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Solyndra vs. Shipyards in Energy Jobs

Though our government plays a critical role in supporting American industries, it has only a modest role in creating jobs in industry. Although the President and his administration are clearly committed to doing all they can to encourage job creation, our current economic issues cannot be resolved until more of our industries show greater confidence in America’s future and focus again on achieving success.

American energy firms provide a particularly good case study of the private sector’s ability to innovate and grow, even when faced with a tough economic period and a rather volatile economic environment.

Since the recession began in Dec 2007, the total number of U.S. jobs has dropped by 105,000 jobs; meanwhile, our oil and gas sector has worked to add 20,300 new positions. Not only is the oil and gas sector growing, but the benefits of its direct growth spill over into other industries too.

Consider the Aker Shipyard in Philadelphia. Barely nine months ago, it was on track to close by July. But now that the ExxonMobil Corporation has placed a more than $400 million order for two 46,000-ton product tankers, the near-extinct yard is expected to employ about 1,000 workers, many of whom will be from those currently unemployed. And the inspiring examples don’t end there.

From Thomas Edison inventing electric-power generation in 1880 to Elijah McCoy a decade earlier creating the automatic lubricator necessary to grease the steam engines of trains (a system so preferred by railroad engineers, they dubbed it “the real McCoy”), America’s history is filled with pioneers and entrepreneurs who have pushed our economy forward through private innovation.

It’s important that our government continue its regulated support of American industry without attempting to define its path for growth. When we fully emerge from this very difficult recession as an even stronger nation, it will be a result of what some call American exceptionalism, a combination of technological advances, courageous management, and prudent investment, not by government, but by private enterprise.

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