“Someone is making a killing,” said John Kerry, Democrat Senator from Massachusetts.At the time Democrats were lambasting President Bush 41, yes the first President Bush in 1990, the AAA was reporting the average price of gas had risen to $1.20, as quoted in an August 8, 1990 New York Times.
“The American public is angry. They have a sense they are being held hostage to you, the oil companies. One is left with the inescapable conclusion that profiteering is occurring at the expense of the American consumer,” said Senator Richard Bryan, Democrat of Nevada.
“In the last week, American consumers have been ripped off on a massive scale,” says Senator Joseph Lieberman, Democrat of Connecticut who added, “Mr. Bush should summon executives of the big oil companies and tell them to exercise price restraint.”
OPEC “may not be the only greedy people in this picture,” said Democrat Representative Phil Sharp of Indiana.
Fast forward 18 years to 2008 and we see Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. Saying, “I don’t know what President Bush thinks, but four-and-a-half dollar-a-gallon gas is an emergency for America's families. When was the last time the president filled his own tank?”
We did exceed $4.00 a gallon back in 2008 in Washington State for a short bit. But, in spite of Democrats holding strong majorities in both houses of Congress in July 2008, another election year mind you, as usual we saw Democrats saying that they had a “different plan to combat record-high gas prices, but that Bush and the Republicans in Congress are blocking it.”
Bush 43 said, “The only thing now standing between the American people and the vast oil resources of the Outer Continental Shelf is action from the United States Congress.”
In December 2008, after Barack Obama won the election, we began to see the Democrats plan as Steven Chu who would become Energy Secretary under Obama said, “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.”
Joining him in such expression was Jay Hakes, former head of the Energy Information Administration under President Bill Clinton who chimed in with, “There's no way we can create a better future without the price of fossil-fuel-based energy going up.”
In the summer of 2008, Democrats in congress, including then presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama killed any idea of giving American consumers any relief in high gasoline prices by cutting federal gasoline taxes and in fact, were contemplating raising gas taxes by 10 cents a gallon.
By January 2011 we saw Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell of Washington State joining in with the other Democrats up and down the left coast advocating a “Permanent Moratorium” on off-shore drilling.
In March 2011, expressing support of the U.S. Export-Import Bank’s plan to lend $2 billion to Brazil’s state-run Petrobras to help develop their off-shore drilling operations, Barack Obama stated, “We want to help you with the technology and support to develop these oil reserves safely. And when you’re ready to start selling, we want to be one of your best customers.”
He would go on to kill the Keystone XL Pipeline project designed to bring Canada’s Alberta Oil Sands oil to the Gulf Refineries in January 2012, placing all blame for killing the project squarely on the backs of Republicans.
Just today, February 25, 2012 we see Obama coming out saying there is “No Easy Answers to Lowering Pump Prices” and once again, deflecting all blame away from him and right back on Republicans.
He says, “We know there’s no silver bullet that will bring down gas prices or reduce our dependence on foreign oil overnight. But what we can do is get our priorities straight and make a sustained, serious effort to tackle this problem.”
As is expected, he adds, “Republicans have one answer to the oil pinch, drill. You know that’s not a plan, especially since we’re already drilling. It’s a bumper sticker.”
But, it’s not a “bumper sticker” for Brazil?
And, we’re “already drilling?” Not so, according to the American Petroleum Institute’s Mark Green who tells us, “the administration’s latest plan for offshore development scales back on the previous plan by removing the Eastern Gulf of Mexico and areas in the Atlantic.”
Exxon Mobil goes further in telling us we are actually exporting refined oil in record numbers, adding, “the single-largest determinant of the price of a gallon of gasoline is the price of crude oil – which is set on global markets where buyers and sellers react to supply and demand factors around the world.” They continue, “One way to put downward pressure on the price of a barrel of crude oil is to increase supplies. The United States can play its part with policies that support access and development – including opening up its significant domestic oil and gas resources that remain off limits to exploration, from the east coast to the west coast and north to the Arctic.
On Obama’s claim of his “all of the above” policy, EnergyCitizens.org informs us, “In his budget, President Obama outlines a laundry list of tax hikes for U.S. producers of oil and natural gas. All told, the targeted tax increases, repealed deductions and accounting mandates would add over $85 billion to the already hefty annual tax bill payoff American companies that already pay their fair share.”
It’s time Democrats in Congress and Barack Obama stopped playing these blame games and blocking the progress of Americans struggling under the “Great Recession.” We are not looking for a “magic silver bullet” or “overnight remedies.” We want jobs, reasonable taxes and reasonable energy costs.
The time for excuses and finger pointing has ended. We see that Democrats have not changed their tune over 20 years, time in which many of these problems could have been averted.
We have energy resources we are not using, resources that could add hundreds of thousands of good paying jobs. Jobs that will get people back on their feet and paying revenues back to the treasury. Improving our output will have the oil companies sending even more revenues to the treasury.
But first, we need elected officials who know what they’re doing, leading and not following special interest groups. That is an “easy answer.”