While rising gas prices are hurting Americans at the pump, higher prices clearly gives Republicans a boost in the run up to the general election in November.
Our global energy market means uncertainty around the world (e.g. the Arab Spring) impacts gas prices here at home. Still President Obama’s policies have not done anything to help. While Mr. Obama has been focused on creating (failed) “green” energy jobs, he’s forgotten that oil and gas is still the most viable energy sector. In fact, according to The World Economic Forum, the oil and gas industries added nearly 150,000 jobs in 2011, “Nine percent of all jobs created in the United States that year.”
But instead of letting the market dictate which energy industries flourish, Obama has engaged in a form of crony capitalism, picking winners and losers at the expense of the American people. That’s why after the BP oil spill, President Obama halted all drilling, despite the fact that this would dramatically increase energy prices. (And let’s not forget, excessive regulations were the reason energy outfits were seeking hydrocarbons in hard-to-get-to places like the bottom of the ocean to begin with.) Similarly, the president stopped plans to develop the Keystone XL pipeline (in order to accommodate the environmental lobby), which would have safely created an estimated 20,000 new jobs and increased oil supply over the long term. And President Obama has continually made murmurings about bankrupting the coal industry.
The price of gasoline is dramatically affected not only by existing supply, but also by expectations for supply in the future. That’s why this administration’s policies are so significant – because they have continually demonstrated that this is a White House that is hostile to the oil industry, even if it means higher energy prices for the American people.
That’s a pretty easy message for Republicans this fall.