“We need to deploy American assets, innovation, and technology so that we can safely and responsibly develop more energy here at home and be a leader in the global energy economy.” – The White House’s “Securing American Energy” Plan
As it turns out, that statement requires a little decoding.
Deploy = Redistribute
American assets = Taxpayer dollars
Safely and responsibly develop = Deter the development of oil and natural gas
Develop = Subsidize
More energy = Favored “green” energy technologies
Once you figure out the cipher, the statement reads: “We need to redistribute taxpayer dollars so that we can deter the development of oil and natural gas here at home, while subsidizing green energy technologies here at home.”
And what has this policy wrought? Not much. Billions of dollars in green energy subsidies, tax breaks, and loan guarantees have brought us no closer to price-competitive green energy technologies while oil and natural gas continue to add jobs to the economy.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
“The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported recently that the U.S. jobless rate remains a dreadful 9%. But look more closely at the data and you can see which industries are bucking the jobless trend. One is oil and natural gas production, which now employs some 440,000 workers, an 80% increase, or 200,000 more jobs, since 2003. Oil and natural gas jobs account for more than one in five of all new private jobs in that period.”
Moreover, they’ve done it with comparably little help from taxpayers. According to the Institute for Energy Research federal subsidies for oil and natural gas over the last three years has totaled $2.8 billion. Compare that with renewable energy subsidies, which have increased from $5.1 billion to $14.7 billion over that time-span. Of those, wind related technologies received nearly $5 billion, solar received $1.13 billion, and biofuels received $6.2 billion.
The gap becomes even more noticeable when you consider that oil and natural gas contribute a much greater percentage of the nation’s energy than green technologies. For instance, solar receives more than $775 in taxpayer money per megawatt hour of energy created, while oil and natural gas receive $0.64 per megawatt hour.
By desperately pumping money into their speculative energy bets, the Obama Administration is not only adding to our enormous deficit, but he’s also preventing the free markets from directing investment to the most promising technologies. Washington’s specialty is governance (and even that’s a stretch), not investing. They need to quit gambling on the next Solyndra and allow private investors, who make their living pouring over numbers and determining good investments, to take the reins.
Republicans are attempting to pass a bill that would do just that. The “Energy Freedom and Economic Prosperity Act” was recently introduced by Rep. Mike Pompeo and would completely eliminate ALL subsidies – oil, natural gas, wind, solar, ethanol, you name it, it’s gone.
It was written to play no favorites, and sadly, that’s exactly why Democrats will oppose it. And their opposition will be the thing that prevents Obama from living up to his promise to develop more energy here at home.