We can and must rejuvenate our economy by developing America’s resource bounties
by Paul Driessen
Governor Mitt Romney strongly supports North American energy independence as the foundation of renewed US employment and prosperity. President Obama is waging war on fossil fuels, job creation, and efforts to end our economic recession and reduce dependence on Middle Eastern and Russian oil.
Romney’s emphasis on careful analysis and due diligence brought him and Bain Capital notable winners like AMC Entertainment, Burger King, Burlington Coat Factory, Domino’s Pizza, Dunkin’ Donuts and Staples. Obama’s focus on ideology, political calculation, cronyism and campaign contributors produced scandalous losers like A123, Abound Solar, Crescent Dunes, Ener1, Fisker, Mountain Plaza, Solyndra, Tesla, and a host of wind and biofuel projects that would collapse if their taxpayer subsidies were cut off.
Not surprisingly, US gasoline prices are double what they were the day Obama took office. Some 25 million Americans are without full-time jobs – leaving 23% of the workforce unemployed, involuntarily working part-time or at jobs where they are overqualified, making far less money than they did previously, or no longer looking for a job. Our 64% “labor participation rate” is at a 30-year low.
There are still 4.5 million fewer jobs than in 2007, even though our population has grown; the hourly wage of college-educated Americans age 23 to 29 fell 4.7% between 2007 and 2011; median household income plummeted $3,040 since the recession (supposedly, officially) ended in June 2009; and a record 45 million Americans are on food stamps.
Meanwhile, the ever-unstable Middle East is even more unstable. Terrorists murdered our ambassador to Libya. A pitiful anti-Islamist video excused riots in Egypt, where a Muslim Brotherhood leader is now president. More than 33,000 have died in a nasty Syrian civil war. Internecine conflicts continue in Iraq and elsewhere. The seemingly perpetual Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains poised to intensify. the Taliban and Al Qaeda continue to build power and launch vicious attacks, such as gunning down the US embassy’s Yemeni security chief in Sana’a. And we are importing oil from brutal human rights violators.
Outside the Middle East, the Putin government is using energy to pressure and blackmail European nations dependent on Russian oil and gas, while orchestrating anti-fracking campaigns to keep EU countries from tapping their abundant shale gas supplies. Politics, events and human rights violations raise further questions about Russia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Nigeria and Sudan. And many of these countries are among our most important oil suppliers – because we refuse to develop our own deposits.
Since oil is sold in a world market, producing more in the United States means we could import less from abroad, free up more oil for other nations, and push prices down. Exporting US natural gas and drilling, fracking and production expertise would make other nations less dependent on the Middle East and Russia, bring natural gas prices down further, turbo-charge economies, and encourage African countries to use gas to generate electricity, rather than “flaring” it as an unwanted byproduct of oil production.
Romney understands this. He is calling for more oil and natural gas production here in the United States, changes to excessive and counterproductive federal regulations that raise energy costs and kill jobs, and increased use of friendly Canadian oil to serve America’s consumers. He knows this will protect us against disruptions in Middle East oil supplies, reduce the flow of American dollars to totalitarian human rights violators, create American jobs, increase tax revenues, and jumpstart our sluggish economy.
President Obama, by contrast, continues to ignore reality and embrace policies based on hope, green dreams, and a determination to “fundamentally transform” America’s Constitution, economy, society and business system. He continues to waste billions of taxpayer dollars to subsidize unreliable, unsustainable, inefficient, insufficient energy forms that are at best decades from competing in the free market – even as 80% of Department of Energy grants and loans went to companies owned or controlled by Obama contributors; DOE restructured its $465 million loan to Tesla, to make sure the electric-car company doesn’t run out of cash right before the election; and President Obama says malnourished, energy-deprived Africans should avoid fossil fuels and rely instead on wind, solar and biofuel power.
Many recipients of involuntary taxpayer largesse are donors to Obama and Democrat re-election campaigns; have electoral clout in crucial swing states, where corn growers and others benefit from ethanol, wind and solar schemes; or provide crucial propaganda and campaign services via government employee and labor unions and tax-exempt radical environmentalist organizations.
