Thursday, January 1, 2009

Haass and Indyk: Beyond Iraq

Beyond Iraq. By Richard N. Haass and Martin Indyk
A New U.S. Strategy for the Middle East
Foreign Affairs, January/February 2009

Summary: To be successful in the Middle East, the Obama administration will need to move beyond Iraq, find ways to deal constructively with Iran, and forge a final-status Israeli-Palestinian agreement.

On taking office, U.S. President Barack Obama will face a series of critical, complex, and interrelated challenges in the Middle East demanding urgent attention: an Iraq experiencing a fragile lull in violence that is nonetheless straining the U.S. military, an Iran approaching the nuclear threshold, a faltering Israeli-Palestinian peace process, weak governments in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories challenged by strong militant Islamist groups, and a U.S. position weakened by years of failure and drift. He will also discover that time is working against him.

For six years, U.S. policy in the Middle East has been dominated by Iraq. This need not, and should not, continue. The Obama administration will be able to gradually reduce the number of U.S. troops in Iraq, limit their combat role, and increasingly shift responsibility to Iraqi forces. The drawdown will have to be executed carefully and deliberately, however, so as not to risk undoing recent progress.

The improved situation in Iraq will allow the new administration to shift its focus to Iran, where the clock is ticking on a dangerous and destabilizing nuclear program. Obama should offer direct official engagement with the Iranian government, without preconditions, along with other incentives in an attempt to turn Tehran away from developing the capacity to rapidly produce substantial amounts of nuclear-weapons-grade fuel. At the same time, he should lay the groundwork for an international effort to impose harsher sanctions on Iran if it proves unwilling to change course.

Preventive military action against Iran by either the United States or Israel is an unattractive option, given its risks and costs. But it needs to be examined carefully as a last-ditch alternative to the dangers of living with an Iranian bomb. To increase Israel's tolerance for extended diplomatic engagement, the U.S. government should bolster Israel's deterrent capabilities by providing an enhanced anti-ballistic-missile defense capability and a nuclear guarantee.

The U.S. president should also spend capital trying to promote peace agreements between Israel and its Arab neighbors, in particular Syria. Damascus is currently allied with Tehran, and an Israeli-Syrian deal would weaken Iran's regional influence, reduce external support for Hamas and Hezbollah, and improve the prospects for stability in Lebanon. On the Israeli-Palestinian front, there is an urgent need for a diplomatic effort to achieve a two-state solution while it is still feasible. Although divisions on both sides and the questionable ability of the Palestinian Authority (PA) to control any newly acquired territory make a sustainable peace agreement unlikely for the moment, these factors argue not for abandoning the issue but rather for devoting substantial time and effort now to creating the conditions that would help diplomacy succeed later. What all these initiatives have in common is a renewed emphasis on diplomacy as a tool of U.S. national security policy, since the United States can no longer achieve its objectives without the backing of its regional allies as well as China, Europe, and Russia.

Some might argue that these efforts are not worth it, that the Bush administration paid too much attention to and invested too much American blood and treasure in an ill-advised attempt to transform the Middle East and that the Obama administration should focus its attention at home or elsewhere abroad. But such arguments underestimate the Middle East's ability to force itself onto the U.S. president's agenda regardless of other plans. Put simply, what happens in the Middle East will not stay in the Middle East. From terrorism to nuclear proliferation to energy security, managing contemporary global challenges requires managing the Middle East.


Full article:

The NYT: Grief Marks Anniversary of Triumph of Castro

Grief Marks Anniversary of Triumph of Castro, by Damien Cave
TNYT, December 31, 2008

HIALEAH, Fla. — Four months after they appeared in the waters between Havana and Miami, the four dead men remain nameless. At a morgue in the Florida Keys, they lie on stretchers stacked like bunk beds, their bodies chewed by sharks, their faces too putrified to be recognized.
The police suspect they were Cuban rafters. Nilda Garcia thinks one of them might be her son — and the thought makes her weep. Fourteen years after she left Cuba on her own makeshift boat, she finds herself wondering once again: When will it end?

“How many mothers are going through this?” Ms. Garcia said in an interview at her daughter’s apartment here as she awaited DNA results on the bodies. “How many more are crying for their losses? How many young people have drowned in this sea? How many?”

Fifty years ago today, many Cubans cheered when Fidel Castro seized power in Havana, and even now, the revolution attracts many fans — as evidenced by the Canadian tour agencies advertising trips “to celebrate five decades of resilience.”

