Rising energy prices squeeze your budget, curtail your family's spending and make it harder to get by. With everyone holding on to the wallet tighter then ever before, Americans are really feeling the pinch.
It is no surprise that the dramatic increase in the costs of living, especially energy, has hurt our economy causing job loss. For the first time in five years, the U.S. jobless rate has shot above 6 percent, up from an already high 5.7 percent in July.
Unfortunately, special interests that poison the national debate are standing in the way of a new energy economy that could revitalize our nation. The 84,000 Americans who received pink slips last month know we need to move beyond politics to solve our economic problems.
Growing our domestic energy industry, increasing production of traditional resources and adding new growth in alternatives will create jobs in existing industries and stimulate entirely new sectors of high-paying jobs. It is that simple. Increased American energy, more American jobs, a stronger economy.
In Congress, I authored the energy VISION Act, a comprehensive plan to achieve energy independence in 15 years. It increases production of energy now, while investing in clean renewable fuels for the future.
We currently import roughly 9 million barrels of oil per day from less-than-friendly areas of the world like Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. At a little more than $100 per barrel, we spend $330 billion a year on oil from those countries. Imagine the prosperity we could create investing that $330 billion here at home.
Americans have always been at the forefront of innovation. Now is our opportunity to take the lead in the energy sector while increasing our independence from foreign nations and drastically lowering the price at the pump.
Some cynics argue that increasing production of oil won't lower the price of gasoline. However, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke testified before the House Financial Services Committee that a 1% increase could yield a 10% decline in prices.
That's more money in our families' pockets and less money businesses have to commit to transportation costs. A reduction in energy prices would also reduce food prices that have gone up in part due to transportation costs.
There are very few opportunities in modern American politics where an issue transcends party lines, bridges partisanship and galvanizes a nation. This is one of those issues, this is one of those opportunities.