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Discussion: (15 comments)

    1. Steven Hales

      Leave it to National People’s Radio to discover the obvious and fail to see its solution in the same process they were reporting on.

      “But with the oil boom, comes a high cost of living, traffic jams and limited housing, making a prosperous city undesirable for those who live there.” If high cost of living, traffic jams and limited housing made cities undesirable then Manhattan, NY would have the same population density as Manhattan, KS.

      1. The older folks in West Texas have been through the booms…and the busts. I think you missed the part of the story that says what happens when during the booms you fail to build the infrastructure that can sustain a better economy.

        1. The older folks in West Texas have been through the booms…and the busts. I think you missed the part of the story that says what happens when during the booms you fail to build the infrastructure that can sustain a better economy.

          The problem is that other than oil, the Midland/Odessa area has…um…nothing. Nothing to attract capital and business for a larger economy, and nothing to justify building more infrastructure.

          When lots of oil is coming out of the ground in the region, it’s a hectic madhouse, with nowhere near enough support for the added population and business activity, thus the higher prices, traffic jams, and limited housing.

          When the oil stops flowing, Odessa will return to the small town those older people prefer. I assume they prefer it because they live there during the long periods between oil booms.

          1. No. Your making your judgments by those who have stayed, not those who have left — we have a few out here in Southern Calif. How a locality wants to develop economically is up to them; but, some think there is more than just oil drilling for a future. Alpine is out in the middle of nothing and has managed to hang in there — I haven’t been out there in quite a while but they did have a teaching college and managed to develop into a small cluster of “knowledge center” that attracted a few folks.

          2. No. Your making your judgments by those who have stayed, not those who have left…

            Vic, it’s those who have stayed who are complaining. If people like living in a small city, they will live in a small city. If they prefer a big city, they will live in a big city.

            Odessa only grows and shrinks in lockstep with oil coming out of the ground. There is no other major attraction for capital and economic growth.

            It would almost certainly to be a mistake to invest in lots of infrastructure that wouldn’t be needed when the oil boom ends, which it will.

            — we have a few out here in Southern Calif. How a locality wants to develop economically is up to them;

            Well of course, but it is necessary to attract those businesses desired, and capital, while placing obstacles in the way of enterprises not desired.

            but, some think there is more than just oil drilling for a future.

            Do you mean some in Odessa? What do people in Odessa want to attract? What can they offer?

            Alpine is out in the middle of nothing and has managed to hang in there — I haven’t been out there in quite a while but they did have a teaching college and managed to develop into a small cluster of “knowledge center” that attracted a few folks.

            Alpine only seems to be in the middle of nothing. It is 30 miles from San Diego, a major large sea port. It’s possible to enjoy all the benefits of a large city with only a minor inconvenience of a short drive.

            Alpine is nothing like Odessa which is almost 300 miles from the nearest large city. It’s not easy to enjoy an evening in the big city and then return home to your suburban home. In Odessa, what you see is what you get.

          3. Alpine, Texas —- Ron
            Odessa and Midland are right on I-20.
            At one time San Angelo had more millionaires per capita than anywhere else in the U.S.
            These communities have been dealing with the boom/bust cycles since the 1930’s. They have enriched a wealthy elite through the decades – what do they have to show for it? Did they reinvest in the communities to develop a more diversified economy?…or try to make it more sustainable and self-sufficient to weather economic downturns in energy production? Did they try to bring water resources into the area to develop ag — Southern Californians were doing this in the 1890’s; as well as Southern Arizonians in the last several decades. Phoenix and Tucson lie out in a desert, but have taken a different course than the oil patch area of Texas. I know in the San Angelo area they were trying to develop the wind energy business but I do not know how that effort has fared.

            I live in an area that borders on Los Angeles. One hundred years ago we were a ranch and farmland area, and with some oil fields. Wealthy people in this area, from 100 years ago to the present, have donated property for public/community purposes as well as commercial purposes that would benefit the broader community — like building private roads and turning them over to the local government, or setting aside land for the railroad to come through and building rail stations for stops, etc. Through the decades the local economy has evolved – we now have a noticeable government presence, manufacturing, and we still have ag as a major part of the local economy. Even the ag has evolved from one type of crop to another over the past century — from lima beans to citrus to strawberries.

            I used to live in Texarkana when Wright Patman (a Democrat) was the Congressman. He was born and raised in East Texas in the 19th Century and became Congressman in 1928 (serving into the 1970’s). East Texas was an isolated spot when he was growing up – there was no national presence there, just a local economy. When Patman became Congressman he knew he would have to bring in outside money to stimulate the local economy and get it to grow. He did this by first bringing in a Federal Government presence on one project after another. Over the decades, between Texarkana, TX and Texarkana, AR they were able to attract business development and you can see the result today when you visit.

            What the folks in the oil patch area in West Texas want to do is up to them. But there is another way. I’ll be curious what North Dakota does with its new found wealth — and I’ve been through Sidney, MT and Williston, ND back in the ’90’s (the 1990’s).

          4. Vic

            At one time San Angelo had more millionaires per capita than anywhere else in the U.S.
            These communities have been dealing with the boom/bust cycles since the 1930’s. They have enriched a wealthy elite through the decades – what do they have to show for it?