While Obama turns his back on the reliable fossil fuels that power America’s economic engine, he denounces and demonizes companies that produce this hydrocarbon energy, pay billions of dollars in taxes and support millions of American jobs. He singles out America’s oil and natural gas sector for discriminatory tax increases and excessive regulations, and makes more and more federal lands, waters and resources off limits to responsible exploration and development.
Environmental activists and the Obama Administration express outrage about subsidies for traditional, efficient means of generating electricity, which amount to $0.25-$0.44 (25-44 cents) per megawatt-hour for coal and natural gas and $1.59 per MWH for nuclear. But they are eerily silent about enormous subsidies for wind ($23.37 per MWH) and solar electricity ($24.34 per MWH).
They express equal outrage about importing petroleum from Canada’s oil sands via the Keystone Pipeline – but are silent about imports of thick, gooey crude from Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez. They brag about increased US oil and gas production on private lands, but insist that there be little or no drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Rocky Mountains or even National Petroleum Reserve Alaska, which Congress set aside decades ago specifically to safeguard our national security by increasing exploration in areas with the best potential for oil and gas.
Lisa Jackson’s Environmental Protection Agency is imposing draconian restrictions on power plants and other CO2 sources, as another way of “skinning the cat” and hyper-regulating coal out of the US energy picture, after Congress rejected cap-tax-and-trade legislation. Meantime, Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) has introduced the Managed Carbon Price Act, which analysts say will impose regressive taxes that will rise to $5.20 per gallon of gasoline by 2024 and equally hefty surcharges on other hydrocarbon use.
The impact on transportation, shipping, commuting, manufacturing, jobs and families is frightening to contemplate. So is the fact that these actions are coming even as Britain’s Meteorological Office released data showing that the world stopped getting warmer almost 16 years ago – and that average global temperatures rose an impossible-to-measure and statistically insignificant 0.03 degrees C per decade.
Meanwhile, Germany, Italy and Japan plan to phase out nuclear power, thereby increasing their use of natural gas and coal for electricity – while China and India plan to build 900 new coal-fired power plants to electrify their growing economies. All will pump millions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere – dwarfing any reductions the USA might achieve by closing more power plants and further shackling our economy.
The Administration’s actions have been arrogant, irresponsible and autocratic. Win or lose in November, the White House, EPA, DOE and Interior Department will impose boxcars of punitive new regulations that have been put on hold until November 7.
We can dig ourselves out of this hole. We can and must rejuvenate and reinvigorate our economy, by developing America’s resource bounties.
We don’t need to “fundamentally transform” America’s economy, society and free enterprise system. We need to fundamentally transform the anti-hydrocarbon culture that pervades the Congress, White House, Executive Branch and radical environmental groups that have brought us to where we are today.
Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and Congress of Racial Equality, and author or Eco-Imperialism: Green power – Black death. 10/15/12
September 1, 2012, 10:04 AM (GMT+02:00)
US Gen. Martin Dempsey’s assertion Thursday, Aug. 30 that the US would not be “complicit” in an Israel strike against Iran, together with the drastic reduction in the scale of next month’s joint US-Israeli war game disclosed by TIME, add up to a blunt message from US President Barack Obama to Israel: You are on your own! See how you manage without special US weapons and US military backup, including a shield against missile counter-attack, if you decide to defy us and go through with a military operation against Iran.
Instead of the 5,000 US troops originally assigned for Austere Challenge 12, the annual joint exercise, the Pentagon will send only 1,200 to 1,500 service members. The missile interception systems at the core of the joint exercise will be reduced in number and potency: Patriot anti-missiles will come without crews and maybe one instead of two Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense warships, according to the magazine.
debkafile’s military sources: The Obama administration has put Israel on harsh notice that an attack on Iran to disrupt or delay its nuclear armament will be refused US missile backup – both in the course of the operation and to cover Israel’s back in the event of a counter-strike widening into a general Middle East conflict. The Netanyahu government will bear full and exclusive responsibility for the consequences of attacking Iran.
Obama, who has repeatedly pledged his commitment to Israeli security, is the first American president to cut Israeli adrift against a major threat to its security explicitly posed by Iran.
The US president has put his campaign for reelection next month at great albeit calculated risk. His rival Mitt Romney will not doubt follow up on the charges he made during his acceptance speech to the Republican convention Thursday that Obama threw “allies like Israel under the bus” and failed utterly to stop Iran’s centrifuges spinning.
