Rick Perry Rolls Out Jobs Plan

Rick Perry has officially launched his “Energizing American Jobs and Security” plan, whose key details include expanding energy exploration, bringing the EPA to heel, and “ending the Obama war on coal and natural gas production.”

Watching Perry at the Dartmouth debate, I thought his economic policy proposals seemed strangely incomplete.  I thought his frequent references to unlocking America’s “treasure trove” of energy resources were one component of a larger plan he hadn’t finished drafting yet.  While Perry has said he’s got more of a platform under construction, he really is putting a lot of chips on that “treasure trove.”

“Creating domestic jobs and making America more energy independent and economically secure are key pillars of my overall jobs and growth strategy,” Perry writes.  “What makes my ‘Energizing American Jobs and Security’ plan unique compared to the broader economic reforms I will present in the coming weeks is that it doesn’t require an act of Congress. Much of it can be accomplished by a new President through immediate executive action.”

That might sound a bit provocative to those who criticized Perry’s use of executive orders as governor of Texas, even as they applaud the goals he has in mind.  Here’s what he plans to do:

 In my first days in office, I will immediately ask the Department of Interior to begin the process of opening appropriate federal lands and federal waters for needed energy exploration. I will initiate a review of a series of pending and enacted regulations at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and all federal agencies, and perform a cost-benefit analysis to determine if the benefits of those rules come at too great a cost to our economy. And I will begin a top to bottom review of the EPA’s regulations, and will work with Congress to dismantle the EPA in its current state, rebuilding it into a new agency that focuses on regional and cross-state regulations, and providing quality research for states to make regulatory decisions about threats to the environment.

As part of a broader tax reform strategy, I will also ask Congress to eliminate direct subsidies and tax credits that distort the energy marketplace. My plan levels the playing field, ending Obama’s anti-growth policies and opening a competitive marketplace to benefit American citizens.

His proposal comes with a simple, memorable slogan:

“Energizing American Jobs and Security” is based on a simple premise: Make what Americans buy. Buy what Americans make. And sell it to the world. America is not forced to import vast resources from foreign nations, including those hostile to our interests. Importing energy resources is a policy choice our leaders have made. But increasing reliance on hostile sources of energy jeopardizes America’s national security and prevents economic recovery.

Perry envisions strong job growth from his proposal, as electricity (quite literally) runs through the American manufacturing sector:

If we do not act, and the Obama Administration’s job-killing bureaucratic rules take effect, America will lose 2.4 million jobs by 2020. With a renewed commitment to developing American energy resources and technology, we will create American jobs – 1.2 million based on various studies. The stark difference between the Perry vision and the Obama vision amounts to 3.6 million jobs in just one sector of our economy. But the ripple effect will impact all sectors of our economy. Manufacturers will benefit from more affordable electricity, in addition to new opportunities to provide goods to energy producers. All sectors of the economy will reap the benefits of a more stable and affordable supply of electricity.

It still feels like Perry needs a lot more than this to build a complete platform, but at least he’ll have a fleshed-out energy proposal to discuss at the next debate.  He’d better be prepared for trouble with Michele Bachmann, who put out a quick statement that delivered a kung fu flurry of backhanded compliments, followed by an executive-order roundhouse kick:

Governor Perry – I appreciate you endorsing my energy ideas. Your plan is exactly what I have been talking about since I entered the race in June. With my announcement of ‘American Jobs, Right Now,’ I am the only candidate with a comprehensive framework to grow the economy, create jobs, unleash potential for American energy, and reform the tax code; the major distinction is that I will implement my framework without abusing executive power.

Bachmann’s “American Jobs, Right Now” plan can be viewed here.  “Legalize American Energy Production and America’s Natural Resources” is indeed one of its points.  She also offers a “repatriation” tax cut to entice investments back to America from overseas, a general commitment to cut government spending and regulations, a very specific commitment to cut the Dodd-Frank act into itsy bitsy pieces and then bury it alive, a promise to enforce immigration laws, and a vow to repeal ObamaCare.