Thursday, October 23, 2014

Last Call For The Gas Face, 2014 Edition

TNR's Danny Vinik argues that since you can't really blame Obama for when gas prices were $4 a gallon two years ago, that you can't really credit Obama for when gas prices are below $3 a gallon now.

Remember in early 2012, when gas prices were approaching $4 per gallon? Republicans were eager to blame President Obama for consumers having to pay more at the pump. “[Obama] gets full credit or blame for what’s happened in this economy, and what’s happened to gasoline prices under his watch,” then-presidential candidate Mitt Romney said. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell agreed. “This president will go to any length to drive up gas prices and pave the way for his ideological agenda,” he said in February 2012. House Speaker John Boehner made similar comments
Those comments never made any sense, because Obama has very little control over gas prices, which are determined by global supply and demand. In 2012, as the economy recovered, demand for gas rose as consumers decided to drive to work and take more weekend vacations. That pushed gas prices higher. The president isn’t entirely powerless to affect prices, since he can approve drilling permits and pipelines to increase the supply of oil. But his influence is still limited. Even after the recent explosion in U.S. oil production, the country still produces just 10 percent of global crude.

Except that's an easy way to let Republicans off the hook for their mendacity in the first place.  It's easy to say that the GOP's comments weren't deserved, but it won't stop them from saying patently false garbage like this anyway.

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