With the economy in a sustained recession, unemployment at or above nine percent for approaching three years, and tens of millions of Americans struggling just to put food on their table, perhaps few people or organizations have been showered with such hostility and ill-repute as have “corporations.” Yet, of all of the root causes of our current economic malaise, such contempt may nowhere be more misplaced.
Obama, after the shellacking his party took in the 2010 elections and with no end in sight to the economic downturn, has turned to finding a scapegoat or two to deflect blame for the anger and frustration America feels. His two favorite targets are Republican “obstructionism” and those evil, faceless corporations that steal from the poor to sate their insatiable greed.
Maybe he has a point though. After all, we all know that Steve Jobs became one of the richest men in the world as the head of Apple by hiring legions on thugs to go out across America to households and college campuses, brandishing guns and clubs and threatening violence if the poor masses did not give these brutes their money in exchange for little pieces of molded plastic and silicon and copper which Jobs called “Macs” and “iPods”, “iPhones” and “iPads”. His reign of terror was so complete that every time Jobs released a new version of these little pieces of plastic, hundreds and thousands of people would camp out overnight at one of his stores to give up their money in exchange for these gadgets, in the hope that by voluntarily doing so his thugs would not show up at their homes, schools and places of businesses and threaten them there.
In his latest budget, President Barack Obama called for the elimination of tax deductions for oil and gas companies. This industry has been a constant target of the administration over the last four-plus years, so it’s not surprising that the White House would, once again, resort to the same old attacks.
While Americans may not understand the economics of this particular proposal and the impact it would have on them at the gas pump, showing how susceptible they are to the rhetoric of President Obama, they are clearly opposed to raising the gas tax at the state-level.
Maryland recently passed an increase in its gas tax, which will hit drivers with anywhere from a 13- to 20-cent increase in gas prices over the next three years. Other state legislatures may eventually try to pass increases of their own.
But according to a new Gallup poll, Americans are overwhelmingly opposed to gas tax increases in their states that could be used to finance road projects and expand mass transit options:
Two-thirds of Americans would oppose a law in their state that would increase the gas tax to help pay for road and bridge repairs, according to a new national poll.
Environmentalists are at it again. With sizable, untapped natural resources at the United States’ disposal to help lower gas and energy costs, they’re working hard to sway public opinion in their favor. The latest example is an anti-fracking movie, Promised Land, being written in part by Matt Damon, star of the Bourne series.
Fracking is the employed to extract shale oil from undergroud sources using significant quanities of water and small amounts of chemicals. As one might imagine, environmentalists hate the idea. But Damon is apparently running into problems with the script, reports Phelim McAleer at the New York Post:
I broke the news that “Promised Land” was about fracking and now I can reveal that the script’s seen some very hasty rewriting because of real-world evidence that anti-fracking activists may be the true villains.
In courtroom after courtroom, it has been proved that anti-fracking activists have been guilty of fraud or misrepresentation.
There was Dimock, Pa. — the likely inspiration for “Promised Land,” which is also set in Pennsylvania. Dimock featured in countless news reports, with Hollywood celebrities even bringing water to 11 families who claimed fracking had destroyed their water and their lives.
We’ve often wondered why President Barack Obama and his administration have had such a hostile view of oil companies. He insists that drilling up during his term, but Obama is taking credit for policies enacted by his predecessor. But much like his attacks on higher-income earners, Obama has targeted the oil industry and speculators with harsh rhetoric in attempt to distract Americans from his own failed energy policies.
We know that Obama’s own Energy Secretary is on record supporting higher gas prices. Obama has said himself that he didn’t have a problem with the cost of gas, rather that they rose too quickly. So we know where the rhetoric and proposed regulations are coming from. But there is something deeper here?
Via the Heritage Foundation, a video has surfaced where a regional administrator from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said that the treatment of oil companies in the regulatory agency is “kind of like how the Romans used to conquer little villages in the Mediterranean: they’d go into little Turkish towns somewhere, they’d find the first five guys they’d run into, and they’d crucify them and then, you know, that town was really easy to manage over the next few years”:
While it’s true that President Barack Obama saw a marginal bump in his approval ratings last month, the issue of gas prices continues to hang over his head. Obama has finally decided to approve part of the Keystone XL pipeline, but outside of that small step his response to rising gas prices has been lip-service and to wage rhetorical warfare on oil companies.
Obama may think that these tactics are going to appease voters, but according to a new Washington Post/ABC News poll, Americans are starting to notice his inaction as gas prices hit their wallets hard:
A third of all Americans say surging gasoline prices have caused serious financial hardship in their households, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, with more than six in 10 reporting some pinch.
President Obama continues to be harshly reviewed for his handling of the situation, even as he eludes some of the direct blame.
