It has become clear over the last eight years that the people in this administration are completely out of touch with the staggering impact the quintupling of oil prices has had on the nation's citizenry. Those in the administration live in a different world. Household budgets are not within their purview. Oil barons and oil industry leaders, and oil lobbyists are within their cocktail circuit. Unlike Mom and Pop or those who represent them, oil-producing states have virtual open access to the Oval Office (please see "Hallelujah! Saudi King Abdullah a No-Show at White House State Dinner," 04.03.07). This administration has done virtually nothing to arrest the nation's slide toward becoming an oil patch supplicant. In doing nothing, other than occasional ineffectual lip service, and worse still, supporting policies favorable to oil industry interests, they have made a bad situation far worse. This while the American everyman and woman is left to deal with this policy disaster.
One needn't go too deeply to underline the disconnect. A few examples will do. President Bush in March said, "$4 gas, I hadn't heard of that" (please see "Oil, Iraq Perfidy and $4 Gas? I Hadn't Heard That"). Vice President Cheney kept closeted (under the guise of "executive privilege") the 170-page report of the Vice President's energy task force organized at the outset of this administration -- over a hundred dollars/bbl ago, when oil was still in the mid twenties. The task force was headed by one Andrew Lundquist who has since become a major oil industry lobbyist (please see "Cheney Greets King Abdullah in Saudiland With High Fives as Oil Sails Past $100 per Barrel," 03.27.08).
Then our resident reincarnation of Katrina's hapless "Heckauvajob Brownie," Secretary of Energy Sam Bodman, always ready to accept the deteriorating conditions of the oil market, rose to the occasion at the G-8 summit this weekend bravely proclaiming "there are relatively few things we can do short term." This after years in office as if to beg the question, "what have you done in the long term to prevent this crisis from happening?" Bodman's stance comes in glaring contrast to Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's challenge at the same G-8, stating boldly that the gathering "provides an opportunity to apply the blowtorch to the OPEC organization and it is time that happened." Are you listening Mr. Bodman, or is the language too strong for your oil-patch-conditioned sensibilities?
Then there is Secretary of the Treasury Hank Paulson and his ready nonsensical exculpation of oil price tumult and greed: "If you look at the facts they show that the price of oil is about supply and demand" (please see "Our Secretary of the Treasury Pumps For OPEC," 06.02.08), and not to be outdone, our Chairman of the Federal Reserve is content that we do not have "long lines at gasoline stations" and therefore all is well in the world (please see "Oil's Largest One Day Gain On Record: Thank You Mr. Bernanke," 06.06.08). .
Let me share with you an email letter I received from an acquaintance which speaks eloquently on this issue and its impact on the lives of so many, seemingly unbeknownst to our oligopoly servile leadership, as otherwise they would not have let eight years slip by without a meaningful national energy policy:
In reading your post this morning and the comments that followed -- I wonder if the point may be further made by by a theoretical projection of where we might be in ten years (a family of four making $100K/yr with one in state college, one on the way) if things progress in this manner with little change. In the poor house, I imagine.
I think all of us here in the middle-class America sector get it (and feel it as the $75 one might have saved of a $750/wk paycheck now goes in the tank to get back and forth to work and T-Ball practice), but with so few options, we have to just suck it up and pay the price, right? What else can one do?
A little less intellectual, more practical scenario: I know of several families (surprise, surprise in the notoriously affluent corner of CT) sinking under the strain. That $75 used to add up to a small pile of Christmas presents or a weekend in Lake George with the kids....And now, $4.30/gallon=missed mortgage payment....and so the spiral goes....
Too bad there isn't more advice on how to heal the situation--I think the masses would unite if only there were a plan.....
FYI: our fuel bill from last May was $5965 for Stone Resource, Inc., this year: $11,324.
Here is an example not on the agenda of the G-8 but a microcosm of what American families are enduring and families throughout the world as well. To repeat, "If only there were a plan..."