With the average price of a gallon of gasoline rising 40 cents just last week, President Obama attacked Republicans yesterday, trying to distract voters from his own failed energy policy. “The American people aren’t stupid,” Obama said “You know there are no quick fixes to this problem.” And Obama is right. There are no quick fixes to this problem.
But Obama has been in office for three years now. There is plenty the federal government can do to lower gas prices in three years. Problem is, everything Obama has done on energy has been designed to increase Americans’ pain at the pump.
- Immediately after taking office in 2009, Obama canceled 77 leases for oil and gas drilling in Utah.
- In January 2010, Obama issued new regulations making it more difficult to develop energy resources on federal land.
- After the BP oil spill, Obama needlessly instituted, not one, but two outright drilling bans in the Gulf of Mexico.
- After rescinding his outright offshore drilling ban, Obama then refused to issue any new drilling permits in the Gulf, a policy that the Energy Information Administration estimated would cut domestic offshore oil production by 13% that year.
- Under Obama, in 2010 the federal government issued the lowest number of onshore leases since 1984.
- Under Obama the federal government has leased less than half of the offshore acres that President Clinton did.
- The Obama administration held just one offshore lease sale in all of fiscal year 2011. President Bush’s energy plan called for five.
- Obama is also blocking access to 19 billion barrels of oil in the Pacific and Atlantic coasts and the eastern Gulf of Mexico, another 10 billion barrels estimated in the Chukchi Sea off the Alaskan coast, and another 10 billion barrels of oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve.
Yes, oil and gas production is up in the United States. But this is happening in spite of Obama, not because of him. It is being driven entirely by increased production on state and private lands, areas where Obama has little power to shut down production.
The reality is that Obama’s goal has always been higher gas prices. His Energy Secretary Steven Chu famously told The Wall Street Journal in 2008, “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.” And when Obama was asked by CNBC’s John Harwood that same year if high gas prices actually “helped” the United States, Obama said, “I think that I would have preferred a gradual adjustment.”
Americans aren’t stupid. They remember Obama’s words. They know that the only real regret Obama has about high gas prices is that he may get blamed for them at the ballot box.
Romney: Tea Party Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., backed Mitt Romney’s tax plan yesterday, telling National Review: “It’s a more dramatic, more sweeping reform than anything he has proposed before on the tax side. Republican primary voters, I think, will almost universally see it as very pro-growth. Senator Santorum’s plan has some constructive elements. But my own view is that it’s best for the government to not be picking winners and losers. When you say that one sector will have a lower tax rate than another sector, you really are playing favorites. And I prefer a tax code that is neutral in that respect.”
Santorum: Former-Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., denied Santorum’s claim, made in the Arizona debate, that he agreed to vote for President Bush’s judicial nominees in exchange for Santorum’s endorsement. “He is not correct. I made no commitment to him about supporting judges,” Specter said. “I made no deal.”
Obama: Talk show host Bill Maher presented a $1 million check to President Obama’s Super PAC live on stage at a show in San Jose, California.
Around the Bigs
The Wall Street Journal, Cost of $10 Billion Stimulus Easier to Tally Than New Jobs: A Wall Street Journal investigation of companies that claimed to have created more than 100,000 direct jobs, after receiving $10 billion in stimulus funding, shows that far fewer jobs were actually created.
The New York Times, Bank of America Breaks With Fannie Mae: Bank of America said Thursday that it would no longer sell new mortgages to Fannie Mae, the latest move in a protracted legal battle over how many defaulted mortgages BofA will have to buy back from Fannie because the original loans had not conformed to proper underwriting standards.
The Hill, Boehner may scale back highway bill amid Republican opposition: House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, may significantly scale back his signature transportation bill in the face of opposition from conservative members of his own party.
The Washington Post, Number of U.S. adults with college degrees hits historic high: Representing a historic high, three in 10 adult Americans held bachelor’s degrees in 2011, census officials reported Thursday.
Gallup, Republicans, Democrats Differ Over U.S. Automaker Bailout: Americans are more likely to disapprove than approve of the federal government’s bailout of U.S. automakers that were in danger of failing three years ago, by 51% to 44%. While 63% of Democrats approve, 73% of Republicans disapprove. Independents are more evenly split, with 45% approving and 50% disapproving.
Former-Rep. David McIntosh, R-Ind., who is also running for a new seat this year, details how Congress can kill the HHS abortion pill mandate.
At The Corner, Sam Staley explains why the stimulus failed.
AEI‘s James Pethokoukis notes that a report claiming Romney’s economic plan would add to the deficit greatly overstates the revenue loss from his corporate tax cuts.
Talking Points Memo‘s Brian Beutler says there is nothing the federal government can do about rising gas prices.
The Washington Post‘s Ezra Klein notes that Obama’s favorability ratings are the lowest of any nominee since Bob Dole.
Mother Jones‘ Kevin Drum celebrates the passage of gay marriage in Maryland.