Carpe Diem

In 2010, Obama promised to double exports in 5 years. A completely unrealistic goal — except for petroleum products


Remember back in January of 2010 when President Obama set an ambitious goal to double US exports within five years? Well, there are now only 18 months left to go until 2015, and that lofty goal now seems to be unachievable and has vanished from White House talking points, according to this recent AP story: “Obama Likely to Miss Goal of Doubling Exports.”

In the three-and-a-half years since Obama made his promise to double US exports and create two million new jobs, US exports have only increased by about one-third in nominal terms and only about 25% in inflation-adjusted dollars. At the current annual average growth in exports of about 3.3%, US exports in early 2015 will likely be about $200 billion per month, and only about 40% above the $143.6 billion worth of exports in January 2010 when President Obama announced his lofty goal. No wonder the goal of doubling exports in five years has vanished from the White House talking points.

Although this might not have been what Obama had in mind when he promised to double US exports in five years, he might want to brag about a rather remarkable US export success story — the phenomenal increase in American-made petroleum products. Thanks to America’s amazing shale revolution that dramatically boosted domestic oil output starting in about 2007, US exports of refined petroleum products like gasoline, diesel, jet fuels, and heating oil have tripled in constant 2009 dollars (see chart above, data here) to a new record high in June.

So here’s a great talking point for Obama: “When I made my promise in January 2010 to double US exports, we were selling only $3.7 billion of refined petroleum products to the rest of the world (in 2009 dollars). In June of this year, American-based refineries sold $7.33 billion worth of petroleum products that were “Made in the USA.” I’m proud of the fact that American oil producers and refiners have helped me meet my goal of doubling US exports, and they did it in record time — there are still 18 months left to go before my 2015 deadline and petroleum exports have already doubled.”

MP: Realistically, we won’t hear any bragging from Obama about the boom in US hydrocarbon-based exports because it’s not part of the “green energy” future that Obama envisions, and probably wasn’t at all what he had in mind when he promised to double US exports. Nonetheless, the tripling of US petroleum exports since 2007, and the doubling of those exports since January 2010, is another part of America’s amazing shale oil revolution — which continues to provide one of the strongest reasons to be optimistic about the US economy and America’s future.

3 thoughts on “In 2010, Obama promised to double exports in 5 years. A completely unrealistic goal — except for petroleum products

  1. Obama’s a moron. If it wasn’t for the kickstart that the shale boom provided, this recovery would be even more lethargic than it is. Imagine what the economy might have done with a government that actually supported the industry instead of opposing it. Obama takes credit for the modest gains the economy has made without actually doing a darn thing to help.

  2. Should a nation that prints an international reserve currency—the dollar—be concerned about exports?

    After all, we print money and give it to foreigners. They give us back cars, TV sets and oil. I like that trade.

    When we export, it means our workers and factories labor mightily, but the benefits—the oil, goods, the services—are reaped by foreigners.

    Now, the US oil industry wants a global market for their oil. I understand that. They are within their rights to militate for a global market (as is Dow Chemical to militate for restrictions on natural gas exports). Oil producers and Dow Chemical have obligations to shareholders to seek highest profits, without nationalist concerns, or silly notions like patriotism to get in the way.

  3. More hard and unambiguous evidence that the incompetent Oval Office pretender is in way over his head. He’s not suited for or equipped to handle any executive position in either the government or the private sectors.

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