To my mind, Rick Perry’s most telling moment in the Las Vegas debate came before the famous hand-on-shoulder exchange with Mitt Romney. It came when he talked about his jobs/energy plan:
[T]he plan that I laid out last week, where we talk about the energy industry and this treasure trove that we have under this country, and we need to recognize that the administration that we have today is blocking mining that could be going on in the state of Nevada. I talked to Brian Sandoval before I came in here today. You have an administration that is killing jobs because they want to move us to a green energy. You have a secretary of energy who has basically said he wants to see gas prices up close to the European model. The president himself said electricity rates are necessarily going to skyrocket.
That’s what we’ve got to stop.
Doesn’t Perry understand that his own so-called jobs plan–which is really an industry wish list for enhanced fossil fuels production–is entirely predicated on a doubling of energy prices over the next 18 years?
Perry promises that the oil, gas, and coal industries can produce 1.2 million “new” jobs by 2030. (The jobs aren’t really new, as explained in my last blogpost on this subject; most of them are likely to show up anyway, even if President Obama holds the White House.) That calculation is premised on some assumptions, of which the most important is $180 / barrel (after inflation) for oil by 2030 and $12 per thousand cubic feet for natural gas.
If those prices do indeed arrive, then Americans will see “gas prices up close to the European model.” You wouldn’t say “electricity rates are necessarily going to skyrocket” if Perry’s plan is imposed, but what is true is that if electricity rates fail to skyrocket, then the job creation promised by the plan will not materialize.
And of course–this is the larger point–if gas and oil prices rise as Perry predicts, whatever new jobs are created in the industry will likely be offset by much larger job losses elsewhere in the economy.
Can you call Gov. Perry’s energy talking point deceptive? That will depend on whether you believe he understood how his so-called plan actually works.