White Hall Progress logo

Fracking economy


The economic recovery is not much of a recovery at all. Last month, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced that real GDP for the second quarter was a less-than-robust 1.7 percent. If not for the energy sector — specifically the shale revolution bolstered by the massive success of fracking — those numbers would be dismal.

As reported by Bloomberg Businessweek, this small growth was due almost entirely to stronger exports, primarily from petroleum products refined from the huge amount of crude oil the United States is producing via fracking. The report noted the U.S. had exported about 99 million barrels of petroleum in the 12 months through June — quadruple the amount the country was exporting just a decade ago.

President Barack Obama and his administration continue to tout the recovery and take credit for the one sector that has actually made significant gains since the Great Recession purportedly ended four years ago, saying it shows an “everything on the table” approach to energy. However, production and exports have boomed because of drilling on private and state-owned land. The Obama administration has hindered exploration, drilling and delivery on federal land at almost every turn. And there’s no greater example of its ongoing hostility to fossil fuels than its opposition to the planned Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to Texas.

This administration can’t have it both ways, hailing what fracking and shale bring to the economy while also limiting the industries’ expansion and laying the groundwork for a carbon tax and a new cap-and-trade scheme. The president and Democrats never tire of championing “working families” or the “working class,” but only if those workers fit Democratic Party policy priorities — such as the money-sucking black hole that is the green energy sector.

Meanwhile, the administration continues to ignore what ObamaCare is doing to job creation across the country, incentivizing part-time positions and crushing opportunity for the unskilled. ObamaCare is so bad that the president’s union base, which delivered his two terms and made the law’s passage possible, wants it shredded.

The country needs a new economic policy. Less government, less punitive taxation, more economic freedom — particularly for the booming energy sector — and the repeal and replacement of ObamaCare with free-market health care reforms. That’s a recipe for recovery.

— This editorial appeared Sept. 13 in the Las Vegas Review-Journal