Has Perry Read His Own Jobs Plan?

October 19th, 2011 at 8:59 am David Frum | 30 Comments |

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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.

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30 Comments so far ↓

  • kuri3460

    Of course Perry understands his plan. His message is so simple, even a caveman can understand it:

    Energy Independence good.
    Green energy bad.
    Obama very bad.

    Obviously, simplicity does not equate to truth, and accepting Perry’s proposal as a legitimate plan requires the same denial of objective reality that most of today’s GOP embraces. It’s not “hope and change”, it’s “hope, wish, and dream”.

  • balconesfault

    David … you worked for a President who was infamous for not reading anything more than a page or two long. I’d think you know how it works by now.

  • overshoot

    Shorter: “Republican politician rejects even the idea of reality, crowd cheers.”

    It’s not a bug, it’s a feature.

  • indy

    How does that energy lobby keep getting its Texas guys so close to the White House? Maybe Republicans and Democrats can study the model.

    • PracticalGirl

      A very astute question with a very simple answer:

      It’s the Money Honey, and it only flows one way.

    • armstp1


      “How does that energy lobby keep getting its Texas guys so close to the White House? “

      Easy answer…. the oil industry has the most money of any industry in the U.S. They have enormous power. All the energy industry is is a big tax on Americans.

  • HighCountry

    Fortunately it doesn’t matter because this guy is circling the drain and the spirals are becoming smaller and quicker every day. By the end of this month he’ll hardly be a blip on anyone’s radar.

    • overshoot

      There’s a lot of wishful thinking going around today.

      Fact is, once Cain’s blip is over the religious right (who, in the end, are the grass roots of the POG) will be left with a choice between Perry and a Mormon who simply doesn’t dog whistle worth a damn.

      • balconesfault

        I’m with Overshoot here.

        Perry has some SERIOUS big buck donors here. Guys who see a window for moving the GOP, and government as a whole, more to the right … and who don’t really want a Romney Administration that may move the GOP back to the center.

        Cain is already proving to be another grifter … no real sign that he had any intention of becoming President, but just wanted to take advantage of that big slop of money out there in GOP circles, and maybe to get a Fox gig.

        Perry’s going to have at least one more big bounce in the polls ahead … and if Cain’s star is fading by then it will be a very big bounce.

        • LocalGroup

          balconesfault, Sorry I should have posted this yesterday @”Is This What Democracy Looks Like?”

          Democracy in America means no mattter how mediocre and talentless an individual you are, no matter how unqualified you are for the job, you have the right to raise a half a billion dollars and pay the liars on Madison Avenue to make up shit about your opponent and make up good shit about yourself and your ideas and plans and follow a script every second of every day from the beginning of the primaries to the day after you win the election.

          Who watches out for the citizens of such a system?

          The Democracy Fairy?

  • The Walking Eye

    It’s cute how you keep referring to it as Perry’s jobs plan and the specifics are things that Perry is predicting or assuming. It’s clear that he’s not read nor understands “his” jobs plan if you listen to what else he is always saying, that Barack Obama along with the Democrats and EPA are passing untold number of regulations that not only kill jobs but make your bills go up. He’s also always talking about how deregulation will drive costs down.

    His rhetoric says deregulation and more supply equal lower prices for us while “his” jobs plan says prices will double in less than 20 years. And somehow Obama’s at fault for it.

    • LFC

      The GOP is constantly telling us that the EPA is running wild and tossing up a huge number of job killing regulations. Can anybody point me to a supposed list of those regulations?

      The only things I’ve heard so far are anecdotes, including one about a power plant and its potential impact on spawning salmon. No mention was made of the number of jobs that would be lost if the salmon run were cut by the power plant expansion and the recreational fishermen stopped coming and spending their dollars. I guess the money flowing to tackle shops, charter operations, local restaurants, motels, and gas stations, etc. isn’t important.

      • overshoot

        “Can anybody point me to a supposed list of those regulations?”

        They’re right there next to the huge spending bills that Obama forced through Congress to run up the deficit. Like TARP, to name just one.

  • nuser

    Lies are more like it!

