Popularity and Prosperity

May 25, 2011

gas we canI was talking with a friend the other day about gas prices.  We agreed that when gas prices (or unemployment, or the economy generally) improve, that will tend to help any incumbent president’s chances of re-election—and that, by the same token, when they worsen that will tend to hurt his chances—regardless of whether they’re his fault or not.  The question, then, was whether it can fairly be said that the recent high gas prices are partly President Obama’s fault or not.

So I was interested to hear that the answer may be an emphatic Yes: 

A new report from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform details a disturbing “pattern of evidence” indicating that not only are the Obama administration’s energy policies responsible for higher oil and gas prices, but that the administration’s energy policy, in fact, is higher gas prices.

. . .

“What President Obama failed to accomplish through the so-called ‘cap and trade’ program, his administration is attempting to accomplish through regulatory roadblocks, energy tax increases, and other targeted efforts to prohibit development of domestic energy resources,” the report concludes.

Inasmuch as “President Obama has committed to making his administration the most open and transparent in history,” I was also interested to see this note:

According to the report, the administration’s “concerted campaign” to keep energy prices high extends “across government agencies” and constitutes a complete disregard for governmental transparency, . . . .

Read all about it.

(The report itself is now available here.)

6 Responses to “Popularity and Prosperity”

  1. Snoodickle Says:

    I’m in favor of higher gas prices. I wish gas were 9 dollars a gallon like it is in Britain, maybe then we would stop destroying the environment and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

  2. As I said a couple of weeks ago, I think that would make it less likely, not more, that anyone would invent whatever comes after fossil fuels.

    If you’re agreeing that you and President Obama want to cost us more at the pump, I take it you support electing someone else to replace him? After all, you’ve always been so concerned that voters not vote against their “economic interests”!

    • Snoodickle Says:

      It’s in my economic interests to have higher gas prices. Think about it.

      • Snoodickle Says:


        I again would stress that your assertion that higher gas prices would slow down the progression of alternative fuel technologies is nonsensical. The obvious corollary to your proposition is that lower gas prices would speed up that progression. But if gas prices dipped significantly, (let’s say gas were 10 cents a gallon), it would completely destroy any demand for alternative fuel and altogether stop the progression of that technology. Only higher gas prices will increase the demand for alternative fuel, it certainly will not come out of Americans’ caring about the environment, as most Americans, like you, do not care about the environment.

  3. Are you kidding me? “Green” is “in”; I can’t turn around without tripping over some company tripping over itself to tell everyone how “green” it supposedly is (not niche hippie-ish companies, but normal mainstream ones), and environmentalism is so popular that one of the two major political parties supports “cap-and-trade”, even in “the People’s House”.

    Anyway I wouldn’t exactly call that a “corollary” of my position—yes, lower fuel prices (and anything else that might make the economy more prosperous) might haste the day of whatever comes after fossil fuels, but you can only take that so far—again, the corporations can’t work magic, and presumably it will take a long time no matter what. As in other questions of economics, I think the best the government can do is stay out of the way and not actively make things worse.

  4. […] one thing to preside over a bad economy; it’s another actively to make things worse as a matter of policy. […]

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