Random Things that Fall Out of My Head

Frank Michels

Frank Michels
Nashville, Tennessee, USA
March 29
Frank Michels is a songwriter, musician, and producer in Nashville, Tennessee. He likes to dig in the dirt and plant flowers, cook tasty things, walk his dog, and play really fast riffs on a telecaster guitar.


MARCH 14, 2012 8:06AM

Why Won't Obama Use His Magic Wand?

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 Here we go again. Gas prices are on the rise, just like every spring, and Americans know just who to blame--President Obama. It is common knowledge that when Obama was sworn into office, he was given an ornate golden box with a magic wand inside. He could wave it, and poof! –oil producers would start charging less, speculators would stop speculating, refineries would refine more, Exxon-Mobil would stop price gouging us, and oil produced here would stay here instead of being sold on the world market. But Obama won’t take the wand out of the box. He must want us to suffer. 

Lots of prices have gone up this year. Heath care insurance premiums are through the roof. Groceries are higher than ever. You have to pay $16 to see a 3-D movie.

But for some reason, gas price increases are the ones that seem to really catch people’s notice. As they stand in front of the pump once or twice every week, watching the numbers spin faster than they can see, it hurts, especially for those still driving that Escalade or Suburban. 

If we are truthful, there is really only one direction to point the finger of blame for high fuel prices, and that is right back at ourselves. Every president since Nixon has warned us that we were too dependent on foreign oil, and that we had to act right now to prevent future shortages, price increases, and a serious threat to our national security. But did we listen? Noooooo.


big car   


Because we love our big, big automobiles, and we have built our cities in a hodge-podge manner so that millions have to commute long distances to get to work. Also, we consider it our birthright as Americans to get out on the open road, our hair blowing in the wind, with no particular place to go. To keep that free feeling, we would like to drill everywhere, even if it means destroying natural wonders and pristine waters. We would like to build pipelines across the country to tap the nasty oil sands of Canada. We would be willing to start another war in the Middle East to keep the precious oil flowing. We are just like junkies, willing to do anything for another hit of that black, gooey goodness.


oil rigs   


When I got my driver’s license in 1968, gasoline was 30 cents a gallon. I could drive around all weekend on a buck. I remember the national shock waves when gasoline broke the one dollar a gallon mark in 1980-81. Back then I was driving a Plymouth as big as an aircraft carrier, so the price of gas was an issue. But gas has always been cheap in the U.S. compared to the rest of the world. If you go to Europe, you will find people driving small cars, smaller cars, and ridiculously tiny cars, because gas is expensive. The governments there wisely add large taxes onto the price of gasoline, to encourage drivers to use less of it and to buy fuel efficient cars. But our lawmakers were never brave and farsighted enough to do that in America.


tiny car   

Despite what some conservatives say, oil drilling in the U.S. has increased under Obama. And this week, he has been touting his “All of the above” plan in campaign stops, saying we must continue to drill, but that we must also rely on conservation and innovation by developing more fuel efficient cars and increasing our use of alternative energy sources. But Republicans are sure to block many of his ideas in Congress. 

After all, cheap gas is our birthright, and besides, the President has that magic wand, right?


magic wand  


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I'm ready for him to wave his wand over all sorts of issues but this gas price thing is out of hand and I dont think he realizes how it hurts us poor people. He is in his bubble of good intentions but we know that paves the way to HELL. Im voting for him but he needs to do some magic please....

Yeah, unfortunately, Obama isn't Dumbledore.
Good post! I agree that it's strange people complain so much about $4 gas but not $25 roast chickens that used to cost $6 not so long ago. I don't even look at red meat any more because I simply can't believe the prices. I suppose it's helping us live more healthy lives as the latest studies show red-meat raises risks for heart disease and heart attack. You also make a good point about the fact that Europeans countries have had high gas prices for decades! People blame the government for not enforcing taxes to force us to drive smaller cars and force innovation in gas conservation...my question is, why do we have to be forced??? What's wrong with us????
Yeah, why doesn't he? The Repub candidate, whichever gets in, plans to do just that.

With any luck, he'll poke his eye out.
So precisely to the point! R
Here's what I don't get:

"Government price fixing" has always been the greatest evil to conservatives. Now we have so-called "conservative" presidential candidates promising to fix gasoline prices. What?
If we could just go back to the Carter Administration and do it right. If taxes had been gradually increasing since then, we would be able to pay $8-10 a gallon without a cataclysmic shock to the economy. We would be driving those little cars or taking the train like they do in Europe. We've made some dumb decisions throughout our history, as all nations do. But keeping gas cheap, and thereby encouraging addiction and waste was one of the dumbest.
Important and good points! Thanks for for the reminder.
I have some pixie dust I could give him, and the magic words from Pee-wee Herman: "Mekka-lekka hi mekka-hiney ho!"
You are what's known as a "useful idiot".
I try to be useful...
That magic wand looks more like a wet noodle. Obviously, we need some form of economic Viagra, but that ain't happening as long as the Repugnants sole objective is to unseat the Black Man in the White House.
“The governments there wisely add large taxes onto the price of gasoline, to encourage drivers to use less of it and to buy fuel efficient cars.”

