We’re not used to hearing a lot of good news out of Washington, but seriously, this is huge. This week, Congressional leadership came to an agreement that will almost certainly avert a government shutdown. “Uh, um, okay,” you might say.
Still waiting for a reason to dance in the streets? Go ahead and dust off those old shoes, because it gets good, fast:
As part of the agreement, the United States will soon lift a ban on exporting oil for the first time since the 1970s. “Wait, what? We don’t export our oil?” It might seem crazy enough that you’d have to ask the question. Worse still, you’d be right: For the past forty-plus years, America has tied one hand around its back in the global marketplace by not allowing domestic producers to export our energy products.
At the very least, the policy was economically disadvantageous. More importantly, it was a job killer. And so the only thing to do was to get with the program and make it right. The benefits were plain to see. Pardon the humble brag, but as we wrote earlier this year:
“Introducing American oil and gas to the global marketplace would have astounding effects on the economy. One study, released earlier this year, found that lifting the ban would grow jobs, investment, pay, profits, and tax revenues, and would increase America’s GDP by $86 billion. While supporters of the ban contend it keeps prices low, their argument holds very little weight in practice: adding American oil to the global marketplace would increase the global supply (which drives prices more than any other variable), invariably dropping prices for consumers not just domestically, but across the globe.”
So, what happens now? Is this lifting of the ban merely symbolic, or will it make a difference?
We would start by suggesting that one million brand-new jobs, across all 50 states, is a good way to celebrate the government’s acknowledgment of the obvious benefits of supporting free market practices. But it doesn’t end there: According to one study, every job created in the oil and gas industry yields six additional jobs in the general workforce. We’re not rocket scientists, but the overall math is pretty simple, and pretty awesome.
Speaking of awesome: You think gas is cheap now? Get this – according to the Government Accountability Office, consumer gas prices stand to drop by as much as an additional 13 cents per gallon as a result of American exports rightfully entering the global marketplace.
America is about many things, but providing an environment where innovators can create jobs and opportunity are central to her greatness. In recent years, it might have felt as though we lost sight of the bigger picture. But just when you might have thought that a sluggish, stagnant economy had become “the new normal,” our increasingly responsible Congress steams ahead and bangs out something as important (if blindingly obvious) as this.
We don’t necessarily need to “Make America Great Again.” We just needed to be reminded of our potential. By lifting the ban on oil exports, our elected representatives just made it a whole lot easier to see what an unencumbered America can do. For what it’s worth, we’ll guess that the sky might not even be the limit.