the vertical world, with no chance of going down, because there is no cost competition on services. Now, lets do 30 stage fracs! Its still two wells. Now the cost is 12 times what it was! It is a beautiful renaissance for oilfield services! No price competition at all, and every cost breakthrough goes straight to the bottom line! Plus, we have created a God Given RIGHT for Americans to drill two oil wells! We LOVE government intervention in the market place! It makes everything better, doesn't it?