Daily Archives: December 5, 2012

Fiscal Cliff Threatens America’s Economic Freedom

Anthony B. Kim
December 5, 2012 at 3:09 pm

The clock is ticking. Massive tax hikes are threatening to push America’s already declining economic freedom over the “fiscal cliff,” a politician-made economic catastrophe.

President Obama’s proposal to avert the fiscal cliff is a $1.6 trillion tax hike plus new stimulus spending, along with expanded power for himself to raise the debt ceiling without congressional approval. The House Republican leadership has offered a counter to the President’s frivolous proposal, but the counterproposal appears to cave on tax increases and punt on entitlements. Heritage’s Alison Fraser and J. D. Foster point out that “the Republican counteroffer, to the extent it can be interpreted from the hazy details now available, is a dud. It is utterly unacceptable. It is bad policy, bad economics.”

Such bad policies and economics will have a drastic impact on our economic freedom, which is already in trouble after four years of the “Yes, We Can” Administration’s programs and spending. Since 2008, America’s economic freedom has been declining at alarming rates: America has fallen from fifth freest economy in the world to 10th freest. (continues below chart)

As the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom demonstrates, economic freedom is the path to prosperity. The decline of America’s economic freedom means that our economy is losing its capacity to achieve dynamic and sustained economic growth. That’s bad news for American individuals, families, and entrepreneurs, who will reap fewer rewards for their hard work in the future.

Waning economic freedom means lost opportunities for average Americans. The opportunity cost of bigger government is paid for in the loss of economic vitality. A future with fewer jobs and lower incomes can wait at the bottom of the fiscal cliff, or it can follow just as surely from ill-designed policies to avoid it.

There is a better way. The Heritage Foundation has proposed Saving the American Dream, a sweeping pro-growth tax and spending reform roadmap designed to grow the economy and restructure entitlement programs to provide real economic freedom and long-term security for the American people.

As Heritage’s Kim Holmes noted in Understanding American Prosperity, “All of us—not just our politicians—must be vigilant, determined to safeguard liberty and the American Dream. And that means understanding that the foundation of American prosperity rests in economic freedom.”

Posted in Enterprise and Free Markets

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Freeport-McMoRan (FCX) to Acquire McMoRan (MMR), Plains Exploration (PXP) for ~$9B

Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (NYSE: FCX), Plains Exploration & Production Company (NYSE: PXP) and McMoRan Exploration Co. (NYSE: MMR) announced today that they have signed definitive merger agreements under which FCX will acquire PXP for approximately $6.9 billion in cash and stock and FCX will acquire MMR for approximately $3.4 billion in cash, or $2.1 billion net of 36 percent of the MMR interests currently owned by FCX and PXP. Upon closing, MMR shareholders will also receive a distribution of units in a royalty trust which will hold a 5 percent overriding royalty interest on future production in MMR’s existing shallow water ultra-deep properties.

Read more:   StreetInsider.com – Freeport-McMoRan (FCX) to Acquire McMoRan (MMR), Plains Exploration (PXP) for ~$9B.

Total: Significant Oil Find in U.S. Gulf of Mexico

Total announces a significant oil discovery at its North Platte prospect on Garden Banks Block 959 in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. The discovery well encountered several hundred feet of net oil pay in Lower Tertiary sands which included several high-quality intervals.

Total estimates this discovery can have a potential of several hundred million barrels of oil. Further appraisal will be needed to confirm its size and commerciality.

“The North Platte discovery represents another example of Total’s bold exploration strategy targeting large exploration opportunities. It also demonstrates the efficiency of our alliance with Cobalt signed in 2009,” said Marc Blaizot, Total’s Senior Vice President Exploration.

Total is in a strategic alliance with Cobalt International Energy to explore for oil in the Deepwater Gulf of Mexico. The North Platte discovery is the first Lower Tertiary Wilcox formation well drilled by the Alliance. The results of the well confirm the northern extension of the Wilcox formation and the presence of liquid hydrocarbons. Therefore, this validates the major potential of this new exploration area of the Gulf of Mexico in which Total holds a substantial acreage position with several follow-on prospects.

North Platte is located in a water depth of approximately 4,400 feet (1,340 m) and was drilled to a total depth of approximately 34,500 feet (10,520 m).  Total holds a 40% interest in the North Platte discovery along with Cobalt (60%, operator).

Total: Significant Oil Find in U.S. Gulf of Mexico| Offshore Energy Today.

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