The administration’s pie-in-the-sky energy planning is working exactly as one might have predicted.
“Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels of Europe,” said Dr. Steven Chu, Director of the Lawrence National Laboratory, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal in September 2008.
We ended that year with an average U.S. retail price of $1.67 for all grades of gasoline on December 31, 2008.
In contrast, the price of a gallon of regular gasoline that summer was $6.78 in Greece, $8.24 in Italy, and $9.39 in the Netherlands, according to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.
Dr. Chu’s proposal to hike gas prices in the United States to European levels was published in the Wall Street Journal on December 12, 2008. Six weeks later, on January 21, 2009, he was sworn into office as President Obama’s Secretary of Energy.
The difference between the Dutch gasoline price of $9.39 and the U.S. price of $1.67 is $7.72 per gallon. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that the average U.S. household purchases 1,100 gallons of gasoline per year. That means a $7.72 price increase per gallon would cost the average American family an extra $8,492 per year.
For the middle fifth of the U.S. population in terms of income, the $8,492 price hike per year would cut their after-tax income by an average of 15 percent.
For the bottom fifth of U.S. households, the $8,492 price hike per year would cut their annual income by 47 percent.
Raising U.S. gasoline prices to European levels, said Chu, would encourage — or, more accurately, force — Americans to move to neighborhoods closer to work and dump their trucks and SUVs for Chinese bikes and scooter-like Smart Cars.
I can see why Obama chose Chu to run the Energy Department. Both are on the same page in seeing skyrocketing energy prices and central planning as the top ways to fix the U.S. economy.
“If somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant they can,” said candidate Obama in a 2008 interview with the editorial board of the San Francisco Chronicle. “It’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.”
Additionally, the rest of us, as alleged climate enemies, would also be pushed towards bankruptcy. “Under my plan of cap and trade, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket,” continued candidate Obama. “Coal-powered plants, you know, natural gas, you name it, whatever the industry was, they would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money. They will pass that money on to consumers.”
The next step would be the demonization of price-hiking industries as money-grubbing capitalists in need of even more mandates or a full government takeover.
I don’t doubt that Dr. Chu is a smart guy. He’s the co-winner of the 1997 Nobel Prize for Physics, for the “development of methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light.”
Plus, according to his Energy Department biography, he knows a lot about everything from climate change to nerve growth factor transport cadherin adhesion and sub-nanometer molecular imaging with optical microscopy.
That sounds impressive, but none of it qualifies Dr. Chu to be the nation’s top venture capitalist, picking oil company losers and windmill winners.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?