The other day, the New York Times published an editorial — pretty similar in substance to editorials recently penned by the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal — encouraging the Obama administration to start accelerating the almost begrudging pace at which they have been approving natural-gas export terminals and adding countries to the list to which energy companies are allowed to export that gas. The gas export debate has been a hot energy topic for going on a couple of years now, and even if quickly approving more export terminals won’t do anything to immediately mitigate the Ukrainian’s predicament, it is a good long-term strategy for generally diminishing the energy-sector influence of any one country’s sources as well as allowing United States’ producers to take full economic advantage of the more competitive prices they can fetch on the global market.
Democratic Sen. Edward Markey doth protest.
Yet the editorial doesn’t mention the devastating economic impact from exporting American gas. We have already approved five export terminals. The Energy Department has warned that if we approve one more, United States prices could increase by 54 percent, potentially translating into a de facto tax of $62 billion a year.
That export tax would cripple America’s manufacturing renaissance, crush consumers and destroy millions of potential jobs.
We should resist the calls to rush more exports as an ineffective foreign policy tool that would severely damage the American economy.
EDWARD J. MARKEY
Malden, Mass., March 10, 2014
Simply allowing exports, a de facto tax? Actually, free trade barriers like exports restrictions and import tariffs are the only real (and entirely special interest-serving) “de facto taxes” in this scenario, and the Energy Department has already long since conceded that, even if opening American-produced natural gas up to a wider, more competitive market were to raise prices, America would also subsequently reap the rewards of those higher prices. Read: That means economic growth, ya’ll. Increasing the United States’ exports is one of the platform’s of President Obama’s own economic agenda, and it doesn’t matter if we’re talking about energy or agriculture or home goods or shoes or what have you: Free trade is not a zero-sum game, and reducing Russia’s energy dominion is just a long-term side bonus.