(Chuck Muth) – To hear President Barack Obama tell it, the energy boom that has swept our country, plummeting gas prices and a U.S. manufacturing resurgence built on more affordable fuel are all due to his administration’s policies.
Fact is, the good-paying jobs spawned by the energy industry, the benefits of its investment in our economy, the stream of tax revenue that continues to bolster cash-poor states – all exist more in spite of this administration’s policies than because of them.
This is the same president who has been disdainful of the notion of American exceptionalism, but now trumpets “America is number one in oil and gas.”
And takes credit for it all!
This is the same president who has consistently called for plugging so-called “loopholes” in the tax code that favor U.S. oil and gas businesses; a move that would raise taxes on the whole industry and penalize the very businesses that have done so much to put Americans back to work and boost economic growth.
And the president’s not alone in this wrongheaded strategy. Nevada Senator Harry Reid is right there beside him.
While Obama takes a victory lap for lower gas prices that give domestic manufacturers a competitive edge and puts more money in the pockets of American consumers, you have to wonder how much longer this joy at the pump will last.
How long – in light of this administration’s flawed energy policy – before today’s energy boom turns into another energy crisis?
How long before blocked projects such as the Keystone pipeline and offshore oil exploration – combined with tax hikes for energy companies and burdensome new regulations on the industry – lead again to spiraling gas prices?
In his State of the Union speech, the president said “it’s time to turn the page” on the bad old days when America was fighting two wars, joblessness was at historical highs, and the recession battered businesses and families.
We Nevadans felt it – we still feel those tough times in our state.
But while turning the page sounds good on the podium, it isn’t that easy on the ground. Especially if the president and his allies in Congress choose to ignore the energy industry as a key factor in economic stability and growth and continue their fight to raise taxes on oil and natural gas businesses.
As Rev. William J.H. Boetcker so famously put it in his “Ten Cannots” in 1916, “You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
President Obama should stop trying to bite the hand that helps feed and fuel so many Americans.
(Mr. Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a conservative grassroots advocacy organization supporting limited government and free market public policies)