From my book, “The Rise of National Populism and Democratic Socialism, what our response should be.”
Rise of Oil and Natural Gas as Our Weapon
The recent uptick in American energy production is one of those economic miracles not thought possible a decade ago. Oil and gas production will reduce the United States’ dependence on imported energy, and we may be become an energy exporter, strengthening our international status. The rise of domestic energy production was done despite the Obama Administration, which tried to slow increases in oil and natural gas production.
As Manhattan Institute fellow Mark P. Mills notes, “Growth in natural gas has made America the world’s largest producer and could soon make us a huge exporter. In the past half-dozen years, America’s hydrocarbon juggernaut has boosted our economy by hundreds of dollars.” Mills argued noted that there are some myths about America’s energy boom that need to be dispelled. One of these is that Big Oil is the biggest benefactor. He notes that 75 percent of our oil and natural gas production comes from 20,000 small and midsized oil and gas firms with an average number of 15 employees.
The oil and natural gas boom is part of a larger tech boom as it is dependent on what Mills describes as ”The emergence of information-centric ‘smart’ drilling, which relies on sensors, computers and control systems that, when combined with steerable horizontal drilling, fracking and a skilled work force, created the boom.”
This boom has spread throughout the country. North Dakota has become a job mecca. Texas’s economic growth job production has been aided by its energy industry. But jobs have been created in many states, such as Pennsylvania, Florida, Illinois, and Ohio. (New York has banned fracking and denying many New Yorkers an opportunity to profit from the fracking revolution.) California ranks behind Texas in energy production and potential. Many of these states support Democrats and this energy revolution has the potential to lift these states out of their economic doldrums. (Unfortunately, California governor Jerry Brown is determined to ensure that his state fail to develop its natural resources in favor of more expensive and less dependable green technology.)
For every energy production job created in the field, there are three or four jobs created, including information services, blue-collar jobs, and education. This has led to foreign firms investing $166 billion in American energy. More importantly, these energy-related jobs can’t be exported overseas! Economic growth isn’t just limited to energy production; hydrocarbon manufacturing, including petroleum refining and extraction has grown 40 percent for the past six years and these new plants have generated 600,000 jobs.
The key obstacle to this energy-related boom is federal government policy. Antiquated laws that restrict U.S. natural gas exports no longer make sense, in particular in light of the recent Russian moves threatening natural gas supplies to Central and Western Europe. These energy exports mean more jobs and more investment in the U.S. The final obstacle will be environmental extremists pushing regulations through many stats, such as the fracking bans that have taken place in New York, Maryland, and Vermont.
The energy boom is a
game changer. The United States, along with Mexico and Canada, now has the
potential of being the world’s leading energy giant, neutralizing OPEC and
allowing the United States more leeway in foreign affairs.
 Mark P. Mills, “3 Myths About Our Natural Gas Boom,” USA Today, April 3, 2014.
 Mark P. Mills, “3 Myths About Our Natural Gas Boom.”