President Harry Truman once wished for a “one-handed economist,” because he tired of hearing advisors giving him answers that were framed as “on the one hand, this” and “on the other hand, that.” We are seeing something like that right now in a White House fretting over the prospect of rising energy and food prices negatively impacting President Barack Obama’s re-election bid.
On the one hand, President Obama has been aggressively critical of the nation’s oil and natural gas industry, demanding increased regulation and higher taxes on companies.
On the other hand, the president takes credit for the increase in natural gas and oil production in the country and says he’s doing all he can to increase output.
On the one hand, the nation requires an “all-of-the-above” approach to energy — as we heard the president say in his State of the Union remarks — which generally includes finding the best ways to maximize the benefits of using our own oil, natural gas and coal.
On the other hand, Obama blocked construction of the Keystone XL pipeline that would move oil from the burgeoning fields in Canada and North to U.S. refineries, Obama reversed President George W. Bush’s decisions to open Alaska and offshore areas for energy exploration and production, and Obama pushes cap-and-trade policies that discourage exploration for and use of abundant domestic energy resources.
Let’s be honest. The Obama Administration has failed us by turning energy companies into political piñatas and encouraging everyone to beat on them.
On the one hand, then-Senator Obama excoriated President Bush for promoting more drilling and he advocated imposing punitive taxes on oil companies.
On the other hand, he boasts — as if he had anything to do with it — that U.S. oil industry output these days is at an all-time high. In reality, today’s domestic oil production is 20 percent higher than in 2008 because private companies shunned federal bailouts and risked their own capital to drill and pump, primarily on state and private lands.
On the one hand, President Obama takes credit for natural gas production increasing dramatically.
On the other, he ignores the fact that it was private companies — not government policymakers — who risked shareholders’ capitol to create tens of thousands of jobs while developing new gas reserves using the latest high-tech hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling technologies. Talk about being “shovel-ready” projects!
Look around! Our growing population requires ever-increasing amounts of energy to support everyday living in this world full of “iffy” situations:
If we want factories to rev up output, we must make plenty of affordable sources of energy available;
If we want lower taxes, we need an economy that grows with vigor; and
If we want to pursue pathways toward affordable, sustainable “green energy,” we must keep the existing economic engine running strong so that we don’t find our “vehicles of commerce” idling on the side of the road for lack of fuel.
“Tanks” — as in “gas tanks” — in advance for voting wisely in 2012.
Shameless plug: Be sure to check out my book, Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight For Military Justice.