Third Way Perspectives
Posts Tagged ‘obama’
November 6th, 2012
This piece was originally featured on Al Jazeera.
It was partly a personal victory. American voters like Barack Obama. Mitt Romney, not so much. Romney came across as an opportunist. He was a moderate when that was required in Massachusetts, and he was a “severe conservative” when he ran for the Republican nomination. In the end, voters just didn’t trust Romney
What about the issues? The economy was a huge burden for President Obama. That’s why the election was so close. It was by far the biggest issue to voters, and those concerned about the economy did vote for Romney. But not by a huge margin. Obama benefited from the fact that a lot of voters still blame President Bush for the financial crisis. And from the fact that people believe the economy is beginning to turn around. Obama sells hope, and there’s still a lot of hope out there. Read the rest of this entry »
October 23rd, 2012
- Thanks to continued partisan gridlock, major congressional action on energy is unlikely after the 2012 elections. However, this could change if there is a deal to address the budget deficit or if one party makes significant gains in seats.
- Domestic oil and natural gas production will continue to grow under either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney.
- A second Obama administration would be likely to seek to accelerate the commercialization and deployment of clean energy through a mix of tax incentives, encouraging private financing, and regulation of conventional and climate pollutants.
- A Romney administration would be likely to focus on increasing domestic conventional energy production by reducing environmental regulation, particularly on coal-burning power plants, and opening more public land to oil and natural gas development. Excluding basic research, government incentives for clean energy would most likely be eliminated.
In 2008, the price of natural gas in the United States was roughly $8 per thousand cubic feet (tcf), coal was used to generate more than 47 per cent of all electricity, and there was a consensus among Democrats and Republicans that climate change was real, caused by humans, and needed to be addressed immediately. It seemed only a matter of time before the country adopted a cap-and-trade system similar to one backed by both parties’ presidential nominees.
Four years later, the energy landscape has changed dramatically. Cap-and-trade is on the ash heap of history, and climate change and clean energy have become enormously politicized. The price of natural gas has dropped as low as $2.25 per tcf thanks to the hydraulic fracturing drilling process (fracking) that has given the United States access to more than 500 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and sent domestic coal use into a precipitous decline. That same fracking technology has led to a domestic oil boom, with imports dropping to 42 per cent of use, the lowest level in two decades. Clean energy, particularly wind and solar, also saw a boom in the early years of the Obama administration thanks to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).
The growth in domestic shale oil and gas production seems inevitable. But the broader future of US energy faces much more uncertainty. There are enormous differences in how the two candidates would approach regulation of energy production and generation, climate change and America’s competition in the global clean energy race. Polling shows that these issues will have little impact on the decisions voters make. But they will have enormous implications for the price and source of the energy Americans consume, the success of America’s energy industries and the fate of international efforts to stem climate change.
October 3rd, 2012
This piece was originally posted on the Huffington Post.
Paul Krugman is one of America’s intellectual treasures, but he is stunningly off when it comes to the deficit. He argues that if re-elected, Obama should “just say no” to all efforts to seek a major budget deal. In so doing, he belittles Bowles, Simpson and others who warn about a looming and potentially crippling fiscal crisis. He’s not the only deficit denier, but Mr. Krugman is so respected by the left wing of the Democratic Party that his arguments could prove quite problematic.
His recent column opens with perhaps the most dangerous and short-sighted argument, namely that our historically low U.S. treasury rates prove that “we are not facing any kind of fiscal crisis.” But our rates are not at historic lows because of our chronic deficits, rather in spite of them. We are (in the eyes of those seeking to purchase the safest debt possible) the cleanest port-o-potty at the county fair thanks to the awful state of much of the rest of the world’s beleaguered economies. Read the rest of this entry »