Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Blame Joe

Despite not needing a gas station for eight years, your columnist is aware of prices and that people are leaving stickers on pumps blaming President Joe Biden for rising costs. Of course they are. Like every bit of malicious misinformation spun from rightwing media, the Trumpic swath of our population accepts it as gospel. And Jeff Bezos will sell them the stickers

The truth, though, as experts (people Trumpublicans don’t like very much) tell us, is that presidents have little direct control of or effect on the price of gas at the pumps. Indirect, well, yes; a perfect example of which is how the economy tanked under Trump, in large measure because of the pandemic which, due to his inept mishandling, led to massive unemployment. Which led to diminished demand, and, therefore, dropping prices. Supply and demand: it’s capitalism!

Cheap gas meant not much incentive for oil companies to produce it; so production decreased. As the economy has recovered under President Biden’s stimulative guidance, with unemployment now at near-record lows, demand and prices are increasing. So far, companies seem to see no reason to increase output to bring prices down. They’re raking it in as it is. It’s how it works. Otherwise, we’re talking socialism, which let’s not even.

But Brandon canceled the Keystone XL pipeline, scream the screamers. True. Had he not, it wouldn’t have been finished, even now. And if it had, funneling shale oil, the world’s dirtiest, through America’s fertile heartland (pipelines leak, by the way), its product would have been processed on the Gulf Coast, from where much would have been exported.

Then how about President Biden’s devious plan to increase renewable energy, because, you know, climate change? Which threatens all currently living things on our planet except, maybe, cockroaches. Yes, how about that? Concern for our future. Like an actual president.

Or how about the fact that the Biden administration issued more drilling permits in his first year than the Trump whatever-it-was did in his? Should he be forcing oil companies to drill? Republicans claim to espouse free-market capitalism.

Speaking of which, in 2021, profits reported by BP, ExxonMobil, Chevron, and Shell totaled over sixty billion. Could they have afforded to keep prices where they’d been? Does a bear sit in Ukraine? Would it surprise Trumpists to learn that the US remains a net exporter of oil under President Biden? For those interested in reoility, there are reputable sources which, unlike Fox “news,” et ugh, are accurate. Here are two.

So let’s return to the other existential threat to humanity in general and America in particular: the leader of the Republican Party, the party of small government and democracy and freedom, Donald J. Trump. Still revered, mysteriously still their preferred future presidential candidate. In South Carolina, at his latest gathering of the gulled, adding something new to his usual catechism of self-praise and election lies, he said this, about his next term: “We will pass critical reforms making every executive branch employee fireable by the President of the United States…” Not said: “… and sendable to Siberia.”

They cheered, of course. Because an unrestrained “president,” able to rid the government, at all levels, on a whim, of people who might stand up to his transgressions, or, worse, know what they’re doing, doesn’t bother them at all. And why would it? They’ve made Tucker Carlson Fox’s most popular seditionist, whose nearly word-for-word promotion of Russian propaganda has made him a go-to for Russian TV. Where that kind of “president” already exists. 

Because he’s never admitted a mistake (understandable, as there’d be no time for doing anything else), excusing his earlier praise of Putin’s invasion, Trump now claims Vladimir Putin “has changed.” The loveable guy to whom he’d granted everything he wanted wouldn’t possibly have invaded Ukraine. Right. No way it could be that, like Kim and Xi, Putin played Trump for the needy, praise-craving narcissist he is. To any open-eyed observer, Putin hasn’t changed at all.

Nor has the Republican Party, since its conversion to one of blockage and trickle-down. As proof, one-upping the six-week rules running rampant in red states, Missouri legislators are considering a proposal to ban abortions even in the case of ectopic pregnancy. If it becomes law, women will die. Hopefully, it won’t. But it shows where we’re headed if they regain federal power. 

What has passed is Florida’s “don’t say gay” bill. Denials from Governor DeSantis about that characterization notwithstanding, it’s snowflake/cancel culture squared. And evil. It’ll require another column to say why, but only common sense to know Trumpublicanism must never again control the federal government.

1 comment:

  1. Dr. Schwab, I'm glad you wrote your column about gas prices. These are the same points I have been making to all the people who say things like this to me. A further point is that the price of oil is actually an international thing, so if their is an event anywhere else, like the war in Ukraine and the resultant sanctions, the prices go up everywhere. I also keep trying to impress on people that the US govt. does not buy or sell oil from foreign countries for the most part, oil companies do. As you noted in your article, the US is a net exporter and not short of oil. If they oil companies wanted to, they could have kept prices right where they were. As you also pointed out, they are holding back investment in new drilling, etc. because they don't want to risk what happened to them during the pandemic where the price of oil dropped calamitously. If they did get back to prepandemic levels, the price could drop even further.
    Meanwhile red state legislatures are going totally off the deep end trying to come up with new laws to prevent abortion, limit education, ban books, etc. Every fascist thing they can think of they are trying to get done to impress the radical right of their constituents. Idaho was trying to have a law that lets people sue librarians if they let kids have books that have various taboos mentioned in them. I think it is house bill 666: Luckily this didn't pass. Same with the law in Missouri making it basically legal to shoot someone and claim it was self defense without any evidence. And, of course, all the various voter suppression and election interference laws. It just keeps getting worse. I still wonder what can be done about it and am very worried about the 2022 election. Anyway - thanks again for all you do. Your post last week was spot as well. Have a great weekend.


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