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The Truth: Democrat Anti-Energy Policy Hurts the Poor

Tiger Hawk answers a question I quoted VDH as asking earlier today, when he said:

And why are Republicans, who voted in overwhelming numbers for off-shore drilling, ANWR, nuclear, shale, tar sands, liquid coal, etc—and were opposed by Democrats [1] on grounds of wanting to enrich energy [2] companies—not appealing to the country to develop domestic supplies on the basis of fairness (the poor have the least access to energy [2] efficient homes and hybrid, fuel efficient new cars), the environment (the US can extract oil [3], in a fungible market, far more cleanly than Russia or the Middle East [4]), and national security (most of OPEC, Russia, Venezuela [5] are belligerents and becoming more dangerous the more trillions of dollars the West, China [6], and Japan transfer to them in their hard-won national wealth)?

It is a ready-made issue for them, and with skill can appeal to Americans of every persuasion who are starting to snicker when Obama [7] soars in pie-in-the-sky sermons about wind, solar, and millions of new jobs in green energy [2]. Maybe—but back on planet America until we get there the working class is going to be paying a day or two per week of their wages to fuel their second-hand cars, while the environmentalists will buy new Priuses and an on-demand water heater for their tasteful homes. One would have thought the President, who was on right side of these production issues, would give a national address calling for a bipartisan effort to produce energy [2] to get us through these hard times, or Republican senators would now be reintroducing energy [2] legislation almost daily.

So, here comes Tigerhawk, [8] who says:

First, the New York Times devotes front page space to the impact of $4 gasoline on working people [9] in rural parts of the country, many of whom have to drive long distances in inefficient vehicles to jobs that do not pay well by urban standards.

Across broad swaths of the South, Southwest and the upper Great Plains, the combination of low incomes, high gas prices and heavy dependence on pickup trucks and vans is putting an even tighter squeeze on family budgets.

Here in the Mississippi Delta, some farm workers are borrowing money from their bosses so they can fill their tanks and get to work. Some are switching jobs for shorter commutes.

People are giving up meat so they can buy fuel. Gasoline theft is rising. And drivers are running out of gas more often, leaving their cars by the side of the road until they can scrape together gas money.

The story includes this interesting graphic [10] that shows gasoline expenditures as a percentage of disposable income, by county. I hope that in November somebody smarter than I am runs this map against electoral results to see whether it had a systematic impact on the election.

Sooner, it is to be hoped, since it would help to prevent a disaster. The poor need to be reminded continually that the Democrat Party is not their freind, and stuff like this demonstrates this point amply:

Then there is an article [11] in the Wall Street Journal about how “leaders around the globe fumble attempts to temper oil prices.” The main point, of course, is that rising oil prices have confounded politicians all over the world, in no small part because policies that would reduce demand for oil and boost its production conflict with other domestic political requirements. In China, for example, maintaining stability just before the Olympics is the top priority, and the leadership is concerned that a big increase in the (now controlled and subsidized) domestic price of gasoline would put that at risk. In the United States, the Democrats oppose policies that would boost production, or signal to markets that more production is on the way:

In Washington, meanwhile, Republicans and Democrats are at odds over what is causing the spike in oil prices. Democrats, who control the U.S. Congress, blame a combination of speculative trading and what they view as price-gouging by OPEC members and oil companies.

Republicans, including Bush administration officials, tend to argue that the problem is a shortage of supply needed to keep up with rising demand from industrializing countries like China and India. With encouragement from the oil industry, Republican lawmakers are pushing to allow drilling in areas of the U.S. that have been off limits, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.

Although higher prices have meant record profits for oil producers, there was little evidence that industry executives were celebrating Friday’s spike. In recent months, representatives of major oil companies have been repeatedly dragged before Congress to answer charges of price manipulation and profiteering.

The companies have consistently said they don’t control oil prices — an argument supported by most experts — and are using their profits to find and produce more oil. At a forum in Russia on Saturday, executives from major oil companies said they are facing political challenges not just in the U.S. but around the world.

Chevron Corp. Chairman David O’Reilly called restricted access to new developments “the biggest risk in expanding production,” while Exxon Mobil Corp. Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson said concerns about access to new supplies are fueling the surge in prices. “Just a signal that such access will be granted would have an immediate effect on the market,” Mr. Tillerson said.

There is some evidence that the industry’s arguments are having an impact on public opinion. A recent Gallup poll showed 20% of Americans blamed oil companies for high gasoline prices — down from 34% a year earlier.

Democrats in Congress have shown little indication that they are ready to open up large new areas for drilling, at least in the short term.

Now, go back and look at the New York Times graphic [10]. Virtually all the states where gasoline represents a low percentage of disposable income are Democratic strongholds. The voters in those states are not suffering nearly as much from high gasoline prices, which remain a small proportion of their income. Not a terrible price to pay to avoid oil platforms in sight of the beach house.

I wonder if McCain has the courage to take this one on?

See, that’s the problem here; The truth is there and easily proved… but our leadership doesn’t want to spread this truth, for fear of being seen as ‘too confrontational’… and thus becoming party to not only the defeat of the Republicans, but the defeat of the truth. Hey RNC, time to come out swinging.

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This post made Real Clear Politics Best of the Blogs [12]

(Bit: Link repair)