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From the Kitchen Table


Removing the Tentacles

by Peg Luksik
 

Federal government policies almost always reach far beyond their intended consequences, creating problems in areas that their Washington advocates never anticipated. It's like a "Murphy's Law" for citizens — government programs will cause anything that CAN go wrong, TO go wrong, even if the disaster didn't appear to be connected to the program that caused it.

The good news in this picture is that removing the federal government from a situation in an intelligent fashion can reverse the disasters that Washington interference created.

Let's start with energy.

We don't import oil because we don't have any. We import oil because Washington has forbidden the states to drill the oil we have. The same sad reality is true for coal and natural gas. It's like we Americans are sitting before a banquet table loaded with a bountiful feast, and are starving ourselves to death.

But what if we unshackled our energy reserves? What if we told Washington that energy policy was a state issue, and freed the states to develop their energy resources?

The first effect would be economic. Reopening existing coal mines and oil wells and creating new ones would create jobs for the miners or drillers. It would also stimulate all the industries that support those mines or wells. Industries such as timber, rail, metal workers, and foundries would be positively affected. The industries that provide safety and drilling equipment would grow. And growth in industry means growth in the job market, with jobs that don't depend on the next government stimulus package.

People with jobs buy things. So the communities that have been suffering from the closing of mines and wells would once again thrive.

And the good news doesn't stop there. As energy becomes abundant and affordable, the cost of products that are produced or delivered with energy, which is every product, goes down. That helps to control rising inflation, making everyone's wages worth more, not less.

It also affects our trade deficit. One third of America's trade deficit comes from our importation of energy. In the global marketplace, we should be the energy producers of the world, not the energy consumers. There is a real marketplace for energy out there, and we have lost out on the benefits because we haven't entered the arena. Freeing America's energy gets us into the game, with a winning economic team.

That brings us to the Middle East. If America were not only energy independent, but a global energy supplier, the terrorists who fund their operations with oil dollars would find themselves without the resources they need to continue buying arms and equipment or running their training camps. We would not just stop being a customer to people who use American oil dollars to buy guns to shoot at Americans, we would be competing in the world energy marketplace for all their other customers as well. The best way to fight terrorism is to bankrupt the terrorists. And a vibrant American energy industry can be a large part of that effort.

The final good is the effect on the American dollar. If we were supplying energy, we could insist that our international customers pay in American dollars. Keeping the dollar in use as the international energy currency helps to protect us from runaway inflation, buying us time to deal with some of the other areas where Washington has gotten it wrong.

In real life, removing Washington's tentacles in one area can stop the strangulation in many. Let's make 2012 the year America gets a Washington tentacle-ectomy.


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