John Stossel

Of course. But this misses the bigger point. To even attempt to achieve energy independence, the government will have to plan the energy sector. Considering how pervasive energy is throughout the economy, this is a recipe for full central planning and a step toward poverty and tyranny.

"Why not keep all that $720 billion [we spend to import oil] in the United States of America?" was a sentiment expressed by many. But that reveals a poor understanding of world trade. When we trade dollars to foreigners for oil, they have to do something with those dollars. They don't stuff them in mattresses. (If they did, it would mean we got free oil.) They buy American products. (U.S. exports are soaring.) Or they invest in businesses here. Or they sell the dollars to someone else who buys American products or invests in the United States.

If we stop buying from abroad, foreigners will have fewer dollars with which to buy American products or to invest. That would hurt us.

Many readers think that energy independence would produce jobs for Americans. But the idea that money spent abroad means fewer jobs here is just plain wrong. If Americans don't produce energy, they will produce something else. The number of jobs is not fixed. There is always work to do.

If Americans can produce competitive forms of energy -- without government subsidies -- great! But if others can produce energy more cheaply, we'd be crazy not to buy it and use the savings to make other things to improve our lives.


John Stossel

John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "No They Can't: Why Government Fails, but Individuals Succeed." To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at >johnstossel.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. ©Creators Syndicate