I cringe every time I hear the idiot media flogging the high price of gasoline. Where is Anna Nicole Smith when we need her? Surely this year’s elections won’t hinge on the cost of petrol.
When the teabagger blogosphere riffs on the price of gas going from $2.50 under Bush to $3.80 under Obama they fail to include the fact that gas prices fell under Bush because the economy was in severe recession, shedding jobs faster than fleas off a burning dog. They don’t explain that today’s prices include a premium of over fifty cents per gallon powered by speculation in oil futures, a premium that could have been better controlled if Republicans hadn’t watered-down regulation of derivatives trading under the Dodd –Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and if the Commodities Futures Trading Commission had been quicker to issue regulations required under the law. We hear little mention of the fact that increased demand from China and India is pushing prices higher. And there is the fact that international markets are all hinky about Iran, understandable considering the never-ending Bomb Iran travelling road show by the GOP presidential contenders.
So I was encouraged to hear Marketplace Radio’s Attitude Check feature today with Gallup Pollster Frank Newport. Here’s some:
“we don't see so far that the price of gasoline is this gigantic concern on the part of Americans and voters out there. One of the reasons I say that is we ask every month: What's the most important problem facing the country? And this month, 7 percent mentioned gas prices; overwhelmingly, people are much more likely to say the economy and unemployment. And that 7 percent is way down from where it's been -- it was 25 percent in June of 2008. (when it was $3.73/gallon)
“We ask Americans What is the price-point at which -- and this is the way we phrased it -- your lifestyle will be significantly changed or you'll have to significantly stop spending in other areas? And on average, it was $5.30.
“When it comes to drill, drill, drill, Americans prefer the alternative, and that's of course what Obama knows. Every March, we update some indicators and we just finished updating right now. Would you think the best way to handle the energy situation is to emphasize more production, or to emphasize conservation or to emphasize alternative energy sources? And both of the latter went out. In other words, by about 51 percent to 40 percent, Americans say conservation rather than more production, and by even higher than that, 59 percent to 34 percent Americans say emphasize alternative energy rather than more production. So the Republican emphasis on drilling, drilling, drilling doesn't comport well with the American attitude at this point.”
-So maybe this is one of those days when I marvel at the wisdom of the American people, rather than think of them being the spawn of Homer Simpson and Diana Moon-Glampers.