"Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government." Thomas Jefferson
Economic System

Road to Hell paved with irony and big government

Melanie Sturm | @ThinkAgainUSA Read Comments - 0
Publish Date: 
Thu, 06/23/2011

Unlike Jack Nicholson's mother, who never saw the irony in calling Jack a “son of a bitch,” I'm hoping you'll appreciate another delicious irony. In a keynote speech at an international economic forum, a major political leader blamed the state's heavy role in the economy for stagnation. Government, he said, should “protect the choice and property of those who willingly risk their money and reputation.”

If you're guessing the critiqued policies are in Greece, Ireland or the United States, Think Again. In fact the speaker was President Medvedev of Russia, the country whose government excesses inflicted misery and deprivation on its people.

It is poetic irony, then, to hear Medvedev wax Jeffersonian while throwing overboard the Russian autocrats who've concentrated power in the Kremlin. Medvedev knows that “the proposition that the government is always right is manifested either in corruption or benefits to ‘preferred' companies.” Medvedev says, “The Russian economy ought to be dominated by private businesses and private investors.”

That is the definition of “seeing the light!”

As astonishing is the rejection of America's founding principles of limited government and free-enterprise by politicians who've glommed onto a micro-managed government-approved “capitalism.” I'm not claiming the U.S. has morphed into Russia, only a shared lesson. Government officials are too easily captured by special interests, often ones they should be regulating and on which they lavish taxpayer-financed favors. Therefore, trusting government officials to influence the economy is mistaken and dangerous.

The ironic truth is that governmental policies to promote home ownership precipitated the financial crisis by pushing suicidal loans onto low-income people and stimulating taxpayer-backed demand for the bad loans. As a result, the government perverted the free-enterprise system and subverted everyone's economic interest, sticking taxpayers with massive losses, saddling homeowners with unfair mortgages and damaging credit markets. More ironically, we've allowed government officials to deny responsibility, blame others and even benefit personally — sounds like Russia!

Economists say there's no such thing as a free lunch, but seeming to give free lunches elects politicians who claim they can do miraculous things like create economic growth and jobs. The reality is, despite economic models showing government could create wealth by spending (“investing”, in politician-speak), the models don't reflect the complexity of a dynamic market economy where millions of decisions are made simultaneously. While government can invest at the margins in research and activities that spin off useful technologies, spending incurs an opportunity cost as taxation, borrowing and mandates undermine businesses' desire to hire and invest.

Haven't we learned the Great Depression lessons when New Deal policies initially committed these mistakes, thus prolonging economic despair? In 1939, FDR's Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau said, “We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work … After eight years of this administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started … and an enormous debt to boot!”

Since 2008, we've spent almost $2 trillion on stimulus and recovery programs. We've enacted a too-big-to-fail policy, bailing out bankrupt banks and car companies, making taxpayers liable for reckless decision-making while penalizing disadvantaged smaller competitors who don't enjoy government backing. Cash for clunkers and the first-time homebuyers tax credit generated no incremental demand. Hundreds of new complex regulations and hidden taxes lurk in financial reform and health-care legislation with critical details left to regulators. Employers worry that hiring implies accepting costs they can't control or predict. Not surprisingly, American businesses are reluctant to invest their $2 trillion cash horde.

As Karl Marx said, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” After all this government “goodwill,” unemployment exceeds 9 percent (despite promises the rate wouldn't top 8 percent by now), economic growth is anemic, and the misery index (unemployment plus inflation rates) is at a 28-year high. Federal spending is at an unsustainable 25 percent of GDP, up from a 60-year 18 percent average, as we borrow 42 cents out of every dollar spent. With $14.3 trillion in federal debt, Americans brace for higher interest rates as creditors doubt America's ability to repay.

The role of government is not to create jobs but to facilitate an environment hospitable to the private investment that drives innovation and, ultimately, job growth. America must revert to the values that made us the most prosperous country in history — smaller government, sensible though limited regulations, a globally competitive tax burden, entrepreneurialism, equality of opportunity, an exceptional educational system, respect for private property, and individual responsibility.

Pollster Scott Rasmussen wrote, “the gap between Americans who want to govern themselves and politicians who want to rule over them may be as big today as the gap between the colonies and England during the eighteenth century.” Americans don't want to be governed from the left, the right or the center; they want to govern themselves.

There's nothing ironic about that.

