Last night, President Barack Obama dropped the biggest campaign gaffe of the season – only the media wasn’t watching. It happened during his testy exchange with Mitt Romney over gas prices. First, Obama denied that he’d done anything about denying licenses on oil and gas; he backed off of that shortly. Then he denied that production on federal land was down; he was lying. Finally, Romney hit him with this devastating line:
The proof of whether a strategy is working or not is what the price is that you're paying at the pump. If you're paying less than you paid a year or two ago, why, then, the strategy is working. But you're paying more. When the president took office, the price of gasoline here in Nassau County was about $1.86 a gallon. Now, it's $4.00 a gallon.
Obama’s response was horrendous:
Well, think about what the governor -- think about what the governor just said. He said when I took office, the price of gasoline was $1.80, $1.86. Why is that? Because the economy was on the verge of collapse, because we were about to go through the worst recession since the Great Depression, as a consequence of some of the same policies that Governor Romney's now promoting. So, it's conceivable that Governor Romney could bring down gas prices because with his policies, we might be back in that same mess.
In other words, bringing down gas prices by drilling creates economic recession. That was Obama’s argument.
Does anyone think this president understands basic economics?
In point of fact, many economists believe that high gas prices in 2007 led to the subprime mortgage crisis that drove our economy over the cliff. People had to choose between gas and mortgages, and they chose gas. Actually, high gas prices have routinely been associated with recession and rotten economies – just ask Jimmy Carter, or Richard Nixon during the OPEC embargo of 1973. If low gas prices led to recession, why was the average price per gallon of gas $4.12 just before the economy cratered in late 2008?
Obama might argue that recession leads to low gas prices, due to lack of demand. And he’d be right – during the worst throes of recession, gas prices (along with all other prices) drop. But Obama didn’t argue that. Instead, he argued that low gas prices destroy the economy. Which is simply asinine. And if that asinine argument means that Obama is fine with high gas prices, we’re set for a second recession.