January 26th, 2008
10:38 PM ET
13 years ago

Real People, Real Issues: $90 a barrel

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/01/27/art.electionbus1.cnn.jpg caption="Monahans’ mayor is looking to short-circuit the boom-and-bust cycle "]
Life is good for Mayor David Cutbirth. The price of oil – the lifeblood of his West Texas city, population 7,000 - is skyrocketing.

The city of Monahans’ economy is booming now, but Cutbirth said he is worried. He has also lived through a bust, and would prefer the cost of oil to come down a little bit more. It is currently priced at over $90 a barrel. Just a few weeks ago, it reached $100.

“A growing concern out here is that energy costs would get too high, and we believe … those types of numbers will tip the economy into a recession,” he said this week during a stop by the CNN Election Express in this city. “So that has been our fear out here.”

Cutbirth said he is not sure what Congress and the White House can do to keep the price of oil within a profitable but reasonable range. But he added that Washington lawmakers need to put an emphasis on developing alternative energy sources.

“Congress and the president have started late on this thing,” Cutbirth said. “But that is what we need to do. We need to diversify the economy in terms of energy, and get away from oil.”

At some point, Cutbirth said he realizes the oil beds beneath his feet will run dry. He is working now to ensure his city is not overly-dependent on oil - which could make for hard times again in the future.

Cutbirth has a political philosophy that would seem unorthodox perhaps outside of West Texas. He votes for Democrats in local and state elections, but Republican in presidential contests.

“A lot of us think of ourselves as social Democrats and fiscal Republicans,” he said.

This year, though, Cutbirth said he is keeping all of his options open.

“If I think they are going to get in there, and they’ll do a good job for our country and make this country strong, then I am going to vote for them,” he said.

- CNN Political Editor Mark Preston
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. CJM

    Why is no one talking about Dr. Bussard's Polywell IEC Fusion Process. If the testing in this DOD project currently being done in New Mexico is proven by this summer, then you will see the "bottom of the barrel" the oil barrel fall out!!!

    January 27, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  2. Mike

    Sadly, we are already in a recession as a direct result of high oil prices. Unfortunately, the President is an oilman who can care less about bringing down the cost of oil. I'm anxious for Exxon to report their up and coming staggering record profit statements.

    January 27, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  3. Duncan, Richmond, VA

    It's not up to the government to solve the alternative energy sources issue. The market will drive that development. When people in the US start demanding vehicles and power from alternative energy sources, then corporations will comply.

    Personally, I would like to see gas at 4 or $5 a gallon now so we can speed the development of alternative energy sources. I would rather have that happen now than in 10-15 years when not only will gas be more expensive, but it will start to be in short supply.

    January 27, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  4. IndependentCA

    Two options to keep oil prices down.... OPEC release some of their ridiculous supply of oil instead of manipulating the price (let's leave out that's it's traded in the commodities market). or.... Put money into alternative energy. This is also a security issue. But be prepared: the oil industry could care less about energy independence and national security. They will fight back. The minute money goes into alternative energies, the oil industry will lower their price to force the alternatives out of the market. No one will be allowed to touch their profits.

    January 27, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  5. charlotte

    An oil man who did not vote republican would surprise me. $90/$100 a barrel. This may come back and kick him in the teeth.

    January 27, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  6. Ted

    Alot of people are noticing CNN's biased coverage to OBAMA in website and TV. I am deeply disappointed. I am for HILLARY and CNN is not covering her. CNN, pls. be impartial. We trust you. Bet you, this comment of mine will not be posted.

    January 27, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  7. erika morgan

    There is some part of the economic jitters that is due to the high price of oil, however we Americans need to understand that our US dollar is now at half what it was against the euro, so we are really experiencing almost record lows at the gas pump on the world market. I think that there is a certain disconnect however in Washington DC. I am not so sure that the high gas and the mortgage crash is the big economic worry, though is is troublesome. What I see as the big economic crisis is the huge and growing mostly unrecognized disparity between the "haves" and the "have nots" right here in America. This is a condition that used to only affect the "poor countries" with corrupt greedy power players, like Edi Amine, Sadam Hussein, you get the idea. The Chinese have long had a system for dealing with all the resource being held by the few while the people starve, I think we need to be studying the rise and fall of Chinese dynasties to understand how we should re-right our ship of state or we are on our way to the bottom.

    January 27, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  8. R. L. Fitzpatrick

    I'm a WWII vet. I voted in all the elections since. The way you handled the Clinton, Obama S Carolina race was postively the most 1 sided reporting that I've ever seen. You never made it seem the Obama started the race issue, and that Clinton worked for Wall Mart first, before she mentioned the slum landlord. Your reporting has always been mainstream, until your reporting unfairly against Clinton.

    January 27, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  9. josh 7911

    oil schmoil. down with oil!!!!!!!! the oil industry is going to go down if the costs aren't cut. alternate resources will start to become popular if oil gets too expensive. these oil tycoons can go ahead and raise the oil prices at their own peril !!!!

    January 27, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  10. earl illingsworth

    The oil issue has been going on for fifty years, since the Nixon administration, we just happen to have poor memory's. Their are several realistic and feasible alternatives to the current crises. 1st/. Solar power is a very pragmatic approach to energy ,50% of our countries geography is applicable for it's use. Don't pay attention to the Wall Street . Their arguments about silicone ,(by-product) mainly used in fabrication is expensive to process or is in short supply ! Here's a market that could turn ,'"sand",literally into GOLD!(Oh,did I forget to mention, it doesn't take up precious vast amounts of land either!) 2nd/. Electric vehicles,General Motors pulled all of them off the market ,and melted them down, and sent the scrap iron ingots to Japan as a raw product, to make Hy-Brids!, Guess what? They sold the best automobile for suburban transportation,that was made in America,to the junkyard! Today ,the Japanese are eating our lunch ,and selling us the "Prius", now that's Rich! 3rd/.Nuclear Power is by far the least expensive ,and excessable source of infinite energy. The French have without a doubt perfected it,and have argulably the safest and best built(2 1/2 years on-line)plants in the world, with little regulatory oversite, being that their design is based completely opposite "Three Mile Island"! Folks,if we don't get started soon, we'll be buying all of thes products from ,"You Know Who"? God Bless Nafta, Cafta, Free Trade Deals, and lest we forget "GLOBALIZATION???

    January 27, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  11. mr.fair tax


    January 27, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  12. Robert M. Reidy N.Y.

    Don't worry America help is on the way !
    And that help is the charismatic selling of the green revolution
    that will be inspired by THE GREAT COMMUNICATOR – Barack Obama !

    Soon, also will be the endorsement of the Nobel Prize winner for Barack Obama –

    AL GORE !!!

    Catch the fever of a bright future !

    The World is watching !

    January 28, 2008 12:18 am at 12:18 am |