Obama’s gas-price task force an example of Obama’s warning?

posted at 10:12 am on April 22, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Have no fear about those rising gas prices!  Barack Obama has decided to launch yet another task force, joining his deficit commission and his other deficit commission, to get to the bottom of why gas prices have shot upward so rapidly in late 2010 and early 2011.  Obama appears to have an idea of what his new gas-price task force will uncover:

President Barack Obama said Thursday that the Justice Department will try to “root out” cases of fraud or manipulation in oil markets, even as Attorney General Eric Holder suggested a variety of legal reasons may be behind gasoline’s surge to $4 a gallon.

“We are going to make sure that no one is taking advantage of the American people for their own short-term gain,” Obama said at a town-hall style meeting at a renewable energy plant in Reno. …

Obama, decrying such levels as yet another hardship “at a time when things were already pretty tough,” said Holder was forming the Financial Fraud Enforcement Working Group.

The task force will focus some of its investigation on “the role of traders and speculators” in the oil-price surge Obama said. The group will include several Cabinet department officials, federal regulators and the National Association of Attorneys General.

Sounds like the White House thinks the problem centers on waste, fraud, and abuse.  Perhaps President Obama should heed the words of a Beltway insider who warned Americans that this kind of talk was usually hooey, just a dodge to avoid facing the tough choices in front of us.  In fact, here’s a quote:

“… [P]oliticians are often eager to feed the impression that solving the problem is just a matter of eliminating waste and abuse – you’ll hear that phrase a lot. “We just need to eliminate waste and abuse!””

Who said that?  Why, none other than … Barack Obama.  Nine days ago.

As the Washington Examiner noted earlier this week in an editorial, the problem isn’t waste, fraud, or abuse.  The fragility of gas prices are a consequence of American policy that discourages domestic production (and refining) of American crude.  This administration in particular has been more hostile than most to the domestic oil industry:

The same president who once advised Americans to inflate their tires to beat high gas prices, and who recently told a father of 10 that he should cram his family into a hybrid minivan that doesn’t yet exist, has had his boot on the neck of Gulf of Mexico oil production for nearly a year now, to paraphrase his secretary of the interior. Obama’s intervention began with a lie when White House officials falsely represented to the public and to a court that scientists had approved their blanket drilling moratorium after the BP oil spill. The administration then defied a federal court by replacing its original moratorium, which had been struck down, with a substantively identical second moratorium. …

At today’s prices, the Obama-induced loss of production represents $40 million per day in lost oil revenue. Spread over a full year, that comes to $14.6 billion that could be supporting thousands of sustainable, good-paying American jobs at no cost to the taxpayer. That is a much better deal than Obama’s $800 billion stimulus package, which appears to have added far more to the national debt than it ever will to national employment. It seems clear that ideological and not economic considerations are at work in this administration’s energy policy. The same politician who once said that energy prices would “necessarily skyrocket” under his plan seems less intent on job creation or energy security than he is on putting oil producers in a regulatory straitjacket and browbeating Americans into accepting the lower standard of living that inevitably results from energy scarcity.

In other words, we do have a problem with waste, abuse, and fraud.  We have wasted years in developing our own rich resources, an effort that not only would insulate us from the political shocks from political turmoil in oil-producing regimes but would also employ hundreds of thousands of Americans in high-paying jobs.  This administration in particular has abused its power, even to the extent of defying a court order, to keep American production from getting more domestic oil to the country and lowering prices through the hardly-mysterious mechanism of supply and demand.  And the fraud involved is the idea that we elected a brilliant President — instead of one who apparently needs an entire task force to understand the most basic concepts of free markets and pricing.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2

“We are going to make sure that no one is taking advantage of the American people for their own short-term gain,” Obama said

And when they come back with the report that the Evil One “taking advantage of the American people for their own short-term gain” is Obama himself???

taznar on April 22, 2011 at 12:23 PM

I strongly dislike that guy more and more each day. I just paid over $50 to fill up and am expecting to pay over $60 any day now.

txag92 on April 22, 2011 at 10:37 AM

What really bothers me is that for families that have responsibly tried to budget and live within their means, as well as to save for rainy-day emergencies, ObaMao has such disregard and contempt for the American people. He displays his fiscal idiocy on a national level every day that he spouts off his boilerplate campaigning and Mr. Easy Fix-It’s study groups and commissions. He is no problem solver; he is a problem generator.

onlineanalyst on April 22, 2011 at 12:26 PM

And when they come back with the report that the Evil One “taking advantage of the American people for their own short-term gain” is Obama himself???

Never happen. “Think Progress” led the way, and they’re going to blame the Kochs.

Crawford on April 22, 2011 at 12:29 PM

Why aren’t they investigating the Gunwalker scandal?

