THE GOVERNMENT MONSTERS
By Michael Moriarty
November 18, 2011
As winter 2011 sets in, America faces real monsters: government regulations that stifle energy production, increase energy prices, kill jobs, squeeze family and business incomes, and threaten living standards and productivity.
Millions of poor, black, Latino and elderly Americans will bear the brunt of rising energy costs. Even middle class families will have to decide whether to heat their homes or buy groceries or medicine.
A recent USA Today story revealed how our sluggish economy has impacted families and communities. “Across the nation, the middle class share of the nation’s income is shrinking,” the article stated. “The vast middle class has less of the pie than it had before,” it continued, quoting Pew Research Center Executive Vice President Paul Taylor.
In Reno, Nevada, the paper noted, unemployment jumped from 4 percent in 2006 to 14 percent last year. Empty storefronts and rows of home-for-sale signs are commonplace.
USA TODAY also mentioned New Bern, North Carolina, where most middle class residents are retirees living on investments and fixed incomes. Plummeting portfolio values have forced many of them to look for work in an market where the trucking and boat and appliance manufacturing base has been battered.
What USA Today did not do was analyze the depressing problem.
In the case of Nevada, it could have observed that the federal government owns 85 percent of the state. Once managed under “multiple use” principles that allow mining, drilling, timber cutting, and even grazing, snowmobiles and vehicles in many areas, it is now ruled with little but environmental preservation in mind. Multiple use activities are highly restricted or banned, and few business and employment opportunities remain.
President Obama didn’t help either state when he said, “When times are tough, you don’t blow a bunch of cash on Vegas. You don’t go buying a boat.” In the wake of that remark, many singles, families and companies took their vacations and conventions somewhere other than Nevada, further increasing unemployment. Combined with his stated intention to raise taxes on wealthy (boat and appliance buying) families, the President didn’t help New Bern, either.
The ongoing legislative and regulatory binge has kept businesses and investors on the sidelines, stifling economic recovery. Actions on energy have been especially damaging, because reliable, affordable energy is the key to living standards, jobs, and everything we make, ship, eat and do.