This week I am eager to report to you on how plans for our second annual Solutions Day are coming along and tell you an immediate step you can take to advance the movement for more American energy now.
But first, I have some exciting, fun news! The Drill Here, Drill Now movement has now inspired a song.
Country music star Aaron Tippin has taken the grassroots support for the “Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less” movement to a whole new level with his new hit single “Drill Here, Drill Now.”
We debuted the song on the Sean Hannity radio show this afternoon. When I first heard the song, I knew it would become the rallying cry for those who support drilling for more American-made energy. The lyrics masterfully capture the many arguments for drilling now for more American oil, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll immediately want your friends and family to hear it too.
You can download or preview the song here. This catchy tune is destined to become a big hit, so download it today.
Drill Here, Drill Now: Urgent Action Needed to Advance Offshore Drilling
In light of President Bush’s July announcement to eliminate the executive ban on offshore drilling, the U.S. Minerals Management Service has decided to initiate a new plan to increase energy production on the outer continental shelf (OCS). As part of the regulatory process, the agency is calling for public comments on offshore oil and gas development through September 15, 2008.
In the meantime, unfortunately, the Democratic Congress is planning votes on bills that would actually make all or part of the offshore drilling ban permanent. Now is the time to let the federal government know we need full and unfettered access to America’s offshore energy resources.
Take immediate action by clicking here. Let your voice be heard in favor of expanding American offshore energy production.
- The OCS contains 86 billion barrels of oil and 420 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. However, 85% of the OCS surrounding the lower 48 states is off-limits to energy exploration and production.
- Increasing access to these offshore resources is critical to America’s economic and energy security.
As taxpayers, American citizens own these offshore federal lands and the energy resources that lie beneath them.
I urge you to click here for a quick and easy way to register your support for expanded offshore drilling.
Another Failed Stimulus Package or An Energy Jobs Investment Act?
Congress has a golden opportunity to boost the economy and lower energy prices at the same time if they make the right choices now. But instead of taking advantage of the movement to lower energy prices by producing more American energy, Congressional leaders are talking about spending more money on a phony stimulus package.
The same people who put us $152 billion further in debt for no economic gain earlier this year now want to waste another $50 billion to $70 billion on short term spending that simply won’t work.
The Democrats in Congress want to pile a second stimulus package on top of February’s failed $152 billion stimulus package. To pay for it they will either raise taxes (which will further hurt the economy), or they will borrow the money.
I warned back in January that a “stimulus” package would not create real growth.
There is a much better alternative. Instead of a debt-and-tax-raising short-term spending solution, we need a long-term, jobs-producing, energy-cost-lowering solution: An Energy Jobs Investment Act.
Using Additional Revenue from Energy Exploration to Pay for Energy Investment
An Energy Jobs Investment Act would permit exploration for oil and gas on federal land and set aside the federal revenue from that bill to pay for energy investment.
There are estimates that the “All of the Above” energy bill Congressman John Boehner has introduced would produce at least $25 billion a year in new leasing revenue. That would be $250 billion to $300 billion over ten years.
But there are two additional federal revenue increases from increasing domestic energy production.
First there would be a rise in tax revenue from the companies and individuals directly engaged in energy production.
Second, there is an increase in the general domestic economy created by keeping the money at home. For every $100 billion spent on American energy instead of foreign energy, there is a multiplier effect of a bigger domestic economy. After all, if the construction boom in Dubai were occurring in St Louis, it would be good for the American economy and therefore for federal government revenues.
Energy Investment Jobs Bill Would Also Save Federal Taxpayers Money
And there is another positive effect for the federal government from increased energy production: The federal government is the largest purchaser of energy in the United States (consider the Air Force and Navy purchase of jet fuel for example). If increased energy production brings down fuel and electricity prices the federal budget is helped substantially.
All of these factors are real and calculable. The problem is none of them are factored into the current budget process.
The current federal budget process cannot distinguish between a cost and an investment, and it cannot contemplate a time horizon longer than a year.
The Budget Act in its current form favors short-term spending with no feed back and no return on the investment. It is the opposite of sound business practices. It should be amended to provide that investments can be repaid over time just as they would be in the private sector.
Create a Federal Energy Trust Fund
The Energy Jobs Investment Act would create a Federal Energy Trust Fund into which would flow all federal revenue from new leasing. Then the fund could be used to either repay existing obligations or to pay for new energy activities.
Since it will take two or three years to generate enough leasing revenue, the Trust should borrow the initial funds and then be paid back with both interest and principal so there would be no new net debt by the end of the decade.
What the Energy Jobs Investment Act Would Do
The Energy Jobs Investment Act would create a Manhattan Project for energy development designed to leverage the private sector and the market to create a dramatic increase in American energy production and American energy self sufficiency. It would:
- Allow offshore drilling for oil and gas.
