Biden isn’t to blame for rising oil prices. Or gas prices: “Energy analysts say other factors — which predate the Biden administration — are responsible”. Charles Pierce of Esquire uses colorful language to say we should look elsewhere:
Since it seems that the elite political media is going to define everything except the upcoming NCAA basketball tournament through the price of gasoline—CNN should open a bureau at that one gas station that is clearly overcharging people . . .
When did the consensus among us common folk break down that the oil companies are a miserable flock of price-gouging harpies interested only in lining their own pockets, despoiling land and sea and contributing to the planet’s self-immolation? I mean, Deepwater Horizon wasn’t that long ago. . . .
So now, as Ukraine fights to remain an independent nation, and as the economic recovery from a worldwide pandemic rolls on largely unacknowledged by much of the elite political press, the oil company executives, who currently hold a plethora of oil leases, are shoveling the money they’re gouging out of the rest of us to their shareholders rather than plowing it into developing the leases they already own. From the New York Times:
In his broad Oklahoma twang and in language that will be heard repeatedly in the next few months, [former Democratic senator Fred Harris] . . . said that Congress should “break up” the major oil companies, which he contends illegally control both production and marketing of petroleum products.
Where have you gone, Fred Harris? Your party turns its lonely eyes to you.
Some facts from Dana Milbank of The Washington Post:
A cynic is rarely disappointed by this Republican Party. Yet even by that standard, the current attempt to blame President Biden — and absolve Vladimir Putin — for the spike in gas prices is a special case. . . .
It’s not only that the charge is bogus — the current price of gas has virtually nothing to do with Biden’s energy policies — but that the Republican officials leveling it are sowing division at home and giving a rhetorical boost to the enemy at a perilous moment when national unity and sacrifice will be needed to prevail against Russia.
Announcing the ban on Tuesday, Biden said, accurately: “Since Putin began his military buildup on Ukrainian borders, just since then, the price of the gas at the pump in America went up 75 cents. And with this action, it’s going to go up further.” He dubbed it “Putin’s price hike” and said “Russia is responsible.”
Republicans leaped to Putin’s defense.
“These aren’t Putin prices. They’re President Biden’s prices,” House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy said on Wednesday. Via tweet, he claimed: “Gas prices started rising the day President Biden took office — when he canceled the Keystone Pipeline and halted new drilling on federal lands.”
Rep. Elise Stefanik (N.Y.), head of the House Republican Conference, added: “Joe Biden blames Russia for skyrocketing gas prices. But make no mistake — Biden’s war on American energy is to blame.”
Scores of Republicans piled on. The GOP side of the House Energy and Commerce Committee tweeted: “Russia isn’t ‘responsible’. Biden’s shutdown of American energy is.”
That’s just a gusher of mendacity.
Gas prices “started rising the day President Biden took office”? Wrong. They’ve been on an upward trend since bottoming out in April 2020 at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. This is because of booming demand during the recovery — not because of Biden’s policies . . .
Canceling the Keystone XL pipeline caused gas prices to rise? Wrong. It was only 10 percent done when Biden canceled it, and its owners didn’t expect to open it until 2023 at the earliest.
Biden “halted new drilling on federal lands”? Wrong. After a temporary halt in new leases, Biden has outpaced Trump in new drilling permits for public lands, The Post reported.
As for Biden’s “shutdown of American energy,” U.S. production has increased under Biden from 9.7 million barrels a day to 11.6 million barrels. The number of oil rigs operating was at 172 in July 2020, E&E News reports. Now, 519 are in operation. U.S. production is forecast to set a record next year.
What’s holding back oil production isn’t government policy. U.S. producers still have 4,400 wells already approved and drilled that are not yet producing. They aren’t drilling more because of a shortage of workers and equipment and, particularly, [Big Oil]. As The Post reported, major U.S. oil companies say they would rather use their profits “to boost payouts to shareholders” than “rush to drill new wells.”
Blaming Biden for the spike in prices around Russia’s Ukraine invasion isn’t just false — it’s an assist to Putin . . .
[That’s not surprising]. Fox News’s Tucker Carlson, after parroting Kremlin talking points justifying its invasion of Ukraine, has pivoted to blaming the United States for provoking Putin. “Why in the world would the United States intentionally seek war with Russia?” he asked on Monday night.
T____ himself has praised Putin’s acuity, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) has called for the United States to appease Russia by abandoning its support for Ukrainian membership in NATO, and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) [supports impeaching] Biden for “threatening war” with Russia . . .