You Know He's Desperate Now
By Tibor Machan - April 23, 2011

So President Obama will create a task force to investigate if there might be crimes committed that lead to high gas prices. The operative term is "might." That is what one says when one has zero evidence but intends to implicate unknown parties and please one's base which is committed to the class warfare idea of economic relations.

Of course gasoline costs a lot. Just look around the world –people are using more of it and the prognosis is they will be using even more in the near future; the places where oil is drilled are in shambles; the American government will not allow any digging where there's plenty of oil in the USA, and on and on. Speculators, a perfectly decent bunch of people who try to take care of their and their clients' economic welfare – part of the group of wealth care professionals in the land – will obviously try to buy oil futures now so as to escape the coming even higher prices. This is elementary economics and to be expected of people who choose to be prudent in their lives and economic affairs.

But Mr. Obama seems to want to cash in on it all by revving up the rhetoric of class warfare. Who must be behind rising gas prices? Someone, surely (even while he preaches about shared responsibility when it comes to the enormous debt the government has assumed). So who shall it be this time – Wall Street? The banks? Tea Party Republicans? No, this time it will be speculators, unnamed people who can be conjured up in the minds of people who already do not like business (wealth care) professionals. Mr. Obama needs those who harbor such hatred since they are the ones who hopes will go out and campaign for him. Who else would?

Now do I know that this is Mr. Obama's intention? No, but I seriously suspect it. Moreover, there is better evidence for this suspicion than for the alleged suspicion Mr. Obama voiced, namely, that corrupt people in the oil industry are committing crimes and driving up gas prices. That, it should be noted, is sheer fantasy, totally baseless.

CNN News Room newsreaders are all for Mr. Obama doing this shadow chasing. What else can they do? Repeat elementary lessons in economics? Do they bring in experts on oil economics? No. That would be responsible journalism and by now we know that CNN gives us partisan news through and through – Mr. Obama can do no wrong and all his pronouncements are sincere, meant earnestly. Even Fox TV gives more room to opposing positions now.

But there is hope. Mr. Obama's popularity is plummeting. Not because he will not prosecute – or is it persecute – oil people but, most likely, because he will not do the most elementary thing about all this, namely let companies drill, drill, and drill some more. That would lose him another part of his base, environmentalists. Which is to say, Mr. Obama is putting politics and his ambition to get a second term way ahead of the task of addressing the high gas prices, which he seems to be merely pretending to address.

Mr. President, please, pretty please, toss the task force idea and open up our known oils fields and hope the voters will realize you did the best you could. Just as with gold, so with scarce oil, prices will keep rising. But there is little gold to go around, while there is plenty of oil to drill for.

Why are these folks not getting it? I suppose the answer to this is manifold but one source is the late Mancur Olson's theory that not until the bottom falls out will people and their lobbyists and politicians stop engaging in what economists call rent-seeking, urging that other people be ripped off so they can have an easier way in their lives. And for such a political climate to prevail one needs to come up with accusations against those whom one wishes to be ripped off. This task force idea of Mr. Obama achieves that goal – demonize oil people. Next time he can go back to demonizing Wall Street, the banks and, of course, Tea Party Republicans.