Barack Obama came into office as an anti-petroleum crusader. He made no bones about the fact that he wanted gas prices to rise; likewise, his Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu, explained that he wanted U.S. gas prices to rise to European levels. In those days, global warming alarmists were riding high, and the Obama administration accepted the idea that to prevent climate change, it should suppress production of domestic oil and gas, thereby raising the price of fossil fuel energy (gasoline, jet fuel, heating oil, coal-fired electricity, etc.) so that Americans would not be able to afford as much of it. This was, of course, a strategy for impoverishing the American people, but in those heady times, the administration considered that a minor inconvenience if not a positive virtue.
Now, however, Obama is running for re-election, and the American people have not enjoyed being impoverished on his watch. Moreover, global warming alarmism has been largely discredited. So Obama is pretending that his administration hasn’t spent the last three years driving energy costs up, on purpose. Chu, however, is a true believer. When he testified before the House Appropriations energy and water subcommittee yesterday, he was asked whether the administration’s goal is to bring down the price of gas for the benefit of consumers. His answer was shocking to those who haven’t been paying attention:
“I can’t look at motivations. I have to look at results. And under this administration the price of gasoline has doubled,” [Congressman Alan] Nunnelee told Chu.
“The people of north Mississippi can’t be here, so I have to be here and be their voice for them,” Nunnelee added. “I have to tell you that $8 a gallon gasoline makes them afraid. It’s a cruel tax on the people of north Mississippi as they try to go back and forth to work. It’s a cloud hanging over economic development and job creation.”
Chu expressed sympathy but said his department is working to lower energy prices in the long term. …
“But is the overall goal to get our price” of gasoline down, asked Nunnelee.
“No, the overall goal is to decrease our dependency on oil, to build and strengthen our economy,” Chu replied. “We think that if you consider all these energy policies, including energy efficiency, we think that we can go a long way to becoming less dependent on oil and [diversifying] our supply and we’ll help the American economy and the American consumers.”
Obama hasn’t changed his mind any more than Chu has, as you can see from his administration’s actions. For the president, expensive energy that depresses all Americans’ standards of living isn’t a bug, it’s a feature.