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.
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.
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.
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?