Gas prices in the age of Obama

Franklin Delano Roosevelt had a complicated problem solving technique that went something like this: “If one thing doesn’t work try another.” The Obama Administration appears to be doing much of the same when it comes to gas prices: ‘If inflating your tires more doesn’t work, we can try solar panels. If that doesn’t work, we can try algae.’

The Bush Administration faced a similar problem in their first 26 months when the price of gas rose 7%. The uproar in the media was fierce. They got everyone worked up into a frenzy with their claim that the reason Bush and Cheney set the prices high was based on the fact that they were oil men who loved high oil prices regardless of the suffering it caused the American public.  Again, it was a 7% increase that caused this frenzy. No word has come down from the Mount Sinai media as to why the price of gas has increased 67% in the first 26 months of the Obama administration. (This figure was based on the source listed below from 4/10/2010. The price at the time was $3.10 a gallon.)


After that 7% increase in the first 26 months of the Bush Administration, and the maelstrom that developed as a result, the Bush Administration devised three strategies to bring down the price of fuel. The first was to have America develop and encourage more offshore drilling opportunities. “Nope,” said the critics. “That will take ten years.” The next strategy was to open some of the emergency oil reserves for public use. “Nope,” said the critics. “There isn’t enough in the oil reserves to make a dent in the current use of oil.” They didn’t say any of this when Former President Bill Clinton authorized the use of 30 million barrels of the oil reserves to bring the prices down for the fall of 2000. (That’s right sports fans, in time for the 2000 Gore v Bush election.) While it is true that most experts project that full use of the 570 million barrels of crude oil in the reserve would only last us about 60 days, George W. Bush proved that the mere threat of using some of these reserves effects the market price greatly. That’s right sport’s fans, Bush devised a rarely quoted third strategy: He threatened to use the oil reserves, and that mere threat caused the speculators to tremble a little, and the result was lower gas prices.

The current resident in office has chosen a fourth strategy: regulation.  He has chosen to regulate the car companies to make cars more efficient (CAFE standards).  In other words, President Obama has chosen to pick winners and losers.  He has decided to fund alternative fuels while regulating fossil fuels.  He has chosen agenda over problem solving.  Now that that strategy has been revealed as an utter failure, at this point in history, he invokes the liberal slogan: ‘I don’t have a plan, but I don’t like yours’. He has chosen the time-honored “it’s complicated” liberal method of avoiding the obvious when it comes to fixing a problem:

“Anyone who tells you we can drill our way out of this problem doesn’t know what they’re talking about — or isn’t telling you the truth,” Obama said at the University of Miami after touring an industrial machine lab at the school.

Here’s my solution for what it’s worth, let’s try it. I know Obama, and his administration, would tell me I don’t know what I’m talking about, but I say let’s try drilling offshore in the Gulf of Mexico, in Alaska’s Arctic Refuge, and anywhere and everywhere that oil is available. Right now we have what experts call a record high production rate, but prices of oil are still high. I say we keep going. I say that Obama flip all of the switches on natural gas and coal and offshore drilling and production in this country. I say that he quits blocking and slowing American-made energy. Let’s go ahead with the Alaskan pipeline, let’s go forward with the Keystone Pipeline, and let’s scrap the plan to repeal the manufacturing deduction for oil and gas companies. Quit restricting land for drilling and delaying permits to locate oil. Obama says that he’s given significant support to oil production. I say show us. Prove your critics wrong President Obama. Let the world see that all of these oil and gas company executives are wrong when they say: “These have been the most difficult three years from a policy standpoint that we’ve seen in our careers.”  Let this current record-high production rate (that George W. Bush policies created) double and triple in the coming years, and if prices are still high he can stick his finger in our faces and say: ‘see’.

“There is not a silver bullet, there never has been,” Obama said.

In other words, ‘I don’t have a plan, but I don’t like your solutions.’ In other words: ‘get used to it.’ In other words, there is a general malaise that has overcome this nation. In other words, the country’s problems are the fault of the people not the leaders. The people just need to start wearing more sweaters, and filling their tires more. In other words, as liberals generally say, there are no solutions, and it’s complicated.

When Bush said that we should open up more offshore drilling, the critics said, “it will take ten years to show any substantial results,” yet when Obama says that we should switch to algae as a substitute for some of our oil, we don’t make projections on how long this may take. It’s just listed as a possible alternative. “It could cut our oil dependence by 17%,” he says.

