PA Economist Says Shale Gas Only Way to Economic Recovery

Edmond Seifried is professor emeritus of economics at Lafayette College in Easton, PA. He says that fiscal and monetary policy used by the Federal Reserve has not and will not work. He says that natural gas is not just the best, but the only way for the U.S. to recover from the current economic malaise.

Seifried points out the obvious: The less money we spend on foreign oil and invest in our own energy sources (in particular natural gas), the more the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will increase, meaning more jobs here at home, and more money that stays here in our country.

Edmond Seifried’s cure for the ailing economy lies one mile below the Earth’s surface.

Abundant supplies of natural gas, the economist said, could allow the U.S. to achieve energy independence.

Implementing a national policy to fully use natural gas is the short-, medium- and long-term solution to the country’s problems, Seifried said Wednesday.

“Right now, I see nothing but that as the answer to our problems,” he added.

The economic expert said the economy is stagnant.

Seifried listed steps Federal Reserve officials have tried to jump-start the recovery, including keeping interest rates at zero for more than four years, promising to maintain rock-bottom rates for two more years and lowering mortgage interest rates.

The failure of those moves and others tells Seifried that fiscal and monetary policies aren’t going to work.

Consumer and corporate spending also aren’t driving the recovery. Instead, both are saving cash, a move that will make them stronger long term but hurts the economy now.

But energy independence would create jobs and boost the total value of finished goods and services produced in the U.S., he said.

Imports are subtracted from a country’s gross domestic product. So if the U.S. reduced the amount of foreign oil it imports, the country’s GDP would automatically rise, Seifried said.

From his Pennsylvania home base, the economist has a front-row seat to hydraulic fracturing or “fracking,” the process of mining natural gas.

[Pennsylvania] is experiencing an energy and employment boom as it works to extract natural gas from the Marcellus Shale deposit, the largest natural gas reserve on the planet. In addition to creating jobs in drilling and pipe-laying, the industry is creating demand for pipe and drilling equipment.*

*Fort Wayne The Journal Gazette (Nov 3, 2011) – Natural gas viewed as key