Thursday, September 14, 2006

Where's the Outrage?

Not too long ago, Congressional Democrats were demanding hearings on soaring gas prices, and proposing a windfall profits tax on big oil. Exxon-Mobil's quarterly profits of $25 billion were described as "obscene," and proof-positive that the oil companies were gouging the American consumer.

Three months later, gas prices are down 50-60 cents a gallon (in most locations), and further drops seem likely. At some spots in Iowa, gas has already dipped below $2 a gallon. But where's the outrage from the Democrats? Such a dramatic decrease in prices--less than two months before an election--must be prima facie evidence that big oil and those evil Republicans are manipulating the energy market for political gain. Why aren't Charles Schumer and Hillary Clinton demanding immediate hearings on this mysterious price decrease?

Fact is, even Chuckie and Hillary have some understanding of market economics--or, at the very least, an instinct for keeping their mouths shut at the appropriate time. It doesn't take a PhD in economics to figure out the reasons behind the recent price drop: decreased demand, increased supplies, fewer interruptions in supplies, and the seasonal transition to fall and winter, which requires fewer blends of gasoline from refiners.

BTW, another crusader for a windfall profits tax on big oil--Bill O'Reilly--has been somewhat quiet on the subject as well. I'm still waiting for O'Reilly to claim that his "crusade" against price gouging somehow influenced the market, and helped drive prices down.

No comments: