The eagerness of both ends of the political spectrum to demagogue on gasoline prices is a powerful force. But I don’t think I’ve seen anything quite as simplistic as this before:
Gas prices are too high, and we need President Obama to listen.
With an 8% gas price spike last month and prices expected to rise further this summer, it’s time to solve our energy problems, provide real energy solutions for the American people, and get our economy focused on creating jobs. The president’s energy policy isn’t helping and begs the question: is the president even listening? We need the entire Keystone XL pipeline built, we need to drill domestically, and we need to stop depending on foreign oil. If we can lower gas prices, we also can grow our economy and create jobs for the American people.
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What precisely does that mean — “President Obama: Will you listen?” What are we to suppose the president hasn’t heard? That there’s an uptick in gas prices? Hasn’t the predicted advent of $4-a-gallon gas been done to death over the last couple of weeks — even before it arrives?
And what, pray tell, is it that we’re to assume the president should do about the global market forces and geopolitics that are causing this momentary uptick?
And do you really believe that lower gas prices are in the long-term interests of the United States?
I was momentarily encouraged two weeks ago when I saw this headline on a release from Joe Wilson: “Wilson Supports All-Of-The-Above Energy Bill.” I thought maybe Joe was moving toward an Energy Party stance. But then I saw it was just more pandering about the gasoline prices that he and others are always so eager to exploit.
Yep, people don’t like paying more for gas; it’s true. I don’t. Present gas prices are hard for me to pay already. But I also know that Joe’s right when he says we need to “stop depending on foreign oil,” and that keeping prices low is the OPPOSITE of a policy that would encourage that.
A true, all-of-the-above energy policy would include, among other things:
- Further development of domestic sources of fossil fuels.
- A crash research and development program to get us OFF fossil fuels as soon as possible.
- A gasoline tax increase that not only pays for research, but discourages overuse of the resource.
- Public transit.
- Expedited construction of nuclear power plants.
There was a bill, awhile back, that moved in the right direction. Unfortunately, Lindsey Graham withdrew his support for it when Republicans of Joe Wilson’s ilk persecuted him for the “sin” of working with a Democrat.
A rational policy aimed at energy independence would include elements that Republicans hate, and others that Democrats hate — and would require some general sacrifice. Don’t hold your breath waiting for Joe Wilson to push for anything like that. He’d rather pander to us.
As someone who has a 74 mile daily commute, I hope that the high fuel prices at least take some of the riffraff off of our roads. Thus far it does not seem to have done so.
To be honest, the current situation isn’t a result an appreciation of the price of crude oil. It’s a twofold issue:
The Federal Reserve has been devaluing the dollar causing all sorts of price inflation.
The other portion of the equation is that we haven’t opened new refineries in the US in decades, and older refineries are being taken offline as they reach the end of their lifespans.
The US is currently a net exporter of oil. The uptick in prices is due to FREE MARKET speculation. What does Addison Graves Wilson (named for three diseases) want the Prez to do? Central planning?
Silence – Who do you consider to be “riffraff” drivers? Those who don’t drive Mercedes or Lexus vehicles?
Silence, your analysis is completely wrong. The high price of oil IS pretty much a recognition by the markets that oil is becoming scarce. India and China are using much more and it’s the world supply/demand paradigm at work. This isn’t about the Fed, speculators or some liberal boogey man it’s just the market at work. Given the low interst rates we’re experiencing the Fed can hardly be blamed for inflation. Prices are relatively stable and even gasoline prices are below their 2008 highs.
As for the refinery issue that’s a ridiculous notion given we are a net exporter of refined oil products such as gasoline. We’re using less gasoline so there really isn’t a need for more refinery capacity.
As for Brad’s comment all I can do is sigh. How can anyone be so stubborn about this partisanship baloney. No need to reiterate all my previous criticisms of that. I’ll just call them FRED and next time Brad repeats this nonsense I’ll just post FRED with no further comment.
“all I can do is sigh…”
I think one of these days I’m going to collect lines like that from the blog and turn them into the lyrics of a song. Blog art.
As to the point — follow the links, Bud; follow the links. From Al “Earth in the Balance” Gore asking Bill Clinton to open the taps on the strategic reserve to help him in the 2000 election to the pandering by Hillary Clinton (along with John McCain) linked above, the record is replete with examples of Democrats, as well as Republicans, pandering to the most simplistic impulses with regard to energy.
Follow the links; that’s all I ask.
