Most politicians play word games to cast themselves in the most favorable light, so perhaps it is understandable that few people took it seriously when President Barack Obama unaccountably said during his 2008 presidential campaign that energy prices would “necessarily skyrocket” under his program.
With gas steadily approaching $4 a gallon and projected by federal Energy Information Administration experts to hit $5 in 2012, it is time to accept Obama at his word. The costs of heating and cooling our homes and offices, keeping gas in the cars and trucks that take us to work and the grocery store, and generating the electricity that keeps our laptops humming are heading skyward because Obama thinks that is what is best for us. It is a classic illustration of liberals using government to do to us what we would never do to ourselves.
It is important to take note of this now because signs point to a 2012 Obama re-election campaign based on a bogus claim that he is pro-business, pro-jobs and pro-growth. That Obama is none of these things is nowhere better illustrated than in his energy policies. Here are just some of the ways Obama has constricted U.S. energy exploration and development, thereby forcing prices upward and making America more dependent on the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Hugo Chavez and other costly, unreliable foreign oil sources:
- The president reimposed bans on oil and natural-gas drilling in America’s Outer Continental Shelf that were previously reversed by a Democratic-led Congress and a Republican president. Experts estimate there are at least 130 billion barrels of oil and trillions of feet of natural gas to be harvested from these areas, but Obama will not allow it.
- Even before the cause of the Deepwater Horizon disaster was known, Obama imposed a six-month moratorium on deep-water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico that cost thousands of jobs and effectively ended operations there. Although officially lifted, slow-walking federal bureaucrats have yet to approve new permits and are busily issuing costly new requirements that are certain to stifle most, if not all, drilling in the Gulf for years to come. A third of America’s oil production comes from wells in the Gulf.
- Obama reversed a Bush administration decision that opened millions of acres of public lands in the western parts of the nation to careful oil and natural-gas exploration and development, then invented an entirely new classification that puts those and millions more acres not previously covered off limits.
- The president appointed an energy secretary — Steven Chu — who in December 2008 said Americans should pay the same prices for gas as Europeans do. Gas in Europe then averaged around $8 per gallon. Maybe now people will believe that Obama meant exactly what he said in 2008 about making us pay much more for energy. If they do not, they surely will in coming months.