The last best hope of Earth

Melanie Sturm | @ThinkAgainUSA Read Comments - 0
Publish Date: 
Thu, 07/07/2011


Is the free market the best system for the world's future? So asked GlobeScan in its annual survey of 25 countries, conducted since 2002. Then, American confidence in the free market topped the poll at 80 percent.

If you assume that Americans are still first, Think Again. The 2010 survey reveals faith in the free market is at a low (59 percent) in the world's biggest economy placing the U.S. fifth behind Germany (68 percent), China and Brazil (both 67 percent), and Italy (62 percent). Intriguingly, American support for free markets dropped 15 points in just the last year resulting in an astonishing nine-point advantage for the Chinese.

Undoubtedly, Chinese confidence in free markets is high because 450 million Chinese were lifted out of poverty as the government liberalized the economy. However, because the Chinese do not enjoy the inalienable rights accorded Americans, China materially lags behind the U.S. in other living standard metrics including civil liberties, life expectancy, infant mortality, child labor and a clean environment. Meanwhile, according to the World Bank, China's national wealth trails America's in terms of GDP per capita ($7,570 versus $47,020).

The real conundrum is why did American support for the free markets survive the tumultuousness of the early 2000s — the bursting tech bubble, plummeting stock indices and corporate scandals that eliminated companies like WorldCom and Enron — only to drop last year?

Perhaps Americans are frustrated that the private sector isn't pulling the economy out of its doldrums, as with past recessions. We've become accustomed to economic cycles in which demand eventually increases as businesses replenish inventory and new construction replaces old. To meet increasing demand, companies hire employees and invest in equipment — this is the free market at work.

However, as the Chinese economy has grown freer, the U.S. economy has become less free. Most Americans are unaware that over the last decade, the government sector has grown five times faster than the private sector, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Moreover, politicians more interested in political power and rewarding allies from Wall Street to Main Street have undermined the free market with policies (health care, Internet, labor, environment and financial) that drive up costs on businesses and consumers, and create massive uncertainty for investors.

If Americans are down on the free market, they're gradually realizing it was the government that sabotaged it. Thanks to the new book “Reckless Endangerment” by New York Times business reporter Gretchen Morgenson and housing finance analyst Joshua Rosner, Americans are learning the true causes of the financial crisis: Government intervention in the private housing market and influence peddling among political insiders produced the weakest economy since the Great Depression.

The sad truth is that the financial crisis would never have occurred were it not for government policies that encouraged weak underwriting standards resulting in the creation of 27 million risky loans (half of all U.S. mortgages). Furthermore, politicians ignored rampant corruption at the government-sponsored entities (GSEs called Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac), wouldn't regulate them even after accounting scandals, and cost taxpayers more than $150 billion so far. Additionally, if politicians had performed their duties, the GSEs couldn't have spawned the seemingly profitable business in loans to people with bad credit that ultimately attracted Wall Street banks.

However, you won't hear politicians Think Again, never mind declare mea culpas. They're busy promoting fallacies, mis-assigning blame, denying responsibility and enacting “reforms” that do nothing to address the government policies primarily responsible for the crisis. Furthermore, by seizing even more governmental authority over the U.S. economy, politicians have further weakened the free markets prompting one regulator, Acting Comptroller of the Currency John Walsh, to warn that when regulations are “carried too far, the economy suffers” because higher costs impede the economic activity necessary for growth and job creation.

Consequently, confidence in politicians is as low today as it was during Watergate. Opportunistic politicians who wage class warfare and who demonize the successful, industrious and productive actually weaken public confidence in the very free-enterprise system that incentivized millions of Americans (native and immigrants) to take risks, compete, innovate, and achieve in the “land of opportunity.” Our free-enterprise system is the reason Americans have historically been among the richest and happiest nationalities and why, in a competitive global economy, the U.S. still produces one-quarter of the world's goods and services despite being only 3.4 percent of the world's population.

To preserve the system that is the source of our flourishing and the bedrock of our culture, we must choose leaders committed to expanding liberty and increasing individual opportunity. In doing so, we'll recover our confidence in free markets, and realize Abraham Lincoln's aspiration spoken in the darkest moments of the Civil War: “My dream is of a place and a time where America will once again be seen as the last best hope of earth.”

Think Again. You won't hear that said about China!

