Monthly Archives: September 2011

Fracking Boom Reshaping Energy Picture

“Two years ago, America was importing about two thirds of its oil. Today, according to the Energy Information Administration, it imports less than half. And by 2017, investment bank Goldman Sachs predicts the US could be poised to pass Saudi Arabia and overtake Russia as the world’s largest oil producer.”

And cheap energy will do more than anything the Fed can do to fight inflation.


How To Increase Exports

A former assistant Treasury secretary in the NYT on “overrlooked” trade and exports as a way to climb out of the recession.

“It is clear that our economy can no longer rely on consumer borrowing, housing bubbles, government deficits and super-low interest rates. The United States must start selling much more to other countries, especially China and other emerging markets that are growing at 6 percent or more per year.

Mr. Obama has set a goal of doubling the nation’s exports over five years. But his administration has done little to achieve that goal, which is inadequate to begin with. For one thing, the focus should not be the level of exports but the overall deficit — the difference between what we import from abroad and what we sell overseas.”

The author stresses exports of services and intellectual property, but surely farm exports will be an important part of any adjustment to the balance of trade—and for that, we need waterway and port infrastructure.


White House Proposes New Fees For Waterways Users

In what is becoming a sad and frequent litany up and down the rivers, especially in smaller ports, officials in Hickman, Kentucky, say the Corps’ dredging cutbacks threaten the port’s continued existence.

Well, the Obama administration came up with its answer to the Inland Waterways User Board’s plan to reform spending on the waterways; massive new fee increases, but with no spending reform.

The White House fee plan would give the secretary of the Army authority to raise or adjust fees each year. Critics of the plan, such as the Waterways Council Inc., are questioning the constitutionality of that provision, saying it arrogates Congress’ tax-raising power to the executive branch.