- Share the lease revenue 50-50 with the states.
- Allow development of oil shale in the Rocky Mountains.
- Put all the federal revenue into an Energy Trust Fund.
- Increase and extend the solar power tax credit for 20 years.
- Create a clean coal development project with the following four parallel experiments each contracted on a crash basis along the lines of the Wilson-Leavitt-Schwarzenegger incentivized highway projects (see my book Real Change):
- The Future Gen project at Mattoon Illinois;
- The Post Combustion Recapture Project;
- The Oxycombustion project; and
- The Coal CO2 capture and enhanced oil recovery project.
These four projects create the possibility for a wide range of experimental breakthroughs for America’s most abundant and lowest cost energy to be environmentally acceptable. They could be built on a 25% cost share with electric generating companies and with an agreement that any profit from their success would be split evenly with the federal government until the taxpayers were repaid for the investment. Coal is the most abundant energy source on the planet, and the Chinese are about to have the clean coal technology to license worldwide because of the Energy Department Bureaucracy. These four fast-track projects would enable America to recapture the lead and liberate our most abundant energy resource.
- Create a new licensing and inspection regime for nuclear power to accelerate the construction of new nuclear plants.
- Extend the wind tax credit on a compatible basis with other technologies to develop a competitive market for new breakthroughs.
- Create a prize for a major breakthrough in battery technology.
- Create a refundable tax credit for the retooling necessary to create flex fuel cars on the same scale as Brazil (our goal should be 80 to 90% of all new cars by 2011).
- Make energy production investments subject to 100% expensing so they can be written off in one year (if this includes drilling, the explosion in new sources of natural gas and oil will dwarf our current problems).
This kind of dynamic energy jobs investment program would meet America’s national security needs and create permanent jobs with a permanent increase in the economy.
This is a much better future than another failed stimulus package which will accomplish nothing while increasing our indebtedness and weakening our long-term economy.
Combine an Energy Jobs Investment Act with Real Tax and Social Security Reform To Create an Explosion of Economic Growth
In addition to developing more American energy to strengthen our economy, Peter Ferrara and I outlined last week in the Weekly Standard how an agenda of real tax and social security reforms would benefit middle America. Developing more American energy combined with real tax reform would lead to a revolution in the personal prosperity of working people.
Solutions Day 2.0: September 27, 2008
It is exactly these sorts of innovative solutions to America’s public problems that inspired American Solutions to host our first annual Solutions Day in 2007. Over 100,000 people participated in person, via the web or on television and our second annual Solutions Day is shaping up to be even bigger and better.
Anyone interested in finding real solutions to our energy crisis as well as our economic, education and health challenges should sign up today for this year’s Solutions Day on September 27.
Visit SolutionsDay2008.com to register and find out how to participate.
Solutions Day will feature presentations of real solutions for energy, the economy, education and health by both Democrats and Republicans.
Michael Williams of Texas (R) (the Texas Railroad Commissioner) and Roy Romer of Colorado (D) (the former head of the Los Angeles School District) will participate as well as pollster KellyAnne Conway, and representing the Center for Health Transformation, former Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro and former NBA star Dominique Wilkins.
September 27 is Also the 14th Anniversary of the Contract with America
It’s appropriate that we hold Solutions Day on September 27 because it is the 14th anniversary of the Contract with America.
Fourteen years ago we pledged to reform welfare, cut taxes, and balance the federal budget.
We delivered on our promises. Sixty five percent of welfare recipients went to work or to school. Taxes were cut for the first time in 16 years, the federal budget was balanced for four straight years (the first time since the 1920s) and $405 billion in federal debt was paid off.
Now we need fundamental, real solutions once again.
Join us for Solutions Day and tell your friends to do the same. SolutionsDay2008.com.
P.S. — Break Up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – The announcement that the federal government is taking over the two largest mortgage companies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, should alarm every American.
If Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are too big to fail they are too big to continue as they are. For years, conservative analyst Peter Wallison and others have been warning that these institutions were a threat because they were too big. It’s now clear they were right.
Congress should only accept Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s power grab as a temporary expedient leading to the breaking up of these giants into market-sized institutions that can survive or go bankrupt without threatening the economy at large.
P.P.S. — My Votes For America’s Best Zoos – As attentive readers know, I am a big fan of zoos. I recently shared my list of favorite zoos in the forward I wrote to a book entitled America’s Best Zoos. You can read more here.
P.P.P.S. — American Solutions at the Conventions: My Report – For those who want a full rundown of American Solutions’ presence at both the Democratic and Republicans conventions the past two weeks, including how we presented the 1.5 million signatures to Republicans and Democrats at both conventions, click here.