President Biden has written a ham-handed and transparently politically letter to the Federal Trade Commission, attempting to shift blame for rising energy prices to the disreputable Big Oil cabal. In the letter, Biden speaks of “mounting evidence of anti-consumer behavior by oil and gas companies,” suggesting that the agency should “consider whether illegal conduct is costing families at the pump.” He believes “you should do so immediately.”
But when it comes to energy, no one has engaged in more anti-consumer behavior than the Democrats. Earlier this month — the same month that he went to COP26 to reaffirm the nation’s commitment to combatting climate change — Biden was blaming prices at the pump on the “refusal of Russia or the OPEC nations to pump more oil.” While Russia and OPEC may temporarily benefit from higher prices — though both were producing above pre-COVID levels; “it’s the US who’s lagging,” according to Bloomberg’s Javier Blas — all of this would be far less of a problem if the Biden administration hadn’t done everything in its power to undermine domestic production.
Yes, oil is a fungible commodity and high demand is a function of our emerging from a government-induced recession. But it has been Democrats’ policy and stated goal for over a decade to spike fossil-fuel prices to depress use and the save the planet. On the first day of his presidency, Biden rejoined the Paris agreement and revoked permits to build the Keystone XL, a 1,700-mile pipeline that was going to carry approximately 800,000 barrels of oil a day into the United States. A week later, Biden signed a slew of executive orders prioritizing climate change over energy production, halting any new oil and natural-gas leases on all public lands. When a court blocked the order, the Biden administration appealed the decision, even though there were indications that energy prices would be rising. None of this is even to calculate the enormous amounts of investments diverted from reliable energy to expensive alternatives because of government subsidies and mandates.
Democrats regularly accuse Big Oil of abetting our addiction to dangerous fossil fuels. And now they also want to blame Big Oil for expensive gas. Shouldn’t Biden be thanking them? And how long before the people who argue that trillion-dollar spending bills don’t “cost” a penny start demanding price controls and other policies that attack the immutable laws of economics? Typically, analogies comparing the 2020s to the 1970s are unsatisfactory (we are far, far better off), but really, if we’re going to have odd- and even-number gas-line days, the comparison is going to be impossible to resist.
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