Monday, March 19, 2012

Bill O'Reilly explains gas prices?

Remember back when conservatives blamed high gas prices on Bush the same way they're doing with Obama now?

"We cannot drill our way out of this and if Iran tries anything stupid, speculators will cause the price of gas to double."

Funny how this was the gospel truth when a Republican was president, but stick a Democrat in there and... well, explain to us again why gas prices are so high, Bill?

So, wait a minute... back in 2008, when we had a Republican president and gas was nearly $4 a gallon, it wasn't the fault of the president or the government, it was all due to speculators and greedy oil barons.  But, in 2012, when gas is creeping into $4 territory again, it's now largely due to the president's green energy policy?  Does that mean that Bush's pro-oil, anti-regulation agenda was such a massive failure that it was just as bad as Obama's alleged anti-oil, pro-regulation, green agenda is today?  Bush was strongly pro-oil, his policies were pro-oil and anti-regulation and the result was $4 a gallon gas and a legion of Fox News "experts" explaining why none of that was Bush's fault at all.  But, just 4 short years later, when speculators once again begin driving up gas prices - by doing exactly what O'Reilly predicted they would do in 2008 - now they're little more than co-conspirators to Obama's insidious green energy agenda?

"But to make bigger profits, oil companies are sending their refined products overseas."

This is a true statement, but it has nothing to do with the Obama administration or any other sitting president.  It's called a "global market" for a reason, after all.  All oil-producing countries sell their oil and refined products on the global energy market.  Market prices are affected by everything from global production to global demand.  For example, right now demand in Japan is at a record high because their nuclear power plants are offline in the wake of recent earthquakes and repairs from the major earthquake they suffered last year.  Britain is also experiencing higher than normal demand because of issues with some of their refineries and, of course, China's demand continues to grow.  This, combined with the recent saber-rattling by Iran, Israel and every GOP presidential nominee about military action against Iran is doing exactly what Bill O'Reilly said it would, for exactly the reasons he said it would, back when he was defending the Bush administration.

For the record, Lou Dobbs explained it correctly in the interview segment.

"Remember, the oil companies are heavily regulated, they can't operate without government approval."

The oil companies are just as regulated now as they were under Bush, back when oil company regulation wasn't even one of the reasons given for why gas prices were so high back in 2007-8.  This obviously drives at one of the great conservative myths, that reducing or eliminating regulations would drive prices down.  There is less regulation on oil companies now than there was under Clinton, when gas was $1 a gallon pretty much nationwide.  There is also less regulation on the stock market - the real reason why gas prices are so high... and your house is underwater... 

"Under the Obama administration, oil drilled in the ocean and land leased to oil companies has been drastically cut back."

Domestic oil production is currently the highest it's been since Bush was sworn into office.  Back in the 2008 election, the GOP mantra was "Drill, Baby, Drill!"  Chanted by Sarah Palin and a bunch of other people who find repetitive, two-word slogans to be the most effective way of expressing the crux of their political ideology.  We were assured that simply increasing domestic oil production would result in gas being back well below the $2 a gallon range.  Well, in 4 years, the Obama administration has ramped domestic oil production back to where it was before Bush came in with his green energy agenda and anti-oil policies and gutted domestic oil production by nearly 20% and gas is the same price it was back at the lowest production point in the last 20 years.  During hurricanes Gustav and Ike, oil production was 35% lower than it is today and gas was cheaper than it is today.  That is what we like to call irrefutable proof that increasing supply will have absolutely no effect on gas prices.

Domestic oil production has increased 20% since 2008, yet gas prices are higher.  Therefore, domestic production does not affect market price.

"Apparently the president doesn't want the oil companies to have an easier time, that's why he killed the Canadian pipeline."

Given the above chart and the impact of increased production on gas prices, whether or not the Keystone pipeline gets built will have 0 impact on gas prices.  Never mind the fact the pipeline won't even be finished for years.  It has been estimated that the Keystone pipeline would lower the price of gas by 3-4 cents per gallon at most and that decrease wouldn't even happen for 10 years or more.  But, Bill has more to say...

"But even if that pipeline was built, the oil flow generated from Canada would probably end up overseas."

Change that "probably" to a "definitely" and you're right on, Bill.  The Keystone oil is essentially earmarked for China before it's even produced.  The 3-4 cents per gallon price decrease I was just talking about?  That's the effect of all this extra oil from the Keystone pipeline entering the global market.  Yes, this is "Drill, Baby, Drill" to the rescue, bask in its radiance.