But the bodies speak to a different legacy. Here in South Florida, where roughly 850,000 Cubans have settled over the years, repeated waves of painful exile and family separation define the Castro era. The revolution never met their hopeful expectations, the island they love has slipped into decay, and for many, this week’s golden anniversary provides little more than a flashback to traumas, old and new.

“It pounds in everybody’s conscience every day,” said Ramon Saul Sanchez, 54, the founder of Movimiento Democracia, a Cuban-American group known for using boats to stage protests. “Fifty years is something very hard to accept.”

Some Cubans remain defiant. Huber Matos, a former revolutionary leader who came to Miami after Mr. Castro sent him to jail in 1959 for suggesting that the Cuban government included too many Communists, said that the anniversary inspired him to keep pushing for change.

“When you think of what you have to do, you can’t be sad,” Mr. Matos, 90, said. “To continue working, that’s the key.”

But for many, the revolution’s 50th anniversary has inspired a period of reflection. Cubans across Florida say they are mourning privately, or trying to forget, and formal commemorations are being kept to a minimum. If Miami in the 1980s was a place of militants, where “Havana vanities come to dust,” as Joan Didion wrote, today it is also a home to newer arrivals who ask, Must the pain go on?

A poll released this month by Florida International University shows that 55 percent of Cubans in Florida favor lifting the United States embargo against Cuba, up from 42 percent a year ago. It is the first time a clear majority has held that position since the survey began in 1991.

President-elect Barack Obama — while backing away from an earlier pledge to meet with Cuban leaders during his first year in office — condemned the current “failed policy” during the presidential campaign and promised to make it easier for Cuban-Americans to visit relatives on the island or send them larger amounts of money.

Even among those who support the 46-year-old embargo, like Senator Mel Martinez, a Republican, continued damage to families has become a more prominent concern.

“This is an ongoing tragedy,” said Mr. Martinez, who left Cuba at age 15 and spent four years without his parents. “How many people today are still being separated? How many people in Cuba are making plans to leave?”

Ms. Garcia was a “balsera,” one of the 38,000 rafters who fled Cuba in 1994. She said she left her suburb of Havana because her daughter needed medical care she could not get in Cuba for a brain tumor. Her son, Osmani, stayed. He was 20 at the time, a speaker of English and French, who became an independent journalist.

His work often put him at odds with the Castro government. In one dispatch, published on Oct. 26, 2007, he condemned Cuba’s foreign minister, Felipe Pérez Roque, for mischaracterizing comments from President Bush.

“I will not take the time to point out all the lies told by Felipe Pérez Roque at this press conference, but I will say there was a worried look on his face and those of his cohorts,” Mr. Garcia wrote, in an article posted online. “It almost seems that they too are realizing there is little time left to the Castro dictatorship and that change is very near.”

Instead, over the next year, political pressure on Mr. Garcia increased. In June, according to a report in a Cuban online forum, he was arrested and interrogated by state officials. Two months later, his mother said, he was filmed by a Cuban television reporter at a protest against the government, scaring him enough to flee.

Mr. Garcia’s relatives said that on the night of Aug. 15, he climbed aboard a boat with no motor and seven or eight other people, pushing off from an area near Havana with hopes of reaching Florida within a few days.

The pace mattered; the sea was churning. By early Monday morning, Tropical Storm Fay had moved through Cuba into the Florida Straits, bringing nearly a foot of rain, swells of several feet and winds that would strengthen to 60 miles per hour.

Ms. Garcia, 64, a home health aide, said she was not sure if her son had known the storm was coming. Even if he had, she said, “he was desperate and needed to go.”

She said her son had done all he could to change Cuba from the inside. “How can Cubans confront the government, with rocks and sticks?” Ms. Garcia said. “Everyone has nothing, and the people are afraid.”

She found out about the bodies from the news. The first one, tagged 0107 in morgue records, appeared in the waters off Craig Key just after 5 p.m. on Aug. 21. A fisherman called the Coast Guard, and two Monroe County police officers pulled the dead man from the teal-blue sea. Three other bodies followed, appearing offshore over the next 24 hours in a line heading north.

Detective Terry Smith, one of the lead detectives investigating the case with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department, said the locations and currents suggested that the bodies had probably spent several days in the water, drifting from somewhere to the south, though the Coast Guard’s computer analyses were not definitive.

