House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Thursday attacked the country’s oil industry for record-breaking gas prices while they enjoy record profits. And then she reached back in time for a horrible policy that failed miserably the first time around.
The congresswoman accused companies of “exploitation of the consumer,” since fuel is a necessity for most. She, along with the Biden administration and all Democrats, feel intense pressure over inflation that remains near a four-decade high.
Her accusations of price gouging are nothing new as Democratic leadership in both chambers looks to police oil companies. Until this week, she along with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) have been long on rhetoric but short on details of how they will lower pump prices.
Now Pelosi is promoting the Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevention Act. This legislation announced Thursday gives emergency powers to the president to deem “excessive” prices illegal. The Federal Trade Commission could also impose penalties for gouging.
Efforts to persuade OPEC+ nations to increase production failed, half-heartedly restarting some leasing programs is not a near-term solution, and releasing strategic oil reserves was barely a blip on the screen. So now, reaching back five decades to the Carter playbook, there’s a fix.
If at first a bad idea does not succeed, the key apparently is to wait long enough for the nation’s memory to slip and then reintroduce it. However, memories of late-70s stagflation are not gone, and the failure of this policy has already been clearly demonstrated.
Their solution up until now has largely been to throw accusations of “gouging,” “profiteering” and such at “Big Oil.” But nothing meaningful to increase drilling and supply in the world’s largest oil producer — the United States.
Even worse for the party are the signs drivers see that remind them of the state of the economy. It is difficult to counter evidence shown in lighted displays on daily commutes. AAA reports the national average for a gallon of regular gas hit $4.418 on Thursday, pushing the record even higher.
The new/old measure is crafted to target large companies and avoid independently owned stations. The plan is not likely to draw Republican support needed for Senate passage, but like many bills of late, it puts congressional votes on the record.