Energy Should Be Job One for the New Congress

January 12, 2011

Most people argue that getting the economy back on track should be the new Congress's first order of business.  Yet no one seems to agree on how to do so.  The 112th Congress should look at energy policy as job one to secure the economy for now and the future, says H. Sterling Burnett, a senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis.

Our economy was built on and our lifestyles depend upon relatively inexpensive, abundant, reliable sources of energy.  With this in mind, here are a couple of steps Congress could take to improve the reliability and reduce the costs of energy.

First, Congress should halt the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) climate regulations in their tracks.

  • The vast bulk of independent research indicates that allowing the EPA to move forward with the agency's climate rules would make energy more expensive.
  • Facing rising energy costs, some businesses will cut jobs, meaning people will lose their health insurance and fall into poverty.
  • Poverty and the lack of access to good nutrition, medical care and the basics of life all of which require energy to produce or transport, results in thousands of cases of premature death each year.

Second, Congress should end its love affair with so-called green energy and the misplaced belief in the myth of green jobs.

  • Research shows that subsidies for green jobs kill more jobs than they create.
  • For instance, a 2009 study from Madrid's King Juan Carlos University found that for every green job the government "creates," 2.2 jobs are lost in competing industries as factories lay off workers to cover the higher energy costs of the green technology or move their plants overseas.
  • In addition, only 10 percent of those green jobs created were permanent, with the average green job adding nearly $750,000 in costs to consumers' bills.

Source: H. Sterling Burnett, "Energy Should Be Job One for the New Congress," Energy Tribune, January 11, 2011.

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