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Monday, May 29, 2006

Bush's $15-a-Barrel Blunder - by Rosa Brooks

With Gas prices higher than they've been since the 1979 oil crisis, consumers and politicians from both parties are desperately seeking someone to blame.
It's tempting to go after big oil companies such as Shell and ExxonMobil. After all, they're chortling over their quarterly profit figures while the rest of us are miserably tightening our belts.
But righteous indignation over windfall oil company profits shouldn't blind us to the real scandal. The current high gas prices have more to do with foolhardy Bush administration policies than with greedy oil companies.
In the global marketplace, the price of oil is a simple function of supply and demand. When supply is low and demand is high, prices go up. And on both sides of the supply-and-demand equation, American consumers can thank the administration for the sorry situation we're in. The administration's irresponsible domestic energy policies have helped boost the global demand for oil, while its feckless foreign policies have helped reduce the global supply.
On the domestic policy front, it's old news that the Bush administration has long thwarted meaningful efforts to reduce U.S. dependence on oil. Despite President Bush's admission in this year's State of the Union speech that the U.S. is "addicted to oil," his administration has made few serious attempts to develop conservation programs, tighten auto fuel standards or invest in alternative energy sources.


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