Want proof that the Biden administration is really the second incarnation of the Carter administration? We have runaway inflation, Americans trapped overseas, a member of the first family who tried to do business with Libya and a president begging the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies (OPEC Plus) to increase oil production. It’s like the 1970s all over again.
Gas prices have risen $1 a gallon since Joe Biden’s election. Natural gas prices have shot up more than 150 percent.
This is the result of deliberate policy choices. Biden has made clear his intention to tax and regulate the fossil fuel industry out of existence. During the 2020 campaign, he declared, “I guarantee you. We’re going to end fossil fuel.”
Well, those threats have consequences. Today, the number of rigs producing oil across the United States is 528, roughly half its 2019 peak under President Donald Trump.
When you tell oil producers you plan to put them out of business, they are not going to bolster production or drill more wells. When your $3.5 trillion “Build Back Better” plan would impose punitive taxes on oil and gas, the producers are going to get the picture that building back better doesn’t include them.
And when you make clear you plan to destroy an industry, banks and investment firms stop investing in it.
The result? Less fossil fuel production and higher prices — with lower-income Americans who can afford it the least penalized the most at the pump.
Biden’s energy policy is not only hostile, it is incoherent. The president canceled the Keystone XL pipeline between the United States and Canada, but then greenlighted the Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Russia and Germany.
He declares his intention to reduce fossil fuel production at home in the name of climate change, but then asks OPEC Plus to produce more oil abroad. Increased production will result in the same carbon emissions no matter where the oil is drilled.
Why not produce it here in America?
Under Trump, the United States became an energy superpower. He withdrew from the Paris climate accord, approved the Keystone XL pipeline, opened the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to exploration, rolled back Obama-era regulations that held back domestic exploration and production, and enabled the United State to supplant Russia and Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer. That not only created millions of jobs, it made America energy independent for the first time in years.
Now, in just a few short months, Biden has brought us back to where we were in the Carter years — pleading with a foreign oil cartel to increase production rather than increasing production ourselves.
During the 1970s, when America was locked in a twilight struggle with Soviet communism, what did the left demand? Nuclear disarmament. It took the election of a new president, Ronald Reagan, who launched a massive nuclear buildup, to secure our position as the world’s preeminent nuclear superpower and win the Cold War.
Well today, America has become the world’s preeminent energy superpower. And what is the left demanding? Energy disarmament. At the very moment the United States has achieved strategic dominance in a critical area for our economic and national security, the Biden administration and its progressive allies want to unilaterally disarm.
And with energy prices skyrocketing, Americans are now paying the price for the Democrats’ war on fossil fuels.
All we need is for bell bottoms and disco to come back, and our transformation into the Carter era will be complete.
The writer is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (aei.org) in Washington. A longer version of this article appeared in the Washington Post.