On Friday, I noted that polls indicated that Americans are growed incresingly concerned with high gas prices, which may influence their votes, at the same time President Barack Obama lobbied Congress to kill the Keystone XL pipeline. This fact is highlighted by a new survey from Gallup that shows that his do-nothing approach to gas prices may be a factor in the fall:
Concern over the price of fuel has taken on an increasingly important role in the campaign cycle, and a new poll shows 65 percent of Americans hold President Obama and Congress responsible for rising gas prices.
A majority of both Republicans and Democrats said they believe Obama and Congress can “do things to keep price of gas from rising,” according to a new poll by Gallup.
Thirty-one percent surveyed said they believe the rising price of gas is “largely beyond their control.” But 85 percent of those surveyed pushed for Obama and Congress to take some immediate action to control the rising price of gas, indicating a high level of concern.
President Obama has paid lip-service on the rising cost of gas, but he’ll no doubt target oil companies as the villian, much like many of his fellow Democrats want to do with their so-called “Reasonable Profits Board.” He’ll likely target their tax breaks once again, though those tax breaks aren’t at all significant, and want to give more money for alternative energy sources that already receive substantial breaks.
If you’ve driven around town recently, then you’ve no doubt seen the price of gas jump significantly over the course of the last few weeks. And while President Barack Obama’s approval ratings my also be rising slightly, thanks in part to an increasingly contentious Republican primary, Americans are unlikely to be happy about higher prices at the pump.
The Wall Street Journal explains that, despite Obama’s insistance that Republicans and unrest in the Middle East are to blame for higher prices, loose monetary policy and his own energy policy, which would cause prices to jump, are largely to blame:
Another suspect—one Mr. Obama doesn’t like to mention—is U.S. monetary policy. Oil is traded in dollars, and its price therefore rises when the value of the dollar falls, all else being equal. The Federal Reserve throughout Mr. Obama’s term has pursued the easiest monetary policy in modern times, expressly to revive the housing market. It has done so with the private support and urging of the White House and through Mr. Obama’s appointees who are now a majority on the Fed’s Board of Governors.
Oil staged its last price surge along with other commodity prices when the Fed revved up its second burst of “quantitative easing” in 2010-2011. Prices stabilized when QE2 ended. But in recent months the Fed has again signaled its commitment to near-zero interest rates first through 2013, and recently through 2014. Commodity prices, including oil, have since begun another surge, and hedge funds have begun to bet on commodity plays again. John Paulson says he’s betting on gold, the ultimate hedge against a falling dollar.
Call it election year politics, but it sounds like something right out of Ayn Rand’s novel, Atlas Shrugged. Democrats are again targeting oil companies by pushing a so-called “Reasonable Profits Board” to regulate their profits:
Six House Democrats, led by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), want to set up a “Reasonable Profits Board” to control gas profits.
The Democrats, worried about higher gas prices, want to set up a board that would apply a “windfall profit tax” as high as 100 percent on the sale of oil and gas, according to their legislation. The bill provides no specific guidance for how the board would determine what constitutes a reasonable profit.
The Gas Price Spike Act, H.R. 3784, would apply a windfall tax on the sale of oil and gas that ranges from 50 percent to 100 percent on all surplus earnings exceeding “a reasonable profit.” It would set up a Reasonable Profits Board made up of three presidential nominees that will serve three-year terms. Unlike other bills setting up advisory boards, the Reasonable Profits Board would not be made up of any nominees from Congress.
The bill would also seem to exclude industry representatives from the board, as it says members “shall have no financial interests in any of the businesses for which reasonable profits are determined by the Board.”
The Senate rejected an amendment Tuesday that would have put an abrupt stop to tax breaks and incentives for corn-based ethanol products popular with farm-state lawmakers.
Introduced by Sen. Tom Coburn, a cantankerous Oklahoman known as “Dr. No,” the amendment fell short, failing in a 40-to-59 procedural vote as members of both parties joined in opposition to the measure. Sixty votes were needed for passage.
Coburn, a conservative Republican, framed the elimination of ethanol subsidies as a responsible way to cut the nation’s deficit, and found himself allied with some unusual bedfellows: environmentalists.
“Eliminating the ethanol tax earmark and tariff would be a big step toward restoring fiscal sanity in Washington,” Coburn said in a statement. “Ethanol is bad economic policy, bad energy policy and bad environmental policy.”
You can see how your Senators voted here. In case you’re wondering, the Republicans voted against ending these subsides were Roy Blunt, Dan Coats, Chuck Grassley, John Hoeven, Mike Johanns, Mark Kirk, Dick Lugar, Jim Moran, Rob Portman, Pat Roberts, John Thune and Roger Wicker.