"The Obama administration wants the price of gas to go up as high as possible so Americans demand green energy."

This is another great conservative lie about the Obama administration.  High gas prices could very well be the biggest issue that dogs Obama's re-election, more so than unemployment, Obamacare or any other issue on the campaign.  For Obama to want higher gas prices would mean he would also want to lose the white house, essentially.  However, beyond it just being foolish political suicide for Obama to actually want "high as possible" gas prices, even if Obama's "plan" for Americans to demand green energy alternatives was successful, it would take over a decade to implement and convert to a green energy system, assuming the industry advanced according to the best possible estimates.  

So, to believe this popular conservative allegation would be to believe that Obama is willing to lose his job spectacularly and damage the strength of the entire Democratic party in the process, in order to gamble on the majority of the American people - after unceremoniously giving him the boot over outrageous gas prices - to continue to shun any Republican effort to bring gas prices back down in favor of stubbornly pushing for Obama's green energy plan - that they kicked him out of the white house for - so that they could have alternative fuel technology by the middle of the first term of the second president elected after Obama loses this year. I guess if they can believe that Sandra Fluke was part of a vast, liberal conspiracy to take down Rush Limbaugh with the help of the GOP-controlled congress, then this might not sound like such a huge stretch?

"Oil companies know they can make more money in China, so they send it over there and raise the price at the pump here."

Again, another slice of truth sandwiched between thick slabs of BS.  This is half the reason why gas prices are so high right here.  Oil companies know they can raise prices and make more money, so they raise prices and make more money!  The other half of the reason for high gas prices, of course, is the market speculation that O'Reilly correctly mentioned in the 2008 clip.  Neither of these things can be controlled by the president or his administration, this was true under Bush and it's true now.

"We're getting hammered from both the government and the oil companies!"

No, we're getting "hammered" from both the speculators and the oil companies, just like you said in 2008, Bill.  Nothing has changed since then, except the guy in the white house.

Honestly, what kind of guy would try and blame the president, or any politician, for being able to control gas prices?

"I think that if we all just use 10% less gas, that will drive the price down." - Bill O'Reilly, 4/23/08

"I think people now know, and they should, politicians can't do this [lower gas prices].  They can do temporary fixes like a gas tax holiday, but that's it." - Bill O'Reilly, 4/23/08

"What they should do and I would advise is, get rid of those gas-guzzlers, buy decent insulation for your house and, you know, start telling your local elected officials to get on the stick and do some more mass transit infrastructure spending because those kinds of fixes could really help Americans across the country." - Fox News, 6/27/08

"If we drill in ANWR, we would only get about 4% of our daily production." - Greta Van Susteren, 6/18/08

"So the next time you hear a politician say he or she will bring down gas prices, understand it's complete BS!" - Bill O'Reilly, 4/21/08

"If America wants lower gas prices, cut back!  Sell those SUV's, ride a bike when you can!" - Bill O'Reilly, 4/21/08

O'Reilly supported Obama's "socialist" green agenda to force car companies, through the strength of the government, to produce hybrid and electric cars.  He praised the Volt as proof that GM had the technology and could lead the industry.  Of course, this was in 2008.  In the second half of the clip, O'Reilly takes the opposite side of the issue, berating the Volt that he praised so highly just 3 years earlier and decrying the very government intervention he championed back then as well.

Increased production isn't the answer.  It wasn't the answer in 2008 and it's not the answer now.  If you want to lower gas prices, start by reducing demand.  Do what O'Reilly suggested back when he was defending their guy in the white house, use less gas, buy more efficient cars and support the very trends towards alternative fuels and decreased foreign oil dependency that conservatives are now bashing, but which they all whole-heartedly supported 3 years ago.  Support efforts to reign in oil speculation and impose more regulation on Wall St. so that day traders and hedge fund managers don't drive gas prices through the roof so they can pad their portfolios.  Don't fall for the BS, the spin and the outright lies.  Don't buy in to the historical re-writes being done by conservatives, it wasn't the presidents fault when gas prices were high under Bush and it's not the presidents fault now that they're high under Obama.

1 comment:

  1. Out of the park, Dave. Nice job gathering the old stuff to compare to the current stuff. You did good!