Rising gas prices have helped drive down President Obama's approval ratings, according to recent polls and Obama himself. Fighting back, the president said over the weekend that, while there's no "silver bullet" to lower gas prices, he's appointing a Justice Department–led task force to investigate potential fraud by market speculators. He also called for an end to $4 billion in federal subsidies for oil companies "at a time when they’re making record profits and you’re paying near record prices at the pump." Is an investigation a waste of time?
Good for Obama: Be grateful that "Obama has finally agreed to look into reasonable suspicions that skyrocketing gas prices may be the work of market speculators," says the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle in an editorial. He may not find anything — George W. Bush and the GOP Congress didn't when they looked in 2005 and 2006 — but by launching an investigation he's "at least calmed a lot of understandable angst felt by consumers."
"What's behind rising gas prices?"
Obama's the problem, not the solution: The president would be better off reopening the JFK assassination inquiry, "because he’s not going to find a satisfying conspiracy in gas prices," says Nicolas Loris at the Heritage Foundation. Instead of pointing fingers at speculators, he should crack open an Economics 101 textbook and read about supply and demand. "'Drill Here, Drill Now' isn't a panacea," but it's better than anything Obama is pushing.
"Obama's blame of speculators, forming of gas task force misguided"
Little can be done to lower gas prices: If there's fraud here, says Stephen Stromberg in The Washington Post, it's that "the president and Republicans in Congress continue to fuel the myth that the federal government might, with an investigation here or plans to drill there, affect the short-term world-market price of a commodity America doesn't and never will control." This is an old political game, but it's time we all grow up and act like adults. "Rising gas prices simply aren't Barack Obama's fault. Just as they weren't George Bush's fault."
"Obama, GOP's empty war on gas prices"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 7 things the world's happiest people do every day
- How U.S. special forces are preparing for the worst-case scenario in North Korea
- Why you shouldn't eat dog. Not even once.
- Why you should really take a nap this afternoon, according to science
- Why Israel can no longer let the Palestinian Authority be responsible for security in the West Bank
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Why charity can't solve society's deepest problems
- Grammar quiz: Do you know the passive voice?
Subscribe to the Week