Skyrocketing oil and gas pump prices have become public enemy number one on the economics front, and politically priority number one out on the campaign trail. (Though neither Obama nor McCain have really connected with the public’s desire to drill and produce more oil as a way of getting gas prices down.)
Interestingly, President Bush’s remarks today, ahead of his European tour, were right on message. He said that the U.S. has an opportunity to increase oil supplies and take pressure off gasoline prices. He specifically singled out opening up ANWR and the continental shelf. He also emphasized a strong dollar. Although he did not change the rhetoric of a strong dollar being in the nation’s interest, he did mention how a strong dollar was in the interest of the global economy. And generally he just seemed to be drilling down on this very important King Dollar topic.
Noteworthy is Treasury-man Paulson’s CNBC interview where he did not rule out dollar intervention. Intervention won’t work in the long run. But it could have a positive shock value in the short term. Robert Rubin did this for President Clinton. If Paulson intervened now he could close down all those dollar shorts — a move that would help the greenback and undoubtedly contribute to lower oil prices on the open market.
Meanwhile Barack Obama put out his economic thoughts today, and had nothing to say about drilling for more oil or a stronger dollar. Obama railed on about tax breaks for big corporations and permanent occupation of Iraq. He also talked about a renewable energy policy that ends our addiction to foreign oil and brings relief from high fuel costs and builds a green economy that would create 5 million jobs. Nobody believes this. Then he went on to talk about rewarding wealth over work — in other words, more class warfare and redistributionism.
Oh, and did I forget to mention a windfall profits tax on Exxon? Yup. Still there in the Obama speech.