Economist: ND oil could save America

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Williston Herald

Economist: ND oil could save America

David Rupkalvis | Posted: Saturday, October 13, 2012 6:00 pm

For decades, Barry Asmus has traveled the world to talk about the economy.

As a senior economist with the National Center for Policy Analysis, Asmus follows economic conditions closely.

Wednesday, he said the work going on in the oil and gas industry could be what turns things around for the United States.

“Energy is going to save this country,” Asmus said. “It’s the bright spot that’s going on, and it’s just the beginning. It’s probably the most important economic development of the last 25 years, and it may be the most important economic development of the last 50 years. This is for you and for me.”

While speaking at the Williston Petroleum Banquet, Asmus said what is happening in North Dakota with the Bakken Shale is nothing short of a miracle.

“We are standing on a miracle,” he said. “We are already the Saudi Arabia of coal. We’re finding natural gas like there’s no tomorrow. We’re really the Saudi Arabia of natural gas. How about petroleum?”

The United States has not caught up to the Middle East when it comes to oil, but the gap is closing every day. Best of all, the find in the Bakken Shale is just the beginning, Asmus said. He explained there are many shales similar to the Bakken that have not been explored yet.

If oil is found in the other areas, the United States could be exporting oil rather than importing it in less than two decades.

“Look where we are,” Asmus said. “This is a miracle that’s going on here. Who would have believed that North Dakota would become the epicenter of America. Fossil fuels make all the difference in the world. It has changed the world.”

The biggest threat to North Dakota and future oil plays is the federal government, Asmus said.

He said his personal philosophy can be summed up in three phrases — freedom, limited government and we the people.

“Freedom is the mainspring of economic activity,” he said. “Anywhere you look in the world, where countries allow freedom to take place, miracles happen. It really does work.”

Once freedom is permitted, the second economic key is to limit government, Asmus said.

“Our founding fathers were obsessed with limited government,” Asmus said. “They knew a bigger government means a smaller individual. They knew a government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take it away. The founding fathers wanted limited government, and they did their best to pull it off.”

Finally, Asmus said, we the people sets America apart.

“From day one, we’ve welcomed legal immigrants from any country in the world as constitutional equals,” he said. “No other country does that. Somehow we brought together an accumulation of people. This is how I describe you — an accumulation of builders, creators, dreamers, doers, entrepreneurs all. You look at this group, and it is not only becoming a great standard for North Dakota but for the United States.”

And it may just be the salvation of the country, Asmus said.


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