Their identities have been even harder to determine. E. Hunt Scheuerman, the medical examiner for Monroe County, which includes the Keys, said all four bodies were naked and gnarled, with only three defining characteristics. Body 0107 wore a ring with a Celtic cross and green stone on the fourth finger of his left hand; 0109 arrived with a white sock and blue Lotto running shoe on his right foot; and 0110 had a tattoo on the inside of his lip that said “Raquel.”
Ms. Garcia said the ring sounds similar to one she gave Osmani, but the ring in the morgue is yellow, suggesting gold, and the ring she gave her son was silver.

She said she hoped her son was at the American military base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, where she was processed before coming to the United States. And initially it seemed possible. The Coast Guard stopped a boat near the Bahamas with eight or nine Cuban rafters a few days after Aug. 15. But it must have been another group, Detective Smith said; Mr. Garcia’s name could not be found on the Coast Guard’s list of repatriated refugees.

At least two other Cuban families in Miami are in a position similar to Ms. Garcia’s. In emotional phone calls, they have told Detective Smith about relatives who left Cuba on Aug. 15 in a boat, never to be heard from again.

“What if the four we received are not any of their relatives?” the detective said, discussing what haunts him most.

DNA may be the only way to know for sure. In September, Detective Smith swabbed Ms. Garcia’s mouth and sent the sample to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for a comparison with the bodies. For the other two families, the DNA must be collected from closer female relatives, who live in Cuba.

Mr. Sanchez, of Movimiento Democracia, has been trying to arrange for secure samples from the island. “There are hundreds, probably thousands of Cubans who think they lost relatives in the high seas,” he said. But so far, he has received little help from either the Cuban or American governments.

And so the cycle continues. According to Coast Guard statistics, 10,489 Cubans have been stopped at sea since the beginning of 2005, more than double the 4,223 who were caught in the previous four years. A report in May from the Institute of Cuban and Cuban-American Studies at the University of Miami found that 131,000 Cubans had settled in the United States permanently over the last four years, and its title predicts more of the same. “Not Going Away,” it says. “Cuban Mass Migration to Florida.”

Ms. Garcia said she just wanted an end to the 50-year pattern: the uncertainty, tears and tales of woe.
Three months after her DNA reached the F.B.I., she is still waiting for answers. Conversations about her son are drenched with tears, and she is never far from a photograph that shows him staring straight ahead, with a stern face, a few wrinkles and thick, dark hair.

It looks like a passport picture — of a man who may have only reached a Florida morgue.
Helen Suzman, R.I.P. Posted by David Boaz
Cato at Liberty, Jan 01, 2009

Helen Suzman, the longtime leader of the parliamentary opposition to apartheid, has died at 91. The Times of London writes:
Helen Suzman had a special place in South African history, being generally recognised as the most effective parliamentary fighter against apartheid policies.

For 13 years - from 1961 to 1974 - she was the sole representative in Parliament of the liberal Progressive Party, forerunner of the Democratic Party.

In South Africa they knew the difference between liberals and leftists. Plenty of leftists and communists opposed the National Party and its apartheid system. But so did liberals like Suzman, people committed to human rights, freedom of thought, and a market economy. She did not forget her liberalism when apartheid finally fell and the African National Congress came to power. She continued to speak out against repressive policies and the Thabo Mbeki government’s continuing support for Robert Mugabe.

I loved reading about her quick wit in parliamentary debates. She sent the minister of law and order a postcard from the Soviet Union, saying, “You would like it here. Lots of law and order.” Once she told a government minister to go into the black townships and see their appalling conditions for himself. He would be quite safe, she said, if he went “heavily disguised as a human being.” In a famous exchange a certain minister shouted: “You put these questions just to embarrass South Africa overseas.” To which she coolly replied: “It is not my questions that embarrass South Africa – it is your answers.” When an Afrikaner in Parliament sneered at her Jewish roots and asked what her ancestors were doing when his were bringing the Bible to the “savages,” she snapped, ”They were writing the Bible.”

In 1989 Helen Suzman was a Distinguished Lecturer at the Cato Institute. See a picture on page 55 of this very large pdf of our 25-Year Annual Report. Her remarks were reprinted in Cato Policy Report and then in Toward Liberty, our compilation of essays from our first 25 years, and can be read here.

On the first day of the new year, the world has lost one of its great champions of freedom. May she inspire many more.

