Americas Reversal from Decades of Decline in Energy and Economic Security
By Richard McPherson, Global Humanitarian Resources, Inc.
In September 1960, the Organization of the Oil Exporting Countries (OPEC) was formed for oil rich countries increase income and influence oil prices globally. In 1970, peak crude oil production occurred in the United States. The United States economy was expanding during 1972-73; then the Arab Oil Embargo hit, and our economy headed into a sharp downturn lasting until March 1974. Oil as an economic weapon more than doubled America’s National Debt by 1980 to $907.7 billion.
In 1972, the Gross National Product (GNP) was $1.152 trillion up $101.5 billion (9.75%) from 1971. It was the strongest advance since 1966. From the fourth quarter 1971 to fourth quarter 1972, private sector employment increased by 2.3 million in a population of 209.9 million. Personal income was up 8.5%. Wage and salaries were up by 9.75%. In 1972 America’s National Debt was just $427.2 billion.
In 46-years, the United States has gone from enjoying a GNP 2.6 times the National Debt to it being higher than our GNP.
Since 1972, the high price of oil plus increased loss of manufacturing capabilities and capacities to the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) and essentially involved in a continuous undeclared war over 39-years has put America’s National Debt above $21.7 trillion ($66,235 per citizen), with a GNP of only $20.6 trillion. Just since 1990, oil wars and conflicts in the middle east has cost American taxpayers over $7 trillion. By 2008, rising oil costs had reduced Americans annual disposable income by $4,000.
Another economic and national security hit was on March 29, 1979, as a result of the accident in reactor number 2 at Three Mile Island (TMI) Nuclear Generating Station near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The anti-nuclear industry created after President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” speech at the United Nations on December 8, 1953, suddenly found the pretext needed to stop commercial nuclear power development in America and hurt the U.S. Navy Nuclear Propulsion Program.
A wake-up call in July 2008, was the price of oil reaching $147 a barrel. About six months later it was down to $33 a barrel. Fortunately, during the Bush-Cheney administration records from the USGS helped start oil shale production in 2004. The United States had options to being held hostage by OPEC (44% of oil production and 81% of proven crude oil reserves) or Russia (reserves of ~79 trillion barrels, and 10.8 million barrels/day).
In an area covering parts of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, the United States has the largest oil reserves in the world. Commercial nuclear power from small modular reactors (SMRs) is key to economically developing those reserves. The United States is ready to manufacture SMRs to meet the need to recover America’s energy and economic security. The growth in manufacturing will help restore America’s ability to afford the deterrence required to stave off our enemies.
Richard McPherson has been involved in energy and national security since 1963. During 1989, Richard was the U.S. Representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on a study of “Nuclear Fuel Cycle Facilities, the Environment and Public Opinion”. Today, he lives in Idaho aggregating solutions under the nexus of agriculture, water and energy.