Barack Obama and the truth are often at odds, and this is a wonderful example
This week he introduced a new prop to illustrate his point. As Obama spoke, a chart popped up on television screens behind him. The graph showed U.S. dependence on foreign oil falling since 2005 — from 60% of net imports to 45% in 2011.
The White House handed out copies to the crowd. Obama told them to take it home — “it makes for a great conversation piece at parties. Now, one reason our dependence on foreign oil is down is because of policies put in place by our administration and my predecessor’s administration. And whoever succeeds me will have to keep it up.”
Actually, Obama had nothing to do with driving it down. The recession did that.
And as far as dependency on foreign oil?
(charts courtesy of Tim Wallace)
There you have it. President Obama absolutely did not cut dependency on foreign oil. In fact, foreign oil dependency rose from roughly 37% to 40% under his administration. To be more precise, foreign petroleum usage in his administration went from 37% to a peak of 41% last year, currently at 39.9%.
The only way Obama can take credit for the decline in consumption caused by the recession, is to take credit for the recession itself.
And that would be reasonable.
With gas prices at record highs and with no “magic bullets” available, what is Obama’s course of action?
It is good news that domestic production is increasing, but that is occurring in spite of Obama’s policies, not because of them. They’ve slowed the approval of gas and oil exploration permits to a crawl, haven’t demonstrated that they will support fracking in the long term, still murmur about mandating CO2 emission rules through the EPA, and halted the Keystone Pipeline. The United States has not built a new oil refinery since 1976. There is an effort to build a new one in South Dakota, but Obama’s green allies have held up the process in court for years. It will take four years to build and the hope is that construction can begin by 2013.
At least Obama can take credit for getting our dependence on foreign oil moving in the right direction, right? No, actually, the reduction started in 2006: “U.S. dependence on imported oil has dramatically declined since peaking in 2005.”
So yesterday in New Hampshire, Obama’s plan to deal with high gas prices is to take away tax incentives for oil companies, tax provisions that permit them to deduct a portion of sales to cover capital investment, expense certain drilling and development costs, income tax credits for the costs of “qualified enhanced-oil-recovery” methods. In other words, all of these tax incentives make it easier and cheaper for oil companies to do their jobs – drill and refine oil. Obama wants to make activities like “drilling and development” more expensive… as a response to high gas prices.
This is madness.