Saturday, April 20, 2024

Biden Slashes Into Oil Reserve AGAIN As Energy Policy Failure Bites

Two things happened today which were related – and both stem from the utterly impeachable disaster that is Team Biden’s assault on domestic energy production.

First was the decision by OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, to slash production by two million barrels of oil per day. OPEC, largely headed by Saudi Arabia, had been lobbied hard by the Biden administration not to cut production. In fact, Joe Biden, who had insulted the Saudis as a “global pariah” for that regime’s poor human rights record, went begging at their table for production increases he’d already been told by French premier Emmanuel Macron would exceed their capacity.

Biden’s mission turns out to have had the opposite effect. The Saudis recognize that without an American commitment to deploy our vast reserves of domestic petroleum to the market – a commitment they likely see as soon to renew when Team Biden is tossed out of office in the 2024 elections – there’s a great opportunity in spiking the price of oil in the short haul.

Doing so has the intermediate and long-term benefit of clobbering the climate-alarmist Left in elections throughout the West and particularly in America’s midterm elections. Team Biden and its Democrat congressional allies won’t stop talking about ending oil and shifting our transportation sector to electric vehicles, something OPEC countries would rather not see catch on and become mainstream around the world, so crashing the U.S. and European economies with production cuts and giant spikes in oil will do three things – first, lead to massive profits, at least until the deep economic contraction a massive spike in oil prices will cause, second, extract political concessions from desperate politicians like Biden across the West, and third, end the fantasy of shifting away from fossil fuels in the popular mind of Western voters who’ll soon recognize fully that there is no substitute for the internal combustion engine.

It’s smart policy for them. It’s also very easily answerable here at home. The proper response is an all-out push to maximize domestic energy production and recover the United States’ rightful place as a net energy exporter and most prolific producer of oil and natural gas in the world. Doing that also carries with it immense economic benefits largely across the board.

But that wasn’t Biden’s response, which leads us to the second development today. Namely that rather than increase domestic production, Biden announced he’s releasing 10 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, an activity which follows previous releases of more than 200 million barrels from the SPR which will leave it with just over 400 million barrels – the lowest in 40 years.

This at a time when the prospect of war – not a war of choice against some second- or third-rate power in a Godforsaken hellhole a million miles away, but a real war against a nuclear power – is nearer than it’s been since the end of the Cold War. The SPR, mind you, was created to insure our military would have enough of a reserve to fuel our tanks, ships and planes in the event of such a conflict.

And the White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre didn’t exactly turn down the temperature on that score today.

“It’s clear that OPEC+ is aligning with Russia with today’s announcement,” she told reporters aboard Air Force One.

Boy, that’s smart. Signal that your opposition in your escalating Russia-Ukraine war is growing and galvanizing. Way to play it down.

Oil prices have shot up anywhere from 1.5 percent to 4 percent today on the news. And gasoline prices continue to climb upward after dropping for three months over the summer. They’re sky-high compared to when Donald Trump left office and the trend will only go higher even despite the current recession Team Biden refuses to admit exists.

Biden, meanwhile, continues berating oil companies for high prices. He’s attacked gas station owners, who make on average a 1.5 percent profit margin and are mostly independent small businesses, demanding they sell at cost.

It’s unseemly, and more than a bit disconcerting for ordinary Americans watching money drain from their bank accounts and cash reserves, to see our President publicly duking it out with domestic oil producers and sellers as gas prices spiral upward. The abject failure of Biden’s energy policy can’t really be argued at this point; it’s the chief, though hardly the only, reason for our deepening economic malaise.

Every economic downturn of size in modern times has been preceded by a runup in the price of oil. This one is no different, though it looks to be worse since not only are gasoline and diesel in short supply, but virtually everything else is as well.

To say that it didn’t have to be this way is too obvious. But what else is obvious is that Biden and the leftist cabal of operatives who handle him deliberately chose everything our country is suffering through at present.

And Americans know it.

Biden is busy making excuses, of course. He spent months as gas prices skyrocketed – and continues – insisting that this was Putin’s price hike, a reference to Russia’s war in Ukraine which made oil availability dicier and thus inflated the price downstream all the way to the pump. But as the public has cooled to that explanation, and rightly so given that most of the price inflation since Biden’s inauguration had already come prior to the Russian invasion, he keeps looking for bogeymen.

