Friday, March 2, 2012

Hope-y Change-y Gas Prices

So I saw this picture on Pinterest the other day. Of course I didn't pin it and now I can't find it again on Pinterest. Dammit. So instead I turned to Google Images. Bam! (Google, you rock, BTW.)

Here's one version of the picture:

Turns out, there are now many of these floating around:


Now dear Republicans, I know how you're feeling right now. Really, I do. You really are not a fan of the President and you can't stand the idea of another four years of him in office. Oh how I remember the George W. Bush years when I felt EXACTLY that way.

Unfortunately, there's a little problem with this whole post-it campaign you've got going here. The first problem is that this argument was first posed by Michele Bachmann during one of the Republican Presidential debates, and really, you should think a little harder before repeating a Bachmann argument. There is sure to be a flaw.

Have you figured out what it is yet? No, it's not that gas wasn't really $1.78 a gallon. That part is actually accurate. The problem is that there's just about nothing that the President of the United States can do to impact that number. Sure, he can set the energy policy for the country, but even assuming that Congress got on board 100% (which we know is unlikely), that would still have next to no impact on the actual price of gas.

What's that you say? The President could allow more drilling for domestic sources of oil? Oh yes! I had forgotten how we Americans live in a tiny little bubble and things that happen in the rest of the world do not impact us. Because guess what, it turns out that in 2011, the United States was a net EXPORTER of petroleum products. We actually sold more gasoline products to the rest of the world than we imported.

And here is where you need to remember your high school economics lessons. It's a basic supply and demand curve, folks. Lots of people in the world using gasoline means that the people who produce gasoline can charge more for it. It doesn't matter where those people live these days, because a barrel of oil pretty much has a single price anywhere in the world at any given point. So we can turn to offshore drilling or drilling on "protected" land all we want. Heck we can start boiling baby seals and bald eagles down into oil, and the price of a barrel of oil isn't going to budge.

The only thing that's going to make your gasoline bill go down is you driving less or getting a more fuel efficient car.

So I'm sorry that the President hasn't stopped gas prices from rising. Perhaps you're also upset with him because War Horse didn't win Best Picture or because of the amount of snowfall you received this winter. Sorry folks, but "Hope and Change" didn't mean "I've got a magic wand."

I know you're not a fan of his policies, but how about you complain about the things that he actually does have control over. Go back to griping about Obamacare or the end of Don't Ask Don't Tell or the creation of The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Those are legit and I welcome the debate.

Come to think of it, the President probably does, too.