Obama’s oil-price blame game

Herman Cain Contributor
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President Obama recently said that the economic situation when he took office was worse than he had thought at the time. That’s code for “blame Bush” again for Obama’s failed economic policies, which have not stimulated the economy.

Obama has chastised businesses for sitting on over $2 trillion in accumulated cash instead of hiring people they don’t need. That’s blaming the business sector for not making stupid decisions to prop up his failed policies.

And now that people are feeling the pain at the pump, he blames oil speculators for high gas prices, which are now double what they were two years ago. Remember, that’s about the time President Obama took office. And, he says there is nothing that can be done in the short term to ease the pain at the pump.

With all due respect, Mr. President, there is something you could do to ease the pain at the pump. Namely, declare and implement a “drill here, drill now” strategy and remove the ridiculous restrictions on shale oil deposits available out West.

The very speculators you are blaming for the run-up in gas prices would quickly retreat if they thought you were serious about an energy independence plan to maximize all of our existing natural resources. The problem is supply and demand, and expectations about the changes in those dynamics. That’s what drives gasoline prices at the pump.

It was recently reported that the United States of America has the largest fossil fuel reserve in the world, due to the shale oil deposits discovered out West, plus the oil we have available in the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska and the outer continental shelf.

We have the energy resources to achieve energy independence if the government would just get out of the way. Unfortunately, government is the problem.

The Obama administration has used the Gulf oil disaster of a year ago to limit oil exploration in the Gulf and elsewhere. As a result, oil production in the Gulf is down 13 percent versus a year ago. That also means that there are a corresponding number of people out of work who are denied productive and well-paying jobs.

We do not stop all commercial aircraft from flying when there is an airline tragedy. We do not stop all cars from driving on the highways when there is a deadly automobile accident. We learn from those accidents and move on.

This administration’s propensity for moratoriums and prohibitions on oil and natural gas exploration right here at home is dramatically affecting the expectations about global supply and demand. It’s that simple.

Obama’s decision to create a study group to determine if oil speculators are manipulating the market to drive up gasoline prices is ill informed. It is a diversion from the real problem, which is the lack of a real energy independence plan.

When the president formed a jobs commission to make it appear that he was doing something about creating jobs, nothing happened. When he created a debt commission to address the spiraling national debt, nothing happened. In both instances, some ideas were put in a report, and then into a file cabinet somewhere.

We have seen and heard this rhetoric before. Creating a study group does not solve the problem, and many informed observers doubt that the study group will find anything of substance. Gas prices are determined by supply, demand and normal market speculation.

A witch hunt is no substitute for common-sense actions.

Blame at the pump is no remedy for pain at the pump.

Herman Cain is a former CEO, a radio talk show host on AM 750 and 95.5 FM WSB in Atlanta, and a Fox News contributor. In January, Cain launched a presidential exploratory committee.