            What do you believe the communities should have to “show for it”? They have benefited during the boom times just like the millionaires who have provided jobs and spent tons of money in the local economies. Oil is a boom and bust kind of business just as gold and silver mining was in the 19th century. If that’s good enough for the people who live locally, then they have what they want.

            Did they reinvest in the communities to develop a more diversified economy?…or try to make it more sustainable and self-sufficient to weather economic downturns in energy production?

            Who, the local residents? apparently not. The wealthy elite? They have earned whatever wealth they have, it is theirs, and they are using it in whatever way they choose, as is their right. They are still providing jobs and supporting businesses in the region.

            Did they try to bring water resources into the area to develop ag —

            Apparently not. If you mean the millionaires, keep in mind that they are good at producing oil wealth, and might be terrible farmers. why would they invest in water for ag?

            I know in the San Angelo area they were trying to develop the wind energy business but I do not know how that effort has fared.

            And it will be a bust, as wind isn’t viable as a large scale energy source, and can only survive so long as other people are forced to provide financing. When the subsidies are gone, the wind projects will be gone.

            Wealthy people in this area, from 100 years ago to the present, have donated property for public/community purposes as well as commercial purposes that would benefit the broader community —
            like building private roads and turning them over to the local government, or setting aside land for the railroad to come through and building rail stations for stops, etc.

            And you think those wealthies did those things out of the goodness of their hearts and concern for their neighbors?

            Do you understand that building a private road gets you the road you want for your own use, and then turning it over to local government means someone else – taxpayers – will be responsible for maintaining it forever after.

            Donating land for a railroad that runs right by, or stops at your business, providing you rail access to the entire country is another smart move. Someone else will pay for that access on your behalf. What could be better?

            I used to live in Texarkana when Wright Patman (a Democrat) was the Congressman. He was born and raised in East Texas in the 19th Century and became Congressman in 1928 (serving into the 1970’s). East Texas was an isolated spot when he was growing up – there was no national presence there, just a local economy. When Patman became Congressman he knew he would have to bring in outside money to stimulate the local economy and get it to grow. He did this by first bringing in a Federal Government presence on one project after another.

            And that is the very essence with what’s wrong with socialism; the belief that everyone can live at the expense of everyone else. It doesn’t work.

            Why should taxpayers all over the US subsidize residents of Texarkana?

            Over the decades, between Texarkana, TX and Texarkana, AR they were able to attract business development and you can see the result today when you visit.

            Of course. spending other people’s money will do that.

            What the folks in the oil patch area in West Texas want to do is up to them.

            Yes, and they are have made those choices. we don’t need to worry about them.

            But there is another way. I’ll be curious what North Dakota does with its new found wealth — and I’ve been through Sidney, MT and Williston, ND back in the ’90′s (the 1990′s).

            That new found wealth is in the hands of those individuals who have earned it – except for the unconscionable amounts taken by government at every level – but they aren’t obligated to “give back” as some would suggest. They are already giving back by accumulating wealth.

            Vic, people act in their own interest by serving others. If they are successful at providing something people want and are willing to pay for, they will become wealthy. Wealth is a measure of how well someone uses scarce resources for the benefit of others. It’s just that simple.

          5. We had oil exploration/drilling where I live back in the 19th Century. The Union Oil Company of California was founded out here. We didn’t just rely on oil. There is another way. You lack the comparison and the point: what they do with their money is their business — just don’t complain about the results.

          6. We had oil exploration/drilling where I live back in the 19th Century. The Union Oil Company of California was founded out here. We didn’t just rely on oil.

            “We”? You must mean “There was oil exploration…” – unless you’re telling me you were in California in the 19th century?

            There is another way. You lack the comparison and the point: what they do with their money is their business — just don’t complain about the results.

            My point exactly. Your NPR link suggests that the people of Odessa are unhappy with the oil wealth being generated in their backyards.

          7. Again, you missed the point. There are exiles from the oil patch, in other parts of the country — because of the busts.

          8. Again, you missed the point. There are exiles from the oil patch, in other parts of the country — because of the busts.

            Exiles? Do you even know the meaning of the word?

            Maybe you could explain the point you keep trying to make in a way that makes sense, rather than assuming that others can read your mind.

  1. Benjamin Cole

    I wonder how long that line can keep going straight up? I guess Vangel by now in a booby-house somewhere…

  2. What we need is for the Federal Gov’t not to be a roadblock as energy companies increase oil output.

    If the U.S. is not going to become “energy independent,” then at the minimum we should become self sustainable.

    We’ve been attempting to develop our God given natural resources since the oil debacle of the 1970s. Our goal should be to deliver us from the chain of the Middle East unrest, that greatly impacts our country’s economy.

  3. Fortunately, in California, we don’t need no stinkin’ oil and natural gas. We’ll leave our wealth buried thousands of feet below, as we (remaining Californians) sip Chardonnay, watching the sun set on our state.

    Yeah, a state bill was passed to allow some freakin’ fracking, but the environmentalists will keep such drilling tied up in courts for years to come. Meanwhile our cash-swamped state and local governments will provide all the employment needed — at opulent compensation levels.

    In addition, our Golden State will dole out generous benefits for those who choose not to work — and don’t wish to move to other states where the new private sector jobs are.

    Live is good on the Left Coast.

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