Gun Rights Examiner files appeal to ATF’s Grassley briefing response

“ATF’s ‘in part’ FOIA response indicative of Bureau stonewalling,” this column declared in an April 6 analysis of a response by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to a Freedom of Information Act request for “all documents, to include agendas, presentations and handouts containing information regarding the briefing of Senator Charles Grassley…”

The briefing was requested by Grassley to address allegations by ATF whistleblowers that the Bureau had allowed guns under surveillance to “walk” to Mexico, a growing scandal with repercussions reaching high into the administration and internationally, referred to by those who broke the story as “Project Gunwalker.”*

Insert witty screen name here on April 22, 2011 at 12:35 PM

You’d almost think that ravaging the dollar by printing money like tweaked-up counterfeiters might influence the prices of foreign products purchased with those dollars. Or something.

Blacklake on April 22, 2011 at 12:38 PM

The task force will focus some of its investigation on “the role of traders and speculators” in the oil-price surge Obama said. The group will include several Cabinet department officials, federal regulators and the National Association of Attorneys General.

“Traders and speculators” buy and sell contracts enabling them to buy or sell crude oil at a pre-set price up to five years in the future.

If they believe that the market price will be higher than the contract price in the future, they will buy contracts to buy oil at prices higher than current prices, but lower than what they believe the market price will be in the future. If many “traders and speculators” do this, it tends to drive up current oil prices.

If “traders and speculators” believe that the market price will be lower in the future, they will buy contracts to SELL oil at below-current prices, but higher than what they believe the future market price will be, and this tends to drive down current oil prices.

So, if a President really wants to prevent “traders and speculators” from betting on higher future oil prices, he must give them some reason to believe that future oil prices will be lower. Like, for example, opening up new leases for offshore drilling!!!

Although it might take a year or two for new drillers to find oil and bring production online, it sends a signal to the “traders and speculators” that future supplies will be higher than present supplies, and there is no money to be made by betting that future oil prices will be higher than present prices. George W. Bush, a former oilman, understood this perfectly–when oil prices peaked in July 2008, he lifted a drilling moratorium, and the “traders and speculators” started betting on higher future supplies, and drove oil prices DOWN by a factor of 3 within 6 months!

Obama, by ordering a 7-year moratorium on drilling, sent the exact opposite signal to the traders and speculators, and gave them a green light to make a killing on higher oil prices.

Many of the “traders and speculators” deplored by Obama are located overseas, and no American President can legally “regulate” or “control” them. But an American President can send signals about future oil markets to lead the speculators in the right direction.

Dumb Cowboy 1, Super-Genius Smart Power Zero.

DRILL BABY DRILL ! HERE, NOT BRAZIL !

Steve Z on April 22, 2011 at 12:38 PM

You know when Obama is either voting present or punting on any issue that he doesn’t want pinned on him, APPOINT A COMMISSION to study the matter and hope it disappears from the headlines.

Rush just called Ozero Jimmy Carter 2.0 on steroids.

karenhasfreedom on April 22, 2011 at 12:46 PM

“We are going to make sure that no one is taking advantage of the American people for their own short-term gain,” Obama said at a town-hall style meeting at a renewable energy plant in Reno. …

Isn’t that EXACTLY what he is doing here, and with his “energy policies?” He’s waving his left hand “lookee over here!!” while his right hand is trashing the energy industry, preventing us from exploiting our own vast natural energy reserves and harming us all through hostile regulations and activities.

EasyEight on April 22, 2011 at 12:51 PM

Are you better off today than you were 2 years ago?

ted c on November 1, 2010 at 2:47 PM

Yep.

crr6 on November 1, 2010 at 2:54 PM

Del Dolemonte on April 22, 2011 at 12:54 PM

see also Atlas Shrugged and Saul Alsinsky

sbark on April 22, 2011 at 12:56 PM

It no longer seems like it’s just Mr. President who is out of his league, his whole administration appears to be incompetent.

And slightly OT, don’t you need to consult with Congress before you send the drones over Libya?

scalleywag on April 22, 2011 at 12:56 PM

“And the fraud involved is the idea that we elected a brilliant President…”

Now exactly who was it that pushed that idea that Obowma was brilliant…?

Seven Percent Solution on April 22, 2011 at 12:57 PM

But Mommy, loook, that Emperor Obama has no clothes on! Shut up sonny, I want to hear how much he agrees with me -who cares what he’s wearing? Look at his halo….it’s almost like mine.

Don L on April 22, 2011 at 1:01 PM

“We are going to make sure that no one is taking advantage of the American people for their own short-term gain,” Obama said

Anyone have an example of something Mr. President said he was going to “make sure” happened that actually happened? His list of accomplishments is pretty skimpy.

scalleywag on April 22, 2011 at 1:01 PM

Gas prices are skyrocketing because people don’t keep their tires properly inflated.

Who is the Gas Czar?

petefrt on April 22, 2011 at 1:14 PM

I was just in my local Home Depot to pick up some supplies and noticed that they were completely sold out of pitchforks. Did I miss the memo? What time does the party start?

