Here is a letter I wrote to the AJ New a few weeks ago - I'm hoping to get some feedback!
I don't really want to start another "letter" war, but I really can't ignore what Mr. Goldstein wrote last week. (AJ News, Mar 26 2012). He's peddling the "It's all Obama's Fault" message, and it doesn't hold up to scrutiny. Firstly, this president has approved approximately the same number of new drilling permits per month as did Bush. (There was a downturn after the BP catastrophe, as new safety regs were being devised and implemented, although not nearly enough, in my opinion!). But that's not the issue - more drilling would not lead to cheaper gas at the pump. It never has, and it never will. That might work in some businesses, but with the oil industry they will always raise the prices just as high as they can get away with. They chatter about supply and demand, turmoil in the Middle East, storm-damaged refineries, and speculators in the global market, all to confuse us and make us believe it's just too complicated for us to understand. But this I know: if their costs are rising, and they pass the costs down the line to the pump, then their profits should be flat. But their profits continue to skyrocket. Net, gross, exponentially, in "real dollars" and adjusted for inflation! Meanwhile, the U.S. Government continues the largest corporate welfare program in history. The oil industry has enough bought-and-paid-for influence in Congress to ensure that the funds keep flowing.
So is there any way the President COULD bring down the price at the pump? Sure! He could impose price controls, as Nixon did. He could put a stop to oil exports (did you know that in 2011 the US EXPORTED up to 3 million barrels of crude per month?) Or he could just nationalize the entire industry. Of course, all those things would be interfering with the free market, wouldn't it? Socialism, even! Can't have that. (Not that subsidizing them in the first place isn't interference in the market!)
What we should have done was listen to President Carter about 3 decades ago, when he warned us about this very situation. If we had started getting off our dependence on oil back then, the world would be a very different place today. (Remember the solar panels he was installing on the roof of the White House? Reagan dismantled them.) No, everyone ignored or ridiculed him, and as a result we've lost 30 years. I suppose that's Obama's fault too.
So, that's was was published. I had two responses. One man jumped all over my claim that drilling was equal to the Bush years, but he obsessed about "private" versus "public" drilling. Can't see the relevance, myself. Another man told me to just wait until November, when Obama would be thrown out of office! That's a pertinent response. Does anyone else have any ideas?