President Joe Biden is repeating President Barack Obama’s strategy from ten years ago on high gas prices: he is blaming gas companies for “gouging” and forming a “task force” headed by the U.S. Attorney General to investigate the alleged abuse.
In an interview with Cincinnati’s Local 12-WKRC on Monday, Biden responded to a question about high gas prices by saying: “I have the attorney general taking a look at whether or not these gas companies are gouging people.”
Ironically, Biden’s focus on alleged “gouging,” right down to his “task force,” repeats steps taken by Obama in 2011 and 2012. In 2011, Obama told a town hall in Reno, Nevada that he had put Attorney General Eric Holder on the job:
Last month I asked my Attorney General to look into any cases of price gouging so we can make sure nobody is being taken advantage of at the pump. Today, I’m going to go a step further. The Attorney General is putting together a team whose job it is to root out any cases of fraud or manipulation in the oil markets that might affect gas prices, and that includes the role of traders and speculators. We’re going to make sure that nobody is taking advantage of American consumers for their own short-term gain.
That did not yield many answers. But a year later, Obama revived the same task force, as then-press secretary Jay Carney said:
He is also very focused on what Americans are having to endure right now when they fill up their gas tanks. He has made sure, as I think I talked about yesterday, that his Justice Department has reconstituted the group that’s looking into — the unit that looks into potential fraud and speculation. He wants to ensure that we’re making sure that that kind of activity is not taking place, and that consumers aren’t getting gouged.
The “task force” approach appears to be a strategy used by both administrations to give the appearance of concern and action, and to blame a scapegoat, without actually doing anything. In appointing Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate supposed “gouging,” Biden is following Obama’s playbook to the letter.
Biden has refused to look at his own administration’s policies, such as shutting down the Keystone XL pipeline; moving to cancel oil and gas leases; and taking steps to close another pipeline in Michigan, as the White House admitted Monday. The U.S. achieved energy independence and became the world’s number-oil oil producer under President Donald Trump.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.