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With Newt Gingrich pretending he has a secret plan to slash the price of gasoline, and with the entirety of the Republican Party screaming "drill, baby, drill" and blaming everyone and everything except Big Oil for rising costs at the pump, this week President Obama decided lay out some pesky facts ... starting with the giant, oily elephant in the room:

... at a time when big oil companies are making more money than ever before, we’re still giving them $4 billion of your tax dollars in subsidies every year. Your member of Congress should be fighting for you. Not for big financial firms. Not for big oil companies.

In the next few weeks, I expect Congress to vote on ending these subsidies. And when they do, we’re going to put every single Member of Congress on record: They can either stand up for oil companies, or they can stand up for the American people. They can either place their bets on a fossil fuel from the last century, or they can place their bets on America’s future. So make your voice heard. Send your representative an email. Give them a call. Tell them to stand with you.

The President also points out that there are many factors that affect the price of gas, including manipulation from Wall Street and reiterates that the U.S. is now producing more oil than it has in years, that the number of operating rigs are at an all time high and that our dependence on foreign oil is steadily going down ... but the main message today is to contact your congressmen and senators and tell them to remember who they're supposed to be representing.

Complete transcript below the fold.

Hi, everybody. As I’m sure you’ve noticed over the past few weeks, the price at your local pump has been going up and up. And because it’s an election year, so has the temperature of our political rhetoric.

What matters most to me right now is the impact that rising prices have on you. When you’ve got to spend more on gas, you’ve got less to spend on everything else. It makes things harder. So I wanted to take a minute this weekend to explain what steps my Administration is taking when it comes to energy – most importantly, producing more of it while using less of it.

The truth is: the price of gas depends on a lot of factors that are often beyond our control. Unrest in the Middle East can tighten global oil supply. Growing nations like China or India adding cars to the road increases demand. But one thing we should control is fraud and manipulation that can cause prices to spike even further.

For years, traders at financial firms were able to game the energy markets, distort the price of oil, and make big profits for themselves at your expense. And they were able to do all that because of major gaps and loopholes in our regulations. When I took office, we did something about it.

The Wall Street reforms I signed into law are helping bring energy markets out of the shadows and under real oversight. They’re strengthening our ability to go after fraud and to prevent traders from manipulating the market. So it’s not just wrong, but dangerous that some in Congress want to roll back those protections and return to the days when companies like Enron could avoid regulation and reap enormous profits, no matter who it hurt.

What’s more, at a time when big oil companies are making more money than ever before, we’re still giving them $4 billion of your tax dollars in subsidies every year. Your member of Congress should be fighting for you. Not for big financial firms. Not for big oil companies.

In the next few weeks, I expect Congress to vote on ending these subsidies. And when they do, we’re going to put every single Member of Congress on record: They can either stand up for oil companies, or they can stand up for the American people. They can either place their bets on a fossil fuel from the last century, or they can place their bets on America’s future. So make your voice heard. Send your representative an email. Give them a call. Tell them to stand with you.

And tell them to be honest with you. It’s easy to promise a quick fix when it comes to gas prices. There just isn’t one. Anyone who tells you otherwise – any career politician who promises some three-point plan for two-dollar gas – they’re not looking for a solution. They’re just looking for your vote.  

If we’re truly going to make sure we’re not at the mercy of spikes in gas prices every year, the answer isn’t just to drill more – because we’re already drilling more. Under my Administration, we’re producing more oil here at home than at any time in the last eight years, that’s a fact. We’ve quadrupled the number of operating oil rigs to a record high, that’s a fact. And we’ve opened millions of acres on land and offshore to develop more of our domestic resources.

Those are the facts. But we can’t just rely on drilling. Not when we use more than 20 percent of the world’s oil, but still only have 2 percent of the world’s known oil reserves. If we don’t develop other sources of energy, and the technology to use less energy, we’ll continue to be dependent on foreign countries for our energy needs. That’s why we’re pursuing an all-of-the-above strategy. As we develop more oil and gas, we’re also developing wind and solar power; biofuels, and next-generation vehicles – and thousands of Americans have jobs right now because of it. We need to keep making those investments – because I don’t want to see those jobs go to other countries. I want to create even more of them right here in America.

And after three decades of inaction, we raised fuel economy standards so that by the middle of the next decade, our cars will average nearly 55 miles per gallon. That’s nearly double what they get today. That means you’ll only have to fill up every two weeks instead of every week. And that will save the typical family more than $8,000 over the life of the car – just by using less gas.

