Yesterday, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar testified before the House Natural Resources Committee on the Department of the Interior’s Fiscal Year 2012 Budget proposal. When pressed by Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) about the de facto offshore drilling moratorium the Obama Administration has inflicted on his district, Sec. Salazar responded: “When you look at the production within the Gulf of Mexico, even in the midst of the national crisis of the Deepwater Horizon, the production has remained at an all-time high.” This is an audaciously out of touch statement. According to the Energy Information Administration, the Obama offshore drilling moratorium will cause a 13-percent fall in domestic offshore oil production this year, which translates to a loss of about 220,000 barrels of oil a day. That means lower GDP growth for the nation, higher gas prices for all Americans, lower tax revenues for the federal government, and most importantly, fewer jobs for Americans living in the Gulf region.

Today, the Labor Department released its monthly jobs report showing that the U.S. economy added 192,000 jobs in February and unemployment fell to 8.9 percent. While it is always great news that more Americans are finding jobs, the reality is that the economy could be doing much better. Since the Obama recovery began 20 months ago, the national unemployment rate has fallen only half a point, from 9.4 percent in July 2009 to 8.9 percent today. Contrast those anemic results with the robust job growth that occurred during the Reagan recovery in the ’80s. By the 20-month mark of the Reagan recovery, unemployment had dropped from 10.8 percent to 7.5 percent – a 3.3-point drop.

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