US State Dept on Status of Food Aid Deliveries to North Korea

US State Dept Press Statement
Sean McCormack
Washington, DC, December 30, 2008
Question Taken on December 30, 2008

Status of Food Aid Deliveries to North Korea (Taken Question)

Question: Will you please provide an update on the deliveries of food aid to North Korea?

Answer: To date, over 143,000 metric tons of U.S. food (wheat, corn, and soybeans) has been delivered to North Korea. Of that amount, the latest shipment of 25,000 metric tons of corn and soybeans arrived in North Korea on November 23 and has completed unloading for distribution by the U.S. NGOs. The latest shipment of food aid (totaling 21,000 metric tons), which was expected to arrive by the end of December, is now expected to arrive in the DPRK on January 2, due to recent rough seas.

The United States has not stopped food aid to North Korea. Under the terms of our agreement with the DPRK, there is to be no limit imposed on the Korean language capabilities of the World Food Program (WFP) and U.S. NGO staff implementing the food aid program. The lack of sufficient Korean speakers on the WFP program is one of the key issues in ongoing discussions. The issuance of visas for Korean-speaking monitors for the WFP program is another issue currently being discussed, along with other technical issues. A delegation that recently visited North Korea, identified problems in the implementation of the world food program portion of the food aid program. Those problems are not yet resolved.


Released on December 30, 2008

Indonesian President's Praise of Natsir

Indonesian President's Praise of Natsir Raises Questions, by Walter Lohman
Heritage WebMemo #2181
December 31, 2008

These are perilous times for those in the idea business. Whether you're a think tanker or a politician, it is easier than ever to be misunderstood. Words reach the four corners of the world at the speed of light; it is impossible to segregate audiences.

Indonesian President Bambang Susilo Yudhoyono seemed to be aiming at a very specific audience a couple weeks ago when he capped a long-standing push to designate M. Natsir a national hero with a speech in the Indonesian province of West Sumatra. His host, West Sumatra's Governor Gamawan Fauzi, used the occasion to note that history will forever remember President Yudhoyono's leadership in making the determination. Indeed. But what did the president intend by conferring essentially favored son status on this very learned--and by all accounts polite and unassuming--Islamist?

A Suitable Role Model?

The president sought to explain. He lauded Natsir for his anti-colonialism and his fundamental contribution to Indonesia's unity. Natsir's anti-colonialism credentials are best judged by Indonesians; but they seem to be beyond question. With regard to his impact on Indonesian unity, the debate will continue. Some will surely fault the president's logic in praising someone so closely identified with rebellion.

But the seriously perplexing part of the speech came when the president praised Natsir as a model for addressing misunderstandings about Islam and serving as a bridge between cultures and religions.

Natsir is associated with a political ideology that informed people do not generally associate with Indonesia. His founding of Dewan Dakwah Islamiyah Indonesia (DDII) alone would make him an inappropriate role model for the nation. Theodore Friend, a highly regarded historian, describes DDII as "extreme," "intolerant," and yes, "Islamist." Among its targets, he counts "Muslim liberalism," "the economic dominance of the Chinese," and a "conspiracy to Christianize Indonesia." The DDII's problem with Christians in particular makes it strikingly odd to commend its founder for an ability to bridge understanding between religions.

Natsir's precise views on and personal history with Pancasila (Indonesia's founding non-sectarian state philosophy) were no doubt complex. But when all is said and done, history remembers him as Indonesia's foremost advocate for the direct role of Islam in government and the ideal of the Islamic state.

Perplexing Politics

So what's a friend of Indonesia to do? He could tell himself that it's pure politics. The presence of the Islamist PKS minister of agriculture in the entourage to West Sumatra is good evidence of that. But to the president's Islamist political allies, this is about much more than politics. And so, given the stakes, that is not a satisfactory answer. One could say that it's an anomaly, but there are too many similar developments in Indonesia to consider it an anomaly. This year there was the violent Islamist attacks at Indonesia's national monument, the fatwa on Ahmadiyya, and the media circus over the execution of the Bali bombers. Last year's enormous Hizbut Tahrir rally in Jakarta and near victory of an Islamist candidate for governor of Jakarta also jolted observers of Indonesian politics.

A friend of Indonesia would definitely tell his colleagues that all of this must be kept in perspective. Despite a 2004 electoral surge for Islamist standard-bearer PKS, considerable success at the local and provincial levels since, and high hopes for 2009, the fundamentalists are further from taking control than they were in the 1950s. He would cite the centuries-old ebb and flow of fundamentalism that has always left the Islamists on the losing end of Indonesian history. He would also note Indonesia's extraordinary well-springs of cultural and religious tolerance.

