There is a fundamental truth to budgets – whether those are individual or governmental. If you spend more than you take in you’re going to run in the red. Individuals have figured a short-term work around to this problem by deferring their desire to purchase something today and pay for it tomorrow. This is why we have burgeoning balances on consumer credit cards. The government has figured out the same work around which we call the National Debt – which the present administration has nearly been able to double in five short years.
Obama and his cohorts have talked a great deal about “income inequality.” That there are some Americans who are billionaires and a great many more who barely survive until the next refill of the government handouts arrives is certainly true. But as with all liberal governments at all times, they concern themselves only with the income aspect of the equation, disregarding the issue of how those funds are spent.
In any economic downturn, it would probably be safe to say that most people except the wealthiest, look at ways that they conserve what they have and cut some spending corners. Unfortunately, those who are the poorest have most of their budgets dedicated to things that are necessities; food, rent, clothing, utilities and what little they might have earmarked as discretionary represents a very small part of their budgets. Increases in the price of the necessities, as we are now seeing in food staples, puts even the most frugal of these people in the position of not being able to make ends meet.
An increase in the price of gasoline at the pump may annoy the millionaire as he drives his Maserati to work at his six figure job. The increase in the price of gas has a much greater effect on the person who is driving his clunker to his minimum wage position – perhaps meaning that he has to skip a meal or substitute cat food for tuna fish in his lunch box.
What is remarkable in all of this is that America clearly has the opportunity to be energy independent within a decade. All we have to do is utilize the natural resources which we are fortunate to have. One would think that an administration that is concerned about “poor Americans” would have had a Eureka moment by now and set the wheels in motion to do just that. But that is not this administration.
America is now the largest producer of natural gas in the world. We have the potential to become, once again, the largest producer of oil in the world. Besides the impact that being energy self-sufficient would have on bringing down the price of these commodities at home, that price reduction would have a profound impact on those in other countries who can exploit the current high prices to achieve their own political advantages – Vladimir Putin being one of the first to come to mind.
After years of foot dragging, the administration finally allowed one LNG facility to be permitted. Construction will be completed next year and the facility will be operational. Seven other such projects have been in limbo for five years – waiting approval from the EPA.
Aside from the obvious benefits of having cheaper energy here at home, the jobs that would be created to build and maintain these facilities is certainly another reason these projects should have been allowed to move forward. And if Putin were to see that the basis of the Russian economy which is heavily dependent on energy to provide it with its revenues might be threatened by this American abundance, perhaps he would not have been so willing to embark on his escapade in Ukraine’s Crimea region.
Similarly, the Keystone Pipeline has been on hold for as long as Obama has been in office. This would create ten thousand jobs and would facilitate the wider and cheaper distribution of energy. Now that the Department of State has cleared the project as having “no environmental impact,” there is no reason that Obama cannot grab his famous pen and allow that project to proceed.
Keystone is a two thousand mile long pipeline. In America today, we have oil and gas pipelines that run in excess of one hundred seventy thousand miles. There are more stories in the news in which fuel transported either by truck or ship or train have incidents than from all of these pipelines combined. Pandering to extreme environmental groups in which the science does not back up their claims is pure politics and ignores positive policy.
The administration’s energy “policy” has two significant effects. It helps make sure that the poor stay in that condition. And it gives encouragement to autocrats like Putin to throw their weight around, realizing that a once proud and important country has chosen Puff The Magic Dragon to be its leader.