Transcript of Herman Cain's comments on energy:
Let’s just talk about the energy situation. We have enough resources to become energy independent. We’ve got oil. We’ve got coal. We’ve got shale oil. We’ve got natural gas. The Congressional Research Service has documented the fact if we were smart enough to pull all of our energy resources together, we could be energy independent for 50 years, but that’s probably not going to happen because we can’t pull them all together that quick.
So that’s the good news. We’ve got plenty of resources, but we’ve never had a plan to take advantage of those resources.
Now one of the things I plan to do, which I’ve already started on, is to develop an energy independence plan and announce it to the world. As soon as we announce it to the world, speculators are going to stop speculating up and they’re going to start speculating down, and we won’t be at the mercy of King Abdullah and the boys – OPEC.
It is not only a matter of economics, because oil drives the price of gasoline. Gasoline is now hovering around $4 a gallon. When it reaches a national average of around $4 a gallon, that’s what’s called the tipping point, which means that most Americans are not able to buy gas for their cars to go to work or to take kids to school without pulling it out of another discretionary item.
And at that tipping point, the higher it goes above $4 a gallon, the more downward pressure it puts on what little economic growth we have. And right now it is anemic, just in the first quarter it was only 1.8 percent – 1.8 percent. Compare that to China is growing at 10 percent, compounded, even though it’s on a much smaller base.
So not only is it an economic threat, it is also a national security threat, because what do you think China is going to do if their economy becomes as big as ours, which on a one on one basis, they’re going to be about as big as us in about 15 years, but if you take out the differences in exchange rates they’re going to be as big as us in about 5 years it terms of what they call purchasing power parity. 5 years!
What do you think the Chinese are going to do with all that extra economy and all of that extra money that they can confiscate from their workers if they wanted to because they still are a communist country?
Military! They want a military as capable as ours. They want a nuclear arsenal as big and as powerful as ours. So it becomes a national security threat.
Oil and energy is also a national security threat. I think you haven’t heard many people running for office break it down like this. Here’s why. There was an article today by a Saudi prince who said – I read the article - they want to increase the supply so you can drive down the price of oil, so you can drive down the price of gasoline, quote ‘So the United States and Europe will not look for alternative sources of developing their own energy.’ We’re at their mercy because we have not been forward acting enough to develop the resources we have here.
And so when President Obama went to Brazil, loaned them $2 billion or $4 billion – our money – and tells them America’s going to be Brazil’s best customer for oil? Let me tell you what the Cain doctrine is. America’s going to be its own best customer for oil because we’re going to drill here…
So a reporter from the Washington Post here was asking me, he said, ‘Well Mr. Cain, how you going to get that done, why aren’t they doing it now?’
They don’t want to. Pure and simple. I believe that this administration wants us to be dependent on other people around the world, because I happen to believe that this administration and others want a weaker America.
He said, ‘Well what are you going to do to accelerate development of drilling for oil in this country and accelerate the development of shale oil, all of these other things?’
Well, first of all, the EPA is the biggest barrier. I’m going to put together what I call my regulatory reduction commission… I’m going to do one for the EPA. I’m going to do one for the Interior Department…
Cain: Education, yup education, we may not need a commission for that one.
And here’s whose going to sit on that commission. Let me first tell you about one of my management principles. If you want to know the solution to a problem, go talk to the people closest to the problem. So on my EPA regulatory reduction commission, I am going to appoint people who have been abused by the EPA.
If we want to know what we need to do to speed up the permitting process, to speed up the exploration process, talk to the people who have been abused.
Shell Oil was abused a few weeks ago. They spent $2 billion, $4 billion. They spent $4 billion off the coast of Alaska, you know, doing that work to basically get ready to drill and then this administration said last minute, ‘We’re not going to give you the permit because the fumes from your drilling might impact a small town 70 miles away with 200 people.’ They didn’t want to do it the first place.
Somebody said, ‘Well what would you do if your Environmental Protection Agency said you shouldn’t do it because there is going to be some damage to that town of 200 people?’
Move ‘em! Think about this!
Now I don’t have a problem… first of all I would make sure, I would want to look at the science. I would want somebody to convince me that, in fact, the people were going to be harmed by that. But you and I know that sometimes they can make stuff up to prove what it is they want to do.
I would say, ‘Show me the science.’ And if in fact the science said that’s going to be the case, move ‘em! We can find places for them: Arizona.
But my point is this: We need common sense. We need some common sense relative to energy, entitlement spending and all of these other programs.
Video (energy comments start at 12:46)