Combined, these steps have helped put us on a path to greater energy independence. Since I took office, America’s dependence on foreign oil has gone down every single year. In 2010, for the first time in 13 years, less than half the oil we used came from foreign countries.

We can do even better. And we will. But what we can’t do is keep being dependent on other countries for our energy needs. In America we control our own destiny. So that’s the choice we face – the past, or the future. And America is what it is today because we have always placed our bets on the future. Thanks, and have a great weekend.

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Comment Preferences

  •  He's exactly right on this (13+ / 0-)

    And, I'm hoping this is a kind of open thread diary where I can promote my own diary about why the Republican approach to business and the economy doesn't work. If that's not cool, I apologize.

    My forthcoming book Obama's America: A Transformative Vision of Our National Identity will be published in Summer 2012 by Potomac Books.

    by Ian Reifowitz on Sat Mar 17, 2012 at 07:32:25 AM PDT

  •  Yeah! (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skillet, SaintC, phrogge prince, Bear, Palafox

    Finally!  This is the guy we elected!  Go, Barry O, Go!

    It's soooo nice to see him tackling the big issues head-on with the truth and with rational policy.

    I contradict myself? Very well then, I contradict myself. I am large. I contain multitudes. - Walt Whitman

    by CharlieHipHop on Sat Mar 17, 2012 at 07:37:09 AM PDT

  •  Republicans fighting (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skillet, Pinto Pony, Bear, Words In Action

    for increased Oil Company profits in a reaffirmation of Grand Oil Party.

    And, well, The Republican Agenda will Raise Gas Prices At The Pump

    Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

    by A Siegel on Sat Mar 17, 2012 at 07:37:33 AM PDT

  •  "NEVER!" said the lobbyist (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skillet, Words In Action
  •  Lots of GOP bloviating about gas prices lately.... (4+ / 0-)

    looks like Obama isn't going to roll over......Remember GOP.....'You can't beat something with nothing'....have a nice day.

    •  great point. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Unless the GOP releases a real plan that stands up to independent analysis, all Obama has to do is keep pushing back with facts and numbers.

      of course, facts and numbers just bounce right off the hardened shells of the GOP base, but hopefully they are still effective on moderates and independents.

      "There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: Make the best quality of goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wages possible." - Henry Ford

      by sixeight120bpm on Sat Mar 17, 2012 at 08:31:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  drill baby drill (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bkamr, Palafox, Mistral Wind

    into those obscene big oil subsidies.

    If cats could blog, they wouldn't

    by crystal eyes on Sat Mar 17, 2012 at 07:43:19 AM PDT

  •  end subsidies and give the money as a tax credit (0+ / 0-)
  •  Perhaps the biggest weakness (8+ / 0-)

    the total lack of mention (in any of these speeches) of externalities, including environmental costs  & climate change.

    ExxonMobil: High Earnings, Low Taxes, No Ethics (g1a2d0029c1)

    Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

    by A Siegel on Sat Mar 17, 2012 at 07:44:48 AM PDT

  •  or use it to lower tax on gas at the pump (0+ / 0-)
  •  And subsidies for Alexandra Pelosi's subjects? (0+ / 0-)

    The ones on Real Time last night?  The lazy welfare recipients who admitted they didn't want jobs and fathered numerous children out of wedlock?

    We need to so something about this problem too.  It's not rare, and it's a drag on our otherwise morally superior politics.

    We need to find a way to bring these people back into society.  This is OUR problem, gang.

  •  I would like to hear a president talk about... (4+ / 0-)

    gas prices when they're low.

    "Remember how high gas prices were last year?  And the price spike in 20--?  That is going to happen again.  No matter what we do as a government, as long as this country remains dependent on petroleum as an energy source, the American people are going to be subject to these price spikes over and over again, and it's only going to get worse as demand for oil increases in places like China and India."

    I understand that "There's nothing we can do about oil prices" is not a message the President can push during a price spike, but that just means he can't let the issue drop as soon as the spike is over.

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Sat Mar 17, 2012 at 07:47:04 AM PDT

  •  why not ban the export of refined petroleum ? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    phrogge prince, Words In Action

    In September 2011 the United States exported 3.2 million barrels of refined petroleum products a day and imported just 2.2 million barrels a day. That’s roughly a surplus of exports over imports of a million barrels a day. For the first nine months of 2011, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency, the U.S. exported 752 million barrels of refined petroleum products—gasoline, jet fuel, kerosene, and such chemical industry feed stocks as ethylene, butane, and propylene.