MarkM on April 22, 2011 at 1:21 PM

Don’t be silly, they’re skyrocketing because of the Governor of Wisconsin.

scalleywag on April 22, 2011 at 1:21 PM

Besides, what does he care about the price of gas? He probably doesn’t even have a driver’s license.

scalleywag on April 22, 2011 at 1:25 PM

Barry’s not all that worried about oil prices. But just wait til arugula starts to skyrocket…

Dopenstrange on April 22, 2011 at 1:50 PM

The commie in chief just can’t help but monkey around with our energy needs

Sonosam on April 22, 2011 at 2:06 PM

I was just in my local Home Depot to pick up some supplies and noticed that they were completely sold out of pitchforks. Did I miss the memo? What time does the party start?

MarkM on April 22, 2011 at 1:21 PM

LOL–how’s the supply of tar and feathers?

You know, minimizing waste, fraud and abuse would save us a ton of money. Any suggestions on how it can be done? Sometimes I fear it’s an unavoidable byproduct of the combination of human nature and our enormous, unwieldy bureaucracy.

SukieTawdry on April 22, 2011 at 4:01 PM

Someone wake me up when ANYONE in the current administration proves they could pour URINE out of a boot with the instructions printed on the heel……….

Katfish on April 22, 2011 at 4:22 PM

This administration is quickly approaching a threshold, that for lack of a better term, I’ll call ‘one step too far.’ American’s who cherish liberty are going to start pushing back soon, and it’s not going to be pretty.

zoyclem on April 22, 2011 at 5:30 PM

Newsbusters has a great story today about how the media immediately blamed Bush for the high gas prices in 2008, but are not doing the same to O’bama now.

It’s interesting to note, as a Newsbusters poster did, that during the last 2 years of his second term, Democrat Media Rock Star had gas prices go up 50-60%.

Of course, the “objective” media gave him a pass and never reported that Inconvenient Truth either.

Del Dolemonte on April 22, 2011 at 6:30 PM

Watched Special Report on Fox; Chris Wallace in for Bret Baier, with Krauthammer, some ABCNews guy and Tucker Carlson. All of them were making excuses for BHO.

‘As the Washington Examiner noted earlier this week in an editorial, the problem isn’t waste, fraud, or abuse. The fragility of gas prices are a consequence of American policy that discourages domestic production (and refining) of American crude. This administration in particular has been more hostile than most to the domestic oil industry’

- is this really such a revelation that it occurred to none of these folks?

waelse1 on April 22, 2011 at 8:43 PM

All dyed-in-the-wool “liberals” of today honestly, in their heart of hearts believe in a socialist utopia. They can’t help themselves. They really believe that somehow, everyone will just work for the greater good with no self-interest because the system will provide for them. No one will want more than what they need and will all be freed to be artists, writers and musicians (to believe that sage, Nancy Pelosi). The wise and benevolent government will take care of the tough stuff (never mind that they would need to conscript people to do the tough stuff). We could all walk around in loose fitting cotton garments contemplating the cosmos, playing our lutes, frolicking. No one will want to excel because competition is so icky. We just need to teach our kids not to want more than what they need. Then we won’t need that nasty oil stuff anymore. We’ll all just go to sleep when the sun goes down and won’t need lights. We won’t need cars because we can grow food on our roof or in our communal gardens. We won’t need to go anywhere. Beauty will be everywhere. No one will be sick because all genetically inferior babies will mercifully prevented from being born. Life will be so, so pastoral. Like sheep grazing on a green hill. Of course sheep do, uh, relieve themselves and someone does need to deal with that…but wait, it’s fertilizer for our great mother, Gaia. There’s an answer for everything it seems. Utopia! Can’t you just see it? /sarc and more /sarc.

BillyWilly on April 22, 2011 at 10:45 AM

Meanwhile our “enlightened elite’” will live in castles (while we live in caves “in harmony with Gaia”) and spend their days arguing about which of them is The One Most Perfect Socialist. Said debates liberally augmented by copious quantities of chemical “amusements”.

Eventually, of course, even that will bore them. They will need to do something else to reassure themselves that they truly have total, absolute power.

That is when the pogroms, and the massacres, will begin.

If you don’t believe me, look at every totalitarian state throughout history. Mass murder of innocents is the only thing they consistently do well. And sooner or later, they all do it.

And they always, always, claim that it is for “the greater good”.

Remember- you heard it here first.

clear ether

eon

eon on April 22, 2011 at 9:50 PM

LOL…I hate it when people say it out of order…It’s “Fraud, Waste and Abuse” Or so that’s what the military tells me. :-P

cappy718 on April 23, 2011 at 7:42 AM

It’s gonna be a long hot summer should gas hit $5 – $6.

Alden Pyle on April 22, 2011 at 11:54 AM

On the bright side, Molotov cocktails will be way too pricey!

profitsbeard on April 23, 2011 at 7:06 PM

I will bet that gas prices will miraculously drop say, October 2012.

englishqueen01 on April 24, 2011 at 9:05 PM

Gov’t takes a percentage of the dollar amount.

$4. gasoline with 8% tax yields 32 cents for the gov.

Oil company makes 9 – 12 cents per gallon no matter what the price is at the pump $1.50 or $4.

I think the gov is making windfall profits, not the oil company.

Wander on April 25, 2011 at 7:09 PM

Comment pages: 1 2