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Media Matters Says Conservatives Rubber Stamp the Romney Energy Plan

August 25, 2012

By Mark P. Mills

PRINTER FRIENDLY

Thank you Media Matters, for an efficient summary of the terms of the energy debate.

I know it’s their job to cast issues like energy in the framework of "conservatives" who "rubber stamp" what Romney is proposing, and "liberals" who oppose it. Fair enough. But if the best, the core, of what they can come up with as criticism of Romney’s Energy Plan, and the kind of ideas that I and others have offered, is that they are based on optimistic outcomes – well then I say game on. This is the debate we need to have about energy, and technology and about America’s future, and about jobs.

The debate we’re now engaged in over energy arises from three indisputable facts:

  • America has discovered it has hydrocarbon abundance. We’re not in an age of limits. We’re not running out of the stuff that provides 85% of all our fuel, and 85% of current and future energy jobs. (This is fundamentally the result of a tech revolution, as I outlined in my previous column.)
  • Alternatives to hydrocarbons are darned hard to come up with in any significant way, in any relevant time frame, and at prices that matter. This is what we’ve learned from billions of federal dollars spent trying, not just over the past few years but for decades now. (Spain learned this lesson the real hard way.) We should keep at it, in terms of basic R&D, but we have learned from this Administration’s experiment that the alternatives to hydrocarbons are not close to providing the kinds of jobs that America needs.
  • And the most important fact — America is in the middle of a huge jobs crisis. The most severe since the Great Depression. It is an appalling mess for this country. The utter first, last, and only priority for government today must be to focus on jobs, jobs, and jobs.

There’s nothing sadder to see than a friend or fellow citizen suffering the debilitating impact of unemployment and under-employment. There is no single more influential fix for nearly all our economic and social woes, from housing to education, to health care and the arts, than having booming job growth.

Until we have a robust job recovery every policy of the government should have to pass through a filter: does the idea/policy create and promote jobs? If it doesn’t it should have a low priority. And secondly, the filter should be, does the idea/policy harm jobs? If does – put it off or fix it.

U.S. states, such as North Dakota, have experienced staggering job growth and revenue gains on the shoulders of encouraging hydrocarbon production (from private and state-controlled lands). Michael Barone has been eloquent on this.

Serious analysts, in particular the impressive team at Citi (which Media Matters cites) point to huge numbers like 3.6 million net new jobs from expanded hydrocarbon production. My own analysis asks the question: what happens if we were to accelerate current trends? Even more jobs and revenues.

And these are exactly the kinds of jobs Democrats say they want – high-paying, middle-class jobs, a lot of union jobs too, with huge ripple-out impacts creating yet more jobs across local economies.

Media Matters says that Citi’s analysis is based on a "good case" scenario. That’s the point. How do we inject optimism into our economy? Like Citi and others similar, I also point out that my forecasts are not a forecast of what will happen, but what can happen. Obviously, government can stifle and crush the prospects of a gusher of hydrocarbon jobs – or accelerate it.

Equally obviously – it is tedious to have to state this every time, but in the political climate, one is compelled – there are issues, problems, and nuances associated with any plan to expand the hydrocarbon infrastructure to produce and ultimately export more coal, oil and natural gas. But they are manageable issues. And none should obviate the opportunity to re-ignite our economy with jobs growth.

But I will confess as a physicist, I’ve long been amazed at the eagerness in Washington to label sensible things – like encouraging the 18,000 small oil & gas businesses to hire more people – as "conservative" or "liberal." But maybe in these truly unique times we can get beyond the labels, and look at the facts and the jobs.

There has not been a destruction of jobs this severe in nearly a century. Hydrocarbon expansion offers one way to generate jobs and wealth, and at no cost to federal and state treasuries. It will use private capital instead of public funds. Why not unleash and accelerate that?

Finally, equally obviously, Governor Romney’s Energy Plan is no panacea and not perfect. But it’s a great start as my colleague and Manhattan Institute President, Larry Mone, writes today in the Wall Street Journal.

When it comes to the real world, I like what President Reagan said when he was criticized from his right about policies he championed …

Die-hard conservatives thought that if I couldn’t get everything I asked for, I should jump off the cliff with the flag flying-go down in flames. No, if I can get 70 or 80 percent of what it is I’m trying to get … I’ll take that and then continue to try to get the rest in the future.

Since what we’re talking about here is jobs, I say amen and amen again to this advice for both sides of the aisle. And the good news is that the framework of debate as structured by Media Matters is really about big ideas. Good. Game on.

Original Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/markpmills/2012/08/25/media-matters-says-conservatives-rubber-stamp-the-romney-energy-plan/

 

 
 
 

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