    ** ** ** WTF lower left hand corner of page KOS Media, LLC Site content may be used for any purpose without explicit permission unless otherwise specified

    by vet on Sat Mar 17, 2012 at 07:47:38 AM PDT

    •  Your Idea Is A Loser... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      noladerf, mightymouse

      for the Democrats and the Economy.

      Why not just ban ALL exports and shut down the economy?

      If you want to restrict imports and exports to improve the economy, use the Argentina approach.  Ban exports of raw materials and imports of manufactured materials.  Hurts many producers of raw materials but increases the overall employment rate.

      •  however, it's good to keep pointing out (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Words In Action, Mistral Wind

        that the U.S.  is now a net exporter of gasoline because the refineries can make more $$ selling gas overseas.  So much for drill, sheeple, drill.  

        •  yeah, that's right (0+ / 0-)

          Domestic demand is down, we're producing more oil, importing less. Excess refining capacity is being used for export - good for domestic jobs and trade balance.

          •  "excess refining capacity" (0+ / 0-)

            surely explains why gas prices are so high.  But hey, lower gas prices wouldn't help the domestic economy, so send the excess gas overseas and boost oil co profits instead.

            •  I don't think you understand (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Refiners have to pay globally determined oil prices, which have been going up. Refining profit margins are so low that domestic refiners and downstream divisions of the majors are LOSING money and refineries are being closed.

              •  which kind of kills the domestic drill argument (0+ / 0-)

                it's our oil, so why do we have to pay global prices for it?  Add to that the oil co subsidies, and the whole deal stinks.  

                •  You're still not getting it (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  We import about half of the oil we use, so we have to pay market price for that. If you try to cap price of domestic oil below global prices, all of it will be exported. If you cap prices and ban exports, the domestic oil industry shuts down any investment in new production, and then we'd have to import even more (at global prices, of course).

                  If our international suppliers were to ban exports or become unable to export, prices would skyrocket. Since that day is inevitable, we need to get off of oil, which probably needs to be MORE expensive, not less.

                  •  or how about cap domestic oil price and ban export (0+ / 0-)

                    and let the oil co's shut down investment in new domestic production.  If the cap is reasonable, they will keep on drilling anyway.  As it stands now, we are letting them make huge profits on what should be a publicly owned resource, at our expense at the gas pump (and taxpayer subsidy).  As for getting off oil, maybe some domestic "discipline" would hasten the day, but money rules congress, so we just keep pumping $$ into the hands of the entrenched energy tyrants. Sure, I don't get it, not at all.

                    •  Yeah, ok (0+ / 0-)

                      Intl oil co's will shift more investment overseas and we can import an increasing amount of oil as existing fields deplete or become unprofitable. Sorry, you're just not being realistic.

                      The only hope is to reduce consumption dramatically and incentivize alternatives.

                      Efficiency, switching to NatGas, higher gas/diesel taxes, alternative subsidies and infrastructure investment. Efficiency includes public transportation and rail.

                    •  Price Controls Never Work... (0+ / 0-)

                      They sound great...But the unintended consequences hurt everyone in the long run.

                      If you don't like the profits that Exxon makes, invest in Exxon stock and make those obscene profits for yourself.  Lots of common folks make money off of the oil and gas sector.  Lease payments, employment, and stock ownership (often through 401K and retirement plans) help common folks.

    •  Because ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Refiners are already losing money and shutting down plants in US. If we don't allow excess oil product exports, more refineries will close, reducing capacity which we will probably need when domestic demand grows.

      Refiners have to buy oil at global market prices; if there is a domestic glut, margins disappear, plants shut down.

      •  Wouldn't they be doing more refining, since (0+ / 0-)

        all domestic crude would be refined dmoestically? As it stands, much of that crude is refined elsewhere, no?

        This, too, shall pass. Just like the last global ecological cataclysm. C'est la vie, dude. Take a chill pill, recite the serenity prayer, go with the flow and the moderates into that "goodnight".

        by Words In Action on Sat Mar 17, 2012 at 10:24:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  not sure I understand (0+ / 0-)

          the question. US refineries output is probably roughly constant (on annual basis). The more domestic production, the less of that refining is of imported crude. Of course domestic demand is down, hence "excess refining capacity," and export of refined products. As refineries are shutdown and/or consumption increases, this imbalance will be reduced or go away.

