After 3 years spent strangling the American fossil fuels industries, the Obama Administration has exactly what it wants: soaring energy prices. The Wall Street Journal quotes the future Secretary of Energy Steven Chu in a December 12, 2008 interview, “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.” At the time a gallon of gas sold for $1.61 a gallon. Today the average price is $2 more, a 123% increase. Mission accomplished.
Killing the Keystone XL pipeline was just the latest in a long list of administration efforts to raise the prices of oil, natural gas and coal. Immediately after taking office in 2009 President Obama cancelled 31 oil and gas offshore leases. His administration has cancelled lease sales in Ohio to placate opponents of fracking and a lease sale off the Virginia coast. After the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf the administration placed a moratorium on oil and gas exploration, even though the courts ruled it illegal, forcing thousands out of work and losing the Treasury $30 billion in lease royalties. The Obama administration’s draft plan for 2012-2017 bars oil and gas exploration in the majority of the Outer Continental Shelf. As Federal Affairs Manager of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) Chris Pandoni points out, that hasn’t stopped other nations from drilling offshore of the United States. Canada drills off the coast of Maine, Russia off the coast of Alaska, and Cuba, with Chinese help, off the coast of Florida. The administration has also forced Shell to halt operations in Alaska on a project set to produce 1.4 million barrels a day. An article in the Houston Chronicle reports the oil industry’s frustration with the administration. “These have been the most difficult three years from a policy standpoint that I’ve ever seen in my career,” said Bruce Vincent, president of Houston-based oil and natural gas producer Swift Energy. “They’ve done nothing but restrict access and delay permitting.”
“The Obama administration, unfortunately, has threatened this industry at every turn.”
The administration, facing skyrocketing energy prices during an election year, is in complete denial. White House spokesman Jay Carney parrots the line that it takes years to develop these resources, then takes credit for rising domestic production, the result of political decisions by the Bush administration. Much of this production has come from private land, with production on government land collapsing. Even the production of private land is threatened by opponents of fracking who run to the courts claiming that the practice causes earthquakes and pollutes groundwater even though there is no proof that it does either. The administration then talks about the cyclical nature of gas prices, rising in the spring and falling in the autumn. This of course ignores the fact that today’s prices are breaking seasonal records, putting the nation on track to having the most expensive gas prices in history this summer.
The basic problem is that these prices are exactly what this administration wants. As Steven Chu himself has pointed out, rising gas prices force people to drive less. It compels them to buy more fuel efficient cars and to move to cities where public transportation is readily available. By driving less the carbon footprint of Americans shrinks, the glaciers in the Himalayas and polar bears in the Arctic are saved, and the political power of democratic machines in large cities like Chicago, New York (Bloomberg is technically not a Democrat but he governs like one), Boston, Philadelphia and Washington DC is enhanced.
Of course the problem is that the glaciers in the Himalayas are not disappearing, the polar bears aren’t drowning in the Arctic, and none of America’s largest cities are undergoing an influx of suburbanites prepared to give up their 3,000 sq. ft homes in safe neighborhoods for 1,200 sq. ft. townhouses in de facto urban war zones. What is happening is that the Obama administration is forcing Americans to continue indebting ourselves to regimes like Hugo Chavez’s in Venezuela and the sheiks in the Middle East instead of becoming self reliant using domestic sources and guaranteed imports from Canada, one of our most trusted and steadfast allies. But this also has a silver lining because high prices make alternative energy competitive, allowing the administration to justify investments in green companies with ties to the administration like Solyndra.
Which brings me to another point. For eight years liberals railed about Dick Cheney and his ties to Halleburton, as well as the close ties between other members of the administration to the defense and energy industries. Yet illegality was never proven. Fast forward to this administration which is shoveling out stimulus funds and grants to supporters in “green industries” like Solyndra. Not a peep from liberals even though the allegations of corruption are much more serious and come backed by evidence. Meanwhile Al Gore has seen his wealth skyrocket from $2 million in 2001 to over $100 million today thanks to his investments in green energy companies, many backed with taxpayer funds, as well as in carbon trading schemes. As a believer in the adage that “money corrupts” I am suspicious of anyone who is well-connected benefiting from taxpayer largess regardless of their party affiliation. Yet Gore and other prominent Democrats reap windfall after windfall from the Obama administration’s policies and anyone who raises the topic is attacked for being a crazy right winger.
Liberals aren’t immune to corruption. It is a human foible not a Republican one. Thanks to a cooperative mainstream media little is made publicly of the benefits Gore and those like him reap from higher gas prices and an administration that is raiding the treasury to hand out money to companies using the word “sustainable” in their prospectus and with well-heeled liberals on their boards. Could Al Gore or billionaire Solyndra investor George Kaiser tell you within a quarter what a gallon cost at his neighborhood filling station? Ask any American and he or she could probably quote you the prices down to the penny (unless they’ve gone up a dime in 2 minutes).
And from the Obama administration’s view, this is how it should be. It is merely rewarding its friends just like the Bush Administration did, even though the facts don’t bear that out. Men like Gore, Kaiser, and billionaire LightSquared investor Philip Falcone are creating green jobs, even though those jobs are for the most part in China. America is becoming a more “normal” country, with “normal” meaning in-line with Europe in terms of dependency on a central government and energy prices. The only problem is timing: the price of gasoline won’t peak until July which is uncomfortably close to the November election. Still, with a GOP party in disarray, the deep pockets of George Soros, Warren Buffet, Falcone and Kaiser financing the re-election campaign, and a friendly media protecting it the administration should be able to ride out the energy prices and win in November. Once that happens, nothing will stand in the way from completing the makeover of the United States into France or Greece (Germany is out of the question because Germans don’t run astronomical deficits.)
Then it will be Mission Accomplished.