How Obama’s environmentalism makes life harder for those who can least afford it.
Barack Obama’s muddled thinking, so typical of a radical environmentalist’s hatred for oil and other things that improve human life, leaves him with an energy policy that only a Democrat (but not one from an energy-producing state) could find satisfactory.
This is not some sort of theoretical debate with unknown policy impacts. It is not a fundamentally trivial make-believe issue such as the “war on women.”
Instead, there are few policy issues as critical as this to all Americans, especially to those of modest or fixed incomes: high oil prices function as a massive tax increase, and a tremendously regressive one at that.
Low-income Americans spend about 11 percent of their income on energy while the top 20 percent (by income) of households spend less than seven percent. Again, this is only direct energy spending. When you include the cost of other things people must buy, particularly food, whose costs rise with higher energy prices, the regressive nature of rising fuel prices becomes all the more dramatic.
Particularly in the northeast, oil prices directly correlate to the cost of heating one’s home in winter. (That part of the country tends to use more heating oil where other areas use more natural gas, propane, or electric heat.)
For 25 years now, analysts have noted the devastation that high energy prices cause to our nation’s least well-off residents: “On some days, many of America’s poorest households must choose whether to heat or to eat. This kind of choice is beyond the comprehension of most middle-class Americans.… But for the poor… it remains a daily part of their lives.”
According to a report in the Christian Science Monitor, “For every 10-cent increase in the price of a gallon of gasoline, it costs the economy about $11 billion.” Even the Obamaphile ABC News has noted that “A 10 cent rise in prices means that the average household spends $93.25 more on gas and diesel per year.”
So it’s not surprising that by one analyst’s calculations consumer confidence “falls half a percentage point for every 10-cent rise in gasoline.” Why shouldn’t it? And these are just dimes, whereas the price of gasoline is up by about $2 per gallon since Obama took office. Multiply the numbers above by twenty and consider the financial devastation to the country, especially to the non-rich. And then think about Barack Obama’s chilly indifference.
It makes perfect sense that the recent record-high gas prices for a Labor Day holiday corresponded to a decline in consumer confidence in August, leaving the leading consumer sentiment index at its lowest level since late last year. And yet Barack Obama remains ahead in political betting odds to win reelection (though I’m betting against him).
Is President Obama’s soaring but vapid convention rhetoric supposed to get Americans to forget the near-daily pain at the pump? Republicans must make sure it does not.
The section of Obama’s Thursday night nomination acceptance speech that discussed energy was a triumph of hope over reason and fact, but then why should energy be any different than his other policy positions or his supporters’ Through the Looking Glass view of reality?
Obama noted that the U.S. is less dependent on foreign oil than in the past. However, some facts were conveniently missing: First, the decline of our use of foreign oil began under President Bush in 2005. Second, and more important, the reason is primarily the recession and weak “recovery” which has sapped demand for fuel to transport goods and people.
Obama claimed that he has “opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration in the last three years” but didn’t mention that essentially most new drilling on federal land was approved under the prior administration. This administration has been relentlessly hostile, and the issuance of permits to drilling on federal lands has plummeted under Obama. It’s only on private land that drilling has increased.
One of the several political tin-ear remarks made by Obama on Thursday, unless he was only speaking to his radical base in which case he probably made sense in their miswired minds, was his list of the energy projects he supports, which includes wind turbines, long-lasting batteries, solar, clean coal, and biofuels.
Of course, we’ve heard it all before and know the results. (Can you say “Solyndra”?) It was hard to listen to the president and not wonder how life is on Planet Enviro, since he’s clearly not interested in, nor concerned with life on, Planet Earth.
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.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online