02/02/2012 05:37 pm ET | Updated Apr 03, 2012

"Job-Killing Regulations and Rhetoric"? So, Why Is Oil Industry Employment at Record Highs?

The right-wing states it in any number of different ways. Sometimes they claim that "Obama did not cause the recession, but he made it worse". On other occasions he is the "food-stamp president". Other times they claim that the stimulus program did not create a single job. Alternatively, they try to switch labels -- that Democrats, not Republicans, are responsible for the worst recession since the Great Depression.

The "best Congress money can buy", as Mark Twain once called it, is hell bent on doing the bidding of its paymasters, stripping industry regulations by using the excuse that they are killing jobs. Wall Street and right-wing industrialists whine and moan over the President's "harsh, anti-business" rhetoric, claiming it to be a major cause of low job growth. [Of course, there is nothing the President has said that even comes close to statements made by FDR ("economic royalists"), JFK ("all steel men are sons-of-bitches") or even W himself, but why quibble over facts].

But, if there is one industry whose claims about the president's rhetoric and regulation have even a drop of merit, it is the oil patch. The president has called for repeal of taxpayer subsidies to the most profitable industry on the planet. I suppose if one were a hypersensitive spoiled child, such rhetoric could be deemed "negative". The Environmental Protection Agency has declared CO2 to be a pollutant, subject to regulation (fulfilling, by the way, a promise George W Bush made during the 2000 campaign that Dick Cheney did not allow him to pursue), and the Administration has made an agreement with the auto industry to reduce tailpipe pollution progressively over time. Then, of course, we had the BP oil spill, and the brief suspension of new permits in the Gulf. Finally, the President has kept the oil industry out of ANWAR, and recently disallowed the XL-Pipeline.

Based upon Republican claims of the impact of rhetoric, uncertainty and regulation, one would think that US employment in the oil and gas industry would be plummeting or, at least, not growing.

One would be wrong.

To drill-baby-drill down on the actual data, the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows, US employment in the oil and gas industry has reached record highs. Note that total oil patch employment increased by as many jobs during the first 3 years of the Obama presidency than it did during the first 6 years of the Bush/Cheney Administration. [Of course, Bush had failed as an oil executive -- or, at least, his investors did -- so perhaps that was to be expected].


Do not be at all surprised if Republicans ignore such data and continue to lie about the causes of the great recession and the causes for slow job growth as we come out of it.

They would not be Republicans if they did otherwise.