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President Obama : Gas Prices, the Economy and His Own Words

Updated on October 10, 2013
Gas Prices Keep Going Up...what's (left) in your wallet?
Gas Prices Keep Going Up...what's (left) in your wallet?

The Candidate vs. The President

The following article is a comparison of what was said by Candidate Obama while running for election in 2008, in relation to gas prices and the economy as a whole, and what has occurred since he took office. He stated that these issues were vitally important and that the government should, and would, improve them if he were elected President. He did indeed claim that it was the failure of the then current Administration's policies that had caused the "dangerous and urgent threats" and that he had the ideas and policies that would fix them. He did say that it was the government's job and that it would be fixed. This article does include a few funny little things called percentages, prices and direct quotes. Don't be afraid of them...well, maybe just a little.

WHAT THIS ARTICLE IS NOT : I am not promoting another candidate here and am merely pointing out the facts as they pertain to THIS Administration. I will be glad to discuss, in an orderly, civil and meaningful way, the merits of the article's content. I will NOT (in this article anyway) be discussing the previous election for President by way of "but, Romney" or "when Bush". I want to stick to the actual content of this article. I make this request as i know it is very easy for political and economic articles to go down various and sundry rabbit holes...I say this from experience in that I have rabbit-holed myself on a few occasions. :)

Gas Prices, Fuel Crisis

In May 2008 candidate Obama said of current gas prices at the time, "For the well-off in this country high gas prices are mostly an annoyance, but to most Americans they're a huge problem, bordering on a crisis." Then in August of that same year he said, "one of the most dangerous and urgent threats this nation has ever faced" that gas prices "are wiping out paychecks and straining businesses." He followed with this statement, about government's role in gas prices, "it was a clear sign of Washington's failure to lead on energy."

Candidate Obama correctly stated that high gas prices are a detriment to individuals, businesses and the economy as a whole. High gas prices increase the cost of all goods and services by way of production and transportation costs. He set the parameters of culpability and placed them firmly at the feet of those who occupy Washington. "It was a clear sign of Washington's failure to lead on energy". When Obama was sworn into office, in Washington, as President of the United States, the price at the pump was down to around $1.85 per gallon on a national average from it's high of just over $4.00. The national average price for gasoline had gone DOWN more than 90% from it's highest point. We are now enjoying national average prices of $3.55+ per gallon. That is a 93% increase in less then 4 years. Now, some will argue that the President can't control the price of gas and that this is not a fair assessment of the President's energy policies. First, he himself said it was "a clear sign of Washington's failure to lead on energy" when he was discussing the previous Administration as it related to gas prices and therefor any argument to the contrary would be stating that, as a candidate, Obama was not being truthful in his accusations. Secondly, in stating that it was "huge problem, bordering on a crisis" during his campaign for the office of the President, he must have felt that it would be his responsibility, as President, to fix the problem though policy change and a comprehensive energy plan. Finally, the only increase in production and new drilling was on private or State property that the Federal government had NO jurisdiction over. Meaning, that any increases were in spite of and not because of the President's energy plan (or lack there of). Where he could have pushed for more production he did not and actually refused to allow growth where it had previously been approved.

If the price per gallon of gas was "wiping out paychecks and straining businesses" when candidate Obama was running for President, what are $3.55+ per gallon prices doing? Who did he say gas prices affected most? "Most Americans" except the "well-off" was how he put it. So, it can be concluded that under the Obama administration we have seen an increased burden put on the "middle" class, the poor and an increase cost of doing business on small businesses by way of a 93% increase in gas prices and that it is a "clear sign of Washington's failure to lead on energy". But, was it a "happy accident" that prices are rising? His Energy Secretary in 2008, Steven Chu, was quoted in the Wall Street Journal as saying, "Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe." and Obama agreed, but said it should be gradual so as not to shock people. At the time gas prices in Europe were averaging $7.00+ per gallon. Will it take 4 more years to get to the coveted $7.00+ price per gallon? Will he be given the chance?