Now it’s Big Oil who’s at fault, as he huffed last week with Hurricane Ian approaching.

Of course, what Biden and his compatriots in the Democrat Party like to call “Big Oil” is actually Medium Oil. Even domestic giants like ExxonMobil and Chevron aren’t really the controllers of the market – far larger are the state-owned oil companies of the OPEC nations.

Y’know, the ones Biden has been trying to cozy up to for more than a year in order to coax more supply from as oil prices rose?

Biden has said it’s not raw petroleum’s availability which is at issue now, but rather the scarcity of oil refined into gasoline and diesel. That our oil companies aren’t refining oil at a proper enough pace. And when Chevron CEO Mike Wirth attempted to engage Biden with a letter outlining some of the public policy causes of the gas shortage and price runup, Biden taunted him by alleging that he’d hurt Wirth’s feelings.

It’s straight out of the old left-wing playbook, with a hefty helping of Saul Alinsky flavor. Pick a bad guy, blame it all on him, then paint yourself as the hero doing battle with the SOB. You can see the contours of that strategy now being drawn around OPEC with the accusation they’re with the Russians. As if any of the OPEC bigshots give a red-hot damn about Democrat messaging.

Nobody’s buying any of this. Why? Even the people who’ll still admit to voting for Biden will confess that they knew from the beginning his agenda was to attempt to push us out of using oil and gas as the basis for our transportation sector. He talked about it incessantly when he was running for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, and even blurted out several tells during the general election campaign. He said he’d end hydraulic fracturing, and oil drilling on federal lands. Once elected, he commenced a war on oil pipelines practically everywhere in North America, greatly reducing pipeline construction not just along the Keystone XL corridor.

Then Biden’s administration sent an army of financial regulators and left-wing activists and shareholders to essentially de-finance oil and gas development projects. A friend in the banking industry recounts a tale of a federal regulator descending like a predatory bird on his institution for having underwritten a loan to an oilfield service company which was a rock-solid borrower, the regulator confessing that anything to do with oil was to be put under the tightest possible scrutiny. The SEC has descended on all kinds of businesses which provide investor financing of oil projects. And so forth.

And then Biden complains about profit-taking in the oil industry and making demands that these companies operate at a loss in the interim period before they’re driven completely out of business by the climate Nazis in the federal government. What else are they supposed to do with the money which would normally be plowed back into exploration and production but now, thanks to regulatory abuse of his own making, isn’t economic?

This is how a lot of the more poorly-run state-owned oil companies are run. Their management is in thrall to stupid, and usually Marxist, politicians who use them as honey pots and neglect new projects in favor of simply milking the older profitable yet declining, ones until nothing is left. Biden’s bans on federal oil leases, regulatory clampdowns both financial and environmental and assault on pipelines in concert with the national breakdown of the supply chain functions similarly to such decisions.

But the analogy fails because Biden isn’t able, as Mexican, Venezuelan and other tin-pot pols can do with their national oil companies, to raid the till. Those profits aren’t his – yet. That’s why he’s been trying to sell some sort of windfall profit tax on the fossil fuel industry as a means of reducing prices at the pump.

All of it is economic illiteracy, but it’s presented in an effort to escape the reality of the situation. Namely, that when Biden took office America was energy independent, his policies took that away, when the price of energy headed skyward, as it inevitably would, he begged at OPEC’s table for a bailout rather than back off from his own destructive policies.

Which we now see was horribly ineffective.

And in moments where he adheres to his larger message, Joe Biden waxes poetic about how someday soon America won’t need oil and gas because we’ll all be driving electric cars as part of some “incredible transition” we’re undergoing thanks to his leadership.

It’s a dog’s breakfast of dumb policy, worse messaging and unforgivable bad faith. And even a lot of Biden voters can smell the contempt for America which wafts from this pungent mess.

As I note in my book The Revivalist Manifesto, out now at Amazon, Biden’s oil policy is the most obvious example of the anti-Americanism that underlies his regime and his party today. His polling numbers show the public won’t stand for it.

A reckoning is coming. Not just in November.