Thingish Things

Obama’s Gas Atttack

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Apr• 24•11

President Obama acknowledged Saturday in his weekly radio address that he’s nervous about the effect of high gas prices on his re-election bid. He should be.  With gas prices surpassing $4 per gallon nationally – two full months before the summer driving season when gas prices really spike – he knows the backlash against him is imminent.  He has to begin inoculating himself against the political body blow it will deliver, which was what Saturday’s speech was all about.

But instead of inoculating himself against gas hikes, the President mystifyingly jabbed himself in the foot, right where it was freshly bandaged.  Just last week, the President was showing signs of understanding, finally,  that the nation needs to STOP SPENDING MONEY.  But there he was in his address on Saturday unabashedly talking about “investments” again, which everyone knows means higher taxes and more debt.  “Instead of subsidizing yesterday’s energy sources, we need to invest in tomorrow’s,” he said in classic Obama-speak.

Did someone forget to hit “refresh” on the teleprompter?  Weren’t we just talking about fiscal responsibility?

The President also beat up on the oil companies and pledged to crack down on fraud and speculators, which is to be expected.  But the key takeaway in the news was the message the President’s handlers had been working so hard to reverse:  The President still thinks we can spend and borrow our way into the future.

Here is the ironic thing:  The U.S. does not need to “invest” in tomorrow’s” energy sources, not with $4-plus gas prices.  With the cost of gas that high, and rising, the private sector will do it for us – and far better and faster than the federal government possibly can. Entrepreneurs have always found solutions when the economics of a product become untenable.

If President Obama had hastened that eventuality by slapping a hefty tax on gas — like an extra $2 or $3 per gallon– two years ago, he could be legitimately boasting today that government intervention is hastening our independence from fossil fuels.  But that would have been political suicide. So why not stay out of it and let nature and markets take their natural course?  The cost of gas will soon enough make its use prohibitive. And when that happens, market-based technologies will emerge, just as they always have.

Rising gas prices are not all President Obama’s fault.  But he will pay the greatest price for them.  His only viable political option is to open more U.S. wells to drilling.  That will lower prices and show he is doing everything he can to address this crisis.

Or is he resisting lowering prices because it will slow transition to “tomorrow’s energy”? Is he that much of an ideologue?


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  1. Your Friend says:

    I’ll take your penultimate thought one step further — almost nothing that is wrong with the economy is Obama’s fault. But you’re absolutely right, he will pay the price for it in 2012 and that’s why the political opposition will hound him about things that they used to say didn’t matter, like the deficit. Just as he’s being taken to task for his 2006 vote against raising the ceiling, the entire right side of our body politic should acknowledge their hypocrisy on the debt ceiling issue. Then, once we stop pretending that we care about spending, we could actually solve our problem with spending. Like so much in life, finding solutions to real problems is like Chinese handcuffs, the more you struggle, the worse it gets.

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