Instead of helping Americans battle rising prices, Biden ups the ‘Big Oil’ blame game

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President Joe Biden says his top domestic priority is helping Americans raise prices in a way they haven’t seen in four decades — but there’s little room for him, his commitment to the president’s actions to question.

On Wednesday, for example, Biden lashed out that gas and oil companies are seeing “historically high profit margins” as prices at the pump topped the national average of $5 a gallon. In a series of letters to CEOs of several major oil producers, Biden threatened to use “all reasonable and reasonable … equipment and emergency permits” to force gas companies to increase refining capacity and production.

There is broad agreement among economists that higher earnings are not driving inflation – something Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen confirmed last week. It’s just as fair to blame “Big Oil” for inflating Biden gas prices as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) blames grocery stores for high food prices. Or, for that matter, as wisely as Biden last November blamed high gas prices on oil companies. This trick has already been tried and failed.

Biden cannot flip the magic switch to increase gas supplies or otherwise lower prices at the pump. Expanding crude supply or refinery capacity takes time and money — and as long as the federal government’s long-term energy policy aims to reduce the role of fossil fuels in the economy, those investments will likely be worthwhile. is less.

But there is a magic switch, the Biden could Flip it tomorrow to save the average American household about $800 a year: it could lift tariffs imposed by former President Donald Trump on steel, aluminum, solar panels and many other goods imported from China.

Yes, it’s fair to say that lifting tariffs won’t solve inflation. This will probably only result from higher interest rates or a weakening recession. However, there is little doubt that tariffs contribute to higher prices across the economy.

A study released earlier this year by the Peterson Institute of International Economics, an economics-focused think tank, found that a “viable package” of tariff elimination could cut the consumer price index by as much as 1.3 percentage points, saving on average $797. Family. This study is supported by economists like Larry Summers, who served as President Obama’s Treasury Secretary, and Democratic politicians like Colorado Gov. Jared Polis,

How many Americans would like to get an extra $800 to cover higher prices for the rest of the year? If you don’t raise a hand, I’ll be happy to do your part.

However, rather than taking action, the White House is reportedly still considering how much of the $800 is due to the average household.

“An impressive study this year predicted that an increase in tariffs could save households $797 a year, but administration officials say the actual impact is likely to be minimal as there’s no chance Mr. Biden will cut all of the federal government’s tariffs and others withdraw protectionist trade measures,” New York Times Reported on Wednesday.

It’s quite an astounding statement considering how far away the White House is, even after months of sympathizing with Americans pressured by high prices.

Biden remains focused on blaming oil companies, the Russian war in Ukraine, and other factors for inflation. It can be an interesting academic exercise to debate how much of the current inflation is due to various factors — including the US bailout plan, which has pumped $1.9 trillion into the economy but has somehow always escaped Biden’s scrutiny. I was successful.

But most Americans probably care less about that debate than they do about an extra $800.

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