In President Obama’s address to the nation from the Oval Office on August 31, he touched briefly on the economy after declaring the combat phase of our military operations in Iraq over. In his remarks, he stated the need for the U.S. to “end its dependence on foreign oil.” Unfortunately, that comment flies in the face of his moratorium on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Approximately 30 percent of our domestic crude oil supplies come from the Gulf. Policies that reduce or eliminate the flow of energy to the mainland will absolutely make us MORE dependent on foreign oil. Regulations that unnecessarily inhibit exploration and production of oil and gas in the Gulf waters will kill jobs, harm the economy, and fatten the coffers of unstable and oppressive regimes that are no friends of America….
Now that we have recently moved past Katrina “plus five” (and will soon do the same with Rita), one has to wonder how much we have learned about disaster response in the U.S. in light of the ongoing experience with the BP spill. The tendency seems to be to add more bureaucracy every time a new disaster occurs. Stacking bureaucracies on top of each other makes matters worse, not better. Each agency has its own set of regulations and/or statutes that often slow down the response to a disaster. The interface between state and local governmental responsibilities needs to become more focused and less confusing. America has the best military in the world because sergeants and second lieutenants are allowed to make battlefield decisions instead of waiting for orders from central command. That is what obviously is lacking in disaster response. It needs to be fixed before the inevitable next disaster occurs….
Here is an early prediction about the budget that our state Legislature will fashion next spring: There might not be one when the legislative session ends in late June. The senate president has indicated support for higher taxes to close the substantial budget gap expected. Taxes must originate in the House where support for higher taxes is not strong. Governor Jindal has indicated that he is not for any tax increases. When these countervailing forces collide, there may not be a majority in each chamber necessary to pass a budget and send it to the governor. If the governor has to call a special session to attempt to pass a budget, it would be right at the time legislators are qualifying for the elections. It could get very messy in the late summer of 2011….
by Dan Juneau President and CEO of Louisiana Association of Business & Industry