Thanks to President Trump’s energy deregulation, America has become the world’s leading producer of oil and of natural gas. This has created a huge boom in jobs and higher wages for blue-collar working people, who used to be the backbone of the Democratic Party.
Mr. Trump’s economic expansion resulting from deregulation and tax-rate cuts has created nearly 6 million jobs since Mr. Trump took office. Unemployment has consequently plummeted to its lowest level in 50 years, and unemployment is now at its lowest level in American history for black Americans, Hispanic Americans and Asian Americans. For women and young Americans (teenagers), unemployment is at the lowest level since the 1960s. That means Mr. Trump is leading the most inclusive economic recovery in U.S. history.
Though it’s not widely reported, Mr. Trump’s economic policies have led middle-class wages to soar. As Steve Moore reported in The Wall Street Journal, real median household income reached more than $65,000 in July, which is also the highest in America’s history. That is a gain of $4,144, or 6.8 percent, under the Trump administration. More recent data show middle-class wages have increased by more than $6,000 (after taxes) since Mr. Trump took office.
All this prosperity is not due simply to the oil, gas and coal workers themselves. Low-cost, reliable fossil-fuel energy boosts manufacturing, because manufacturing is naturally energy intensive, helping to increase jobs in a variety of sectors.
America’s energy independence has resulted from the fracking revolution. Fracking is the technical term for injecting highly pressurized water, sand and salt into shale rock, which contains vast stores of oil and gas. This process opens little cracks in the shale rocks, which enables oil and gas to seep out.
Marcellus shale rock, which is just one of many oil and natural gas producing shale deposits in the country, runs from Maryland through Pennsylvania and into Upstate New York. America needs liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals that can ship the natural gas recovered from the Marcellus shale to our allies and trading partners in Europe and around the world.
One such LNG terminal is under construction at a former Dupont explosives factory in southern New Jersey, now abandoned in the small town of Gibbstown, near Cherry Hill. This is the perfect location for such a facility, right at the edge of the sprawling Marcellus shale deposit, and it is ideal to put such a facility in an abandoned former explosives factory. Imagine the thousands of blue-collar workers who could be employed at that site, at very strong wages.
The terminal developer, Delaware River Partners, now wants to add the LNG facility to an already approved plan for the export of automobiles, refrigerated cargo and natural gas liquids, such as propane and butane, at the Gibbstown Logistics Center. But the Delaware Riverkeeper Network protests that adding the “[LNG] component … creates a completely new ballgame that requires increased regulatory scrutiny, detailed health and safety analysis, and much greater public review and input.”
Environment New Jersey, an environmental activist group, says the project involves a whole new ballgame “because it would involve the shipment of products from fracking.” But there would be no fracking at the LNG facility, which is not dangerous in any event. Nor would the river in any way be threatened by the LNG facility, or the shipment of goods from the Gibbstown Logistics Center, where Dupont used to ship explosives for years.
What would result, though, would be additional jobs that pay high wages for blue-collar workers. Other well-paying jobs for workers across America would also multiply due to the increased production of fossil fuels.
But Democrats are now beholden to radical environmentalists who oppose fossil-fuel production of any kind. That will cost them come the 2020 elections.
• Peter Ferrara ([email protected]), the Dunn Liberty Fellow in Economics at the Kings College in New York, is a senior fellow at the Heartland Institute and at the National Tax Limitation Foundation.
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