Gas Prices

It’s been in the news a lot lately and now I got this email:

Ok, so let’s investigate these “soaring” gas prices.  I went ahead and checked out gas prices before President Obama took office.  That is, before the start of this GOP graph.  Here is the result:

Now, you can easily see how the GOP tries to trick you.  The prices dove to levels that haven’t been seen in about 8 or so years (note, this is crude oil but it should be about the same):

Now, under what President prices started to go up?  President Bush in his first term.

Ok, so we now have established that President Obama didn’t create the rise in gas prices, but what has he done to counter them?

In order to answer that question, we have to look at what causes gas prices to rise.  First of all, the US does have a lot of oil and this can be used for gasoline.  Other places on this planet also have oil.  So what does that mean?  Well, if other places can sell us oil at a cheaper rate than we can produce, we will do that, as well as, produce some of our own to consume.  The point is, producing a large amount of the oil in the US–oil dependency–will cause prices to rise.

Another reason is that there are other countries that want a lot of oil and thus, they will pay more for it.  Take China for example, they need a ton of oil to support their massive economy.  And what happens when they demand a lot of oil?  The prices go up.  This is a big cause of increasing gas prices.

Now there are other things that can cause prices to fluctuate, war (yes the ones we are in), oil spills, etc.  But what do these all have in common?  The President can’t directly control prices like many people think.

So, let’s look at what President Obama has done about this:,

American oil production is the highest that it’s been in eight years, and we are less reliant on foreign oil than at any time in the last 16 years. Natural gas production is at an all-time high.

Now, republicans always complain about how he has reduced our national security by relying on others for oil, etc  Here you can easily see that is not true:

So then, what has President Obama done?

He has lowered the dependence on foreign oil, increased production at home, all while keeping prices consistent or lower to the previous 4 years.  Republicans wanted independence from foreign oil, wanted more oil production at home and wanted gas prices lower.  This has for all practical purposes been done by President Obama.  And now, what has the delusional party acknowledged?  That prices are higher than the day President Obama took office.  That’s how you lie with statistics.

This is exactly how the republicans treat anything a democrat does, regardless of weather or not they wanted it.  When they get everything they asked for, it’s still not good enough.  So the question really is, are they actually that delusional?  I think it varies, but overall, it’s an overwhelming yes.

Now I should note, that a gas tax would be helpful.  See here:


The Iraq War. In Retrospect.

Today, Think Progress put together some numbers on the Iraq War.  And for those who haven’t seen any news,  Obama announced that all troops will be home by the holidays.

8 years, 260 days since Secretary of State Colin Powell presented evidence of Saddam Hussein’s biological weapons program

8 years, 215 days since the March 20, 2003 invasion of Iraq

8 years, 175 days since President George W. Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” speech on the USS Abraham Lincoln

4,479 U.S. military fatalities

30,182U.S. military injuries

468contractor fatalities

103,142 – 112,708 documented civilian deaths

2.8 millioninternally displaced Iraqis

$806 billion in federal funding for the Iraq War through FY2011

$3 – $5 trillion in total economic cost to the United States of the Iraq war according to economist Joseph E. Stiglitz and Linda J. Blimes

$60 billion in U.S. expenditures lost to waste and fraud in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001

0 weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq

Now the reason for Obama “bringing” our troops home is because Iraq would not grant US troops or trainers “immunity.”

Now, because this withdrawal deadline of December 31st, 2011 was something the Bush signed and that Iraq wouldn’t grant immunity.  It was more of, Iraq kicking us out.  I wonder why?  After all, we only destroyed all of their infrastructure and killed over 100,000 civilians…  But then again, Obama could have kept us there longer.  So, he does deserve credit.

Either way, this is better than what Romney and Perry want.

Romney first,

“President Obama’s astonishing failure to secure an orderly transition in Iraq has unnecessarily put at risk the victories that were won through the blood and sacrifice of thousands of American men and women. The unavoidable question is whether this decision is the result of a naked political calculation or simply sheer ineptitude in negotiations with the Iraqi government. The American people deserve to hear the recommendations that were made by our military commanders in Iraq.”

And Perry,

Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) took a similar tone in a statement, saying he’s “deeply concerned” about the decision, and not offering any consideration to the Iraqis views. “The President was slow to engage the Iraqis and there’s little evidence today’s decision is based on advice from military commanders,” Perry said.

Ok, Think Progress notes that,

While it’s unclear what Romney means by failing “to secure an orderly transition in Iraq” (this process has been underway for years now), by asking to know what “our military commanders in Iraq” recommended, Romney doesn’t seem to understand that it was ultimately up to the Iraqis to decide whether U.S. troops stayed in Iraq past the 2011 deadline, not the U.S. military.

The Obama administration reportedly planned to keep upwards of 5,000 U.S. troops or “trainers” in Iraq past 2011 but the Iraqis refused to grant American soldiers immunity from Iraqi law.

Well, good.

It’s interesting that Romney and Perry wanted the troops to remain in Iraq considering this war is strongly opposed.  But then again, it is Romney and Perry…

Oh, and fine, I’ll add this last bit about Bachmann at the Debate the other night.  This is what she said,

Cutting back on foreign aid is one thing. Being reimbursed by nations that we have liberated is another. We should look to Iraq and Libya to reimburse us for part of what we have done to liberate these nations.

Yes, I’m sure after “liberating” them by destroying all of their buildings, and killing over 100,000 people, the first thing on their mind is how they will “repay” us for our “service.”  Looks like they will gladly pay something on the order of $3-5 trillion…  Yeah,  good logic there Bachmann.
Maybe this can be the much needed stimulus?!  Somehow I doubt it… and I don’t think that is a pessimistic view either.

Anyways, congrats to Obama.

Austerity Leading to Global Disaster?

As Paul Krugman has said all along, this is not the time for austerity.

Wow, what a surprise. A U.N. study says austerity, spending cuts, and deregulation are hurting (destroying) economies worldwide. What do they suggest to do instead? Spend! Stop focusing on supply and instead focus on demand! It’s macroeconomics 101.

Austerity is the wrong way.