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The Partisan Blame Game of High Gas Prices

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In reading the recent article, Who NOT to Blame for High Gasoline Prices by Ben Lieberman at InsideSources.com, I was astounded by the depth of omission and complete fabrication that took place to deflect blame away from greedy oil companies or former President Trump for the current energy costs being seen in the United States.

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Oil and Gas Apologist

Mr. Lieberman did make many good cases for Biden policies that have certainly added to rising prices. It would take a true partisan to deny that halting any future drilling on federal lands or a desire to increase renewable energy output would cause much of the skepticism for oil companies to improve gas and oil production.

At the same time, the article criticizing Biden ignores the record $38 billion in stock buybacks being seen this year or the $50 billion of dividends being handed out to the oil company's investors. The omission of key statistics like record profits and record buybacks for the oil industry as the average American is gouged at the pump is relevant in the assignment of blame.

It is also pertinent to note that only 10% of drilling occurs on federal lands and that gas and oil companies are sitting on 9,173 available and approved permits to drill on Federal and Native American lands. Biden policies are not hindering the ability to ramp up production as noted by an 11 million barrel per day average in 2021 as compared to just 9 million for Trump when comparing each President's first year in office.

In 2020, the oil bust created worker and supply shortages and caused companies to cut their budgets. Investors remain reluctant to invest in fossil fuels, instead catering to the financial community who wants to see profitability. So while 2019 saw a record 12.3 million barrels per day, industry experts believe it will take until 2023 to eclipse that mark as the oil industry is making the conscious choice to cater to profits over production.

Trying to Create Fake History

The biggest issue with Mr. Lieberman's article is when he tries to deflect away from assigning any blame to former President Trump. To quote:

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The Trump-blamer rationales are understandably hazy, but they suggest that the former president contributed to closing the domestic oil spigot, initiated the federal spending increases that contributed to overall inflation, including gasoline, and facilitated Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Why none of this bad stuff happened until Biden took over is apparently just a coincidence.

To be clear, it's not a "hazy suggestion" that in April of 2020 Fortune.com reported that President Trump negotiated a deal to reduce global oil production with Russian and Saudi Arabia that cut production by 10% in order to increase prices to offset the complete lack of demand caused during the height of the pandemic. When including Venezuela, Iran and Libya contributions over time, global oil production was set to decrease by 20%. In the United States, production was cut by 300,000 barrels per day as an olive branch to convince the Saudis that America would contribute to the cause.

The second complete fabrication comes from Mr. Lieberman's claim that all of the bad stuff only happened after Biden took over - as if Biden was in office in April of 2020 or the Trump administration did not pass two stimulus packages prior to Biden's inauguration that were also spending increases. The Russian invasion that has contributed to energy price increases was the only accurate thing he stated in that paragraph.

Inflation is Not Localized to Any One Country

It's hard to overlook global inflation figures and simply assign blame to Biden policies as a cause. Of the 19 countries that use the Euro, the reported inflation figure was 7.5%, just slightly off from the reported 7.9% seen in the United States. One should credibly wonder how a global problem can be attributed to just the leader of one of the countries.

The Partisan Blame Game

Over and over, we see supporters of the former President viewing his time in office through rose-colored glasses. What Mr. Lieberman simply proved with his article is that he is willing to omit key facts to engage in the partisan blame game. The real truth is that there are cases for many culprits in the rise of energy costs in the United States, as well as many other developed nations around the world.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2022 JOC

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