Old dog, new tricks: Lessons for Joe Biden amid sky-high gas prices

Donald Trump’s last year as president was 2020. The average closing price of oil that year was $39.68 per barrel. The previous year, it had been 56.99 a barrel. At one point last week, oil was trading as high as $138 a barrel. That’s a ridiculously large increase, a huge hit for every mom driving her kids to school, for every truck driver delivering food to your local grocery store, and for every delivery of all those items that Amazon drops off at your carries.

“Russia is responsible.”

Those are the words of President Joe Biden earlier this week. He also warned that petrol prices would continue to rise and, in his own words, there “isn’t much you can do right now.”

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has indeed had an impact on world oil prices. Yet Mr. Biden’s actions, literally beginning on the first day of his presidency, had driven prices up dramatically at the pumps long before Mr. Putin hit the mail. According to the US Energy Information Administration, in April 2020 the national average for a gallon of gasoline in the United States was $1.93. In February of this year, before Russia began the violence in Ukraine, the average gallon of gasoline in the United States was $3.61. Obviously, there was a problem before the Russian mess.

In November 2021, in an effort to deal with soaring fuel prices, the White House announced plans to release 60 million barrels of oil from the strategic reserve. At the time, the Biden administration made no mention of Russia as the culprit. No boogeyman.

However, over the past two weeks, Mr. Biden has seemingly determined that America is a nation of short-term memory morons and cannot see through his blame game. On March 1, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm announced US intentions to work with US allies to release 60 million barrels of oil from emergency reserves. Thirty million of them would come from the American strategic petroleum reserve. Thirty million barrels is a lot. To put that into perspective, however, the United States uses about 20 million barrels of oil every day, so the Biden administration’s contribution will help for 36 hours.

Mr Biden’s spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, said it was the White House’s response to, you guessed it, the gas price crisis caused by Russia. And to reiterate, Mr. Biden himself, responding to a question from the media, blamed Russia and said, “There’s not much I can do right now.

Frankly, that’s a lie. There is a lot to do.

Congressman Jim Banks summed it up nicely: “When Joe Biden crushed America’s energy industry on the first day of his presidency, he left Americans dependent on our foreign adversaries for oil. This sent gasoline prices skyrocketing and allowed Putin to fund his unprovoked war.

Curiously, Team Biden seems to be a slow learner. After canceling the Keystone pipeline in favor of Nord Stream 2, The Russian pipeline and the halt to oil concessions on US federal lands, which account for 22% of US oil and gas production, have caused America to lose its status as an energy independent. By cutting global supply, Mr. Biden directly drove up world prices, and by importing 4 million barrels a day from Russian companies, the president put extra money directly into Vladimir Putin’s pocket at the same time. time.

Who would knowingly give a lot of money to bad actors on the world stage? Apparently the answer was then and still is now, Joe Biden.

Instead of doing everything in his power to increase the supply of U.S. oil, lower the global price, and regain some semblance of control over this huge economic lever, Mr. Biden wants to get more oil from various places, no of them not being particularly good. At the top of the list is Venezuela. Such a move would force America to lift restrictions against the country where our official position is that we don’t even recognize Nicolas Maduro as their head of state. Pumping money into Venezuela will bring stability to the ruthless government of Maduro himself. Giving money to a bad guy? Sound familiar? Even Democrats think it’s a bad idea.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey, didn’t mince words. “Nicolás Maduro is a cancer for our hemisphere, and we should not breathe new life into his reign of torture and murder,” he continued. continues to deprive Venezuelans of basic human rights, freedoms and even food.”

Biden’s option B is to go to Iran. You know, the place where they praise the Holocaust and chant “Death to America.” The West generally recognizes Iran as the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world. Yes, this Iran.

The Biden administration keeps telling us that a renewed version of the old Obama-era nuclear deal with Iran is imminent. This agreement will end the sanctions and allow Iran to generate billions of dollars by selling its oil on the world market, including in the United States. Again, the United States will apparently supply money to a sworn enemy.

New York Democrat and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Sean Patrick Maloney thinks the whole thing is a bad idea. “We need to blow a hole in the Russian economy. We need to lower gasoline prices for American consumers. Everything should be on the table,” he said in an interview. “But I don’t support strengthening one dictator to hurt another.”

Congressman Banks also addressed the Iranian option. “To add insult to injury, the Biden administration is now considering buying oil from Iran, the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism. There is absolutely no reason to import terrorist oil when we can drill better, cheaper and cleaner right here at home.

Here’s a bit of dark irony in the Iran deal. Russia took the lead in the negotiations on behalf of the United States and our European partners. Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up. Russia (our enemy) is negotiating for the Biden administration with Iran (also our enemy) so that both can have more control over the world oil markets and generate billions of dollars.

Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle have publicly stated that they don’t think Iran can be trusted, not on the nuclear part of the deal, not on their long-term goals and certainly not to limit their hostile foreign policy. Iran will continue to hate America and threaten the very existence of Israel, while taking our money and using it against us. Israel is not happy. Neither does Saudi Arabia.

The Saudis are Option C on the Biden ‘begging oil friends’ tour. According to the Wall Street Journal, the White House attempted to establish phone calls between President Biden and Saudi Arabia’s acting leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS). MBS didn’t take Joe’s calls. The world is on fire and MBS leaves the phone ringing unanswered. Why? Most assume because he is still in pain that Mr Biden very publicly blamed the crown prince for the death of Jamal Khashoggi. Mr Biden also snubbed MBS by communicating directly with his elderly father, King Salman, rather than the prince.

Given his seemingly hurt feelings, Reuters news service columnists Lauren Sliva Laughlin and George Hay wrote, “It’s likely the prince will teach Biden a lesson before pumping more oil.”

MBS intends to teach Mr. Biden that the latter must show respect for the Prince. The lesson Mr. Biden should take from all of this is that American energy independence, rather than depending on bad actors and bad leaders, is both achievable and desirable.

The President should listen to Charlotte Whelan of the Independent Women’s Forum who published an article this week saying, “We should increase America’s energy supply, improve our energy security and that of our European allies, instead of just changing foreign country we are depends on critical energy. There is no downside to increasing America’s energy supply – economically, politically, or environmentally – and the Biden administration needs to recognize that and ask American suppliers to increase production.

At the risk of repeating myself, however, Team Biden seems like a slow learner.

  • Tim Constantine is a columnist for the Washington Times.

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