Just think about what we could achieve. Millions more new jobs—high-quality, good paying careers, ones that can vault Americans on a pathway to affluence and greater prosperity. Lower prices for struggling families, beaten down by six years of economic stagnation under this President, trying hard to make ends meet. Federal and state coffers flush with new cash—hundreds of billions of dollars that can support important priorities, or get returned to taxpayers’ pockets.
What mighty act would it take for our nation to accomplish such a transformation? Simple. All we need is a President who will say yes—yes to affordable energy.
Right now we have a President insistent on saying no to affordable energy. President Obama and the Left seem focused on making energy scarce and more expensive, as a way to achieve their own liberal ends. Even as hydraulic fracturing has led to an explosion of oil and gas exploration on private and state-owned lands, production has fallen over the last four years on federal lands. By saying no to more energy exploration on lands the American public—all of us, you and me included—own, the Obama Administration is keeping energy prices higher than they need to be.
Sadly, President Obama doesn’t just want to say no to affordable energy now—he wants to ensure we say no to affordable energy for years to come. The Administration’s proposed EPA carbon regulations would make energy prohibitively expensive, raising prices and killing jobs. Our nation has the world’s largest combined resources of coal, oil, and natural gas by far—few countries even come close. Yet President Obama would have us fritter away the benefits of that energy abundance for generations to come, so he can bask in the approval of Hollywood movie stars and other liberal elites.
There is a better way—one that involves harnessing our natural resources, rather than putting them to waste. By exploring and supporting all forms of energy—from oil and gas to wind and solar—we can ensure stable and affordable energy here at home. That means fewer price shocks when crises in other countries intervene, reducing our reliance on energy supplied by hostile or unsavory regimes overseas.
But affordable energy doesn’t just mean lower prices—it also means jobs. Millions of jobs, in dozens of industries. When individuals pay less at the pump, they have more money to spend elsewhere, from shopping for new clothes to traveling to buying a home. And when companies pay less for energy, they can afford to invest more and hire new workers. In fact, many companies are bringing jobs back to the United States from overseas, precisely because our energy abundance has given American businesses a pricing advantage relative to their peers.
One survey found that unconventional oil and gas created 2.1 million jobs by 2012—an amount that will nearly double between now and 2025. Those jobs range in industries from energy exploration, to petrochemicals, to manufacturing, and many others as well. That’s why affordable energy can be properly considered the lifeblood of America—because all that activity courses through our economy’s veins as a result.
But this surging new economy involves saying yes to affordable energy. The Obama Administration’s constant “no” when it comes to new energy exploration continues to act as a brake on business’ ability to grow—and the EPA carbon regulations would throw our economic engine into reverse.
I hope that President Obama will finally embrace the concept of a nation that utilizes all of our energy blessings. For all of his talk about Congress obstructing his agenda, the President himself has been the biggest obstruction to affordable energy and economic growth. In fact, the Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, reportedly considers the President his “frustrator-in-chief,” for the President’s continued refusal to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.
The American people deserve better than a leader who obstructs affordable energy and frustrates economic growth. They need someone who will say yes to a vision of a better and more prosperous tomorrow—a vision propelled by affordable, abundant energy.
Bobby Jindal is the Governor of Louisiana. This piece originally appeared at InsideSources.com.