According to CNBC, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew today told an audience in New York that low oil prices are “like a tax cut to the economy” and that increased U.S. oil and gas production is a “great success story.”
However, only a few hours after Treasury Secretary Lew praised low oil prices, Secretary of State John Kerry championed an altogether different viewpoint in an address to the 20th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Lima, Peru. I don’t yet have a transcript of his speech, but per the Twitterverse:
— Ben Geman (@Ben_Geman) Decemb
John Kerry on the hidden costs of cheap power of coal & oil: “It’s not cheaper.” #cop20
— Lisa Friedman (@LFFriedman) December 11, 2014
Plainly, Secretaries Lew and Kerry are sending mixed messages. I reckon the reason this is so has to do with an old Russian proverb: The fish rots from the head. By this I mean that the Obama administration’s confused take on the benefits of low energy prices mirrors the President’s confused take. When it comes to oil and gas production, he has bizarrely claimed credit for increased domestic energy output, when the reality is that his administration has inhibited the industry’s growth at every turn.