Kudlow Looks at Energy

Kudlow Looks at Energy

So I’m playing with some data from the Department of Energy’s Energy
Information Administration this morning. Their Table 1.1 gives
you an energy overview – showing energy production, imports, and
exports. I halt for breakfast, at which point I read this piece by Kudlow and almost choke:

Democrats are now calling for a windfall profits tax. Last time we tried that — under Jimmy Carter — foreign energy imports rose 8 to 16 percent and domestic energy production fell 3 to 6 percent. (This according top a study by the Congressional Research Service.)

Kudlow doesn’t link to the Congressional Research Service piece and I
don’t feel like looking for it, but I can tell you straight up that the
figures Kudlow provided are wrong. Completely wrong.

According to the DOE, energy production figures (billion BTU) look like

1976: 61,601,809,
1977: 62,051,547 ,
1978: 63,137,182,
1979: 65,947,815
1980: 67,232,462

Can anyone spot the 3 to 6 percent drop? I note that the country’s
annualized increase in energy output was quite a bit faster under Carter
than under any of the presidents that followed him, and over 11 times
faster than under Reagan, who presumably Kudlow would never accuse of
raising taxes on energy.

What about imports? The DOE gives us these figures:

1976: 16,760,058
1977: 19,948,129
1978: 19,106,170
1979: 19,459,809
1980: 15,796,247

To Kudlow that’s an 8 to 16 percent hike. To me, it looks yes, there was
a spike, but it was followed by a rather unusual drop in energy imports.
After all, the data provided by the DOE runs from 1949 to 2006, and
Carter was the only President under whom imports were lower when he left
office than we arrived. I note also that energy exports also increased
while Carter was in office, leading to a decline in net energy imports –
something that didn’t happen under any other president in the sample
except Truman (for whom we only have data starting in ’49).

I honestly don’t know what Carter did with taxes, and conditions during
an Oil Embargo may not be easily transferable, but I for one am having a
hard time being swayed by what Mr. Kudlow wrote.

This one by cactus.