Is President Biden Responsible for Your Economic Woes? What You Need To Know
How could so much go so wrong in a mere 18 months?
When President Biden took the oath of office, gasoline was $2.39 a gallon. Today the national average cost for a gallon of gasoline is around $5 and is even between $6 and $7 a gallon in some parts of the United States. The soaring cost of diesel fuel is a major reason that food and other essential goods are more expensive than ever. The American people are struggling. Lower income families are literally trying to decide how to buy gas to drive to their jobs and at the same time have enough money to buy food for their families. And every American is feeling the pain of an economy that is out of control.
President Biden, as is his custom, refuses to take any responsibility. The buck not only doesn’t stop on his desk—it is not allowed anywhere on the White House grounds. His scapegoats change from moment to moment and from crisis to crisis. For the cost of gasoline, and its impact on other aspects of the economy, he has at times blamed Vladimir Putin, the gas and oil companies, corporate America, the Republican Party, and the American people. This week he actually put responsibility on the mom-and-pop owners of local gas stations across America. I cannot recall one time when, in utter and refreshing honesty, he has said, “You know, I am partly responsible, and I am going to reexamine carefully my Administration’s policies to see where we made a mistake and can take corrective action.” He reminds one of the adolescent child who keeps telling his parents, “It’s not my fault! It’s not my fault!”
Jerome Powell, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, removed a big fig leaf behind which the President has been hiding. When asked before the U.S. Senate by Senator Bill Hagerty if the war in Ukraine is responsible for the out-of-control inflation, Powell didn’t even have to think about it. He answered, “No, inflation was high before — certainly before the war in Ukraine broke out.”
When President Biden took the oath of office, inflation was 1.4%. Today inflation is 8.6%, the highest in 40 years. Even adjusting for the value of today’s dollars versus the 1970s, gasoline has never cost this much—not even during the fuel crisis of the Jimmy Carter presidency.
The cost of fuel is a key driver behind the economic woes we are all experiencing. Since becoming President, Biden has worked hard to attack the fossil fuel industry, to cater to the Left wing of his party, and make green energy alternatives a future mandate. His war on energy has become an attack on the welfare of the American people. On his first day in office, he canceled the Keystone XL pipeline and stopped any new oil leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). A few days later he banned new oil leases on federal lands and waters. Six months into office, he stopped all exploration on existing leases in ANWR. In the last quarter of his first year in office, he drastically increased regulations on building new pipelines, gasoline refineries, and other energy-related infrastructure.
In virtually every way possible, the Biden Administration has restricted the domestic oil and gas industry. Biden keeps telling the American people that the oil industry needs to use the 9,000 oil leases they already have. If only it were that simple. Some 2,200 of those leases cannot be used because they are tied up in litigation. Once a company acquires a lease, it still must obtain a permit to drill on the leased land. The Biden Administration has bogged down the administrative process to obtain the permits.
Karl Rove points out that a federal judge enjoined the Administration from implementing its halting of the leases on federal land and waters—only to have the Biden Team reopen only 20% of the original land and water that was supposed to be leased. There is also a federal royalty on leased land, which Biden increased by 50%--directly increasing the cost of gasoline to American consumers. Under EPA regulations, refineries must mix renewable fuel into their product or purchase special credits. The EPA routinely grants exemptions to this requirement, especially for small refineries. A few weeks ago, the EPA announced it is denying those exemptions retroactively to 2016—costing the refineries billions of dollars. This cost is transferred to every American who fills up their car.
Yet the White House continues to insist they bear no responsibility and have no answers to the crisis—other than canceling the federal gasoline tax for 90 days, which saves you 18 cents per gallon for about 12 days, based on the increasing daily prices for gas. Oh, yes! President Biden is also traveling to Saudi Arabia next month where he will beg OPEC to sell us some oil.
President Biden continues to shirk responsibility and attack the energy sector in the U.S., even though it is hurting the average American. A few days ago, he ordered U.S. refiners to come up with solutions to increase production—or else. But he is doing nothing in his authority as President to address the problems. He is hurting investment in energy and discouraging oil companies from taking steps to increase exploration and production.
Who wants to engage in activities in an industry that the President has sworn to abolish? He could, as other Presidents have done, grant exemptions to the Jones Act. The Jones Act, also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, adds costs by preventing waterborne merchandise from being transported between two points in the United States unless it’s done on an American-built ship. The ship also must fly the American flag, be 75 percent-owned by Americans and be 75 percent-crewed by Americans. For example, this triples the cost of shipping oil from Texas to New York as opposed to sending it from Texas to Europe.
It took us 18 months to get where we are with the costs of gasoline and everything else. Whatever constructive steps Biden might take to reverse matters, it will likely take one to two years to climb out of this. However, if the past is any indication, the President will do nothing to make midcourse corrections and improve the lot of the American people. On the other hand, he may continue to deflect responsibility and make decisions that will make things worse. That is, unfortunately, a harsh reality. Only our President can change that.