In a country where oil wealth has typically been controlled up by oil companies, the concept of the U.S. harnessing its energy boom to shore up its frayed public finances may be hard to conceive.
Although state control of natural resources tends to evoke images of authoritarian countries like Venezuela or Saudi Arabia, the most oft-cited example of a model the U.S. could mimic is Norway – a Group of Twenty (G-20) economy and the largest oil exporter in Western Europe.
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Private ownership of natural resources, combined with the dominance of U.S. oil giants like ExxonMobil, Chevron and ConocoPhillips, are immediate barriers to the world's largest economy effectively turning into a petro-state. Still, as the U.S. produces more fossil fuels domestically, some see merit in the idea.
"The simple logic is that if you're digging up wealth from underground, you don't want to spend it all today," said Edwin M. Truman, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute and a former U.S. Treasury official. "That's the logic of natural resource wealth."