Investor's Business Daily 9/16/13: The president is taking credit once again for America's increased oil and gas production. Just how stupid does he think even his low-information supporters are?
In a blog post last week, Jason Furman, chairman of the president's Council of Economic Advisers, and Gene Sperling, outgoing director of his National Economic Council, implied that White House policies have boosted domestic oil and gas production, and that in turn has pumped up the economy.
Second-quarter growth, they point out, was revised up to 2.5% from the 1.7% estimated previously.
All this, they add, is due to Obama's focus on energy independence that's "not just a critical national security strategy (but) also part of an economic plan to create jobs, expand growth and cut the trade deficit."
This is a recurring, though dishonest, theme with this administration. In early 2012 it claimed that "domestic oil and natural gas production has increased every year President Obama has been in office."
In 2011, you might recall, it said oil production "reached its highest level in nearly a decade and natural gas production reached an all-time high."
The implication, of course, is that the gains are due to Obama policies, and this time the White House took the claim up another notch by asserting oil output is at "its highest level in 17 years."
We don't dispute that fact. But the surge hasn't been due to Obama's policies; it's happened in spite of them.
The American Petroleum Institute, which has been frustrated by Obama's regulatory hurdles, responded to the White House's latest claim with these words:
"That we're producing more oil and natural gas despite current federal policy, not as a result of it, must be understood so we can make policy choices that help increase domestic energy — and job creation, economic stimulus and improved balance of trade."
API is no outlier. The Western Energy Alliance holds a similar view, arguing that the federal government "continues to erect obstacles to domestic oil and gas production."
Earlier this year, the House Energy and Commerce Committee reported that the Congressional Research Service found that "all the increases in production since 2007 have taken place on non-federal lands" — in locations over which Washington has no control.
Credit the shale boom and fracking technology that has driven what economic growth we have. Consulting firm IHS CERA released a report earlier this month that says fracking has raised household incomes by $1,200, supported 2.1 million jobs last year and contributed $283 billion to the economy.
No, Obama didn't build that. The private sector did.