Failed policies mean president can’t stand on his record
The president’s policies have failed, and are making the economy worse. In January 2009, the cost of a gallon of gas was $1.87. Today, after three years of President Obama’s misguided energy policies, a gallon of gas costs $3.93.
As the Energy and Commerce Committee pointed out, one of the president’s first initiatives was to cancel oil leases on onshore federal lands and to delay the offshore leasing plan, ultimately canceling 5 offshore leases even before the Deepwater Horizon incident. The Obama administration’s opposition to domestic drilling continues to this day with a 2012-2017 Offshore Lease Plan Proposal that imposes, by Department of Interior actions, the same moratorium voters thought was lifted in 2008.
As the HEAT video above highlights, there is a big gap between what the president says about doing “all of the above” and what his administration has done to block, delay, and reject new energy production (note: federal energy production has dropped during President Obama’s term). Speaker Boehner has called this the “Obama Gap,” and it’s led to higher energy costs that are hurting families and small businesses.
President resorts to politics of envy and division
In April 2011, the president directed the Attorney General to launch a task force to “[root] out cases of fraud or manipulation in the oil markets that might affect gas prices, including any illegal activity by traders and speculators.” No surprise that President Obama and his Democrat allies in Congress would rather blame high gas prices on market participants than look at his failed energy policies with any introspection.
Oddly enough, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) at one point had no compunction about blaming high gas prices on the energy policies of the president. (Hint: the linked video shows that it was a different president, of course.)
However, today, as C-SPAN reported, “Following weeks of surging gas prices, the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, led by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), will hold a hearing on the impact of excessive oil speculation…The committee, which is co-chaired by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), will consider how Wall Street speculators are artificially driving up the price at the pump and causing pain to millions of American consumers.”
But on multiple occasions the federal government and independent economists have analyzed the question of high gasoline prices being caused by increased participants in the futures market. In fact, studies by the U.S. Energy Information Administration and the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission found that medium-term and long-term price shifts are primarily a function of changes in global supply and demand.
Despite the fact that more financial market participants actually provide valuable liquidity to the market and help moderate price swings, Democrats continue to argue for a causative link between high oil prices and ever-elusive “speculators.” While illicit market activity has never proven to be a greater factor in oil price volatility than fundamental supply and demand, Democrats are conveniently well-practiced in ignoring market fundamentals.
President Obama and Democrats in Congress prefer instead to make investors and those wishing to mitigate financial risk into political scapegoats. This political theater would be harmless were it not distracting Americans from more important issues—our need to increase domestic energy production and lessen our dependency of unstable foreign sources of energy.
What are House Republicans doing?
House Republicans have taken action to address high gas prices and create new jobs. Under the American Energy Initiative, the House has passed several bipartisan bills that remove government barriers to production and stop policies that drive up energy costs. You can see a full list here.