After speeches the last three weeks (reported here, here, and here) on why he isn’t to blame for high gasoline prices, I thought President Barack Obama would be moving on to other issues. But in a sign of how desperate the White House is becoming about the threat gas prices pose to the President’s re-election, the President on Thursday, 15th March, gave yet another speech on the topic.
At Prince George’s Community College in Largo, Maryland, a few miles east of Washington, D. C., Mr. Obama took credit (completely undeservedly) for increasing domestic oil production, but then argued that increasing oil production won’t solve the problem of high gasoline prices. According to the President, the only lasting solution is to continue pouring taxpayer dollars into subsidizing alternatives to oil. Once we replace gasoline and diesel with other fuels, then we will have solved the problem of recurring spikes in gasoline prices.
The problem with the President’s argument is that the alternatives are likely to cost more, not less, than the oil they are replacing. That is certainly the case with ethanol. And hybrid electric vehicles still take many years of gas savings to pay for their much higher prices.
President Obama lashed out at those who disagree with him: “If some of these folks were around when Columbus set sail, they must have been founding members of the Flat Earth Society. They would not have believed that the world was round.”
His critics are simply stuck in the past and don’t see the new clean, green energy economy his policies are creating: “The point is, there will always be cynics and naysayers who just want to keep on doing things the same way that we’ve always done them…. But that’s not who we are as Americans. See, America has always succeeded because we refuse to stand still. We put faith in the future. We are inventors. We are builders. We are makers of things. We are Thomas Edison. We are the Wright Brothers. We are Bill Gates. We are Steve Jobs. That’s who we are.” That sounds good, but in real life the President’s heroes are not inventors, builders, and makers of things; they are crony capitalists and subsidy suckers like Jeff Immelt, Warren Buffett, Vinod Khosla, George Soros, T. Boone Pickens, George Kaiser, James Rogers, and Lloyd Blankfein.
President Obama also reiterated his claim that producing more oil isn’t going to solve the problem because the United States consumes over 20% of the world’s oil, but has only 2% of the world’s oil reserves. Even the Washington Post has had enough. On 15th March, Glenn Kessler dissected this technically true, but utterly misleading claim in a long Fact Checker piece.