John Feehery: Speaking Engagements

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Strengthening the All-of-the-Above Case

Posted on April 3, 2012


Everybody loves the all-of-the-above case for energy production.  Voters love it.  The President loves it.  The Republicans love it.

 

Dave Winston, the Republican pollster, first came up with the idea of calling for an all-of-the-above strategy when he was advising Congressional Republicans on messaging several years ago.  Winston was right on, because it is a powerful message.

 

The politicians especially love it as a rhetorical device.

 

It is on the specifics where they start disagreeing.

 

All-of-the-above should mean that as an energy policy, you promote strategies that increase energy production and energy diversity.  That means you support nuclear, clean coal, natural gas, oil, wind power, solar power, bio-diesel, and anything else you can come up with.

 

The President has embraced all-of-the-above recently on the campaign trail, but he is not really into it as an actual policy.  He doesn’t really love coal much.  He is not that excited about carbon energy in all of its forms.  He wants to sharply raise taxes on the big oil companies.  He wants to make coal much more expensive.

 

Republicans have shown hostility lately towards renewable energy.   Many conservatives cheered the end of ethanol subsidies last year.  The Solyndra scandal has made it fashionable to attack all incentives associated with the solar industry.  And some have taken dead aim at the wind energy tax credit.

 

But Republicans should think twice about throwing away all tax incentives for renewal energy.  I have worked on this issue for one of my clients, and I know that the case for extending the Wind Energy Production Tax Credit (PTC) is a strong one.  And I know that the Republicans will strengthen their own hand in the argument for an all-of-the-above energy policy by fighting to extend the PTC.

 

They should extend this particular tax credit for a couple of reasons.

 

First, the majority of jobs created by the PTC are created in Red States.  That is why an arch-conservative like Steve King supports its extension.  For his district, it is a big job creator.  Take a look at a new website called www.RedStatejobs.com to see where all of these jobs are created.  Mostly in Republican Districts.

 

Second, an analysis by budget experts shows that the PTC pays for itself over the next ten years.  Because the production tax credit is not a grant program, this is not money going down a rat-hole.  Those who use the tax credit only get their money if the energy is delivered to the consumers.  And because these taxs credit creates jobs for people who pay taxes, studies show that the government will recoup its investments as long as it is extended and people can still have those jobs.

 

Third, people like renewable energy and wind energy specifically because it is clean and because it does lower the costs of energy prices.  We may or may not be in a period of global warming (I happen to think we are), but even if we aren’t, who doesn’t want to breathe cleaner air?  As long as an economic case can be made long-term for renewable energy, keeping this production tax credit around is a no-brainer.

 

Some conservatives like to say that the government shouldn’t pick winners or losers.  Well, this isn’t picking winners or losers.  This is keeping America energy secure by keeping a diversity of energy resources available to consumers in a way that creates American jobs in an economically responsible way.

 

The fact is Republicans should move the PTC extension as soon as possible to keep Americans working.  Because of the uncertainty of the future of tax credit, wind turbine manufacturing jobs are already being lost in Red States.

 

By moving an extension of the PTC, the Republicans can present a stronger case to the voters that they are truly for an all-of-the-above energy policy, while the President is merely a poser.