Saturday, April 22, 2006

The GOP and Oil Prices

The Financial Times reports that even Republicans in Washington are taking notice of rising oil prices:
On Monday, [House Speaker Dennis] Hastert and Bill Frist, Senate majority leader, will send letters urging the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission to immediately investigate alleged price gouging and market speculation.
Of course, the problem is not that of price gouging. And Republicans can hardly argue, as did White House press secretary Scott McClelland, that “It’s not something that occurred overnight, and it’s not something that’s going to be solved overnight.”
Our president and vice president are former oil executives. It's been five year's since Dick Cheney's energy task force held secret meetings with oil executives. Republicans finally passed Bush's energy bill last year. Former Interior Secretary Gale Norton explained how waiving royalties for oil companies would save consumers "an estimated $570 million a year" in lower fuel prices. Of course we can't forget how invading Iraq was supposed to be in our economic benefit. After five years in power, President Sluggo took public notice of our oil addiction.
Taken together, one can understand how Republicans are feeling insecure about the relentless climb of oil prices:
The issue of high oil prices is a difficult one for Republicans and President George W. Bush, who traditionally enjoy close relations with the energy industry. And, while it is unclear what steps the government can take to lower prices, politicians face mounting pressure to show their willingness to act.
Crude oil prices hit a new record high of more than $75 a barrel yesterday, and petrol prices are above $3 per gallon in many parts of the country. That, in addition to the disclosure of a $400m retirement package for Lee Raymond, former chief executive of Exxon Mobil, has fed public rage at the oil industry.


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