Ben Shapiro: Fracking Saved the Obama Economy

Ben Shapiro explores hydraulic fracking and it's effects on the Obama economy. 

TRANSCRIPT:

President Obama is fond of saying that he is responsible for one of the greatest jobs recoveries in history. Never mind the fact that less Americans are in the active workforce, as a percentage, than at any time in three decades. Never mind that his recover has been the weakest jobs recover of the century. He says the recovery is “real, steady, and happening.” He says America is experiencing the longest period of uninterrupted growth in US history.

Ok, so let’s assume that we’re creating massive numbers of new jobs.

Is Obama responsible for those jobs?

In a word, no.

It turns out that Obama’s recovery hasn’t been his recovery at all: it’s been those evil oil and gas companies. As Stephen Moore of the Heritage Foundation points out, “From 2008 to 2013, the oil and gas industry created more jobs on net than all other industries combined.”

There is a reason that the fastest growing jobs state over the past several years has been North Dakota, where the oil and gas boom is centered, thanks to the Bakken formation. And in Texas, the oil and gas industry growth has powered the state, thanks to the Eagle Ford and the Permian and Haynesville formations.

As this chart from the US Energy Information Administration shows, oil and gas industry employment has far outpaced job growth in any other area of the economy.

And the wages in the oil and gas industry blow away wages in other industries: the average wages of oil and natural gas production jobs were $108,000 in 2013, double that of other industries.

So why the boom? Thanks to the process known as fracking, in which water, chemicals, and sand are shot at shale formations, unlocking natural gas, production has skyrocketed even without creating new oil and natural-gas rigs. At the start of 2012, America had about 1,300 oil and natural-gas rigs, and produced just under 8 million barrels of oil per day. Today, America still has 1,300 oil and natural-gas rigs – and produces 12 million barrels of oil per day. The United States is now the biggest energy producer on earth.

President Obama takes credit for that. In July, Obama bragged, “We’re more energy independent: The world’s no. 1 oil and gas producer is not Russia, it’s not Saudi Arabia, it’s the United States of America.” Throughout his 2012 campaign, President Obama bragged about the increase in oil and gas production.

That’s in spite of him, not because of him. As we’ve seen, oil and gas production has become incredibly efficient – far more than it was when President Obama took office. The real question is whether Obama has thrown roadblocks in the way of oil and gas progress.

According to CNN, “during the last three fiscal years totally under Bush, there were 9,661 ‘new leases’ granted for federal lands. For the three years 2009-2012, there were 5,568 such new leases.” That’s a 42.4 percent decrease.

According to the Institute for Energy Research, most of the drilling on federal lands actually takes place in the Gulf of Mexico – and the Obama administration cut such drilling tremendously in 2011 and 2012. From 2009 to 2014, oil production on federal lands dropped 6 percent, and natural gas production dropped 28 percent. By contrast, since 2009, oil production on non-federal land skyrocketed 61 percent, and natural gas production jumped 33 percent.

It turns out that President Obama’s recover has been riding on the backs of just the folks the left despises: those evil frackers who power the engine of America’s economy.

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