Tuesday, February 21, 2012

President Obama's Gasoline Problem

Just when it looked like the economy of the United States of America was recovering, and Barack Obama was well on his way to joining the second term Presidents club, the price of gasoline started shooting up. If gas prices go significantly higher and stay high they could derail both the recovery and Obama's re-election.

Naturally the Republican candidates, thought to be dead in the water just a week ago, are perking up and blaming the President for the high price of gasoline. As usual, Republicans are good at identifying problems while offering solutions that would make matters worse. Newt Gingrich, who has not won a primary since South Carolina (citizens of which mostly believe they are not even legally part of the U.S.A., but an independent, sovereign state occupied by a foreign power since the end of the Civil War), says he would lower the price of gasoline by drilling everywhere in the United States and occupying Iran.

Allow me to point out that the big oil companies are not interested in drilling everywhere. Drilling for oil is an expensive and chancy proposition. There are only so many drilling rigs available. They want to drill in just a few particularly lucrative American places they have been excluded from because those places are particularly environmentally sensitive. It would take three to five years to get a major drilling program underway, and what would be the result? The price of gasoline, and of oil, would go down. Which means the U.S.-based international oil companies would be losing money five years out. That is not their idea of a sound investment.

Then you have Rick Santorum, who attacks the demand side of the equation. He wants to go back to the Dark Ages, when the Pope was an emperor, birth control consisted of one Roman Catholic army invading another Roman Catholic nation and slaying its maidens after raping them, and you were lucky to own a donkey or a horse.

Mitt Romney, on the other hand, is still trying to figure out how the Tea Party got control of the Club House. He keeps painting himself with Tea Party camouflage, but they won't forgive him for his past bouts of sanity. He will let us know what he thinks when he his aides figure out what the Tea Party thinks.

Finally, there is Ron Paul. He has a more workable plan than Santorum. His way back machine would take us to 1928, before the big crash, when unfettered capitalism and the gold standard looked like they might actually work out. Gasoline then was something like $0.21, but then again the minimum wage was $0.00, so go figure.

The real problem is that the oil companies and corporate security state are lying to us, with Barack Obama as their front man. Right now they are saying Iran is the problem, Iran is the cause of high gas prices. But Iran would be happy to get back to the Republican ideal of Free Trade. It is willing to trade its oil to anyone, and wants a bunch of things it can't produce itself. Like parts for nuclear weapons and reactors. Iranians just want parity with Israel, which has had nuclear weapons and reactors for decades.

Here's an idea, Mr. President: push back a little at the war hawks. Pretend to be nice to Iran until you have won a second term. Ship some of that good Iranian crude to California so our Prius fleet does not run out of gas.

Wait. I take that back. There is the Jewish vote in Florida and New York to think about, two swing states with a lot of Electoral College votes. I guess the rest of us are going to have to pay through the nose for gasoline until after the election.

So I'm voting for Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate. Her plan is to cut back U.S. military spending slightly and then use the money to buy Toyota. The whole company. She'll move all the Toyota factories to the U.S. and hire all American workers. They will all build Prius variants, and everyone over the age of 17 would get one on a sliding-scale basis. We'll have full employment and the price of gasoline will drop to $1.50 a gallon. Of course, that would be socialism.

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