The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

White House Turns Its Back on Jobs

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted September 12, 2011

President Obama's latest jobs statement drew this reaction from API President and CEO Jack Gerard:

Nothing said today indicates the administration is moving on the one million potential new jobs our industry could be creating, including thousands of shovel-ready jobs that could be filled next year. That is a tremendous disappointment when millions of Americans remain unemployed.

The jobs Gerard is talking about are these:

jobs_impact.jpg A report issued last week by research and consulting firm Wood Mackenzie said pro-energy development policies could allow the oil and natural gas industry to create 1 million additional jobs by 2018 and 1.4 million by 2030. Real jobs - real in terms of putting people to work, generating tax revenue for government and increasing domestic energy supply.

Though the administration is (rightly) focused on job creation, this major source of jobs (and energy security) is being ignored.

OK, maybe it's more accurate to say "mostly ignored," because the oil and natural gas industry has the president's attention in one sense - as a target for tax hikes. Along with other tax-raising proposals, the administration today said it would help pay for its jobs plan with $40 billion in higher taxes on a few oil and natural gas companies. This it would do by eliminating tax provisions that are available to and used by a wide array of U.S. businesses. More from Gerard:

The administration is not just turning its back on oil and gas jobs. It is proposing more taxes on an industry doing one of the best jobs of creating them while also delivering more than $86 million a day in revenue to the government.

As the Las Vegas Sun notes:

In fact, everything critics describe as "subsidies" to Big Oil are tax deductions or tax credits for costs incurred -- deductions they can take on their tax returns. No one in the government is mailing any subsidy checks to the oil companies.

The president's proposals do not eliminate "subsidies" or close "loopholes." They are a tax increase, a tax increase that threatens jobs and energy security - and federal revenues as well. This he proposes for a sector that's actually creating jobs, with the lowest unemployment rate among sectors charted last week by Jay Livingston:

unemployment.jpg

In his remarks today the president said: "Instead of just talking about America's job creators, let's actually do something for America's job creators..." The president added: "The notion there are folks who would say we're not going to [support these economic initiatives] because it's not convenient for our politics... that's exactly what folks are tired of," he said. "It's not OK in a time of great urgency and need across the country."

If the president won't listen to the energy industry, he should at least listen to himself and not punish one of America's leading job creators just because it is convenient politics. That's exactly what folks who're urgently ready to work are tired of.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.