Jewish World Review Jan 4, 2012/ 9 Teves, 5772
How America smothers itself
By Jay Ambrose
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | America is waiting to happen again in this new year, spurred into a gallop by energy development, but the federal government might just say no, we won't allow it. It would disrupt radical agendas, shrink Washington, place trust in freedom and put hordes to work, regulators excluded. Such stuff won't be tolerated.
That would be a tragedy, because energy projects in North Dakota, Montana and elsewhere could make us the top oil producer in the world, challenging Saudi Arabia and Russia. Natural gas deposits in the East could whip problems of all kinds, even to the extent of creating a million jobs in gas-dependent plastics, steel, fertilizer and other factories, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
Already, it's related by an online review of articles in The New York Times and stories on National Public Radio, we're importing just half our oil instead of two-thirds a year ago. With help from major developments in such places as Canada, Brazil and Argentina, our dependence on Middle East suppliers could decline dramatically. Happy days could be just around the corner if the Obama administration will nod its ascent, abandon central planning and get real.
There seemed some hope on the fracking front for a while, though all of a sudden, no, that's gone -- the election is too close and hyper-environmentalist flapdoodle is controlling the conversation. The EPA, which for a while seemed wedded to science and sense, has now put out a new study on this horizontal drilling technology affording relatively easy, inexpensive access to mammoth oil and gas reserves and carefully monitored by the states. Says the EPA study, there is reason for concern. Say a number of analysts, the heck there is.
Checking out the study, they found nothing worth reporting -- some contamination that was not dangerous and almost certainly was from sources other than fracking. Never mind. Insanity has taken hold of the administration, which has lately been scouting the nation to see what economic damage the EPA can do in the cause of saving the world from global warming.
Please, no matter what you believe about warming, understand that nothing the United States does will have any impact unless China and India go along, and they won't. We could ultimately be out trillions of dollars with nothing to show for it but human misery. While our president believes otherwise, you cannot bribe new technologies into effectiveness, though you can let natural gas cut down on carbon emissions while it, oil and coal give inventors space to do their thing.
It's not just energy being smothered by regulations, but every other industry out there. The government itself says regulation rips $1.75 trillion out of the economy annually, and while some of that is justified, a great deal of it isn't. We know, not just by guesswork but by great gobs of testimony, that all kinds of corporations would be far more inclined to expand if not for major new health care and other regulations coming their way.
The corporations would also be more inclined to create more jobs if they did not have to worry about federal deficits that are noted by one economic observer to be worse than those in Italy, Ireland and Greece as a percentage of gross domestic product. Those deficits are adding annually to a debt that easily could explode, giving this country the worst economic calamity in its history, and yet Congress and the president are arguing about putting the slightest possible dent in its increase over the years to come.
The issue is spending, and what we need are major long-term cuts and significant tax reform that could make our corporations many times as competitive while actually bringing in additional revenue. What we are getting is hand-wringing, blame-the-other guy, autocratically inclined, liberty-denying, excuse-making policies at a time when this country could be on its way to something loud and proud.
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Jay Ambrose, formerly Washington director of editorial policy for Scripps Howard newspapers and the editor of dailies in El Paso, Texas, and Denver, is a columnist living in Colorado.
© 2011, SCRIPPS HOWARD NEWS SERVICE