Green Dream: Red Nightmare for Taxpayers

Melanie Sturm | @ThinkAgainUSA Read Comments - 0
Publish Date: 
Thu, 09/15/2011


Winston Churchill famously quipped, “However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.” What could be more beautiful, never mind seductive, than the strategy to promote renewable energies and a “green economy,” heralded as cure-alls for America's greatest challenges, most particularly economic stagnation?

But a funny thing happened on the way to green utopia. High-paying, clean-tech jobs were a cornerstone of the 2009 stimulus bill, which appropriated $80 billion to promote the “green economy.” Yet, instead of putting us on the green-brick road to recovery, we've learned that subsidizing industry merely results in red — lost jobs, squandered taxpayer resources, scandalous bankruptcies and diminished prosperity. “Green” proponents whose policies produced these shameful outcomes should be red-faced and prepared to Think Again.

With nearly one in six Americans living in poverty — the largest total since tracking began in 1959 (according to newly released Census data), and persistently high unemployment, Americans desperately want to believe the green-jobs predictions of advocates like Van Jones, who wrote “The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems.”

Yet the reality is that these lofty job creation projections are wrong, as detailed in last month's New York Times story “Number of Green Jobs Fails to Live Up to Promises.” The Times concluded, ”such numbers are a pipe dream” because, as they've previously reported, wind power costs 50 percent more than conventional power, and solar-generated electricity costs up to three times more than wind power. Shifting resources toward less-efficient purposes inevitably results in less prosperity — fewer jobs at lower pay.

Furthermore, in order to compete, renewable energy sources require costly government subsidies, price floors or purchase mandates. Consequently, green policies actually increase energy prices, undermine the economy, destroy jobs and hurt consumers, especially the poorest whose family budgets are consumed by escalating costs for everything. Exacerbating things further, energy prices increase when potential suppliers and energy entrepreneurs redirect scarce capital away from government-manipulated markets.

For these reasons, renewable energies produce only 3 percent of U.S. electricity and remain a fledgling global industry, despite having enjoyed enormous government support in the U.S., Europe and China. Given the industry's small size and inherent unviability, allowing China to subsidize production to remain the lower-cost manufacturer is logical and prudent.

The question remains: Why didn't we examine the troubling European experience with the green-economy strategy before launching our own? After a decade of experimentation and faced with job losses, higher energy prices, economic stagnation and corruption, European governments have cut their green funding. Kenneth Green of the American Enterprise Institute summarizes the findings of research studies conducted across Europe: For every green job created, green programs destroyed 2.2 jobs in Spain and 3.7 jobs in the U.K., while the capital needed for one green job in Italy could create almost five jobs in the general economy. Wind and solar power have raised energy prices by 7.5 percent in Germany, and caused Denmark to have the highest electricity prices in Europe.

Perhaps U.S. policymakers ignored the European experience because they wanted the power and resources to pick winners and losers in the energy sector and to dispense favors to political patrons. But when government presses its massive thumb on the market scale, businesses have huge incentives to win favors through lobbying and campaign contributions. This is not only economically damaging, it's the definition of crony capitalism, the destructive consequences of which were exposed last month by the bankruptcies of three politically connected U.S. solar companies — Solyndra of California, Evergreen Solar of Massachusetts and SpectraWatt of New York. All were showcases for the green-jobs strategy, so their demise has eliminated thousands of these jobs.

Solyndra, whose major shareholder is a significant political donor, was the first clean-tech company to receive a loan-guarantee following passage of the stimulus bill, even though the Energy Department credit committee had already unanimously rejected the loan in early January 2009. ABC News reported Tuesday that Solyndra is under criminal investigation because newly uncovered emails show that they might have bypassed normal vetting procedures in obtaining their loan approval, despite being deemed a high risk.

Even if corruption wasn't a factor, the Solyndra debacle demonstrates the ineptitude of government officials when speculating with other people's money — they pale in comparison to more experienced investors who risk their own money.

So after examining the results, it's that clear green policies haven't made us happier, healthier and richer. Instead, they've lowered living standards globally and weakened the technological progress that market forces usually deliver, distracting us from finding optimal solutions to the economic and environmental challenges we face.

Like the proverbial vampire who fears daylight, optimal solutions are the last thing “green energy” proponents want to see. Given the economic bloodletting, American policymakers must Think Again and drive a stake through the vampire's green heart.