  •  "tensions in Middle East" = sanctions on Iran (0+ / 0-)

    Iran sanctions lower global export #'s and increase prices.

    I guess he didn't want to say that.

    An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

    by mightymouse on Sat Mar 17, 2012 at 07:49:09 AM PDT

  •  Go for it, Obama. But it's going to be a tough (0+ / 0-)

    nut to crack:  I mean, look at how slim big oil's profits are.  :-)

    •  I know that's snark, but... (0+ / 0-)

      It's true that oilco profits are actually relatively modest in return on investment and return on capital employed measures. Profits way up, but capital outlays are ginormous. Profit margins less than 20%, closer to 10-15% over time. Tech and Pharma co's much more profitable and stock prices  over time reflect this.

  •  I'd like to hear him call out (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the Koch brothers, who park oil offshore in tankers until the price rises before refining it into gasoline

  •  Disaster (0+ / 0-)

    Well his money printing orgy has certainly blown out
    consumer inflation and fuels the oil industry earnings,
    so they are multiply subsidized inherent in money printing.

    The most efficient way to destroy the middle class is
    money printing for the bankster cronies.

    Mark my words, any of you with above average incomes,
    fought the debt money systems your whole life achieving,
    working 12 hours a day, may have physical damage of years of corporate terror to sustain a position and income under the cronie oligarch,

    you also have a target on your back to pay for the counterfeit money printing.

    All expenses you have to work, auto to get to work,
    gasoline to get to work, dwelling near work, clothes for work, medical for work noting that you will be fired at 3 days of absence all medical is a work expense.

    All of your hyperinflation employment expenses are not tax deductible, govt and banksters win by printing money, you lose.

    •  What the hell? Inflation is 2.9% so far this year. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It was -0.34% in 2009, 1.64% in 2010, and 3.16% in 2011.

      Meanwhile, unemployment is about 8 and a half percent...and you're worried about inflation?

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Sat Mar 17, 2012 at 08:49:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's what Ron Paul told him to worry about. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joe from Lowell
      •  Oh please (0+ / 0-)

        And the govt numbers state that the savings rate
        is $3000 per month per capita !

        Don't repeat that 2.9% crap here, anyone
        can repeat lies don't make it so.

        Go buy some food, or gas, or clothes,
        or education, or medical care, or auto parts,
        or auto service, or anything and it is 2.9% more
        than last year?

        It grows the same as compounding interest
        on the credit card.

        Do you think the effects of inflation are today, or
        after they blow out interest rates and crash
        municipal and government bonds and the the deficit
        begins growing like a revolving credit card interest.

        There is a lag in all things, just because some tangible
        deflationary effects are used to manipulate the numbers some things you don't need deflate, the things people don't buy, houses for example may deflate, the essentials that no one can avoid buying are more accurately around 6% this year.

        •  So, which is it? They can't both be true. (0+ / 0-)

          Is the 2.9% figure inaccurate, or the inflation you people have been promising for three years just lagging?

          It's certainly true that gas prices have been rising, but that's a consequence of the petroleum mark, not the overall money situation.

          Art is the handmaid of human good.

          by joe from Lowell on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 08:27:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Unemployment (0+ / 0-)

        The lowest income stratus is in a state of permanent
        unemployment. Supposedly retail spending is a record high and the cashier class is still unemployed, funny how govt numbers do not add up. Elder workers above 50 yrs old is also in said state, shadow stats has unemeployment for over 50yrs old, at
        about 40% because they are the first to go because they are the highest paid and the highest medical liability, when the corporations get an excuse.

        The way to fix it is get govt off their backs, which means
        end global warfare.

        All employment losses are to be tax credits, not useless deductions. You should have the same taxation system
        as corporations, income minus expense = taxable net income.

        If you spend $1000 for surgery so you can continue to
        work, just a common simple example, you need to earn
        $1350 to replace that $1000 lost. You are screwed for working and paying tax.

        You gain nothing for working, you exist to pay for
        global warfare.

        If you are forced by foreign wars and police state operations to lose your house and lose your tax deduction, why do you not get a tax deduction for your rent? The govt terrorists forced you out of your house. The govt terrorists ran up gasoline and forced you to relocate closer to work, why are all your losses and moving expenses not tax deductible.

        And I am not even talking tax deductible that is nothing,
        you need to recoup your total govt losses plus tax rate to replace the government financial terror losses.

        Now imagine if you didn't have these terrorists into your W2 and bank account, could you support your children, could your mother live with you, could the economy sustain the natural unemployment rate.

