ISSUE: Energy Independence
The United States has become far too dependent on foreign sources for our basic energy needs. This has put us at risk in more ways than we are aware. I suggest it was our dependence on foreign oil that became the catalyst for our current economic instability. Our unwillingness to save didn’t help.
There is no inherent problem buying some oil from our neighbors. Ideally, we’d purchase from those with common interests, like we do with Canada, the largest exporter of total petroleum to America (see EIA statistics). This mutually stabilizes our economies. Yet as we are all aware, when we can’t satisfy demand on our own, we’re forced to rely on the stability of nations that actually produce oil, and we must depend on their goodwill to maintain a stable price (by maintaining stable production). Most of these nations, such as OPEC, have no interests in common with the U.S. Now, if we had the means to produce our own product, exporters would have incentive to produce enough oil to maintain a reasonable price.
There’s nothing original about this idea: drill for oil domestically. We have the technology to produce oil cleanly and efficiently. Now, that may be a difficult statement to stomach in light of the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, but it is nonetheless true. Were it not for unreasonable regulations on drilling in the U.S., there would have been no need to drill in water too deep to manage problems easily. For that matter, there would have been no need to be in the water at all. (None of this diminishes the poor management or negligence of BP.)
Domestic drilling would have the added benefit of producing domestic jobs, not only in oil production and refining, but in construction, steel and transportation. And it would increase our Gross Domestic Product. So, we have a simple solution to several problems facing our Union today. This is not to say we shouldn’t research and develop real alternatives, but we must stop allowing ideology to trump practicality and security.
This proposal requires no additional legislation; it requires a lifting of current restrictions. This is about as close as government can come to actually creating jobs. Contrary to what they would like us to believe, government cannot create jobs, it can only create an environment conducive to growth. It can’t create jobs because taxes are the only revenue source. Therefore, any wage paid by government is done by taking money from another without the exchange of tangible property (the taxpayer receives nothing of equal value). Real jobs are created when someone is willing to pay to meet a real need, not a perceived need which government tries to meet.