Wall Street protestors: blame cronyism, not capitalism

Melanie Sturm | @ThinkAgainUSA Read Comments - 1
Publish Date: 
Thu, 10/13/2011


I didn't “Occupy” Wall Street, though I spent enough hours working there that a sleeping bag could have come in handy. I can attest to one of the protesters' claims about Wall Street bankers: While most are good and ethical people, they are supremely money-oriented, and, like the bear that sniffed out a Payday in my trash, they'll take the path of least resistance to find theirs.

However, the profit motive is not a bad impulse, and countries with economic systems that ignore it suffer worse economies. In our system, the accumulation of profits is an important metric of success, which is why Steve Jobs' pride peaked the day Apple's market value surpassed Microsoft's — his business model won.

So unless protesters want to do away with our capitalist system (as some might), blaming Wall Street bankers for ransacking our economy is like shooting the bear that ransacked my garage. Both merely followed their instincts. Rather than rage at Wall Street and demand that government have a bigger role in our lives, the protesters should Think Again — do an about-face and march to Washington, where the misguided policies that undermined our economy were hatched.

That would be the impulse of protesters if they had read “Reckless Endangerment,” the bestselling book by Gretchen Morgenson, Pulitzer Prize-winning business reporter for The New York Times. Morgenson and her co-author, Joshua Rosner, share the protesters' outrage. They wrote this book to expose “a crowd of self-interested, politically influential, and arrogant people who have not been held accountable for their actions.”

Contrary to the false narrative that Wall Street led the way in subprime lending, the authors place blame squarely on the government sector. The calamitous (though well-meaning) Homeownership Strategy, enacted during the Clinton administration and continued by President Bush, required banks to make loans to lower-income borrowers. Additionally, Fannie Mae (the government-sponsored mortgage finance agency, or GSE) forged partnerships with mortgage originators like Countrywide, from which it bought mortgages, and with Wall Street banks like Goldman Sachs, which repackaged and sold them.

According to the authors, “what few have recognized is how the partners in the Clinton program embraced a corrupt corporate model … devised by Fannie Mae.” “Reckless Endangerment” details how “Fannie Mae perfected the art of manipulating lawmakers, eviscerating its regulators and enriching its executives.” It's the story of “how watchdogs who were supposed to protect the country from financial harm were actually complicit in the actions that finally blew up the American economy.”

The chief villain in this story is Fannie Mae, which capitalized on the political cover provided by affordable housing goals (as well as government ties and generous political donations) to “build itself into the largest and most powerful financial institution in the world.” Essentially, taxpayers unwittingly channeled the agency billions of dollars a year to finance a campaign of self-promotion and self-protection, enriching Fannie Mae's executives as well as its political patrons.

Meanwhile, Wall Street banks were drawn to the mortgage market like a bear to trash, seeing Fannie Mae's soaring profits, stock price and executive compensation. Aided by credit agencies' erroneous assumptions that housing values wouldn't decline, the housing bubble continued to inflate. The few brave enough to criticize these government policies were effectively silenced by well-funded, self-interested and sometimes vicious opposition from the “public-private housing machine.”

When the weakest mortgages began to default in 2007, the housing market crashed along with the financial sector, resulting in the Great Recession, from which we have yet to recover.

The sad reality is that the riskiest loans absorbed by Fannie Mae (no documentation/no equity) originated after 2005, the year Congress tried and failed to pass legislation that would have curtailed the agency's financially destabilizing practices. Hence the financial crisis wasn't caused by deregulation, as false narratives purport, but by Congress' failure to regulate Fannie Mae and other GSEs.

You'd think policymakers would have learned from this catastrophe. Yet Morgenson concludes that the so-called Dodd-Frank bill — sponsored by U.S. Sen. Christopher Dodd and Rep. Barney Frank, “two of the most strident defenders of Fannie Mae” — fails to alleviate future threats to taxpayers. As is the case with most regulation, its primary impact has been to increase the cost of doing business, costs which are usually passed on to consumers.

The income inequality the Occupy Wall Street protesters decry results from this crony capitalist system that allows policymakers to distribute economic favors to special interests in the form of bailouts, preferable tax treatment and favorable regulations. Conversely, capitalists like Steve Jobs who rely on free markets, private financing, American ingenuity and hard work, create more prosperity for more people.

Most Americans don't need to Think Again. We prefer capitalists like Steve Jobs to “crony capitalists” like Fannie Mae, whose government-abetted ransacking of the economy is the root cause of Americans' despair.

