Friday, March 02, 2012

Obama On Gasoline Prices

President Obama never tells an untruth, does he? Well he is now telling a major whopper regarding gasoline prices. The LA Times features him holding a chart which he used last week to illustrate that “America’s dependence on imported oil is diminishing,” which one would think would lead to lower gas prices, not higher ones, and to claim that one reason is, “policies put in place by our administration and my predecessor’s administration.” Notably, he does not go on to say what those policies are. This little speech is mega-hypocritical on several levels.

Before we get to an explanation of just how ridiculous it is for him to claim credit, along with George Bush mind you, for lower dependency on foreign oil, we should note that he then goes on to make a major point of saying that now is the time to eliminate the subsidies that the government provides to oil companies. There are two possible trains of logic on that subject.

Gasoline prices are high; people hate oil companies because of high prices; we can make hay by punishing the oil companies while people hate them; so let’s stoke the people’s hatred of oil companies.

Gasoline prices are high; subsidies reduce oil company costs; ending those subsidies would raise oil company costs; raising oil company costs would cause them to raise gasoline prices; so maybe not is not the time to end subsidies for oil companies.

And, of course, Obama wants to end oil company subsidies. He’s more interested in demagoguing for reelection than he is in accomplishing anything actually useful.

The import-reducing policies to which he refers are, presumably, “drill, baby drill,” a policy for which he had nothing but contempt during the 2008 campaign. Like pretty much everything else he talked about during that campaign he has, of course, reversed his position and now firmly believes that the more drilling and pumping we do on American lands and in American waters the better. That, however is not the cause of our reduced level of imported oil. Not by a long shot.

The reduction of oil imports is the result of a drastic reduction of consumption of oil products as a result of the recession. Mike Shedlock has an excellent piece about that at his blog, complete with charts which illustrate just how dramatic that drop in consumption has been. It also shows that the percentage of our gasoline which is refined from imported oil has increased significantly since Obama took office, so his claim that he is reducing our dependence on foreign oil is the opposite of true.

Someone asks Obama what he’s going to do about high gasoline prices, he tells them there is “no silver bullet,” takes credit for reducing oil imports, which is false and in any case irrelevant, and says we should end oil company subsidies, which would actually raise gas prices. This is vintage Obama and, of course, Democrats cheer wildly because they do that for anything that Obama says, even when (like this) it's complete bullshit.

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