When we pour millions, and billions, into these alternative energy companies and they either go bankrupt or they show little to no results year after year and decade after decade, “we” decide that it’s in our best interests to pour more millions and billions more into them year after year hoping that one day, they will eventually, hopefully produce a pearl. Yet, those who tell you that more oil and natural gas production is the answer are either lying to you, or they don’t know what they’re talking about.

Bill O’Reilly adds to the general list of complaints about the gas prices by stating that greater oil production is not the answer, because: “Lou Dobbs says they’re shipping it overseas.” His answer to solve this dilemma, based on Dobbs’ statement, is more government intervention. “Propose an export tax,” he says. “It’s our land that they’re drilling on,” he says. “They (the oil companies) shouldn’t be able to take the products produced on our land and export them to other people for profit.”

Based on this logic, we could justifiably argue that the creator of the cartoon Sponge Bob Square Pants created that show while on American soil. Is Spongebob Squarepants being aired in foreign countries? What kind of ad revenue are they generating over there? Why should they be able to produce a product on our soil, that gets such huge ad revenue, without paying some kind of tax that we dream up specifically for them? What about McDonald’s? Are people in foreign countries eating Big Macs? How many Le Big Macs that they eat were produced from cows that were born on our land, eating our grass, that came from our soil? Why should they get off scot-free? Get ‘em! It doesn’t just have to be oil companies that we attack in this manner. We can get them all. I know they all already pay the taxes for the privilege of living on our land, and using the products from our land, but who is to say that it can’t be more?

O’Reilly would call this a silly argument, because we don’t need McDonald’s or Spongebob Squarepants in the manner we need oil. He says it’s a fixed game run by a very few. It’s a decent point. The answer to this dilemma is not an export tax, and it’s not more regulation for Criminy’s sake.  Let’s open the game up. Let’s open the game up in a Capitalist manner, and invite more competition into the game. Rather than the few oil companies we have now, let’s open the game up and give more permits to more companies.

I’m no expert in this field, but I don’t see why this has to be as complicated as our leaders and our experts want us to believe it is.  If, indeed, it is as complicated as they want us to believe it is, uncomplicate it.  Remove the restrictions and regulations that have complicated the process to get to the simple solutions that should be available to all “true” problem solvers.  Or, as Charley Reese said in his final column, do our leaders want it “complicated” so they aren’t damaged politically when they don’t fix it?

Why is the only answer to be found in more government (i.e. more complications) and less Capitalism?  Why do we always have to resort to diminishment and punishment of  American companies to “help” the American citizen?  Why can’t we push our free enterprise Republic to the limits of its potential?  Why can’t we increase production tenfold?  If there is a 10% increase in our country’s export of oil, I say we get excited by this, and we allow for a 10% increase in domestic production to account for it. This is called Capitalism; this is called business; and it’s what Macroeconomics 101 students learn is based on a principle called supply and demand. You increase supply to meet demand, and from what I’ve heard it has worked before. We should try it. Let’s go for a 20 to 30 to 60% increase in production. Let’s flood the market with oil. Let’s relax the rules and regulations on the who, the where, the why, and the how’s of production and see how far we can take this to solve this global dependence on Middle East oil that has crippled us and made them a central power in our world. Let’s flip these environmentalists (or as I call them the anti-capitalists and anti-business types hiding in sheep’s clothing) the bird. This is about saving the country, freeing up the individual, and yes aiding the domestic, Big Oil companies in keeping America on top.

Who knows how much power we can take away from the volatile Middle East by opening up our spigots to full capacity? Who knows what our full capacity is, until we fully explore it? Who knows what we could do to the power of the Middle East if we out produce them and undercut their market price? There are well-intentioned environmentalists out there, and I respect them, but we can’t worry about their concerns at this point in history. They will always have their platforms in this country, of course, but I say we put them on the backburner until we can get this whole mess straightened out.

The “it’s complicated” answer works well for the supervisors in an office, because they are limited by the constraints of their company, but it shouldn’t be an answer that leaders of our nation get away with saying.  We elect these people to be miracle workers.  We bestow powers to them to change our lives and the way things are done in our country, and they do make changes when it benefits them or their agenda.  When proposed changes appear to be able to help us, however, they’re unwilling to do anything unless it also fits their agenda.  That’s when it gets “complicated” for them.



2 thoughts on “Gas prices in the age of Obama

  1. Pingback: quotes
    • Great commentary. The answer isn’t whether to drill or not. The answer is ideology. How do you manage?. What fuels (good use of a pun) your decisions?.
      I say let us be and stop with the pointed stimulus, and regulations…like they know better. Capitalism really works. Free markets really work. But the Obama administration thinks they are in charge or something. I say booooooo.


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