On Energy, Plead First for Leadership

By January 17, 2008Economy, Energy, Taxation, Trade

BushSaudi.jpgThis week the President of the United States — the leader of the Free World — traveled to the Middle East. At a stop in Saudi Arabia, he took the opportunity to plead with the monarch of Saudi Arabia to increase oil production in order to stabilize America’s economic security.

Is this the image of America that we want?

In 1776, Americans declared independence from the English monarch and pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to establish freedom in the new United States.

Today, Americans are dependent again. Fully 60 percent of our oil (and about 17 percent of natural gas) are supplied from foreign sources. And that did not have to be the case.

Beginning with the oil embargo of 1973 when we imported only about a third of our oil, our elected leaders knew we were headed for a major problem. Yet Congress — controlled by Republicans and Democrats alike at various points since — turned a blind eye to the problem. Today, Congress continues to ignore the problem. And this Administration, much like every other before it, has not effectively used the bully pulpit to advance a proposal that would increase domestic energy supply.

A recent report by National Petroleum Council found that total global demand for energy — including from oil and gas and coal and nuclear — will rise 50-60 percent by 2030, as growing populations seek higher standards of living.

To be sure, there have been many laudatory proposals to encourage alternative energy sources and reductions in demand in the future. But what does our nation do between now and then?

Higher energy costs increase the price of nearly every good and service we need and use. The impact on food is becoming startling, and Americans are dizzy from the upward spiral of gas prices at the pump. This winter’s heating bills will have highly detrimental impacts on those least able to afford it, while working families will have fewer resources for basic necessities.

Congress must take responsibility for the problem. A one time “stimulus” package can provide a quick shot in the arm to our economy, but to preserve our long-term economic security, we must quickly and dramatically increase the domestic supply of gas and oil in the United States. Our economic security depends on it.

Just ask the King of Saudi Arabia.

Write to your Member of Congress and Senator today and demand that Congress increase domestic energy supply now. Go to this link to send an e-mail.

P.S. The President discussed his trip to the Middle East in an “Ask the White House” session Wednesday. Click here for the transcript.

Jay Timmons is senior vice president of policy & government relations at the National Association of Manufacturers.

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