Pelosi's Cartoonish Comments on Gas Prices

Chris Edwards
Posted: Feb 26, 2012 12:02 AM

The congresswomen’s comments are so cartoonish, I don’t even have to comment on them. But I thought Cato readers would like to know what the minority leader of the U.S. House is saying about rising gas prices. From a Nancy Pelosi press release today:

Independent reports confirm that speculators are driving up the cost of oil, hurting consumers and potentially damaging the economic recovery. Wall Street profiteering, not oil shortages, is the cause of the price spike.

We need to take strong action to protect consumers from this speculation. Unfortunately, Republicans have chosen to protect the interests of Wall Street speculators and oil companies instead of the interests of working Americans by obstructing the agencies with the responsibility of enforcing consumer protection laws.

We call on the Republican leadership to act on behalf of American consumers and join our efforts to crack down on speculators who care more about their profits than the price at the pump even if these spikes harm the American consumer and our economy.

For a rational discussion on energy policy, see Downsizing the Department of Energy.

Department of Energy

The Department of Energy oversees nuclear weapons sites and subsidizes conventional and alternative fuels. The department has a history of fiscal and environmental mismanagement. Further, misguided energy regulations have caused large loses to consumers and the economy over the decades.

The department will spend about $45 billion in 2011, or about $380 for every U.S. household. It employs about 17,000 workers directly and oversees 100,000 contract workers at 21 national laboratories and other facilities across the nation. The department operates 37 different subsidy programs.

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  • Energy Subsidies. The department has spent billions of dollars over the decades on dead-end schemes and dubious projects that have often had large cost overruns.
  • A Brief History of Energy Regulations. Most federal intrusions into energy markets have been serious mistakes. They have destabilized markets, reduced domestic output, and decreased consumer welfare.
  • Energy Intervention Today. The current arguments for energy intervention and energy subsidies fall short.

"All Americans are involved in making energy policy. When individual choices are made with a maximum of personal understanding and a minimum of government restraints, the result is the most appropriate energy policy."

- Reagan administration energy plan, 1981