Who’da thunk?  Exploiting our own natural resources could solve a bunch of problems at once (or go a long way toward a solution).  From Bruce McQuain at Q & O blog:

Check out these numbers from a study by Quest Offshore Resources done at the behest of the American Petroleum Institute and the National Ocean Industries Association.

Key findings:

  • Total offshore-related oil and gas employment could hit 430,000 in 2013 if the permit slowdown is reversed, including about 187,000 new jobs.
  • New policies could result in a 71 percent increase in oil and natural gas spending in the Gulf to $41.4 billion.
  • Texas (will reach 149,000 jobs) and Louisiana (129,000) would gain the most from a return to normalcy in the Gulf, but the jobs impact would touch a number of non-Gulf states as well – including California, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan, Quest says.
  • Tax revenues would accrue to all levels of government “if the government pursues a balanced regulatory approach that allows for the timely development of the backlog of (Gulf) projects in an environmentally responsible manner.” Said API President and CEO Jack Gerard: “We need to create taxpayers, and that’s what this would be doing.”

Result?  A 20 year program that would result in jobs, revenue and energy resources.

Seems like a no-brainer right?  Politicians are currently embroiled in debt ceiling negotiations, but take a look at what doing something like this would mean:

By granting comprehensive access to U.S. oil and gas reserves, $4 Trillion in state and federal revenue could be generated to fill American treasuries and eliminate nearly 30 percent of the national debt.

That growth would spur new jobs – lots of new jobs:

530,000 jobs could be created with increased access to U.S. oil and gas resources. To put that in perspective, that would provide enough jobs to employ 85 percent of Vermont’s entire population. By 2015, development of the Marcellus Shalealone could create 160,000 jobs in Pennsylvania, 20,000 jobs in New York and 30,000 jobs in West Virginia. Add that to the 9.2 million Americans currently employed by the oil industry and you’ve got the economic engine powering our economy and our way of life.

That is how you turn an economy around.  That is how you increase revenues to government.  That is how a smart government would approach the current problem (and in more areas than just gas and oil).