Pump Politics

March 16, 2012

Sweet, Tiny Tim Geithner waxed philosophical last night, turning a gothic-literary phrase in explaining high US gas prices: Oil moves around in a “dangerous and uncertain world.”
No shit nit-twit sherlock.

And bravely battling this uncertain danger, yesterday I put another $20 worth of gas in my just-back-from-the mechanic Jeep Comanche, pulling the handle at $4.49 a gallon for regular.
Up here in the north we’re higher than a kite (and it ain’t just the bud): California’s retail prices were still rising slightly Wednesday, up 0.2 cents a gallon overnight to an average of $4.363 for a gallon of regular gasoline, according to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report. That’s 40.1 cents a gallon higher than a year earlier.

(Illustration found here).

Picking up on Geithner’s prose: “An overwhelming avalanche of data tells you (U.S.) prices should be lower,” says energy contract trader Dan Dicker, author of Oil’s Endless Bid: Taming the Unreliable Price of Oil to Secure Our Economy. “But with some of these geopolitical problems, it could get worse.” (USATODAY).
And today the source of the pump shock: Brent crude rose 25 cents to $122.85 a barrel by 0927 GMT, after settling down nearly $2 the previous session following a Reuters report that Britian and the United States were preparing to tap into their oil reserves. U.S. crude was 38 cents higher at $105.49 a barrel around the same time.
A situation which has effected the real spending power of US peoples — in January, gas accounted for just 3.8 percent of consumer spending, while last year, when those pumps looked a bit more civilized (pump average: $2.84 a gallon), consumer spending was at 4.8 percent of the budget for middle-income households and 6 percent for lower-middle-income households (Bloomberg).

And in this election year, these high gas-pump prices are banged like a cheap drum, especially by the GOP, which in itself has become nothing more than an empty shell somehow making a lot of loud, noxious noises.
Although those frightening Republican clowns crowing for the 2012 presidential election are attempting to focus on President Obama’s fault with the high gas prices, the facts say otherwise.
Of course, Newt Gingrich can use fuel from his moon colony to help lower pump prices: If elected he’d bring gas prices down to $2.50 a gallon (not enough — Michelle Bachmann said last summer she’d suck prices down to $2 a gallon).

US peoples, however, trust Obama (United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll ): Forty-four percent of respondents trust Obama more “to make the right decisions to help bring down the price of gasoline,” versus 32 percent for Republicans in Congress, according to the poll. Only 1 percent said both; 16 percent said neither and 7 percent didn’t know or refused to answer.
The GOP talk is just bullshit.

Paul Krugman in his New York Times piece this morning:

And this tells us that giving the oil companies carte blanche isn’t a serious jobs program.
Put it this way: Employment in oil and gas extraction has risen more than 50 percent since the middle of the last decade, but that amounts to only 70,000 jobs, around one-twentieth of 1 percent of total U.S. employment.
So the idea that drill, baby, drill can cure our jobs deficit is basically a joke.
Why, then, are Republicans pretending otherwise?
Part of the answer is that the party is rewarding its benefactors: the oil and gas industry doesn’t create many jobs, but it does spend a lot of money on lobbying and campaign contributions.
The rest of the answer is simply the fact that conservatives have no other job-creation ideas to offer.
And intellectual bankruptcy, I’m sorry to say, is a problem that no amount of drilling and fracking can solve.

The GOP should just recommend: Take the pump nozzle, hold it hard between your knees and close your eyes.

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