President Obama journeyed to North Dakota on Friday where, for the first time during his entire presidency, he visited an American Indian reservation to “tout the strides his administration has made with Native Americans, unveil new education and economic measures aimed at Native Americans, and speak of the difficult work that remains to pull many tribal members out of crippling poverty and endemic unemployment.” Indeed. For the number of ways in which the federal government blithely engenders the conditions that keep many Indian reservations in states of crippling poverty, I recommend this handy piece from PERC’s Shawn Regan at Forbes, but while President Obama happened to be in North Dakota this afternoon anyway, why wouldn’t he finally take the opportunity to at least momentarily draw the nation’s attention to the state’s uniquely productive energy boom and economic prosperity? Via the Bismarck Tribune:
Is the president skipping what some call the North Dakota economic miracle because the solutions aren’t coming out of Washington? Or is it because the president’s Environmental Protection Agency just issued a costly new set of rules for all U.S. electricity providers that could adversely impact North Dakota’s energy costs and continued economic prosperity?
We’d argue that the president should view North Dakota’s economy and energy landscape as a model for other states to emulate, with an incredibly low unemployment rate of 2.6 percent; high-paying jobs; low-cost, affordable energy (some of the least expensive in the nation); and clean air. Indeed, North Dakota’s energy abundance and diversity is one reason Gallup named it the happiest state in the nation.
Small businesses play an important role in the state’s energy landscape — from manufacturing parts and supplies for the energy sector to building homes and providing needed services for workers attracted by new created high-wage jobs.
North Dakota’s affordable, ample energy supply also frees these businesses from the burden of high energy costs, enabling them to grow and employ even more people. In turn, small businesses can pass their savings down to consumers, helping families live better, more affordable lives and bolstering the local economies of the communities they call home.
The geopolitical implications of allowing America’s energy boom to expand are just the gravy.