But the Islamists are savvy. They understand better than anyone that ideas can transform a political environment without ever owning it. From Natsir until today, they have sought to prepare the grassroots for Islamization of the state. So even while national politics may register only an occasional flare of radicalism, underneath, the coals glow bright. This friend of Indonesia worries that Indonesia's mainstream political leaders will wake up too late to find that Indonesia's house is on fire and that not only did they not prevent it, but they unwittingly fanned it.

Only Time Will Tell

For a politician, sometimes the only way to deal with different audiences is to just say what he has to and accept that he may be misunderstood by those on the outside. To make that call, however, the political need should far outweigh the risk of alienating his other audiences.

In the case of President Yudhoyono's praise of Natsir, one can only conclude that either the need to accommodate Islamist sentiment is much greater than Indonesia's friends abroad appreciate or that he is miscalculating the strength of the Islamists and unnecessarily appropriating beliefs he doesn't himself hold.

Neither is a particularly comforting conclusion, but at least one friend of Indonesia hopes it is the latter.

Walter Lohman is Director of the Asian Studies Center at The Heritage Foundation. A version of this article first appeared in the December 31, 2008, edition of The Jakarta Globe.

Conservative views: National Security Resolutions for 2009

National Security Resolutions for 2009, by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D.
Heritage WebMemo #2182
December 31, 2008

The United States should resolve to help make the world a better place with initiatives that keep Americans safe, free, and prosperous in the coming year. Here is a short list of commitments Washington can offer:

Finish the Job in Iraq. A stable, secure, and free Iraq remains a worthy long-term U.S. goal, but this project now rests primarily in Iraqi hands. However, America still has a vital role to play in training and supporting Iraqi security forces and building the instruments of governance for a fledgling democracy. Meeting these obligations should be the most important factor in determining the pace of the drawdown of U.S. forces in Iraq.

Finish the Long War. Rooting out the al-Qaeda sanctuaries in Pakistan would be a severe--if not fatal--blow to the transnational Islamist terrorist movement. Achieving that end will require an integrated policy that gets Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India working together jointly toward that end.

Don't Mess with Homeland Security. U.S. law enforcement has thwarted a number of post-9/11 conspiracies aimed at killing Americans. Meanwhile, FEMA has just completed a record year of responding to floods, forest fires, and hurricanes. Further major reorganization or changes in the Department of Homeland Security's mission are wholly unwarranted.

Build Missile Defenses. Of all the threats of the modern era, the danger of a ballistic missile attack on the U.S. is most troubling. While the U.S. has built land-based interceptors capable of dealing with a missile fired from North Korea, much more needs to be done. America as well as friends and allies in the Middle East and Europe would be largely defenseless against an Iranian ballistic missile threat. To address that, the U.S. needs to, as it promised to NATO, build land-based missile defenses in Poland and the Czech Republic. In addition, the United States must field land- and sea-based regional assets, such as the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense and the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense systems. More work also needs to be done on developing "boost-phase" interceptors capable of knocking down enemy missiles right after they are fired and are their most vulnerable. Finally, we need to continue, with our friends and allies, to develop a global command and control network capable of dealing with new missile threats wherever they might come from.

Do Something about Space. Space is the "ultimate" high ground, not just for the military but for the private sector as well. U.S. assets and assured "access" to space are vulnerable to disruption and direct attack. At a minimum, the United States needs to develop better "space awareness" with hardened and redundant capabilities to track both what is being sent into space and activities in earth-orbit. Washington can get the ball rolling by funding a space-based platform for experimentation this year.

Worry about Iran. Iran routinely employs terrorism as instrument of foreign policy. It is developing long-range ballistic missiles to threaten other nations. It supported insurgents in Iraq who targeted American soldiers and fermented ethnic-civil war. It may test a nuclear weapon at any time. For starters, the U.S. must lead an international coalition to impose the strongest possible targeted economic sanctions against Iran and mobilize allies to contain and deter Iran's drive for regional hegemony.

