Our annual Labor Day Report provides a clear picture of the damage being done to an otherwise strong economy by soaring energy costs, which are hurting manufacturing workers at the pump and in their paychecks.
In our ninth annual report, our chief economist explains that while manufacturing production has increased at its fastest pace in six years and jobs on the factory floor have expanded, the lack of true energy reforms has tempered the positive news.
Over the past year energy prices have risen 23 percent due to increased global demand, limited domestic supplies, natural disasters and global instability. As a result, real wages have fallen by 0.5 percent over the past year when they should have gone up by 1.2 percent.
This fact illustrates the need for energy reforms now. The time has come to build a national energy policy to address these costs by increasing domestic production and supply. Our nation was galvanized around the Manhattan Project, we put a man on the moon, and 50 years ago, we created the Interstate Highway System. If we marshal that same national spirit of cooperation, unity and focus, we can ensure energy security.
While there is no “silver bullet” solution, there is a clear path to get energy policy moving in the right direction. In fact, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 — the first comprehensive energy strategy in many years — was a first step.
There is now a need to be even bolder. In just a few short days, Congress will be back at work after its August recess. Waiting for them are two pieces of legislation to open the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) to energy development — one approved in the House and one in the Senate — that need to be reconciled and sent to the President’s desk in September.
We call on Congress and the Administration to build a plentiful, flexible, diverse and affordable energy supply through these actions:
By tackling this energy agenda, policymakers can play a positive role in allowing the economy to grow at its full potential.
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