While President Obama comes down hard on oil and gas speculators, who profit while the public suffers, House Speaker John Boehner spins his tired old talking points, a more than metaphorical raspberry to any real discussion of either problems or possible solutions.
On Tuesday President Obama proposed some new measures to improve our oversight of the energy markets. His hope is to combat the rise in gas prices, now topping $4 a gallon (I paid $4.00 yesterday in the D.C. area). Obama has said he wants to increase the number of “cops on the beat” as a way to curb this speculation and manipulation; Boehner’s theory on crime seems to be that the best way to deal with crime is to simply let it happen – after all, it makes the rich richer and the poor poorer, in keeping with the Republican Party’s social Darwinian ideology – as will his other supposed “solutions”.
This is what the president had to say:
“I call on Congress to pass a package of measures to crack down on illegal activity and hold accountable those who manipulate the market for private gain at the expense of millions of working families,” Obama said. In terms of specifics, the president called for investing in “more cops on the beat to monitor activity in energy markets,” increasing civil and criminal penalties, and giving those agencies responsible for overseeing oil markets “new authority to protect against volatility and excess speculation by making sure that traders can post appropriate margins, which simply means that they actually have the money to make good on their trades.”
“While President Obama is on the campaign trail pushing for tax hikes, the House of Representatives will vote this week to reduce taxes on small businesses, and will continue working to address the high gas prices hurting families and job creators.
“In A Pledge to America, Republicans promised to allow small business owners to take a tax deduction equal to 20 percent of their business income. The Small Business Tax Cut Act makes good on that pledge, and will give more than 22 million small businesses with fewer than 500 employees a much-needed infusion of capital.
“The Small Business Tax Cut Act has broad support among small business groups, franchisers, health care professionals, and small-scale manufacturers. One small business owner who testified to Congress in support of the bill said, ‘The best way Washington can help energize economic growth is by making sure business owners are spending less on tax payments and more on creating jobs.’ Another said it ‘is a great way for business owners … to help jumpstart our economy.’
“Creating a better environment for job growth was a key part of our Pledge to America. That’s why we’ve also voted to cut trillions of dollars in spending and put us on a path to a balanced budget – which is critical for long-term economic growth.
“It’s why we passed the REINS Act to require Congressional approval of new federal regulations that would have a major economic impact.
“It’s why we voted to fully repeal ObamaCare, which is making it harder for small businesses to hire new workers. We successfully repealed the law’s onerous small business paperwork mandate.
“And it’s why we launched the American Energy Initiative, a Pledge-based plan focused on removing barriers to energy production and stopping policies that drive up gas prices. And in the coming weeks we’ll vote on additional legislation to expand production and approve the Keystone XL pipeline blocked by the White House.
“Unfortunately, the Democratic-controlled Senate has continuously blocked House-passed jobs bills. And the president isn’t urging them to act – he’s more focused on tax hikes than jobs.
“In fact, the ‘Buffett Tax’ hike touted by President Obama has been called everything from a ‘sham’ to a ‘hoax’ to ‘total gimmickry.’ Why? Because it won’t do a single thing to create jobs, address our debt, or lower gas prices.
“Another one of his tax hike proposals was studied by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS), who found it would raise the price of energy for consumers. Gas prices are already too high after three years of the Obama administration blocking energy production; we don’t need Washington to make prices even worse.
“Pledge to America proposals like the Small Business Tax Cut Act and the American Energy Initiative bills are exactly the kind of reforms we need to give job creators a boost and help get our economy moving. And they show who is listening to the American people and focusing on their priorities. President Obama wants higher taxes; Republicans want more jobs.”
– Speaker John Boehner
Of course, President Obama is not responsible for the high price of gas and as Sarah Jones showed here in March, oil production has actually risen during the Obama administration – increased production does not equal lower prices. What the government ought to be doing is giving us that money so we can afford to buy their damn gas.
And Boehner’s solutions are no solutions at all. The claim that the Keystone XL Pipeline is somehow going to create jobs and lower the price of gas is wrong – and add the billions of dollars in environmental damage to the tab of building the thing in the first place. To make matters worse, Boehner is not only heavily invested in oil himself – thus standing to profit from the construction of the pipeline – but gas prices will actually go up as a result of the pipeline’s construction. To cap it all off, Boehner has admitted that the pipeline won’t create as many jobs as he first claimed, neither 200,000 or even 100,000. In fact, it will create only about 6,000 jobs, according to the State Department. And of course, “removing barriers to energy production” has nothing to do with energy alternatives – it’s all about doubling down on the very same fossil fuels Boehner stands to personally benefit from. Nor is Boehner the only oil whore on Capitol Hill, as Rmuse wrote here in February; the Senate is full of them too.
To make matters worse, Boehner and his fellow Republicans oppose helping middle class Americans but insist on corporate welfare for the oil companies who are racking up record profits and gouging us at the pump.
Stop me if you see anything here that is supposed to help the average American. Please do. Boehner complains that the Democrat-controlled Senate stops Republican jobs bills but as was reported here in February, “In the over 400 days since Republicans took control of the House, the GOP hasn’t passed a single job creation bill, but has passed bills that would kill 7.4 million jobs.” Americans might wish to consider John Boehner’s bona fides before electing him again. Being orange and whiney aren’t much in the way of recommendations.
The Republican Party has made job creation an ideological issue and healthcare a religious issue. The richer will get richer and the rest of us will be left holding a steaming pile of crap in our hands. The only justification for attacking the Buffet Tax is that trickle down economics works; it doesn’t. That steaming handful of crap is all anyone is going to get from the rich in exchange for supporting their right to be better than the rest of us. His claim that the Senate is blocking job-creating bills is laughable – the House isn’t trying to create jobs – it’s trying to enrich corporations and the wealthy at the expense of the average American. Boehner is only upset because Obama – and the rest of us – see that steaming handful of crap for what it is.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.