By Erick Erickson
I operate a small business. While my day job is as a radio host for one of the most-listened-to-talk stations in the country, I have my own business that takes that program and distributes it nationally. I have several people who work for me. I have a daily subscription-based email and ads on my show that generate the revenue to meet payroll, satellite expenses, etc.
I had previously given my employees cost-of-living increases because of inflation. The employees who cannot work from home and must commute will today find some extra money in their check to help with gas costs. Everyone else gets to work from home.
This is not to pat myself on the back or to brag, but to suggest if you are an employer you might want to think similarly. Merely by letting your employees work remotely you are giving them a pay raise of sorts. Every time they have to fill up because of the office commute, you are taking money from them.
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It has been over 40 years since Americans have experienced anything like this, and it is all part of President Joe Biden keeping some key promises.
There are issues related to oil prices that are outside Biden’s control. The Russian invasion of Ukraine and our nation’s willingness to give up Russian oil imports do matter. The ongoing guerrilla efforts by Yemeni terrorists against Saudi production facilities matter. Global demand matters too. Additionally, several American oil refineries have been damaged in hurricanes; at least one has been permanently shut down, while others are undergoing upgrades and repairs.
But Biden has also directly impacted oil and gas prices in the United States. During the 2020 political campaign, Tim Alberta of Politico asked Biden this question: “Three consecutive American presidents have enjoyed stints of explosive economic growth due to a boom in oil and natural gas production. As president, would you be willing to sacrifice some of that growth, even knowing that it could displace thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of blue-collar workers in the interest of transitioning to that greener economy?”
Biden responded, “The answer is yes. The answer is yes.”
In a later debate, Biden made clear he wanted to end the oil and gas industry in the United States. He wanted to end drilling on federal land and in the Gulf of Mexico. He said he wanted to end the oil industry. That was his promise.
When Biden came into office, his administration began pressuring Wall Street firms to stop funding oil ventures. Specifically, he urged Wall Street banks not to fund drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and, when they announced they would not fund the project, Biden terminated the project citing a lack of funding.
Biden also killed the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have increased oil imports from Canada. He imposed a moratorium on leases and reduced the amount of land available for drilling. His administration has dragged its feet on regulatory approvals prior administrations treated as pro forma. There are many variables outside Biden’s control, but those within his control he used to cripple the American oil and gas industry.
The industry takes 20 years to see real returns on investment. Now, with the most powerful man on the planet hellbent on destroying the industry, the oilmen are paying back their shareholders. They are generating returns on previous investments instead of expanding new projects. Who can blame them? The president has made clear he will put them out of business. They are now cashing out, not expanding or undertaking new investments.
Biden could bring gas prices down tomorrow if he were to declare a truce, encourage drilling in ANWR and the Gulf of Mexico and encourage Wall Street to invest in fossil fuels. The oil market is a futures market. Present positive action that shows a future supply is coming will impact the market price now.
But the Biden administration will do none of those things. This is Biden manufacturing a crisis and not letting it go to waste so he can force us into a green new hell.
To find out more about Erick Erickson and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.
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