Kuntz: 99 problems, but the pres ain't one


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Last week, Americans for Prosperity stopped in different Iowa towns in an effort to highlight what the group believes are President Obama’s failed energy policies. The group offered some lucky Iowans gasoline for only $1.84 per gallon on Sept. 25. The group used this stunt in an attempt to persuade Iowans that Obama’s energy initiatives have failed the nation and the high cost of gas shows that his policies are not working.

However, the entire stunt is misleading, because increased gas prices are not the fault of this president and could not be reversed by another. The government can only do so much to affect gas prices, and the current president has been doing many of those things.

For example, during the Obama presidency, even though some Congressional representatives proposed increases, the gas tax did not rise and is still as low today as it was in 1997. Also, the president did oversee increases in domestic production of oil, to the point that the United States has been a net exporter of oil in the last two years, and U.S. imports of foreign gasoline have decreased in the last four years — but prices at the pump have remained high.

As much as Iowans may want the federal government to subsidize gas at the pump so that it cost less than $2, as Americans for Prosperity did on Sept. 25, it’s simply infeasible. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American spent more than $2,600 on gasoline and motor oil in 2011. That sort of subsidy would be completely irresponsible.

Unfortunately, none of the options for government interference in an international marketplace are realistic, because gas is simply in high demand with limited supply. However, the president has done many of the things he could do to keep prices low, but it turns out that the president is not in charge of gas prices.

Iowans do not have to support this president, but they should not be fooled by ill-advised political stunts.  There are 99 problems that determine gas prices, but the president isn’t one.

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