Energy Independence and Economic Growth

Mitt Romney has promised that if he is elected he will create 12 million jobs; ironic considering he insists government cannot create jobs, but that is beside the point. 12 million is a huge goal; to date, President Obama has only created about 4 million. 12 million would almost eliminate our current unemployed. Of course others have stopped looking for jobs, but if the work force stayed as is, Mitt Romney claims he could almost completely rid our nation of unemployment. Mitt has given no time frame, so because he is comparing economic production to one Obama term, we assume he is giving first term creation numbers.

Aiming so high almost certainly sets the stage for a pass/fail Presidency; there is not much room for middle ground with this promise. Then again, President Obama has shown that a President can run a campaign while completely avoiding their record and promises made. Either way, Mitt Romney has set his own standard, and has given us a plan–or at least a few aspects of one. The campaign has put the energy sector first and foremost on their economic platform, and for good reason. Mitt Romney has set a goal to be energy independent by 2020; if that is done, millions of jobs will be created by consequence.

At the base of Mitt Romney’s plan is domestic fossil fuel production. Little known to most people is the fact that many of the western states have public lands largely owned by the federal government. This does not make sense to me either. Counties and municipalities have to walk though federal bureaucratic red tape in order to even access their land. Some counties are as much as 90% owned by the federal government! I have a friend in Utah who wanted to trade a large piece of unusable land for a smaller piece of accessible land which he could use to graze horses; it took the government–and I am not kidding–about 20 years to approve that trade! If jobs are available now, why would we waste 20 years of bureaucratic B.S. accessing those when the average American family has lost $4,000 in income? Mitt Romney wants to cut through tape, and give local governments access to this land. It makes sense; someone living on or near the land ought to be the manager of the land. A Washington bureaucrat rarely even sees the land they control.

States like Nevada, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Alaska are energy rich, but are not producing. States like North Dakota are energy rich and are booming. Unemployment in North Dakota is only 3%! Reports are that you cannot even drive through the state without being offered a job. If that is a possibility for other states, 12 million jobs may be within grasp. The United States has huge oil reserves. I know that topic is up for

political debate because of the technical definition of the word “reserves”, but Patriotslog does not care for semantics. The fact is there are vast amounts of oil available to the United States, and even by the most conservative estimates, the amount of oil keeps growing. We may have as much as 200 years of oil available to us–or more.

Many people scoff at the idea that the United States could be completely energy independent by 2020, but it might not be so farfetched. Last year, for the first time in over 60 years the United States exported more oil than it imported. Obviously, to be independent we need more crude oil, but drilling on federal lands and in the oceans could produce that, and we may not need as much as you might think. The United States also is using less petroleum now than in times past. Moreover, new laws have been passed to double the average fuel efficiency in a fleet of vehicles. Patriotslog heavily doubts this is achievable by the 2025 goal, but any improvement will help. Fleets reaching an average of 50mpgs are about as likely as our presidential candidates telling the truth, but if we get to 30 or 35 that will still make a significant impact. To be energy independent we may also need more refineries, but that would be more jobs on top of the production jobs. All of these factors can combine into an energy independent United States. By 2020, this is much more reachable than many realize, and it actually is plausible.

Most of the western U.S. is Federally owned

Of course Mitt Romney’s plan is not perfect. In fact, it makes a lot of people unhappy. One argument Patriotslog has no patience for is that increasing drilling will contribute to global warming. Calm down, I am not suggesting global warming does not exist, but here are a few facts to chew on. Carbon emissions are lower in the United States than they have been in decades, and they are still going down! I know liberals hate to hear this, but we do not need the EPA. Regulations are not needed to clean up our emissions. It is clear that if consumers are offered cleaner options that are affordable and practical, we will regulate ourselves. If we become aware of the issues we have shown we will use our education to make a difference. These carbon emissions continue to drop despite the highly controversial fracking and natural gas productions that continue to grow. Clearly, we have developed safe and clean ways to produce, refine, and use oil. More drilling does not necessarily mean more emissions. Moreover, the more we drill the smaller the demand on other areas of the world to drill; therefore, the less they drill. Because we have cleaner and more efficient ways to do this, we may actually see carbon emission decrease with more drilling.

While emissions are not an issue, alternative energy is. Of course clean energy will produce no emissions, which is better than the drilling, but one way or another, we cannot–and with the price of gas, we should not–rely on coal/petroleum energy forever. The Romney plan, most likely in an effort to cut spending, will end the clean energy tax credit. Funding will no longer be available for alternative energy development. Patriotslog thinks this idea will work out as well as eliminating a core education subject in public school. Individual innovation creates most technological and medical advancements, but very often, the research is subsidized by the government. Things like the nuclear bomb and the internet have produced millions and millions of jobs, and would most likely not exist without the government research and development funding. Of course Solyndra was a bust, but not even Mitt Romney can claim they have never made a bad investment. Just like at Bain Capital, you are hit and miss with investments. Solyndra was a bigger miss than a Kardashian marriage, but that does not mean the government should stop funding research and development. Look at the huge strides in the battery market in just the last decade. There could be vast potential none of us are even aware of right now in the battery market that may never be reached without funding–funding Mitt Romney would cut. Just because it is a good idea to develop the oil potential in our country does not mean it is a good idea to stop developing all other forms of energy.

The biggest reason to continue other research is the price of gas. Energy independence may not mean lower gas prices, because petroleum is a global industry. When the Libyan civil war broke out the price of gas rose by a higher percentage in Canada than in the Middle East. Independence could make a difference here, but research shows it is not likely.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates the Romney plan would only produce $7 billion in new revenue; but that may not tell the whole story. That number is highly disputed, but either way it does not take into account the taxes from jobs created in the industry. If Mitt Romney can achieve 12 million jobs, the revenue will be substantial. While the trickle-down effect works about as well as a Hollywood actress transitioning to a singer, the ripple effect does work. All the new jobs created by energy independence will ripple into the economy. Not only does it mean less government spending for welfare with the unemployed, but it means more consumers spending. More consumer spending means more sales taxes, more income taxes, more economic growth, and more jobs created. This effect is then repeated over and over. Energy independence is not a perfect plan, but it can go a long way to economic growth.

 

–Matt Young

7 September, 2012

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About patriotslog

I am studying to achieve a double major in political science and journalism from the University of Kentucky. I am married to a wonderful woman named Sierra. I am starting this blog because I feel the political climate in Washington is carving deep canyons for our children to climb out of. Our representatives, on both sides of the isle, do not represent us, they represent the lobbyists.This blog is not to give answers, but to make people think. I believe the more we think about our ideas the better they will become; as opposed to becoming more and more intrenched in far left or right wing brainwash, where it seems nobody thinks anymore. I hope y'all enjoy.

Posted on September 9, 2012, in Patriotslog Articles, Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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