Obama may find the Jewish vote and campaign contributions fading. For Romney an incumbent president throwing Israel to the wolves against the ayatollahs is a dream come true.
Binyamin Netanyahu and his defense minister Ehud Barak must bear some of the onus for one of the most damaging ruptures US-Israel relations have ever faced – as will be discussed later. However, the prime cause must be sought elsewhere.
In the last month, Obama has undergone a change of face: The top US soldier and ambassador Dan Shapiro were told to start treating Israel like a pest and telling its leaders that the administration is fed to the teeth with their clamor for action on Iran.
This change did not come out of the blue. debkafile’s Washington and Moscow sources report it evolved from three events:
1. During this month, President Vladimir Putin severed Russia’s military ties with Iran and Syria as debkafile reported earlier: Obama reciprocated by cutting Israel down to size. Moscow informed Tehran and Damascus that there would be no more Russian arms supplies after the delivery of the last items in the pipeline. Putin therefore left both Iran and Syria high and dry amid war dangers in return for Obama cutting Israel off from advance military hardware at a time of peril.
The Russian and American leaders thus put in place the first bricks of an accord for resolving their disputes over a nuclear Iran and the Syrian crisis by the device of slashing the military capacity of Iran, Israel and Syria.
The Russian president took another step as a gesture to Obama: He pulled Russian warships out of the Syrian base of Tartus and the eastern Mediterranean, leaving only a floating dry dock.
In return, he counted on Washington forcing Israel to abandon any plans to strike Iran.
2. But this exercise in symmetrical reciprocity ran into a major snag: Obama found a tough nut in Jerusalem: Binyamin Netanyahu held out for a pledge of US military action against Iran as his price for holding back. Despite the massive pressure Obama threw at the Israeli government, both through the highest ranking US political and military channels and by mobilizing the government’s most vocal opponents and anti-war circles at home, Netanyahu and Barak did not budge.
They understood, despite Obama’s concealment, that the secret US-Russian deal would in fact preserve Iran’s nuclear program at a point at which Iran’s leaders could have a weapon assembled and unsheathed at any moment.
The also realized that as long as Israel’s military option against Iran was alive, the Obama-Putin deal was stuck, because both Iran’s Ali Khamenei and Syria’s Bashar Assad would likewise refuse to fall into line.
When Romney said he would give America’s friends “more loyalty” and Putin “a little less flexibility and more backbone,” he was referring to President Obama’s request from Putin on June 18, at the G20 conference in Mexico, for more time against his promise to the Russian leader of “more flexibility” later.
To keep his deal with Putin in motion, the US president will have to tighten his squeeze on Israel’s leaders to forego an attack on Iran.
3. The Netanyahu government, for its part, committed three tactical errors:
- One: They dragged out the dialogue on Iran with the US administration for far too long – three years or more – and come away for it empty-handed. If their purpose was to persuade the United States to carry the can against Iran, as many Israelis believed, they failed. No Israeli leader has the right to procrastinate to this extent on action affecting its fundamental security, if not existence. Netanyahu fell into the trap of crying wolf by shouting year after year that Iran must be stopped – and doing nothing.
- Two: Israel’s deterrent capacity, already sapped by inaction, was further eroded by US General Martin Dempsey’s assertions that Israel lacks the capacity to destroy the Iranian nuclear program.
- Three: They failed to act expeditiously to prevent the political opposition using a campaign against an attack on Iran as a stratagem for bringing the government down.
It has been four weeks since the former Mossad director Ephraim Halevi said that if he was an Iranian, he would be worried in the next twelve weeks.
That was on Aug. 2.
Thursday, Aug. 30, Halevi said: “It is important for Israel’s military threat to be credible.”
He was throwing down the gauntlet for Netanyahu and Barak to show they were serious about striking Iran – or else back down completely.
His timeline gives them another eight weeks to show their mettle.
During that time, they will be under heavy bombardment from Washington.
- Israeli Officials See Gap With USA Widening… (bloomberg.com)
- US disowns Israel over Iran strike: No weapons or military backup (counterjihadreport.com)
(Reuters) – After a month in which his re-election campaign picked up momentum, hard economic realities are about to hit President Barack Obama as he takes to the road on a campaign bus trip through the Rust Belt.