  • armstp1


    Another point:

    “$180 / barrel (after inflation) for oil by 2030 and $12 per thousand cubic feet for natural gas.”

    How do you get from a $3.50 today to a $12 natural gas price in the future if Perry also wants to add a ton of new gas drilling and exploration capacity? You cannot add a ton more natural gas supply and therefore natural gas jobs, while at the same time expecting the price of natural gas to go up 4x. These two ideas completely contradict.

    Now the plan can add a lot more U.S. oil drilling capacity, as U.S. supply is low compared the the global production, and still have the oil price go up, but I am not sure how Perry convinces the world’s oil markets to move the oil price up to $180. But you cannot do the same for natural gas prices, as the demand and supply of natural gas is almost entirely domestic.

  • jdd_stl1

    Mr. Frum,

    Could you compare Perry’s Energy/Jobs plan to Romney’s Energy portion of his
    jobs and economic plan? Aren’t they very similar? Don’t they both use basically
    the same industry wish-list as there premise for saying there are over a million
    jobs to be created by unleashing the energy industry?

  • LFC

    At this point I’m just waiting for a white Dave Chappelle to imitate this clown and start spouting “I’m Rick Perry, bitch!”

  • sdspringy

    We are currently and for the foreseeable future an economy based on OIL. Yes I know it sounds bad but that is the way it is and there is no plausible reason to restrict the job growth in this sector to satisfy the fantasy of green energy.

    Because the oil is present now in the Gulf and someone is going to extract it.


    So Spain, China, Cuba have no constraints in exploration off the coast of Florida. Those jobs have effectively been outsourced to China. This economic model has been complained about incessantly here and now is being repeated in the oil exploration sector.

    Those could be American jobs but they are now effectively Chinese, I don’t see the point.

    • armstp1


      Your comment makes it sound like U.S. companies can do no offshore oil exploration and production. In fact, there is so much offshore area that is currently open to the U.S. energy industry that they are only using a very small fraction of what is available. Simply opening up say Florida would do absolutely nothing. What about the Florida tourism industry? Do they not count for anything?

      “The MMS has estimated that there are around 18 billion barrels in the underwater areas now off-limits to drilling. That’s significantly less than in oil fields open for business in the Gulf of Mexico, coastal Alaska and off the coast of southern California, where there are 10.1 billion barrels of known oil reserves as well as an estimated 85.9 billion more.”


      “In fact, oil companies have yet to take advantage of the nearly 86 billion barrels of offshore oil in areas already available for leasing and development. So why are they chomping at the drill bit to open up the moratorium waters and survey them anew?

      “Oil company stocks are valued in large part based on how much proved reserves they have,” says Robert Kaufman, an expert on world oil markets and director of Boston University’s Center for Energy and Environmental Studies. Translation: just having more promising leases in hand would be worth billions of dollars.”


      • kuri3460

        To further add to your point, most of the 86 billion barrels sitting on the open areas are only considered “technically recoverable”, meaning the oil is there, but it is under so much water or mixed with other compounds, and the extra costs involved with extraction and production would necessitate a per-barrel price that is much, much higher than the current market rate.

        Oil that can’t be profitably extracted in today’s market isn’t going to create jobs or energy independence.

        • armstp1

          No, I do not think you are correct or get my point. A great deal of those 86 billion barrels can be recovered and can be recovered profitably, but the oil companies are not doing at this point, as they already have enough production. There is enough supply in the U.S. There is no reason to open more territory for oil exploration. The industry has enough open territory already.

    • balconesfault

      I will agree – it iis very very stupid for the US Government to ban American companies from drilling in Cuban territorial waters, assuming that they meet all legal requirements imposed by the Cuban government.

      • valkayec

        No problem, just explore and drill for the oil off the Russian Arctic coast now that the ice is permanently gone. I think it’s Exxon that’s already seeking permits to explore and drill in this area. (PS I’m being sarcastic.)

        • balconesfault

          Well, my point isn’t that there isn’t anyplace on earth where it’s a bad idea to drill for oil … it’s just that it makes no sense to limit where our companies drill based on purely political considerations. Oil is too fungible.

  • Graychin

    Why just pick on Perry so-called jobs plan?

