A better way to create jobs

This week as Congress debates a $15 billion jobs bill aimed at getting more than 15 million unemployed Americans back to work, there is this story out of Janesville, Wis.: An autoworker was so desperate to hold onto his job that he followed it when it moved to another state 500 miles away.

Desperate times do, indeed, call for desperate measures, and after two straight years of jobs loss, many people can think of worse things than a 1,000-mile-per-week commute that, after hours on the road, leads to a paycheck.

You have to applaud Congress for its attention to the very severe jobs crisis the country faces. But any reasonable person also has to wonder if there isn’t an easier way.

The Heritage Foundation made the same point earlier this month when it outlined research showing how increasing domestic oil production by 2 million barrels per day could create 270,000 jobs.

The best thing about these jobs is that they would be easy to find. Ever since July of 2008, when then-President Bush lifted a 10-year-ban on offshore drilling, there has been pent-up demand from Florida to California, Texas and even Virginia to begin exploratory drilling in the nation’s outer continental shelf.

It’s going on two years since that historic milestone, which might have created more of the well-paying jobs we need. And yet, we’re all still waiting. That’s because there seems to be a de-facto ban in place, with layers of red tape, despite an overwhelming show of support by the American public in favor of increasing the responsible production of domestic oil and gas.