I feel like I’m taking crazy pills. Either that or we’ve definitely spun off into the alternate version of Earth’s history, because suddenly Democrats decided to care about lowering gas prices for regular Americans. The Daily Beast reports:
“Democrats are preparing an aggressive assault on the Trump administration in the coming weeks over the cost of rising gas prices nationally.
The campaign will take place from the halls of Congress to outside the Beltway, with committees and lawmakers painting President Donald Trump as having contributed to people’s pain at the pump. Gas prices are up nationally an estimated 56.2 cents over last year’s average and trending upwards.
One Senate Democratic aide said the topic would be a theme in the ramp up to Memorial Day —when families hit the road— and it would be framed around the notion that the rise in prices has wiped away any financial gains that middle-income Americans may have seen from the tax cuts passed by Republicans at the end of 2017.”
Someone call an optometrist, I think my eyes have permanently rolled into the back of my head.
First of all, thank you Senate Democrats for finally recognizing the financial benefits of the tax reform bill! I’m happy to hear you’ve admitted Nancy Pelosi was totally wrong about the whole Armageddon thing and tax reform actually provided tangible benefits to families across the country that aren’t just crumbs!
But back to the topic at hand. Gas prices have always been a powerful tool to smack your political opponents. Gas is something almost everyone has to buy and gas prices are perhaps the most heavily advertised prices for any consumer good. You know the price because you watch it tick up on the meter and see it on billboards anywhere you drive. Naturally, Republicans and future President Donald Trump heavily (and correctly) criticized the Obama Administration when those prices skyrocketed under his watch.
Unfortunately for the left, it’s not hard to see what the party line was on gas prices back in the day. In 2008, before becoming Barack Obama’s Energy Secretary, Steven Chu said, “we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe,” which at the time was between $7 and $9 per gallon. The Obama Administration made pursuing high energy prices their prime directive.
The Obama Administration restricted the supply of energy by unilaterally banning offshore oil exploration in the Arctic and Atlantic. In FY2016, oil and natural gas leases on federally controlled lands fell to the “the lowest amount of leased acreage for the years statistically available, since 1988.” In 2012, the permitting process to produce energy on federal lands stalled, taking an average of 307 days for the government to approve or deny a permit, up from 154 days in 2005. Meanwhile state governments were able to turn around permits to drill on state lands in just a few weeks. Clearly, the Obama Administration made a concerted effort to slow walk permits, making the DMV look like a well oiled machine.
The Obama Administration didn’t just put the squeeze on energy exploration, but also energy transportation. We saw Obama kowtow to radical environmentalists, blocking the Keystone XL pipeline for thousands of days before ultimately canceling it. The administration spent more time delaying the Keystone XL Pipeline than it took for America to defeat both the Nazis and Japan to win WWII. The administration’s anti-oil infrastructure bias shuttered projects, cost jobs, and increased the price of gasoline.
The Obama Administration’s oil and gas policies were dead set on decreasing America’s ability to produce oil thereby increasing gas prices. You don’t have to take my word for it; a key EPA aide during the Obama Administration said their regulatory strategy was to “crucify” energy companies.
The true energy renaissance that we have seen over the last decade has come in spite of, not because of, the Obama Administration. While Obama locked up federal lands and threw away the key, states from Pennsylvania to Texas to Colorado to North Dakota opened up access to previously unavailable energy resources through hydraulic fracturing.
While the federal government is responsible for leasing lands owned by the government, states set up their own leasing and regulatory structure to govern state and private lands. As federally controlled lands languished, states took advantage of the opportunities in front of them and we saw an oil boom.
If not for the innovation of these oil men and the work of state governments to responsibly manage their resources, Americans would be paying exorbitant prices for the energy they rely on and our country would be in a much worse situation. Perhaps coastal elites and the politically well-connected could still get around, but most of us would be stuck. The ingenuity and industriousness of our oil and natural gas workers has led America to pass Saudi Arabia and Russia as the world’s leading petroleum and natural gas producer.
Democrats don’t see this as progress. The energy policies their party produces are designed to increase the cost of oil, coal, and natural gas by increasing regulations, decreasing the supply, and limiting consumption to delay and hopefully reverse climate change. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer forcefully criticized Trump’s decision to leave the Paris Climate Accord, suggesting that Trump told the Earth to “drop dead.” While the Paris Accords didn’t lay out specific regulatory requirements, again, their stated ends would require gasoline prices to rise.
Schumer and his lackeys went along arm-in-arm with their party’s energy agenda as set by President Obama. They weren’t out complaining with conservatives about the Obama energy policies that helped drive the price of gasoline through the roof. Instead, Schumer decided to spend the waning years of the Obama Administration pushing a carbon tax, which of course would directly increase the price of gasoline. Schumer is flip-flopping so rapidly on this issue, we should strap him to a drill bit and use the spinning motion to drill ourselves to new oil resources.
The left is looking for any tool they can find to bludgeon Trump. Like a drunk in a bar fight groping for a weapon, the leadership of the Democratic party has decided to abandon any principles they once professed in their more sober moments and go for anything at hand.
If they actually cared about what the average American pays to fill up his F150, there’s a very easy three-step plan they could follow to lower energy prices. Open up more government lands for energy development. Ease the permitting process to begin energy development. Stop trying to increase taxes on energy. It’s that simple.
Unfortunately the left isn’t looking for reasonable energy policy that make it more affordable to run a business, fuel the economy, or travel our great nation. They’re just looking to add fuel to their anti-Trump bonfire. But Schumer can’t have it both ways. Either high energy prices are necessary to slow climate change and delay our impending doom or high energy prices hurt poor families the most and depress our economy.
Pick one. You can’t have your gas and pass it too.