Two weeks ago I had the unfortunate displeasure of suffering cocktails with a confused businessman. He owns and manages a firm that processes payroll for a large city school district, so one might reasonably assume a certain level of intelligence and sophisticated thinking. Well, I did. Puh! Should’ve thought otherwise.
About a half hour into what had been otherwise a congenial conversation, and from nowhere, this fella spits out, “So…Obama…A fucking Communist, right!” I think my response nearly set his hair on fire.
The next thing out of his mouth is this party-line diatribe folks are attempting to foist onto the public: “My God! Obama has caused gas to skyrocket! His policies have practically shut down oil production in the US!”
Hummm? Gee I thought it was because the oil industry has chosen, under the reign of free market ideology, not to expand or build additional refining and gasoline processing facilities? ‘Cause, when I look at the numbers…they show more oil wells and more gas wells and more of practically everything geared to get product out of the ground…but no industry effort to expand processing to useable fuels for your SUVs. Gees, do you think that bottlenecks things? Maybe.
And, do ya think that maybe an industrializing China and India have increased total demand? Maybe. And do ya think that given the tensions between us and Iran (and the constant party-line drumbeat to Bomb Baby Bomb!) and the threat to the Strait of Hormuz through which most of the oil passes… that maybe the oil speculators have speculated oil futures high? Maybe.
Gees…this stuff isn’t difficult…just doesn’t fit with a mindset that thwarts all reasonable efforts to develop alternative fuels, increase our auto efficiencies, and implement effective and efficient mass transit across the nation.
No, I’m afraid it is shortsighted policies from conservatives and threats to oil transport and the pressures of speculation within a free market and industry refusal to expand gasoline refining capacity and a newly resurgent American economy that are driving gas prices higher.
Where were gasoline prices before the markets and the Bush economy crashed? Oh, yeah, about where they are now (Sept ’08 just before the crash: $3.86… March ’12 as economy grows again: $3.79). Things that make you (thoughtful people) go hummm….