Has it ever crossed you mind that European Governments were after the tax dollars and used conservationism as an excuse to collect those dollars? One of the reasons the average American can afford more than the average European is because our gas prices are comparatively low. Do you really think things would be better if more of our paycheck went towards filling our cars or if the price of goods and services went up? Obama is astutely aware of the politics behind higher gas prices; accordingly, a conversation advocating raising gas prices would only occur on a forum such as this.
Obama could point out that oil speculation by entities that have no ability to take delivery of the oil is adding an extra 56 cents a gallon to the price we're paying. While the Repubs are blocking regulating the speculation, our dear leader isn't doing much anyway.

Obama has pointed out the reality of America only having 2% of the world oil reserve, so we have zero ability to influence the price by drilling. The Repubs, Gingrich in particular, are pushing the same lies as last time around. Drill, baby, drill won't change anything. The only way we'll see 2.50 gas, aside from a total collapse of the economy, is if we spent that much on a siphon hose.
Oh, he'll use it...

...just as soon as Goldman Sachs tells him he can.

( Wall street rules the roost. )

The question remains what are the Masters of Greed going to do when they run out of markets to manipulate -- and when the rest of us run out of money.

By the way, Johnny, I think the trite terminology you were looking for is "acutely aware" not "astutely aware". As for you observations about comparisons between Europe and America being apples to oranges, how astute of you. Europe has long invested heavily in public transportation, and that makes other forms of travel possible. Here the basic node of transportation remains as it has for a century -- one man, one car.
Yeah, our whole economy is based on gas being cheap, people driving themselves to work, and products moving around the country by truck. It's going to be pretty hard to change a system that's been in place since Eisenhower built the freeway system.
The gas price debate is the equivalent of watching liberals run around like chickens with their heads cut off. You guys should really decide if you want it to go lower or higher. Should you choose “higher”, it will be fun watching Owe-bama explain why it’s good policy to spend more at the pump and at the grocery store.

However, should you say “lower”, it should be equally entertaining listening to O-bummer try to vilify speculators and oil companies, while anyone even moderately paying attention knows he’s done nothing to increase supply. Maybe Tom saves the day with plans for a subway from Florida to Oregon, or Paul proves the laws of supply and demand to be wrong. Hey, does anyone have any algae I can put in my tank or a windmill I can mount on my car?
America can do nothing to increase the supply to the point it lowers the price. Unless you think the we can tell Mother Earth the laws of demand should force her to put more oil under American territory, your supply/demand meme is meaningless. Besides, this price jacking isn't because of a lack of supply. There are no shortages.
I notice you enjoy the idea of non-productive capital stripping function from the economy. I guess that's what happens when one's source of economic education is the back of a cereal box.

Now, Mr Capitalist wannabe, explain why oil companies are chafing at the bit to invest billions, increase supply and lower the price of oil. Forget the laws of supply and demand. You're once again in gross violation of the laws of logic.

You know as much about oil as you do about politics, economics and history. When we check that dip-wad dipstick, it's showing empty.
isn't it a shame? We thought we had a magic negro and turns out he is just a decent, intelligent, honest man trying to do the right thing in a complex world. but it can't be our fault can it so it must be his
Newer cars don't get the mileage of older cars because of additional safety and emissions technology (as well as just plain luxuries like power everything). Your 98 Ford Wagon doesn't meet today's safety standards.
It's true, we are totally hooked, & of course, lots of us mean well, we're going to use less gas tomorrow...really! Every time I take a road trip I feel guilt mixed with I'd-better-do-this-while-I-can! Which doesn't help the problem at all. I was kind of hoping that by now the scientists & the engineers would have come up with some gasoline substitute that still allows us to drive our Chevy's & go anywhere we like, as is the American Way ("See the U.S.A. in your Chevrolet...") & causes no harm to our environment. Bring on the magic wand!
Excellent post. I seem to remember that 5 years ago, the gas prices also broke the $4.00 ceiling. Miraculously, no Republican seemed to think George Bush had done it.

I bought a bicycle at that point, and count it one of the best investments ever. It was my commitment to driving LESS. However.... public transportation where I live is far behind where it needs to be in order to be a viable commuting choice. And it's a catch 22. People don't use it regularly because it doesn't take them where they need to go.