Post 2012 Election: Debt Ceiling

When, then Senator, Obama spoke about the possibility of raising the debt ceiling under President Bush, he said, “The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. government can’t pay its own bills. ... I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit.” and that it was "unconstitutional" and "unpatriotic". He then voted against doing so. He claimed that increased spending and borrowing from China and the debt that would be incurred would be detrimental to the nation. And, with that thought process, I agree. But, now that he wants to grow the federal government in both size and scope, it is apparently a just and noble cause. We are unhinged from the Constitution and the limiting power of the 10th Amendment. Washington, on both sides of the isle, is out of control and stripping liberty away while destroying the Republic.

And then... the other stuff.

Couple the above items with the increased cost associated with Obamacare, payroll tax increases and the other tax factors in play that are increasing the costs of goods and services, and you get less spendable income. Where are you cutting back?

What's (left) in Your Wallet?

Have the increases in the cost of fuel, whether directly or indirectly, affected your personal or business budget? (regardless of why prices have gone up)

See results


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    • Mitch Alan profile image

      Mitch Alan 5 years ago from South Jersey

      JohnfrmCleveland, No he was specifically speaking about gas prices. Also, if you re-read my Hub I am specifically addressing his claims about what the federal government under the leadership of the President can and should do. He claimed it was the Bush administration's fault and that he could and would do better. I'm not addressing the issue of whether or not the President can or should affect gas prices, but rather his specific claims and asking why he isn't held to his own standards.

    • JohnfrmCleveland profile image

      John 5 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      To be fair, I think Obama's promise to address the energy problem was to encourage alternative energies. We really have little control over the price of oil. And as for the price of gas in Europe, their gas taxes are higher, and that higher price reflects the true cost of gas more accurately. We basically subsidize gas with tax dollars, because we don't subsume all of the indirect costs into our gasoline taxes. Roads, air pollution, traffic control, safety - all of those things cost money, and they are only partially paid for with gas taxes. And the biggie, of course, is the cost of our military involvement in the Middle East. We pay for all of this with other taxes, while gas taxes are kept artificially low.

    • Mitch Alan profile image

      Mitch Alan 5 years ago from South Jersey

      Wayne, thanks for reading and your comments...I'm not sure where you stand...haha.

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas

      Obama's primary purpose in office is to make sure Americans eventually suffer as much as he perceives other people of the world suffering. He has not interest in improving the lives of American people but more simply wants to grow the power and control of the federal government in every way while at the same making sure that we drive this baby right off the financial cliff of disaster. Spending has increased only a mere 140+% since he took office. The federal government has expanded by a factor of at least 17%; our military is shrinking as is our nuclear arsenal and he wants further cuts; Obamacare will drive the medical industry into mediocrity at best and raise the price of marginal medical care while adding at least $600 billion dollars in additional costs to taxpayers annually. The private sector is all but stagnant living in fear of Obama's next move on regulation, taxation, or healthcare, welfare is at record-breaking highes in terms of payouts by the government, our federal system of checks and balances is in disarray and our Constitution is under attack. Never mind the multitude of communists who are either working at or frequenting the White House....yeah, Mr. Clinton, we're so much better off now than at the end of 2008. Don't piss down my back and tell me that it's raining. ~WB

    • Mitch Alan profile image

      Mitch Alan 5 years ago from South Jersey

      Aaron, thanks for reading...Oh, how i wish he were a mythical character. Good luck with the home purchase. Be prudent and wise and don't get in too deep. Keep Hubbing.

    • profile image

      AaronHubb89 5 years ago

      Our current President has not followed through as you have pointed out. I don't know why people think of him as a Robin Hood of American Government. A man wasked a trivia question that stated: "What English mythical character was praised for stealing from the rich and giving to the needy?" this obviously ignorant individual responded: "Obama". Oh, btw, this was poor man who was doing the trivia to not have his car repossessed. How are we justifying his being in office? I'm not trying to start an argument for anyone who reads this, I'm just venting lol. But seriously, what has he done for the middle class? What has he done for me? I'm struggling to get by with a wife, a daughter, two cars (one of them a piece a crap), and currently don't even own a house. We are going to be jumping into the house debt here soon hopefully but what will our finances be then? I know we are going to be living paycheck to paycheck for a while because even with all of our money saved, I don't make enough to actually progress in my life circumstances. The economy needs to change so that people like me, the middle class (which makes up the majority of Americans, can live the American dream of prosperity. Every politician lies, but this is getting ridiculous. I'm voting him out. Great hub, loved the facts that you pointed out.