Voters Vote Their Wallets – Obama Knows Gas Prices are a Wallet Issue

Russ Steele

With gas prices soaring Obama is looking for a way to scapegoat the issue. It is always about blaming some one other than himself. With citizens growning tired of hearing “Bush Did It” Obama has been looking around for some one else to blame. He must have been watching O’Reilly on Fox News, who insists on blaming speculators for the higher gas prices, even though his guests from the Fox Business Channel explain why he is wrong.

I have been tracking fuel prices HERE.

This morning the Heritage Foundation’s Morning Report explains the issue once more in : Obama’s New Gas Price Scapegoat

High gas prices are not a president’s friend, especially in an election year, so it’s not surprising that President Barack Obama is trying his darndest to shift the blame for record-high fuel prices onto something other than his failed energy policies. Yesterday he made a desperate attempt to distract from those failures and redirect America’s gas price rage with a flawed proposal to punish speculators for supposedly driving up the cost of energy.

Speaking from the Rose Garden, the president announced a proposal to spend $52 million to fund increased government oversight of oil futures market trading in addition to harsher civil and criminal penalties for manipulation in energy markets. “We can’t afford a situation where some speculators can reap millions, while millions of American families get the short end of the stick,” Obama said. “That’s not the way the market should work.”

The implication, of course, is that evil Wall Street barons are the reason gas prices are so high, and that they’re walking away with millions at the expense of the rest of the country. (The president even went so far as to invoke Enron.) That simply isn’t the case, and even the president said that “none of these steps by themselves will bring gas prices down overnight” — a point that White House spokesman Jay Carney reiterated in a press conference later in the afternoon when he admitted “it’s hard to know” what the impact of the president’s proposal would be.

Heritage’s David Kreutzer explains that the president’s “the speculators did it” argument is flawed on several levels. If speculators are making unconscionable profits on energy, why are they only doing it occasionally and not all the time? Why are there only speculators in oil, not natural gas (whose current price is about half of what it averaged over the last decade)? And given how the petroleum market works — for every speculator who makes money on a trade, somebody else will lose money — the president’s theory “requires an endless string of chumps to take the other side of the speculators’ deals.” Finally, Kreutzer writes:

For speculation to drive up prices, the speculators must either cause oil production to slow down (which they haven’t) or to pull oil off the market. If the flow of petroleum and its products remains unchanged, the price at the pump will not change. If petroleum is pulled off the market, which can happen even though there are limits to what can be stored, it will eventually come back on the market.

The question becomes, ‘When the oil comes back on the market, is the price higher or lower than when it was pulled off the market?’ The price will only be higher if the amount supplied at that time is lower or the demand is higher. In either of those cases, speculators have helped moderate price fluctuations and will be rewarded with profits. If the price is lower, then the speculators did a bad thing and will be punished by losing money.

You can read the full article HERE.  The bottom line is the President is responsible for a failed energy policy:

If the president truly wanted to lower gas prices, he would work to increase supply. But when given the opportunity, he just says “no.” He turned turned down the Keystone XL pipeline, which would bring up to 830,000 barrels of oil per day from Canada. His Administration has made it even harder for companies to explore and extract domestic energy resources by canceling, delaying, or withdrawing a number of lease sales for exploration and development. Meanwhile, huge swaths of federal lands have been put off limits for energy exploration.

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About Russ Steele
Freelance writer and climate change blogger. Russ spent twenty years in the Air Force as a navigator specializing in electronics warfare and digital systems. After his service he was employed for sixteen years as concept developer for TRW, an aerospace and automotive company, and then was CEO of a non-profit Internet provider for 18 months. Russ's articles have appeared in Comstock's Business, Capitol Journal, Trailer Life, Monitoring Times, and Idaho Magazine.

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