Governing-class warriors misinform and demoralize

Melanie Sturm | @ThinkAgainUSA Read Comments - 1
Publish Date: 
Thu, 10/27/2011


Like a snuff video, footage of Moammar Gadhafi's final moments saturated our screens last week. Despite revulsion for Libya's depraved and ruthless despot, I cringed at the ingloriousness of a once-powerful man holed up in a filthy drainage pipe begging for mercy. The cowardly dictator screamed “don't shoot” and ironically asked the rebels if they knew right from wrong, before a bullet to the temple ended his 42-year reign.

As thousands filed past his corpse wearing masks to avoid the stench of death, I wondered why Gadhafi hadn't fled with his $200 billion stash. Then again, “absolute power corrupts absolutely,” which is why tyrants like Hitler, Hussein and Gadhafi cling to authority — because they can. Never mind the devastation they leave in their wake.

In democracies, power is no less an aphrodisiac, though acquiring it requires winning votes, not gun battles. Too often, a politician's success depends on what he can get voters to believe, whether or not it bears any resemblance to reality. By engaging in negativity and demagoguery, either through false narratives or by denigrating opponents, politicians cause destructive wakes, including a misinformed and demoralized electorate.

Governing elites who exploit the politics of division to pick winners and losers and to determine our destinies are “governing-class warriors.” When such unscrupulous tactics are deployed, Americans must Think Again — something politicians hope we never do.

Simply follow the trend lines in Michele Bachman and Rick Perry's poll numbers after employing shameless demagoguery. When Bachman raised previously discredited fears about vaccinations while attacking Perry for mandating that girls get HPV inoculations, she undermined her credibility. Similarly, Perry damaged his standing when counter-punching Mitt Romney on illegal immigration, resurrecting the already scrutinized 2006 story about Romney's lawn service employing illegals.

Most unseemly is demagoguery that transcends mere political one-upmanship, transforming opponents into the moral equivalent of wife-beaters and worse. Consider former presidential contender Howard Dean's character assassination: “In contradistinction to Republicans, Democrats don't want children to go to bed hungry at night.” Or Congressman Andre Carson's smear that “some of them in Congress right now of this tea party movement would love to see you and me ... hanging on a tree.”

It packs a punch, especially considering the ease with which smears take root and propagate, as when Piers Morgan blithely asked Herman Cain, “You know there are elements in the tea party who are racist; I don't think it's a trade secret. How do you deal with that as a black man?”

Cain's response was clarifying, and disinfecting: “My experience has been, there is no more a racist element in the tea party than there is in the general population. I have spoken at hundreds of them and they're not racist. To think so, you must never have been.” No wonder Cain is topping the polls. Though the least likely to emerge, Cain's solutions-orientation and optimism appeal to voters who want to be persuaded by can-do leaders, not alienated by negativity.

Americans crave competent leadership as new polls show a sweeping lack of faith in what we've got: CBS/NYT finds 89 percent don't trust the government to do what is right, while The Hill shows 69 percent of voters believe America is in decline.

Americans' pessimism is understandable. Having suffered a historic U.S. credit downgrade with more possible, the powerful Supercommittee is reportedly struggling to agree on $1.2 trillion (only 3 percent) of deficit cuts over a 10-year period. Americans will recoil at their failure's fall-out, especially if leaders resort to the politics of division to evade responsibility and to advance narrow political interests.

Business leaders are already recoiling as entrepreneurs like Steve Wynn, Bernie Marcus, Mort Zuckerman and Steve Jobs have articulated concerns that Washington is a massive wet blanket to the economy and job creation. We believe them because we know they are living it.

When Wynn conveyed his concerns to good friend Harry Reid, Reid hung up on him. Reid disagrees with Wynn saying this week, “It's very clear that private-sector jobs are doing just fine. It's public-sector jobs where we've lost huge numbers.” Wynn no longer speaks to Congresswoman Shelly Berkley, now a Senate candidate. He recounts her shameful admission: “Steve, I know Obamacare is terrible. My husband is a doctor and he hates it too. But if I don't vote for it, Pelosi will punish me.”

Wynn, whose candor and moral clarity defies his Las Vegas roots, pleads “if any businessman or working person doesn't understand that this is a tipping point in American history, then I'm afraid we're going to get what we deserve.”

Unlike Libya, America's exceptional values and culture of opportunity position us well. We just need governing-class warriors to Think Again — Americans want to be persuaded to affirm our leaders, not so alienated that we reject them all.

