As we decelerate from last night’s debate on foreign policy, let’s recall this moment from the previous debate. Mitt Romney challenged Barack Obama on energy policy, pointing to skyrocketing gas prices as one outcome of Obama’s energy policies. Obama defended high gas prices as … proof of a booming economy?
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. So, it’s conceivable that Governor Romney could bring down gas prices because with his policies, we might be back in that same mess.
Well, think about what Obama claims here. It’s true that the law of supply and demand means that a lowered demand from a deep recession will create lower prices at the pump. It’s equally true that if one generates more supply when demand increases, one will keep prices from rising very quickly, or at all. In that sense, Obama acknowledged that Romney was right — that policies that keep the US from exploration, extraction, and refining push prices up.
Besides, if Obama’s correct about the fabulous economy creating higher gas prices, then household incomes should have roughly kept pace with pump costs. What happened to median household income in that same period of time? Oh, yeah — it fell by 4.8% during the recovery, more than during the recession itself. Maybe Obama thinks that is a booming economy, but I doubt that middle-class households feel the same way.
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Illustrations by Chris Muir of Day by Day. Be sure to read the adventures of Sam, Zed, Damon, and Jan every day!