US Chamber of Commerce Blog
“We Will Rock You” – with the issues.
“The Final Countdown” to Election Day is on as the 2016 Republican National Convention takes the stage Monday in Cleveland – the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. And while this campaign season has made some “Hot Blooded,” we want to bring the focus Back to Business. (We are all about “Takin’ Care of Business.”)022950_gop_convention_cleveland_istk5297506_rock_on_american_flag_atf.jpg So as things get rolling at Quicken Loans Arena (known as “The Q” and home to LeBron James and the NBA world champion Cleveland Cavaliers), we thought we would provide an opening act with our playlist of the issues that matter most to the business community – a path to jobs, growth and opportunity for our nation.
In the words of the fictitious Spinal Tap: “Hello, Cleveland! Rock ’n’ roll!”INTERNATIONAL TRADE
Selling more of our goods and services around the world -- with deals like the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) -- is a great way to create American jobs, help small businesses, and keep the United States ahead of its global competitors.“Rockin’ In the Free World” “Open Arms” “We Can Work It Out” “Come Together” “With a Little Help from My Friends” ENERGY
America is in the midst of a true energy revolution. After decades of fear over potential energy scarcity, we are now in an era of energy abundance, driven by technological innovation and American know-how. We just need to make sure we tap what is available and capitalize on the opportunity.“Take the Power Back” “Under Pressure” (h/t to fracking) “We Are the Champions” (when it comes to energy abundance) “Electric Avenue” REGULATORY REFORM
We recognize the need for smart regulations to ensure workplace safety and protect public health. But with a $2 trillion price tag in compliance costs and an increasing number of huge and complex rules, it’s clear the regulatory system isn’t working the way it should. Americans deserve a working regulatory system that is fair for everyone, takes into account the views of communities and businesses, evaluates the impact rules will have on jobs and small businesses, and protects our economic and personal freedoms.“Beat It” (note to overreaching regulators) “I Want to Break Free” “Beast of Burden” “Fight For Your Right” “Take It Easy” INFRASTRUCTURE
An aging and crumbling transportation system is not only slowing Americans down, it’s reducing productivity, undermining our ability to move products across the country and around the world, and increasing congestion and air pollution. It's time to rebuild.“Crumblin’ Down” “Highway to Hell” “Bridge Over Troubled Water”
For more, check out our Back to Business Playlist on Spotify.
President Barack Obama’s top science adviser sees the radical “Keep It in the Ground” movement to abandon abundant fossil fuels as naïve, Morning Consult reports:
“The notion that we’re going to keep it all in the ground is unrealistic,” [John] Holdren said. “We are still a very heavily fossil-fuel dependent world.”
Holdren, the assistant to the President for Science and Technology and director of the office of Science and Technology Policy, gave a keynote speech at an Energy Information Administration Energy Conference [Here are the slides from his talk.]
On fossil fuels Holdren is absolutely right. Fossil fuels will be a dominant energy source for decades to come. A modern economy that provides all the comforts and opportunities we have needs the abundant, affordable energy that only fossil fuels provide. A world without fossil fuels would be a dramatically poorer, less healthy one.
President Barack Obama prides himself on relying on science and scientists to shape policy. In his 2009 inauguration speech, he promised his administration would “restore science to its rightful place.”
Yet if you looked at his administration’s regulatory behavior you’d think no one was listening to Holdren.
As Karen Harbert, the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy president and CEO, recently wrote, the administration “appears more than willing to relinquish America’s energy edge by raising energy prices on American consumers and industry.”
This is happening by issuing rules that lock down the development of fossil fuels like natural gas, as the Morning Consult story notes:
Holdren’s comments come as natural gas seems to be in President Obama’s crosshairs. The Environmental Protection Agency released a final rule in May regulating new sources of methane emissions from natural gas systems, and it has started developing a much broader rule for existing sources. While the public discussion on climate change tends to focus on carbon emissions, Obama has turned more attention toward methane, which is emitted less prolifically but packs a stronger punch in terms of greenhouse gas effects.
It’s not just natural gas. All fossil fuels are in this administration’s sights.
Recently, the Interior Department released oil and natural gas drilling regulations in the Arctic Ocean that will make it much harder to develop those energy resources when our economy will need them the most.
This administration has also imposed a moratorium on coal leases on federal lands, a flip-flopped on selling drilling rights off the Atlantic coast, closed off the Alaska Natural Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to development, and the big one—unleashed EPA’s Clean Power Plan that will make coal an unviable energy source and is helping to crush an entire industry.
It’s foolish to toss aside any energy source from competing in the marketplace. An all-of-the-above energy strategy ensures better energy security and is better policy.
Whether it’s intentional or not, by making the safe development of American energy uneconomical—or, as is increasingly the case, blocking it outright—this administration has chosen to help the extreme “Keep it in the Ground” movement at the expense of American families and businesses.
Gas prices are something just about every American sees on a daily basis. When they go up, we fret about what we’ll spend less on to make up for the higher prices, and when they fall we think about taking that road trip we’ve been wanting to do.
Over the last few years, thanks in part to fracking, oil production has dramatically gone up and gas prices have gone down.fred_us_gasoline_prices_2014-2016.png U.S. gasoline prices: 2014-2016
A report from the J.P. Morgan Chase Institute finds that families have more in their pockets because of this.
Researchers examined the spending of 1 million Chase credit and debit card holder and found that middle-income households spent nearly $480 less on gas in 2015 than in 2014 when gas prices fell 25%. That’s “more than a one percent increase in annual income for 60 percent of households” and enough for a half a monthly mortgage payment.jpmci_mean_drop_gas_spending.jpg J.P. Morgan Chase Institute chart on gas price savings.Source: J.P. Morgan Chase Institute.
J.P. Morgan Chase Institute chart on gas price savings by quintile.Source: J.P. Morgan Chase Institute.
Lower gas prices have helped lower income households proportionally more. While middle-income households saw a 1% savings, those in lower income households saw as much as 1.4% in savings.
J.P. Morgan Chase Institute chart on what gas prices saving was spent on.Source: J.P. Morgan Chase Institute.
That savings on gasoline rippled outward to other parts of the economy. The report finds that households spent over $200 of what they saved on restaurants, retail, and groceries.
Other research has found that households have also seen energy savings from fracking because of increased production of natural gas. A 2015 Harvard Business School study found that consumers saved $780 dollars in energy costs because of larger supplies of natural gas.
This is another reminder that of how fracking is making Americans’ lives better. It means more American energy, lower energy prices, and more money in families’ wallets. An all-around good thing.