The O' Gallon: President Obama's Lack of Action on Gas Prices Hurts America's Seniors and Poor

Lee Habeeb
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Posted: Apr 25, 2011 11:08 AM

Editor's note: This article was co-authored by Lee Habeeb and Dan Weber. Lee is Vice President of Content for Salem Radio Network. Dan is the Founder of the Association of Mature American Citizens.

Gas prices have spiked 37% since October of last year, according to AAA, and in some states, average prices have passed the $4 per gallon. That spike hits the constituents that President Obama purports to care about the most - our most vulnerable Americans.

High gas prices hit seniors and the poor the hardest. And they hit seniors and the poor who live in rural areas even harder.

What is AARP’s response? And anti-poverty groups? Silence. And don’t hold your breath waiting for any protests from liberal organizations like those to call for more drilling.

What has President Obama’s message been? More drilling? No! Even though financial experts say that just an announcement alone that America is dramatically expanding its drilling would bring down the price of oil and stop the speculators from gouging the public.

A moratorium on gasoline taxes by the federal and state governments? No! The federal government collects 18 cents per gallon. Some states collect more. Wisconsin collects 33 cents per gallon, NY 32 cents per gallon, and Pennsylvania 28. That kind of moratorium would really help Americans, rich and poor. Young and old.

President Obama has gone the Marie Antoinette route. “Let them eat cake!” Stop driving those SUV’s, and start buying smaller cars. Stop drilling, and start plugging in those electric cars.

In an exchange at a Town Hall meeting in Fairness Hills, PA a few weeks ago, a man in the audience who admitted to driving an SUV asked President Obama about gasoline prices. In what sounded like sarcasm he replied:

If you're complaining about the price of gas and you're only getting eight miles a gallon, (Laughter) you may have a big family, but it's probably not that big. How many you have? Ten kids, you say? Ten kids? (Laughter.) Well, you definitely need a hybrid van then. (Laughter.)

Anyone reading that must wonder, “What’s so funny, Mr. President?” Do you think the average American can afford to trade in their car and buy a new one? Do you know why some folks need SUV’s? Do you think the gas crisis is caused by Americans driving gas guzzling SUV’s? Don’t you know America’s #1 seller is the Ford Escape, and it gets 28 MPG, not 8?

President Obama’s indifference to rising oil prices didn’t begin two weeks ago. Back in 2008, when gas prices were soaring, then Senator Obama said this to a roaring audience on a campaign stop: “It’s time that the entire country learn from what’s happening right here in Portland, Oregon with mass transit and bicycle lanes.”

Mass transit? That’s what suburbanites want - more trains to nowhere! And bicycle lanes? That will help the single mom in the Mississippi Delta get to her job, and those families in the burbs get to the movies?

Those answers reveal the bubble President Obama has lived in not just in the White House, but his entire life. From his days at Columbia University to his time at Harvard Law, from his years spent community organizing, to his time spent as a politician, he has never lived as most Americans live. He doesn’t know why the people love cars. His answers make sense only to sophisticated urbanites, many of whom have a disdain for the suburbs.

In his radio address on Saturday, President Obama told Americans that his administration is increasing drilling. That’s not really true. While he lifted the ban on deep water drilling less than a handful of deep-water permits have been issued by the government. However the oil companies complain that the new paperwork and procedures slow down and make it extremely difficult to actually start drilling. As a result, domestic offshore production will fall 13% this year from 2010 due to the moratorium, according to the American Petroleum Institute.

Some companies are shifting investments out of the Gulf. BP recently said it would move a brand-new rig that was meant to work in the Gulf to Libya. Nice work, President Obama. We are bombing Gaddafi by night, and shipping jobs there by day.

One thing is for sure; if we don’t increase our supply of oil, we can’t lower prices. It’s the simple law of supply and demand.

If the President continues to do nothing not only will gasoline continue to rise, but so will every single item that has to be shipped by truck. Expect to pay more for milk, bread, eggs, meat, vegetables and all our other foods.

As gas prices climb, they will hit some of us harder than others. For seniors and struggling families, that may mean the difference between visiting family over the summer, and not. Seeing the grandkids, and not.

If gas prices do hit $4, we’ll know what to call that regrettable benchmark – The O’ Gallon. Because President Obama had a chance to reverse rising prices by increasing production - and he chose not to.