President Obama will deliver his seventh State of the Union address this evening. From what we know based on a preview of his speech, the president will address tax issues and other programs in support of the middle class. With economic growth picking up and unemployment starting to fall, the president plans to focus on targeted tax cuts for the middle class, tax increases on the wealthy, college affordability, and infrastructure.
CEA believes there are additional ways the president can help boost the middle class and small businesses. He can help promote responsible, environmentally friendly energy production as a way to reduce prices for consumers and grow our economy. As we know, the Energy Revolution has been supporting this economy for the past several years. Energy affordability is key to middle class, and especially, low income families. Helping to increase energy affordability could go a long way to achieving his goals.
Gas prices are dropping thanks to increased domestic oil production and a global supply glut, saving energy consumers more than $600 million every day. The president can help that trend continue by expanding access to energy resources currently off limits to production on federal lands in the West, and offshore along the Atlantic coast and Alaska’s Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. Production there could add more than 50,000 jobs and create an additional $193 billion in tax revenue across the country.
Additionally, the President could place a focus on reducing electricity costs. Unfortunately, the Administration’s Clean Power Plan and other air emissions proposals are no help in this regard. The Clean Power Plan alone could increase the cost to ratepayers by $289 billion over the next 15 years and reduce reliability and security.
By implementing regulations that take consumer cost into account, leveraging additional resources such as nuclear energy production, and continuing to incentivize renewable energy production and energy efficiency, the president’s actions could promote long-term energy affordability for all Americans.
Other measures like a focus on infrastructure improvement (think Keystone XL and electrical transmission lines) would also help put people to work, reduce costs, and drive economic growth. We look forward to helping American energy consumers realize these and other opportunities in the coming year.