|Pandering On The Prairie|
Trump Can't Fix ND's Oil Glut Problem
(photo from bismarcktribune.com)
"If President Obama wanted to weaken America, he couldn't have done a better job," Trump declared. Those energy industry-dependent North Dakotans may have loved it, but the line is total baloney. Consider that 8 years ago, June, 2008, a few months before Obama was elected to his first term, retail gas prices were well over $4 a gallon. They subsequently collapsed, along with the rest of George Bush's lame-duck economy, but the fact is, 8 years later I filled up in Rapid City yesterday at a bit over half that much. Gas prices now are about what they were in the mid-1970s, and that's without correcting for inflation. As an old commodities trader and broker I know that presidential policies don't determine the price of oil in this world, but it seems pretty clear that cheap gasoline today is not indicative of a weakened America. Certainly those of us directly involved in the tourism industry here in western South Dakota have seen a nice uptick in business the last couple of years, with relatively cheap gasoline prices probably having something to do with it. There's nothing weak about that. I'd call a locally robust energy-dependent tourist industry the exact opposite.
Meantime, I doubt that any president has much to do with increases or decreases in domestic oil production, so I don't particularly credit Obama for the fact that domestic oil production during his tenure in the White House has increased by 72%. That amounts to a 3.6
Why Does Trump Call This Weak?
(graph from outrunchange.com)
Trump's pandering tirade in North Dakota has neither logic nor history behind it. During Obama's tenure, domestic oil production is at a 50 year high and oil imports are at a 30 year low, less than what they were in 1995. There are things I don't like about Obama's energy policy--I still think the Keystone pipeline should have been left to local market forces and regulators for a decision--but claiming that his policies have left America in a weakened position on energy production and marketing doesn't stand the test of the bottom line. Trump's rhetoric combs over the reality. As he might say: not good!