According to the Lundberg Survey last week, while the national average for gasoline is approaching $4/gallon (prices having increased for 35 straight days), the highest gas prices in the nation are to be found in Chicago, which is reporting an average price of $4.27/gallon, with some stations charging as much as $4.60-$4.70 per gallon. I am tempted to feel sympathy for them, at least until I remember that they are the ones responsible for politically nurturing and elevating the current occupant of the White House to that esteemed position, a man that adores a statist, command-and-control economy where government dictates the terms under which goods and services are exchanged. When I think about that, I lose my religion and think they have not suffered enough.
Barack Obama, channeling his inner Bill Clinton (you remember him, the first black president), now tells us that he feels our pain but that, unfortunately, there is no “silver bullet” that will make gas prices come down in the short term. That may be the closest he has come to making a true statement on the subject since he told us as Candidate Obama that his policies would “necessarily cause energy prices to skyrocket”. Now faced with declining poll numbers and rising anger at the cost of gas, Obama does what every political charlatan does best…find a scapegoat.
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”:
Yesterday, I noted that President Barack Obama’s latest proposal to target so-called “oil speculators” with regulations and increased fines is yet just another way for him to cast blame instead of working towards policies that would increase supply, which is what most analysts say is causing uncertainity and thereby higher gas prices. It’s another gimmick, for sure, but the rhetoric may be effective since most voters don’t understand the basic economics of how the market works.
But the Washington Post is criticizing Obama’s “crackdown,” noting that his latest gimmick will do absolutely nothing to lower gas prices, leaving Americans with more empty promises and more failed leadership:
The White House insisted Tuesday that high volume and volatility in oil markets suggest that regulators need more tools to monitor and control them. But a senior administration official deflected questions about whether regulators have detected any hint of manipulation and would not give an example of the sort of rigging the president suspected regulators might find with more resources. The official instead repeatedly pointed to Enron — a scandal involving electricity, not oil, markets. So the argument boils down to: “Maybe the CFTC will find something, we don’t really know what.”
Gas prices have no doubt been on the minds of Americans as they travel to and from work and pick up their kids from school. They’re looking for relief, but they’re not getting any answers from the Obama Administration.
As we’ve mentioned before, the White House pays lip-service to the issue, but there has been no real action. In fact, the only real action that we’ve seen is the rejection of Keystone XL, which Obama personally lobbied to kill. Obama and his apologists claim that oil production from inside the United States has increased during his administration. However, that argument is dubious.
Their goal has been to drive the price of oil by dragging their feet on drilling inside the United States. Energy Secretary Steven Chu made it clear in 2008, before he assumed office, that the goal was to drive gas “to the levels in Europe,” where the price per gallon can exceed $6. Of course, Chu now renounces that view, at least while the economy is moving as such a sluggish pace.