    Do ANY of the candidates who debated last night have a credible jobs program?

    If they do, I haven’t heard about it. Just nonsense about rolling back regulations, and more tax cuts – especially for capital gains. And “drill baby drill, ” of course.

    They don’t want to address the real problem in the economy – lack of demand. Consumers aren’t buying. Either they are scared of the economic outlook, they are deep in debt, they are unemployed or underemployed – or all of the above.

    What would any Republican candidate do to address those issues – besides obstruct anything that Obama suggests?

  • valkayec

    I’ll reply to you, Mr. Frum, by quoting Richard Cohen in today WaPo:

    “…what the network could have used was a psychoanalyst. He or she would have used the Freudian term “the narcissism of minor differences” to explain why so many like-minded Republicans turned on one another with such meanness. They needed the small stuff to differentiate themselves.

    This is what was bound to happen when the GOP purified, refined and condensed itself into a core group of conservatives. The party has effectively banished moderates and liberals — there once was such a thing as a liberal Republican: Lincoln was one, I submit — and now has a coven of candidates who agree with each other on almost everything — and despise each other as a result. If the differences can’t really be political, they have to be personal. Sigmund Freud would understand.

    All of last night’s Republican candidates believe that the federal government is mostly worthless, that the border ought to be sealed (how about mined?), that taxes are no good, too high and maybe unconstitutional, that foreign aid is a waste of money, that the United Nations is an even greater waste of money, that what they call Obamacare is a blight on our fair land and, of course, that somehow the private sector or small business or maybe just plain faith will give the United States a health-care system already enjoyed by all other affluent nations and, of course, rich people everywhere.


    Now we have the question of whether Romney, a Mormon, is actually a Christian. (He certainly looks like one.) I mean, who cares? How high should we build a border fence and should it be electrified? And what about Ben Bernanke and the Fed? Fire him, for sure. Close the place down. Right on! Does anyone disagree? Only Herman Cain, to a degree. It’s nearly unanimous. The motion is carried. Let’s move on.

    To what? Not to a real discussion of the issues. Obamacare might or might not be a failure (it hasn’t even been fully implemented), but what should replace it? What should be the proper role of the U.S. in the world? What should we do about illegal immigrants? Can private enterprise alone create enough jobs, and what to do with an Everest of foreclosed homes? What would we do without the Fed? If TARP is such a failure, how come many economists think otherwise? Doesn’t anyone disagree about anything? Not, for sure, Romney. The old Romney thought for himself. The new one is a conservative apparatchik.

    Dissent has been purged by a radically conservative media and like-minded voters in the primary and caucus state. The GOP is in thrall to dogma and ignorance, hermetically sealed against uncertainty, hostile to inquiry and inadvertently mimicking the leftist parties of old when communists, Mensheviks, socialists and other “icks” would beat the brains out of one another over some fine point of Marxist dogma. Is this the way to go? As Karl Marx, a German, might have said by way of Herman Cain, “Nein, nein, nein.” “

  • Rossg

    If Rick Perry is president, with Michelle Bachmann as the veep, we can have great job creation, and gasoline back under $2 a gallon! Maybe pigs can then fly, too!

  • jusabunchoBS

    Perry isn’t even a republican, he is a democrate along with cain and romney. They just slapped republican on their vest to attract the votes. It used to be if you were a republican you balanced the budgit, never even give a bailout consideration, ending wars, and making gov’t smaller. These three are for everthing I just mentiond. They are baffoons and yesterdays debate proved how childish they really are. I was a democrate, but in 2009 I met a tawainees imagrant and she really showed me how much American born citizens take this free country for granted and pointed out how it is turning into a socialist country. At first her and I would argue back and forth, but then everthing she said has come true. For the most part the Dems control most of the Repubs. I can only vote for my self, with that being said I would rather save our democracey by voting for Ron Paul so we can get our troops home from Iraq and Afganistan and restore our personal freedoms. So may feel different, but if you want to be free and right now we only have a sliver of freedom, it would be wise to compare Pauls voting record to all the rest. Once you have dicoverd he has integrety, youtube some of his speeches. Youtube his WHAT IF SPEECH that he gave years ago in congress, it would be a great place to start.