Joe Biden’s America-Last Energy Policy

Alarmed by the speed at which the comparisons to Jimmy Carter are mounting, President Biden has sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission in which he pretends to believe that America’s sky-high gas prices are the result of “anti-consumer behavior by oil-and-gas companies.” Given the backdrop against which Biden’s concern must be set, the move could scarcely be less transparent had he stapled a photocopy of his approval rating to the signature page.

That oil prices are higher than they were a year ago is not, for the most part, Joe Biden’s fault. But they’re not the fault of America’s oil-and-gas companies, either, and voters cannot be blamed for noticing that only one of those two potential culprits has been actively trying to make things worse. As CNBC noted yesterday, America’s oil-and-gas companies are desperate to help, and they seem utterly perplexed by the president’s wholesale lack of interest in their wares. In a statement released on Tuesday, the chief executive of Occidental Petroleum, Vicki Hollub, summed up this incredulity when she wondered aloud why Biden has chosen to prioritize Saudi-based cartels such as OPEC over U.S.-based producers such as her own. “If I were gonna make a call,” Hollub mused, “it wouldn’t be long distance, it would be a local call.”

Hollub is, of course, correct. But, alas, she and her peers have their work cut out for them moving forward, for there is nothing about President Biden’s cynical and self-contradictory approach that makes even the slightest bit of sense. Simultaneously Biden has taken to arguing (a) that the United States should reduce the production of fossil fuels, curb the number of new pipelines on American soil, limit the amount of federal land on which oil and gas can be drilled, and, as CNN puts it, break sharply “from the Trump administration’s mission to maximize fossil fuels production”; (b) that other countries must produce more fossil fuels for American use at once — and, indeed, that at this “critical moment in the global recovery,” their refusal to do so is irresponsible; and (c) that, actually, this isn’t a supply issue at all, but a dastardly gouging issue that the FTC must investigate post-haste. I’ve heard of an “all of the above” energy policy, but this one seems a touch ridiculous.

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Worse yet, Biden has adopted a set of positions that make him a bystander in the areas over which he has some authority, and a beggar in the areas over which he has none. Biden canceled the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would have aided North American production, but has waived U.S. sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which runs from Germany through to Russia. He has denied permits for drilling on American-owned land, but has begged OPEC to ramp up their exports. And, all the while, he has flitted wildly between selling his wide-eyed solutions to the “climate crisis” — including agreeing to end all public financing for international fossil-fuels projects by the end of 2022 — while scouring petrofiefdoms such as Saudi Arabia in the hope that they might have some spare supply. “Show, don’t tell,” is good advice when writing fiction. It goes for politics, too.

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Alarmed by the speed at which the comparisons to Jimmy Carter are mounting, President Biden has sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission in which he pretends to believe that America’s sky-high gas prices are the result of “anti-consumer behavior by oil-and-gas companies.” Given the backdrop against which Biden’s concern must be set, the…

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