Obama's energy dilemma: Go for growth or placate the greenies

To please his core green constituency, he can strangle the incipient energy-led boom in its cradle through dictates of federal regulators. On the other hand, he can choose to take credit for an economic expansion that could not only improve the lives of millions of middle- and working-class Americans, but also could assure Democratic political dominance for a decade or more.

Stronger economic growth remains the only way to solve our nation’s fundamental fiscal problems other than either huge tax hikes or crippling austerity. As economist Bret Swanson has pointed out, the best way to raise revenues and reduce expenditures, particularly for such things as welfare and unemployment, would be to increase overall growth from the current pathetic 2 percent rate to something closer to 3 or 4 percent. …

Those that have embraced the energy revolution have already created a gusher in energy jobs, which pay wages on average higher (roughly $100,000 annually ) than those paid by information, professional services, or manufacturing . The six fastest-growing jobs for 2010-11, according to Economic Modeling Specialists International, are related to oil and gas extraction. In total, nine of the top 11 fast-growing jobs in the nation over the past two years are tied in one way or another to oil and gas extraction.