Merry Christmas from Texas to the World
Texas has blessed the world with an incredible Christmas gift: plummeting oil prices. Both the production and the technology of fracking were substantially innovated and pioneered in the Lone Star state. The ramifications here at home and abroad are profound and incredible example of how innovation, property rights, and economic freedom trump the ugly agendas of statism. The gift of Texas oil is a gift that keeps on giving and stands in contrast to the lumps of coal dished out by the Federal government:
Gift 1: A true economic stimulus. The drop in oil prices from over $100 a barrel to less than $60 a barrel constitutes the economic benefit that keeps on giving. Americans filling up their cars during Christmas will find themselves greeted at the pump by prices falling under $2 a gallon. This means drivers will save $10 to $20 dollars every time they fill up. That is an extraordinary economic benefit that ripples through the economy and keeps on giving. Delivery trucks get your bread to the store for less. The fuel for your airline trip gets cheaper. Businesses gain profits that seemed improbable mere months ago. A massive and authentic economic stimulus is being delivered to the American middle class so viciously attacked by the blue Jacobins of DC.
The first Federal lump of coal: overregulation. These gifts stand in sharp contrast to the antagonism of the United States federal government. In an effort to stifle energy development, Al Armendariz was sent to be the EPA administrator over the region of Texas in 2010. In his own words, he hoped to “crucify oil and gas executives” in order to send a message on American energy policy. Fortunately, this energy policy grinch was exposed by Republicans in Congress and he was sent packing from Dallas to California where his sentiments were suited to further souring the California economy.
Gift 2: Global liberation. The sale of high priced oil represents the economic lifeblood of some of the most ruthless human rights abuses in the world. Whether the anti-Semitic mania of Iran, the terror sponsoring Sunni supremacy of Saudi Arabia, the child killing rogues of ISIS, the Arab supremacism of Omar Bashir in Sudan or the authoritarianism of Venezuela, high oil prices help fund the genocidal ambitions of outlaw regimes. Russia’s adventurism in Europe and Venezuela’s capacity to prop up human rights abuses in Cuba are now more constrained than they could be by American boots or cruise missiles. The American dollar and stock market are soaring. Dictatorships face domestic unrest as their cartel driven funding of their economies dry up. Some speculate that Saudi Arabia is still in the oil price driving seat, but the sheiks have long dismissed the Texas oil boom as a flash in the pan that they could ignore. The relentless drive of Texas oil production forced the Saudi hand. The Texans weathered this storm once before in the 1980s. The president was wrong, we could drill our way to lower prices -- and we have.
The second Federal lump of coal 2: Environmental starvation. Despite the fracking boom’s documented role in reducing CO2 emissions, environmentalists and DC blue Jacobins insist upon a dysfunctional energy policy -- converting our food supply into gasoline. Ethanol subsidies raise the price of goods here at home and abroad. American beef is now over $4 a pound although federal inflation measures pretend not to notice. Ethanol damages engines and reduces the global food supply causing suffering around the world. The ethanol subsidies pay off Washington D.C. and lobbyists, but they do not help America or the world. Similarly, subsidies for wind power chop up birds and bats that no fracking oil company would be allowed to kill at even the most fractional levels. The federal government continues to issue permits for bird killing to wind power. The federal environmental policies destroy it. Texas entrepreneurs (along with those in North Dakota and Pennsylvania) are saving the environment with fracking. The federal government owns more than half of all private property in most of the American west. This means that vast unknown reserves of oil are permanently off the market. The Texas mindset of using resources for active economic good stands in contrast to a federal government that seeks to destroy private property by banning entrepreneurial access to most of the western United States.
Texas entrepreneurialism is what kept America out of a full-blown depression. Since 2008, Texas has produced more jobs than the entire United States -- 1.2 million. These accomplishments are despite a conscious effort to hurt the Texas economy through EPA regulation and the deregulation of human trafficking on the border with Mexico. The United States recently turned in a record 5% GDP growth in the 3rd quarter. If the U.S. economy were to approach such growth for 2015, it would massively reduce the federal deficit, reduce poverty, and reduce unemployment -- just as it already has done in the oil boom states of Texas and North Dakota. Merry Christmas world, from the innovative and freedom loving people of Texas!
Ben Voth is an associate professor of Communication Studies and director of debate at Southern Methodist University. He is an advisor for the Bush Center and a Dedman Africa Studies scholar.