Brad, did you listen to the president the other day? He acknowledge forthrightly that energy is absolutely not a simple problem. Democrats may be guilty of pandering but it pales in size to what the current crop of Republicans is doing. It’s like balancing the crimes of Charles Manson with those of some kid spraying graffiti on a wall and saying look, everyone is guilty.
Interesting that Brad’s article sited a $37/barrel price as justification for tapping the reserve. It’s triple that now.
Brad, I know very well that you can reference examples of democratic pandering. But seriously this example is pretty tame compared to stuff like the birther movement and the whole debt limit debacle. Besides, this was a policy proposal. Since when is a genuine policy proposal something that fits in with your partisanship crusade. Seems like Gore’s proposal should have been considered on it’s merits. Nothing in the article ever suggested this was a type of Waterloo moment.
China adds about 2200 cars to its roads everyday, and they are not keen on hybrids or electrics. India is probably not far behind.
The oil prices, from what I have heard, are mainly driven this round by speculators watching the Iran situation. There has also been some drop in refining capacity.
However, the US has gotten much better at efficiency, and the spike in prices may not affect inflation as much as it would have in the past.
Complaining about gas pump prices as a political issue is pretty rich, given that every Republican candidate, except Ron Paul, is rattling sabers for a war in Iran. That happens, and its 8 buck a gallon. Those prices will make it economically feasible to drill in ludicrous places for ridiculously little oil, like 60 miles off the coast of South Carolina, which may contain about a week’s supply for the US economy, then that’s gone. But at least our shrimp may have a new flavor.
Again, follow the links. The one that I’ve pointed to twice now is one in which I PRAISED Obama while taking Hillary and McCain to task.
Pandering to foolishness doesn’t come naturally to Obama. That’s one of the things I like about him.
Bud, have you noticed that that Arizona sheriff (at least I think that’s where he is) is starting his own “investigation” of Obama’s birth certificate?
The price we pay at the pump is directly related to the price of crude, which is driven by speculators. As Karen points out, the US is currently a net exporter of fuel. That’s happening because the oil companies make more money selling it elsewhere. Refineries have cut back production because domestic demand is down. Demand is down more because of more efficient vehicles and changing habits rather than because of increased production. The primary purpose of the Keystone pipeline is not to reduce fuel prices, but to increase demand for a product that does not have sufficient demand where it is located–in other words, to drive prices UP. I’ve no beef with increasing domestic production because it increases jobs, but it will not lessen our dependence on foreign sources. And we have increased production–we’re producing more now than we have since the last time we had a Democratic president. Petroleum is a global commodity, and it will be sold to the highest bidder, and oil companies can manipulate the supply to keep prices high. We need more hybrids and electrics while we develop a more sustainable solution.
If the Energy Party ever offers a candidate for office, he/she has my vote, donations and time.
That was me, Norm, Kathryn.
Brad, have you seen this website? http://www.americanselect.org? It takes a rather unparty approach.
I find it ironic that so-called “free-market” Republicans are promising lower gas prices, all the while knowing it’s not achievable without direct market intervention…
Oops. Sorry. I knew it was you, but Karen’s was the last comment I read.
@Norm–No worries–I’ll be mistaken for Karen any day,
A foolish consistency is a hobgoblin of a liberal mind.
@ Steven Davis II – I drive a 10 year old Jetta (the base model, not the fancy one with leather and stuff), so it’s not based on kind of car you drive. There’s plenty of riffraff out there in Benz and Lexus nameplates. However, there are a lot of folks out and about that might be better served by using public transportation, were it available…..
Count me in the first rank among those who would greatly prefer public transit to driving.
I’m in for reliable public transit!
@ Brad & Kathryn – I agree that we should have reliable public transit. It won’t ever break even or make money, but as a community we should be willing to subsidize the direct costs, and properly implemented it would have a lot of benefits.
The median household income for Columbia is $38,272 according to the 2010 Census, and 22% of the residents of Columbia are below the poverty level. That’s a lot of folks who would benefit mightily from not having the expense of a personally owned vehicle.
Imagine the result if we could reduce the number of automobiles in Columbia by 50%, it would help 25,000 households out and shorten my personal travel time to and from work.
Better urban planning might be needed to encourage development around transportation links. Funds would be needed to support a long-term buildout. People and businesses would have to believe that the system would be reliable and long-lasting before they’d make decisions based on it. Those are high hurdles, but we could overcome them.