Opinion

The Obama gas tax

Photo of Troy Senik
Troy Senik
Senior Fellow, Center for Individual Freedom
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      Troy Senik

      Troy Senik is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Individual Freedom, a non-partisan, non-profit organization with the mission of protecting and defending individual freedoms and individual rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Mr. Senik served in the White House as a speechwriter for President George W. Bush and previously wrote for California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.

If you’ve been spending much time at the gas pump lately, chances are you’ve been spending a lot less time everywhere else. With fuel costs soaring, everyday Americans are being forced to cut back on even routine car trips to avoid breaking the bank. In the last month alone, average gas prices have gone up nearly fifty cents per gallon. And because the cost of fuel is critical to supplying a wide array of goods and services, we’ll soon see prices skyrocketing everywhere.

While this trend appears to have gotten worse amid the turmoil in the Middle East — including the supply interruption in Libya — it has been a steadily rising pattern since even before the Middle East uprisings. In fact, gas prices are up 67 percent since President Obama took office a little more than two years ago. Lest you think this analysis one-sided, during the same period in President Bush’s tenure gas prices increased by only seven percent.

Yet that doesn’t seem to bother President Obama much. Earlier this month, he said that we can’t drill our way out of our energy problems. That is like suggesting you can’t medicate yourself out of an illness.

Opening up America’s vast domestic resources is literally the only realistic way to ease the pressure. It can lower prices at the pump, curb our reliance on foreign energy producers, and create new jobs right here on our soil. In short, it can do all the things that alternative energy claims to do but simply cannot despite billions of taxpayer dollars.

Yet President Obama has blocked energy exploration at every turn. For his secretary of the interior, he chose former Colorado Senator Ken Salazar, a man who once said that he wouldn’t want more domestic oil production opened up even if gas prices hit $10 a gallon. Then, in the wake of last year’s Gulf oil spill, the administration imposed a moratorium on deepwater drilling — a freeze that is effectively still in place today.

In addition to pushing up unemployment rates in the Gulf, these policies are keeping 97 percent of America’s offshore oil and gas off limits. To add insult to injury, President Obama recently told an audience in the newly oil-rich nation of Brazil, “We want to help you with the technology and support to develop these oil reserves safely. And when you’re ready to start selling, we want to be one of your best customers.” Don’t hold your breath for an economic recovery as long as the president of the United States is willing to do more investing in foreign economies than he is here at home.

If the president wants to complain about the effects gas prices are having on his popularity, he has only himself to blame. He has it in his power to push prices downward — and keep them down — with new energy exploration. Until he is willing to make that change, we’ll consider the higher prices at the pump the “Obama gas tax.”

Troy Senik is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Individual Freedom (www.cfif.org).

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  • jmk1502

    The gas tax should be incrementally raised by 15-20 cents per month. That way, Americans will finally start getting so upset they will throw out the bums who are in the pockets of Big Oil, and literally FORCE America to seek alternate energy sources. It’s far, far past the time to stop talking about this issue, and do it. First, the US can stop relying on foreign oil (and stop having to stick our noses where they shouldn’t be) and move toward the future. I know, I know, “progressive”. That dirty word again.

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  • richman20

    rorcor3000

    Assuming for a moment that we are in a recovery (yeah, right), do you think lower gas prices or higher gas prices would speed said recovery? If Obama wanted to see the American economy rebound, lower gas prices would obviously do it. But no, we can’t drill practically anywhere! Obama could change that in a heartbeat, but he adamantly refuses to do so. Why is he being such a dick? Instead he comes up with the pathetic approach of tapping the Strategic Oil Reserve. Wow, what a genius! No one is fooled by such a lame, band-aid approach.

  • rorcor3000

    Um do you really think people will just forget the fact that gas prices reached a national average above $4.00 per gallon in 2008 prior to Obama taking office? So did Obama implement this tax prior to becoming president; rescind the tax just prior to taking office; then reinstate it once he got into office? Or did Bush purposefully tank the economy in an attempt to reduce worldwide gas consumption? Obviously the answer is neither. Gas prices are set by speculation on how world gas supply will keep up with world gas demand. Interruptions in supply or economic growth cause speculators to drive the price up. Speculators profit by betting that the price of oil is cheaper today then it will be at a specific point in the future. During the last year of the Bush administration, people were overwhelmingly guessing that the economy would fall dramatically which drove the price down to a point at the end of his administration which gave the impression that it didn’t rise that much during his term. But we all know what this is about. If gas prices were low but the stock market was in the tank this guy would’ve wrote an article about Obama is a tax on Wall Street. An increase in gas price means experts think the economy is recovering, and that is something Obama is actually of which Obama is at least partially responsible.

  • H_Tuttle

    Redistributing American wealth to other countries. Just like he’s always said,

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