        They don't give a crap about the unemployment rate, it is a myth to modify your behavior, they only care about keeping young elderly and even socially unemployable in the tax base.

        The head Rockefeller said he created the women's lib movement to get them into the tax base. I well remember the propaganda in the early days on TV to
        trick them into the tax base.

        The unemployment should not be 8% because that many people should not even be in the workforce, you should be able to support a family on one income if you did something about the govt warfare and tax terrorists.

  •  Why didn't he take the same time (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Satya1, Words In Action

    to call for funding of the CFTC so that the manipulation of oil prices in the futures market can be dealt with at least somewhat?

    "I wish I could tell you, in the midst of all of this, that President Obama was waging the kind of fight against these draconian Republican proposals that the American people would like to see. He is not." -- Senator Bernie Sanders

    by Sagebrush Bob on Sat Mar 17, 2012 at 07:58:18 AM PDT

  •  Yes Yes Yes Mr. President. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Keep putting this in the GOP's face over and over and over and over and over!!!!

  •  The subsidies should end (4+ / 0-)

    But let's not kid ourselves, the oil companies will jack prices up even further and blame it on that.

    Americans need to quit acting like they're entitled to cheap gas. It's harmful, destructive, and grossly overused. I support what he says here and I know he can't tell American voters to just suck it up and deal with it, but my god, these speeches on gas prices drive me crazy.

    P.S. I am not a crackpot.

    by BoiseBlue on Sat Mar 17, 2012 at 08:01:53 AM PDT

  •  Obama's an Endangered Species (0+ / 0-)

    Bucking Big Oil takes some guts ... even if you are the President. Obama is certainly a rare bird, a politician fighting against corporate greed. Politicians' servitude to the corporate elite is a cancer on Democracy. I posted a video on youtube called "The Art Of Corpocracy" that addresses the issue. Pass it around , maybe it will inspire people to elect more leaders like the President. After all, we have to protect our endangered species.

  •  So... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    noladerf, mightymouse
    ...the U.S. is now producing more oil than it has in years, that the number of operating rigs are at an all time high and that our dependence on foreign oil is steadily going down...
    The question is, how much of an impact has this had on the market price of oil? I mean, isn't the Right saying that just the mere mention of us drilling for more oil is going to make the price of oil go down??? Because of this, are we paying less than what we would for a gallon of gas had these increases in production not happened?
    •  yeah you right... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Our modest production growth (and reduced demand) doesn't offset global demand growth and nearly flat production so prices negligably affected. I'm all for decreasing consumption and increasing domestic production, but "drill, baby, drill" won't have significant impact on oil prices.

  •  Capitalistic Big Oil (0+ / 0-)

    Oil now produced in America is being exported out of the country by big OIL.

    Drill baby Drill?  Oil produced will not remain in America.  Americans pay $5 a gallon and big exports American OIL to other countries to make a buck.

    And Americans pay $5 a gallon.
    And Republicans support big OIL.

    And Republican policies will produce $2.50 gasoline.

    If you think for one moment that statement is truthful, then I have some swamp land that I would like to unload on you.


    •  No, that's incorrect (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      We export a small amount of refined products like gasoline and jet fuel, but we are still a giant net oil importer (a little less than 50% of what we use.

      Small net export of refined products is happening now because reduced domestic consumption has created excess refinery capacity. This situation is unlikely to last as refining margins are so low (and even negative), that refineries are being shut down.

      Overall, oil products export is a good thing. US plants and workers add value to the product and sell it overseas, reducing trade deficit.

  •  In the category of better late than never, (0+ / 0-)

    balanced by his willingness to support unstainable energy over the years until now, one can only wonder very seriously if this is just election year rhetoric.

    Even if it is, I'll take it. It's important enough that the message be publicized to endorse it than to quibble over the sincerity and commitment of the speaker.

    This, too, shall pass. Just like the last global ecological cataclysm. C'est la vie, dude. Take a chill pill, recite the serenity prayer, go with the flow and the moderates into that "goodnight".

    by Words In Action on Sat Mar 17, 2012 at 10:15:29 AM PDT

  •  Maybe the president (0+ / 0-)

    should start reminding people who started those Oil Subsidies

    and HOW they were started ...

    The lasting legacy of Dick Cheney
    by jamess -- Mar 17, 2012

    I think the people would understand ...

    What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.
    -- Maslow ...... my list.

    by jamess on Sat Mar 17, 2012 at 12:16:48 PM PDT

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