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David Harsanyi
David Harsanyi
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Aren't High Gas Prices What Democrats Want?


Gas prices are spiking. That's great news, right? We have to wean ourselves off the stuff. At least that's what we've been hearing for years. Oil is dirty. We import it from nations that hate our guts (like Canada!). And moreover, we're running out. Oil is "finite." Finite much in the way water is finite.

So why aren't Democrats making the case that the spike in prices is a good thing? Isn't this basically our energy policy these days? How we "win the future"? If high energy prices were to damage President Barack Obama's re-election prospects, it would be ironic, considering the left has been telling us to set aside our "dependency" — or, as our most recent Republican president put it, "addiction" — for a long time.

If Democrats had their way, after all, we would be enjoying the economic results of cap-and-trade policy these days — a program designed to increase the cost of energy by creating false demand in a fabricated market. As the theory goes, if you inflate the price of fossil fuels, the barbarians might finally start putting thought into how peat moss might be able to power a toaster.

In 2008, Steven Chu, Obama's (and, sadly, our own) future secretary of energy (sic) lamented, "Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe." The president, when asked whether he thought $4-a-gallon gas prices were good for the American economy, said, "I think that I would have preferred a gradual adjustment."

How gradual? Like, what, four years? Or is it eight?

Part of "figuring it out" surely had something to do with the recent decision by Obama to nix the Canadian Keystone XL pipeline project that would have pumped 700,000 barrels of oil per day into the United States. More oil just means more excessive, immoral, ugly energy use.

Well, get used to it.

You can't take three steps without stepping over some potential 10-billion barrel reserve of dead organisms.

According to the Institute for Energy Research, there is enough natural gas in the U.S. to meet electricity demand for 575 years at current fuel demand, enough to fuel homes heated by natural gas for 857 years and more gas in the U.S. than there is in Russia, Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and some place called Turkmenistan combined. Oil? The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that the United States could soon overtake Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the world's top oil producer. There are tens of billions of easily accessible barrels of offshore oil here at home — and much more oil around the world.

Yes, gas prices have spiked an average of 14 cents a gallon in the past month and about 30 cents a gallon since last November, according to AAA. Oil prices jumped to a nine-month high — more than $105 a barrel — after the Iranians shut down their own energy exports to Britain and France so they could start a much-needed nuclear program, which is, no doubt, for wholly peaceful purposes.

Given the fungibility of commodities and the track record of civilization in the Middle East, we'll likely always have to deal with occasionally painful fluctuations in the price of energy, regardless of what we do at home — drilling and new pipelines included. Still, fluctuations have a lot better track record than price controls.

Subsidizing quixotic green companies or creating carbon credits won't stop the rules of basic economics. If the gas crunch starts hitting the economy, it's doubtless that we will get an earful of populist hand-wringing and that we'll hear the administration once again blame wealthy speculators and nasty oil companies.

Yet in the end, high gas prices are part of the plan. This is what the administration wants.

David Harsanyi is a columnist at The Blaze. Follow him on Twitter @davidharsanyi. To find out more about David Harsanyi and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at



3 Comments | Post Comment
THE FACTS: Presidents often get blamed for rising gasoline prices but can't do much about them because the price is set by global markets.
Gas prices follow oil prices, and oil prices have been rising. The price of the foreign oil that's imported by most U.S. refineries and turned into gasoline and other fuels has risen 11 percent so far this year, to about $119 a barrel, because of tensions with Iran, a cold snap in Europe and rising demand from developing nations. Oil produced in the U.S. and used by refineries in the middle of the country to produce gasoline is up 4 percent to about $103 a barrel, 19 percent higher than a year earlier. No presidential "big idea" can reverse those forces.

THE FACTS: For offshore (drilling), the energy information agency data show production has surged in the first two years of the Obama administration after being on a downward trend since 2003. In 2008, prior to Obama taking office, Gulf oil production hits its lowest level in a decade.
A recent report from the energy information agency (EIA) predicts that in the short term, oil production in the Gulf of Mexico, where Obama placed a moratorium on new deep-water exploratory drilling after the massive BP oil spill, will show an overall decline for this year before rebounding.
Comment: #1
Posted by: demecra zydeem
Fri Feb 24, 2012 1:55 PM
So Demecra are you saying that Obama is either a filthy liar or just plain stupid for blaming Bush for high gas prices when he was running for President in 2008?
Comment: #2
Posted by: Thetruth
Sat Mar 3, 2012 8:13 AM
"Yet in the end, high gas prices are part of the plan. This is what the administration wants."

Of course they are. How else are they going to con people into buying overpriced coal-powered pieces of junk like the Chevy Volt?

It should be pretty clear that they want prices to go up even more. After all, that's what will inevitably happen if they get their way and raise taxes on oil companies (which is what "ending oil subsidies" really entails). Anyone who thinks otherwise is delusional.

Comment: #3
Posted by: Jeff Gunn
Wed Apr 4, 2012 12:10 AM
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