Build Better Border Security. The Bush Administration has made significant progress in making America's borders more secure, from a host of measures for thwarting terrorist travel to the Merida Initiative--an effort to promote U.S./Mexican cooperation in combating transnational smuggling in drugs, people, arms, and money. Terrorists see post-9/11 America as a hard target, not easy to get to. Meanwhile, both the unlawful population in the United States and the number of attempted illegal border crossings are on the decline. Successful programs--from building border obstacles to enforcing immigration laws and strengthening the surety of identity credentials like driver's licenses--need to continue. Stopping now would roll back progress.

Get Smart on Cybersecurity. Many in Washington have rightly expressed concerned over the surety of information technology and control systems that serve our economy. Most, however, are woefully ignorant about the nature of these systems and the threats to them. Even as Washington wrestles with issues concerning organization, authorities, responsibilities, and programs to deal with cyber competition, it must place more emphasis on developing leaders who are competent to engage in these issues. This will require a professional development system that can provide a program of education, assignment, and accreditation to develop a corps of experienced, dedicated service professionals who have an expertise in the breadth of issues related to the cyber environment. This program must be backed by effective public-private partnerships that produce cutting-edge research, development, and capabilities to operate with freedom, safety, and security in the cyber world.

Stop Doing Stupid Security. A number of congressional national security mandates have proven unnecessary and unworkable, consuming precious time, manpower, and money to implement measures of little value at great cost. Requirements such as 100 percent scanning of cargo sent to the United States have been documented by the Department of Homeland Security and the Government Accountability Office as extremely problematic. Congress should repeal ill-advised mandates and refrain from imposing excessive regulatory restrictions in the name of national security.

Don't Let the Military Go Hollow. A military is hollow when it lacks the resources to conduct current missions, maintain adequate trained and ready forces, and prepare for future threats. There is no way to prevent the armed forces from becoming inadequate to defend the nation's interests and provide for our men and women in uniform other than robust defense budgets year in and year out. Changes in strategy, cuts in acquisition programs, and promises to slash fraud, waste, and abuse are all chimeras--smokescreens to cut costs without appearing weak on national security. The United States must spend at least 4 percent of its annual GDP over the next decade to recover from the long post-Cold War "peace dividend" of the 1990s and refurbish the military after years of fighting the long war in Iraq and Afghanistan. To plan to do anything less over the foreseeable future will put both the nation's security and the lives of our troops in jeopardy.

James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., is Assistant Director of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies and Senior Research Fellow for National Security and Homeland Security in the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation.

US Interior Dept: Royalties from energy production almost double the amount last year

‘Tis the Season: Development of U.S. Energy Resources Nets Taxpayers $23.4 Billion in Royalties. By Institute for Energy Research
Interior Announces Largest Disbursement of Funds in Department’s History – Almost Double the Amount Distributed Last Year

December 30, 2008

Washington, DC – Institute for Energy Research president Thomas J. Pyle issued the following statement today in response to news from the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Minerals Management Service (MMS) that the agency distributed a record $23.4 billion to states, tribes and the federal treasury in fiscal year 2008 – every penny of which came from the responsible and diligent development of America’s abundant, homegrown energy resources:

“ As lawmakers look to increase government revenue this year by thinking up creative new ways to separate taxpayers from their money, they and the people they represent would be well-served to take note of the $23.4 billion in royalties, rents, and bonus payments made available thanks to the responsible development of America’s abundant energy resources. In fact, almost $10 billion of that sum was directed to taxpayers in the form of bonus bids alone – which means that even when no new energy was produced, taxpayers still got paid.

“Keep in mind this is money that flows to state, local and federal coffers completely separate from the hundreds of billions of dollars in taxes and fees tied to domestic energy exploration. All told, we’re talking about an awful lot of money – as much as $4 trillion in potential revenue waiting to be collected and disbursed, according to one recent study. As it is, energy production accounts for hundreds of billions of dollars in government revenue each year – none of which would available to taxpayers today if opponents of responsible energy development had their way.

“At a time of unprecedented economic insecurity, the new Congress and incoming administration have pledged to leave no stone unturned in looking for ways to get our economy back on track. Fair enough. But if they’re interested in finding a plan that creates millions of new jobs, billions in new revenue, and doesn’t cost taxpayers a penny, they’ll need to dig just a little bit deeper – preferably below the surface.”

For more information:

The Institute for Energy Research (IER) is a not-for-profit public foundation that conducts intensive research and analysis on the functions, operations, and government regulation of global energy markets. Founded in 1989, IER is funded entirely by tax deductible contributions from individuals, foundations and corporations. No financial support is sought or accepted from government (taxpayers).