Poor manufacturing data earlier this week followed by a likely weak jobless report on Friday are reminding Obama that he has a lot of work to do to convince voters he is bringing the economy back to full health.
A Supreme Court victory for Obama on healthcare and a surprise expansion of immigration laws that put Republican opponent Mitt Romney on the defensive on the issue may soon fade from memory.
“By Friday, the Supreme Court will be in the rear-view mirror and everybody will be talking about the state of the economy,” said Greg Valliere, an analyst for institutional investors at Potomac Research Group.
“I think the debate on Friday will be whether the economy is still growing or whether we’ve hit a brick wall,” he said.
U.S. manufacturing activity contracted in June for the first time in nearly three years, data showed on Monday, stark evidence of a slowing economic recovery and that Europe’s debt crisis is weighing on the U.S. economy.
And the monthly jobless figures, the most closely watched economic indicator, are expected to be lackluster.
Economists polled by Reuters expect nonfarm payrolls to have risen by only 90,000 jobs in June and the unemployment rate will stay unchanged at 8.2 percent. Employers likely increased hiring, but not enough to dispel concerns that the economy is losing steam.
The fiscal gloom allows Romney to re-energize his charge that the White House is not creating jobs quickly enough, after his nonstop economic criticism was drowned out by last week’s Supreme Court ruling that Obama’s 2010 healthcare law is constitutional.
“From day one of his administration, the president has pursued policies that have hurt job creators, hurt the manufacturing sector, and left millions of Americans struggling to find work. It’s going to be hard for the president to argue Americans should gamble on a second term while on his bus tour,” Romney campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said.
Romney also struggled recently to explain his immigration position after Obama forced the issue on to the agenda by halting possible deportations of young illegal immigrants. The immigration debate helped Obama in polls.
RUST BELT PUSH
Obama begins a two-day campaign bus tour through Ohio and western Pennsylvania on Thursday. No matter how the unemployment report comes out, he will remind voters his bailout of the U.S. auto industry helped save jobs in the area.
In a tough economic climate, polls show that Obama still comes across as likeable although he does have a problem winning over white, middle-class male voters.
“Whoever does a better job of showing empathy will have a better chance of winning in November,” Valliere said.
Obama led Romney 48 percent to 43 percent in Gallup’s daily national tracking poll on Tuesday, the sixth consecutive day in which the survey has shown the Democratic incumbent with a statistically meaningful, if small, lead.
The five-point edge was Obama’s largest lead in Gallup daily tracking since April, and his longest such streak since then.
But economic clouds could again darken his re-election chances on November 6.
“Everybody is concerned about the prospects for the economy. There are two huge issues. One is Europe and the second is our own fiscal cliff,” said Isabelle Sawhill, a budget expert at the Brookings Institution, referring to programmed cuts in the U.S. budget and rising taxes next year, unless congress acts to avoid them.
“The concerns and the fears… have already begun to undermine confidence in the economy and cause both consumers and businesses to hold back on what they are willing to spend,” she said.
Obama’s campaign points to steady, if slow, improvement in the economy since he has taken office, and says he could have done more if Republicans in Congress had not blocked his efforts to stimulate growth.
“Clearly, the economy is not functioning as well as we know that it could be. The political question is who are people going to point the finger at in doing that,” said Heather Boushey, an economist at the liberal Center for American Progress, which has close ties to the White House.
“The biggest problem in our economy is the U.S. Congress,” she said.
While the poor economy hurts Obama, it also holds risks for his rival.
Unrelenting Democratic attacks calling Romney a job killer during his time as a private-equity executive have helped drag down his poll numbers.
Romney is spending the week at his $10 million lakeside New Hampshire vacation estate, which features a three-vessel boat garage and where he and his wife have been photographed skidding across the lake on their personal watercraft.
That could provide fresh fodder for the Democrats’ portrayal of Romney as out of touch with ordinary Americans.
“It’s a bad headline. It can help reinforce or enforce perceptions, whatever they may be,” said Ethan Siegel, an analyst at the Washington Exchange, which tracks political developments for investors.
However, economic worries are much more prominent in voters’ minds that Romney’s vacations.
“In the end, no one’s going into the voting room, saying ‘Romney, he was in New Hampshire for the 4th of July and I’m voting no.’ It’s buzz, it’s chatter but it don’t matter,” Siegel said.