Monday, February 28, 2011

GAS PAINS RETURN

"People are going to be spending more on gas than they are on groceries, and that's not a sustainable choice."

Not so long ago, when gas was pushing $5.00 a gallon in the United States, it was the number one news story in both the old and new media. Every day you'd get another report on how high gas is going, what could be done, how it hurts people, what its doing to other prices, what happens next, how it got there, and so on. Some pundits were predicting six, even seven dollars a gallon by this year.

But then, that was when the president was Republican and his name was Bush. As gas prices continue to rise over the last year, the news stories are scant, and the human interest "here's how high gas prices hurt this family" stories are nowhere to be seen. In fact, its difficult to find a story about gas prices going up at all, let alone how those rising prices are impacting the price of food and other goods as a result.

As revolution and unrest spreads in the Middle East and Northern Africa, that uncertainty is causing gas prices to rise even more. Speculators who invest in gas futures are calculating that these troubles will cause gas prices to rise, and the price for crude has pushed over $100 a barrel for the first time since those high gas prices during the Bush administration. The more this unrest spreads, the more gas prices are expected to rise, pushing the price per gallon higher.

Already there are reports out of Libya that Khadaffi has started sabotaging oil facilities and gas lines, and Libya's primary export (other than terror and weapons) is oil. The present average price of gasoline in the United States is just over $3.00 a gallon, rising thirty cents in the last four months, according to the Department of Energy.

Gas prices over the last 30 months
Reporting again is on predictions based on unrest in the Middle East, not on how it impacts regular citizens in the United States. These are dry analytical pieces in the money section of the news, not breathless stories with human interest angles on the front page.

Why the difference? Well the main one is obvious: the legacy media has an ally in the White House and Democrats controlling half of congress. Reporting on high gas prices and economic damage is useful for damaging their political opponents but not useful when their friends are in power. Getting people too upset about gas prices will make these allies look bad.

Another reason is less obvious. The last time gas prices rose too high, President Bush signed an executive order letting oil companies start drilling around America, and congress started work on unblocking some oil fields around the nation.

President Obama did the opposite. One of the first things he did upon taking office was reverse President Bush's executive order, blocking that drilling again. Obama's administration also blocked all drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, and continues to enforce that ban, in defiance of a court ruling that noted he lacked the authority to do so.

When running for the presidency, Barack Obama was asked about the high gas prices he responded that he'd have prefered they went up more gradually. Obama's energy secretary said "Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe" ($7-$9 a gallon) not long before he was chosen by the president for that office. For President Obama, there's no reason to dislike gas prices going up, just not as fast as they did because it caused problems for people's earning power. He wants fuel prices to rise, just not so rapidly. His energy secretary by policy wants higher gas prices.

As president Clinton's head of the Energy Information Administration said, "There's no way we can create a better future without the price of [fossil-fuel-based] energy going up." Why? Not only will it make people drive less, but it will drive all energy prices up so high that inefficient and poor alternatives become less excessively costly by comparison.

The left sees gas as a problem which they want to see people move away from and high prices can do that. They want to see alternative energy such as wind and solar which cannot sustain the nation's industry and infrastructure, let alone its population, and people will not change their lives unless forced by painfully high fuel and energy prices.

So for the press, high gas prices isn't in its self a bad thing, in fact, it will help move people away from driving so much and besides nobody drives in Manhattan anyway. So, like economic tough times, they'll report a bit on it, but not so much as to actually harm political allies.

*This was originally posted on the Washington Examiner Opinion Zone blog.

1 comment:

joe said...

It might stop some people driving but it penalizes those in remote areas that rely on their vehicles to live.