Brent is nearing $80 per barrel and some analyst see $100 not far off. That raises the question about how much of a dent high oil prices will make in the U.S. economy. $100 oil is not as painful as it once was. There are a few reasons for that. The U.S. is now a significant oil exporter, helping to lessen the damage to its trade balance. Also, the economy uses less energy per unit of GDP than it used to, becoming slightly more efficient with each passing year. In the past, high oil prices dragged down the U.S. economy, acting as a tax that redistributed wealth from the U.S. to oil-exporting countries in the Middle East, for example. But, the shale revolution has allowed the U.S. to become one of the largest oil producers in the world, and more recently, an exporter of more than 2 million barrels […]