High gas prices are not a president’s friend, especially in an election year, so it’s not surprising that President Barack Obama is trying his darndest to shift the blame for record-high fuel prices onto something other than his failed energy policies. Yesterday he made a desperate attempt to distract from those failures and redirect America’s gas price rage with a flawed proposal to punish speculators for supposedly driving up the cost of energy.
Speaking from the Rose Garden, the president announced a proposal to spend $52 million to fund increased government oversight of oil futures market trading in addition to harsher civil and criminal penalties for manipulation in energy markets. “We can’t afford a situation where some speculators can reap millions, while millions of American families get the short end of the stick,” Obama said. “That’s not the way the market should work.”
The implication, of course, is that evil Wall Street barons are the reason gas prices are so high, and that they’re walking away with millions at the expense of the rest of the country. (The president even went so far as to invoke Enron.) That simply isn’t the case, and even the president said that “none of these steps by themselves will bring gas prices down overnight” — a point that White House spokesman Jay Carney reiterated in a press conference later in the afternoon when he admitted “it’s hard to know” what the impact of the president’s proposal would be.