Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Politics of the Pump

by Kyle Michaelis
You know, in an industry as expansive as oil, it is certainly foolish to assign too much blame for high costs on any one factor. Nevertheless, this is too important an indicator of the ability of an average American to thrive in today's economy for it to receive as little political attention as it has.

As this Omaha World-Herald article suggests, it's about time President Bush and the Republican Congress start taking note:
Nebraska set a record high gas price today.

The average price for regular unleaded reached $2.34 per gallon. That beats the record set July 13 by about two pennies, according to AAA...

Prices probably will continue to rise for at least the next week, said Rose White, AAA Nebraska spokeswoman.

Meanwhile, yesterday, the price of crude oil hit an all-time high at $64 a barrel. Mid-to-low income American families are being hit terribly hard by such fast-rising gas prices, and Washington politicians all seem content to say there's nothing they can do about it.

Worse than that, these record prices are being framed by both politicians and the media as inevitable. They'd have us believe it's all just a matter of China's using more of the world oil supply. No one even seems willing to link the War in Iraq and its obviously unsettling influence throughout the Middle East, nor the record profits that American oil companies have brought in over the past year, to this upward shift in prices. Why is that?

With a Republican President and a Republican Congress who work so hard to cozy up with the oil industry and the dictatorial ruling family of Saudi Arabia, the American people rightfully deserve a better accounting of what's going on. Moreover, they deserve some sort of assurance that something is being done to relieve this enormous economic pressure on those least able to afford it.

President Bush just signed an Energy Bill that does nothing to address this country's addiction to foreign oil. Common sense steps such as investment in renewable energy and enforcement of stricter efficiency standards both took a back seat to a near-endless list of corporate hand-outs. Rather than looking to the future, American energy policy is being used to help big-time Republican contributors cash-in.

Well, it's time for voters to recognize how they're being played and how they're being ripped-off. The Democratic Party may not be able to offer any simple, immediate solutions to the problem of rising energy prices, but they can sure as hell be trusted to do a whole lot better than this.

The Republican Party controls every level of the federal govenrment and their policies aren't working for the American worker. In fact, they are failing across the board. Now that they're in power, though, and failing on so many levels, they have no one to blame, so they say there's nothing they can do. That's BS, and it's about damn time the American people call them on it.


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