Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Barack Obama: High Gas Prices Are Good

In last night's Presidential debate, a question was asked about gas prices.  After much talking around the issue by both candidates (they both took it to a more general "energy policy" issue) they finally got around to the actual gas price question.  Mitt Romney pointed out that, if Obama's energy policy were working, that energy prices (including gasoline) would be going down.  He then also pointed out that they have, instead, risen more than 100% since the start of Mr. Obama's term.

Mr Obama's Response?  High gas prices are a sign of a strong economy.  Yes, really.  Here's the quote:
OBAMA: Well, think about what the governor -- think about what the governor just said. He said when I took office, the price of gasoline was $1.80, $1.86. Why is that? Because the economy was on the verge of collapse, because we were about to go through the worst recession since the Great Depression, as a consequence of some of the same policies that Governor Romney's now promoting.

Get that?  Low gas prices were sign of the coming collapse.  Never mind that they were uncomfortably high back then.  People had, more or less, gotten used to gas costing between $1.50 and $2.00, but it was a fairly recent thing.  For almost my entire driving life (that is: since I was having to pay for my own gasoline) gas had been less than $1.00/gal.  I remember in 2000, having just been laid off (a "victim" of off-shoring, though I saw myself as no such thing) thinking that I couldn't afford to drive to my parents because gas was in the neighborhood of $1.25 a gallon. 

In fact, what Mr. Obama said (as so often last night) was the complete opposite of the truth.  Low gas prices are caused by, and feed, a strong economy.  Gas prices, indeed, had nothing to do with the collapse in 2008.  Yes, when demand is high, gas prices start to rise.  As a result, it's more reasonable to increase production in other areas, which brings gas prices back down.  The fact is that high gas prices harm the economy.  People don't travel except for necessary travel.  People have less disposable income to buy things beyond their necessities.  The things they still have to buy are more expensive, because transportation costs go up when gasoline prices go up.

Mr. Obama's response was a lie.  I do not believe that he really thinks low gas prices had anything to do, on either side of the causal equation, with the collapse of 2008.  I think he thought that was a clever response to Mr. Romney's line of attack: that Mr. Obama's policies were directly responsible for a more-than doubling of gas prices. 

If it wasn't a lie (it was), then it shows a fundamental lack of understanding on the economy and energy.  In either case, the American People should expect better from their President.

1 comment:

  1. Folks don't travel aside from essential travel. People close to throw away cash flow to buy things beyond their needs. The things these people still have to buy are more expensive, due to the fact travel expenses climb when gasoline prices rise.
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