Barack Obama’s supporters praised him for having it in his joint-session speech last night on job creation. A national economy needs plenty of it in order to expand. Consumers consider it one of the most pressing economic issues they face. Yet Obama’s speech was curiously absent of any mention of one word … energy.
That’s right; you could look it up. There wasn’t one single mention in a speech about jobs and economic stimulation that addressed the need for the energy necessary to support it. Never mind that part of the problem in the economy comes from a blunted demand that can be directly associated in part with the erosion in buying power created by rapidly-rising fuel costs, or that a significant share of the reluctance to invest in American economic expansion comes from the considerable uncertainty of regulatory assaults on energy production and the impact on future energy costs.
Obama simply acted as if the problem doesn’t exist at all.
If there was one change from his first stimulus proposal, it’s the omission of energy as a closely-linked issue. In 2009, Obama tried to argue that his assault on domestic production and use of coal and oil would be offset by an explosion of green-energy production that would replace our need for hydrocarbons. He threw billions of dollars into subsidies for companies to pursue solar, wind, and biomass energy, technologies that have been around for decades and have never proven sustainable on a cost or on a mass-production level, promising that this time it would work.
How did that pay off? Taxpayers just lost over a half-billion dollars on way-below-market-rate loans to Solyndra, which turns out to be connected to an Obama donor who spent a lot of time at the White House, and who will get his money out of Solyndra before taxpayers do thanks to a curious structure to those taxpayer-funded loan guarantees. Hint: when the FBI raids a company that the President heralded as the vanguard of the new green-energy revolution, it’s not exactly a rousing validation of that administration’s policies.
With the FBI raids taking place just hours before Obama’s speech, it’s perhaps understandable that the President didn’t want to mention his earlier, disastrous foray into green-energy speculation. However, it’s inexcusable to ignore energy while talking about job creation. Not only do we need a plentiful and reliable supply of energy to support an economic expansion of any significance, we could be creating hundreds of thousands of jobs right now by simply rolling back the attack on domestic exploration and extraction in oil, coal, and natural gas that has been going on under the Obama administration the last two-plus years.
If Obama was serious about economic expansion, we’d have heard a serious approach to domestic energy production last night. The fact that we didn’t demonstrates Obama’s lack of depth in economics, perhaps even more than his retread of Porkulus did.