America’s Tebows await their start

Melanie Sturm | @ThinkAgainUSA Read Comments - 1
Publish Date: 
Tue, 12/13/2011

Back in September when President Obama was arguing for his third stimulus, he pronounced America soft and said we lacked a competitive edge. At the same time, the NFL cognoscenti were declaring Tim Tebow an NFL bust despite being a first-round draft pick. Remarkably, Tim Tebow and the U.S. economy are showing signs of resurgence.

The news that the U.S. unemployment rate fell from 9.0 to 8.6 percent in November (though due largely to job seekers exiting the market) is as surprising as Tebow’s 7-1 record since becoming the Broncos’ starting quarterback. Tebow’s late-fourth-quarter magic and five come-from-behind victories (three in overtime) have rocketed the Broncos from worst to first in their division, earning Tebow the confidence of coaches and teammates, and the adoration of fans.

If only America’s private-sector “quarterbacks” were liberated to call their own plays and scramble like an unleashed Tebow, America could win the economic equivalent of the Super Bowl — GDP growth of 4.5 percent and unemployment of 6 percent.

If politicians were as wise as Tebow’s coach, they’d formulate strategies to get business owners off the sidelines. They could start by reducing excessive regulations that, according to the Small Business Administration, cost the economy $1.75 trillion in 2008, more than individual and corporate income taxes combined — and that’s more than 11,000 regulations ago. In stronger economies, businesses are better equipped to tackle runaway regulators, who often view them as the opponent. Now, the 22.9 million Americans who are unemployed, underemployed or too discouraged to look for employment are consigned to the injured reserve list.

As politicians play political football with our fate, they demonstrate greater concern for the next election than for the next generation. If politicians were truly interested in growing the economy, creating jobs and paying off the national debt, they wouldn’t propose micro-measures like the temporary extension of the Social Security payroll tax cut. While hardworking taxpayers welcome savings, this temporary cut is minimally pro-growth and further erodes Social Security’s solvency. Furthermore, offering current benefits financed by faux spending cuts or never-to-materialize revenues is the very accounting gimmickry that has undermined America’s fiscal stability and credit worthiness. How many Americans know that the so-called “Budget Control Act of 2011” that raised the debt ceiling actually increases spending by $830 billion over current expenditures?

We know that to recover fiscal stability we must get taxpaying Americans back in the game. Six percent unemployment by 2014 requires an additional 14 million jobs, or 400,000 each month (compared with the 120,000 added last month). This implies an annual growth rate not seen since 1999 and triple this year’s 1.5 percent.

Meanwhile, like the Broncos’ fans after the team’s dismal 1-5 start, Americans lack confidence. A recent Rasmussen poll shows that only 18 percent of Americans believe today’s children will be better off than their parents, perhaps because 68 percent of Americans believe government and big business work together against their interests.

This is where the tea party meets Occupy Wall Street — at the intersection of their complaint that the economic game’s officiating is unfair, as though a touchdown counts for more points if you’re from the favored team. Both movements want to reform a system that allows special interests to lobby for politicians to have more power to manage the economy, thus enabling politicians to enact favorable laws and regulations or allocate money for these special interests. When special corporate interests keep profits but share losses with hapless taxpayers, those without political connections suffer unfair competition. The result is a crisis of legitimacy that corrodes social trust, undermines effort and hurts our most vulnerable.

The most poorly officiated segment of our economy is the energy sector. It should be national policy to promote affordable energy, which is the lifeblood of any vibrant economy. But after 25 years of backward energy policies, Americans are unaware that we have more recoverable oil than the entire world has used in 150 years and the world’s largest holding of natural gas, oil and coal resources, according to last week’s Institute for Energy Research report. Allowing development of American resources would lower prices throughout the economy and promote energy independence, job creation and American competitiveness. It also would generate billions in tax revenues — considerably more than an anti-growth surtax on “millionaires and billionaires.”

If job creation and deficit reduction were really policymakers’ top priorities, they’d study North Dakota, where in 2011 the energy boom generated 20,000 well-paying jobs, a $1 billion budget surplus and America’s best unemployment (3.5 percent) and growth (7.1 percent) rates.

Throughout America’s history, our private-sector quarterbacks have demonstrated the tenacity, skill, self-discipline, confidence and faith that put Tebow back under center. If allowed on the field, America’s “gamers” will prove that not only aren’t we soft, we’re winners, like Tebow.

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