The White House has dusted off last year’s playbook on energy rhetoric over the last week. The President’s “solutions” to rising gas prices to date have been to: 1.) Raise taxes on oil and gas companies, and 2.) Task the Attorney General with investigating speculation in commodities markets. He called both plays last year amid skyrocketing gas prices, neither of which did anything to actually bring relief to hard hit families and small businesses.
2011: President Obama Tasks Attorney General Holder To Examine Oil Market Speculation. “With gas prices surging to $4 a gallon, one of President Obama’s solution to break the back of rising costs is to have Attorney General Eric Holder form a task force to examine alleged fraud or manipulation of oil markets. (“Obama Eyes Speculators For Rising Gas Prices, As Other Factors Play Role,” Fox News, 4/22/12)
NOW: President Obama Tasks Attorney General Holder To Examine Oil Market Speculation. “Obama says he’s asking Attorney General Eric Holder to examine whether speculation in the oil markets is driving up oil prices. In the past month, gasoline prices have risen by more than 28 cents per gallon, making fuel the most expensive ever for this time of year. On Tuesday, the nationwide average for regular unleaded slipped less than a penny to $3.764 per gallon, ending a string of price increases that began on Feb. 8. (“Obama Pushes Back At GOP Critics On Gas Prices,” The Associated Press, 3/6/12)
2011: President Obama Calls For Tax Increases On Oil & Gas Industry Amid Skyrocketing Gas Prices. “President Barack Obama today reiterated his call to end billions of dollars in tax breaks for oil companies and instead invest in alternative energy sources. ….’While rising gas prices mean real pain for our families at the pump, they also mean bigger profits for oil companies’ he said.” (Nicholas Johnston, “President Obama Says Tax Breaks Should End for Oil Companies,” Bloomberg, 4/30/12)
NOW: President Obama Calls For Tax Increases On Oil & Gas Industry Amid Skyrocketing Gas Prices. “President Barack Obama, turning his political sights on snowy New Hampshire, demanded that Congress eliminate oil and gas company subsidies that he called an outrageous government ‘giveaway.’ Though politically a long shot, the White House believes the idea resonates at a time of high gasoline prices.” (“Obama Demands Congress End Oil, Gas Subsidies,” The Associated Press, 3/1/12)
The last thing left in last year’s playbook is for the President to tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve instead of increasing our domestic supply to bring down prices and create jobs. Hopefully, the President now realizes that the SPR is a reserve designated for national security emergencies, not for price management.
2011: President Obama Taps The Strategic Petroleum Reserve. “With the demand for gas expected to rise in the upcoming summer driving season, President Obama made the surprise announcement today that his is releasing 30 million barrels from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve into the global oil markets over the next month.” (Mary Bruce, “Obama Taps Strategic Petroleum Reserve; Will Release More If Necessary,” ABC News, 3/6/12)