No Thanks, Joe Biden | National Review

No Thanks, Joe Biden | National Review

(Karimala/Getty Images)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee posted a graph on Twitter on December 2 that showed a two-cent decline in gas prices from November 15 to November 29. The caption said, “Thanks, Joe Biden,” apparently giving the president credit for the ever-so-slight decline in gasoline prices. It was widely mocked, even by many on the left, for being tone-deaf at best and dishonest at worst.

Somehow now it looks even dumber.

In the November CPI report, gasoline prices are up 58.1 percent over last year. A fair amount of that is base effect because gas prices were depressed last year due to the pandemic, but it’s still an astonishing number.

More astonishing is that gas prices are up 6.1 percent since just last month. That is the same monthly increase as the October CPI report, which also reported a 6.1 percent monthly increase in gas prices. So even in the short term, gas prices are going up, not down, and they are going up at a consistently high rate.

It’s true that if you zoom in close enough on any time series, you can find a spot that’s moving the way you want it to. But given that the best Democrats could do on gas prices was one two-cent decrease over two weeks, they should probably focus more on energy policy and less on graphic design. “People who purchase gasoline” is a very large voting bloc.

As Agustin Forzani wrote for us today, Biden’s major proposals to reduce gas prices — releasing fuel from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and siccing the FTC on oil companies — will do nothing to bring gas prices down. In truth, there is very little President Biden can do to bring gas prices down. They largely reflect the price of oil, which is set on a global market.

But in the Democrats’ worldview, the two-cent decline from November 15 to November 29 was due to the genius of Joe Biden. They do believe government has the power to bring gas prices down. They had better hope voters don’t think the same. “Thanks, Joe Biden” can become sarcastic pretty quickly.

We had all better hope Democrats don’t take their view of presidential power to its logical conclusion and impose price controls on gasoline. One of the saving graces of Biden’s age might be that he remembers firsthand the effects of price controls — especially the political effects — the last time they were implemented. He doesn’t want to be president over a country with gas lines.

Democrats have a completely nonsensical energy policy that refuses to capitalize on America’s natural advantages, and they should change that. Joe Biden is not responsible for the global price of oil, but he could become more responsible for high national gas prices if he pursues an interventionist policy that tries to use government to bring those prices down.

Gas prices didn’t go up because of Joe Biden. When they eventually come down, it will not be thanks to Joe Biden. But the last thing Democrats should want right now is for voters to think Joe Biden bears any responsibility for back-to-back 6.1 percent monthly increases in the price of gasoline.

Dominic Pino is a William F. Buckley Fellow in Political Journalism at National Review Institute.

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Tony Beasley
Tony Beasley writes for the Local News, US and the World Section of ANH.