- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 13, 2011

A recent news report said Saudi Arabia is funding housing, salary increases and the creation of 60,000 new jobs. In Kuwait, citizens were given $3,664 and free food for 13 months. In Algeria, civil servants received a 34 percent pay raise. In Qatar, the crown prince ordered $8.2 billion in civil servant salary increases.

Just how do these Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) nations fund their public-sector spending? Through Uncle Sam, of course. We actually are subsidizing OPEC public spending because America has no energy plan. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that OPEC is poised to earn an unprecedented $1 trillion this year.

America sent $37.9 billion to OPEC for foreign oil in August, importing 344 million barrels. Dec. 31 will bring a record: In one year, a half-trillion dollars will have gone overseas to satisfy dependence on imported oil. This is insane.

The “NAT GAS Act,” H.R. 1380, would be a first step in reducing our dependence on OPEC. America has 8 million 18-wheeler trucks. This bill would create tax credits, not subsidies, to convert diesel engines to natural gas. Natural gas is domestic, cheaper, cleaner and abundant.

H.R. 1380 is a five-year, $5 billion plan, and $5 billion is what America already sends overseas every 7.5 days. Support H.R. 1380.

DOUG MCCLAUGHERTY

Sarasota, Fla.