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Congress is Fiddling while the Economy Crashes and Burns

May 1, 2008
Weekly Columns

Earlier this week I spoke with constituents from the Fourth District about a number of national issues that are heavy on the minds of Oklahomans.  There is no doubt that two of the most pressing issues are the price of gasoline and its relation to the overall state of the economy.  On Tuesday the President asked the Congress to send him sensible and effective bills that he could actually sign into law and to stop the political posturing that does nothing to bring relief to American families.

With gas prices shooting through the roof, a severe housing slump, and increasing shortages of food around the world, Congress' inaction is shockingly irresponsible.  Rather than address these looming problems, Congress occupies itself with relatively minor, and oftentimes meaningless, bills and resolutions.  For example, earlier this week Congress voted to "support the goals of Financial Literacy Month".  This is fairly ironic coming from an institution that appears to be clueless when it comes to managing the financial affairs of the nation.

The high costs of gasoline and diesel are not only placing a heavy financial burden on families, they are also beginning to cause the prices of other goods - like food - to rise accordingly.  Speaker Pelosi says she has a plan to lower prices, yet she refuses to disclose that plan.  It is unfortunate that the Speaker appears to be controlled by radical environmentalists because the solution to high gas prices is fairly simple if the Speaker and her allies would simply listen to common sense.  America has vast reserves of untapped domestic oil in Alaska and off the coasts.  According to the Department of Energy, opening up ANWR for oil drilling would likely produce a million barrels of domestic oil each day, which in turn would be processed into 27 million gallons of fuel every day.  Unless and until the Speaker and her extremist allies allow America to develop our own domestic resources, gas prices will continue to rise.           

These same Congressional leaders believe that the way to bring down gas prices is to raise taxes and regulations on energy companies.  They also seem to believe that the way to increase the supply of fuel is to block efforts to construct new oil refineries.  Their ineptitude would be laughable if it weren't for the grave consequences their policies are having on the American economy.  By clinging to liberal dogma and allowing themselves to be controlled by left wing interest groups, they are helping bring about a recession.

Congress absolutely must get their collective head out of the sand and begin to adopt common sense policies that get our economy back on track.  In addition to developing our domestic resources, we need to remove the regulatory ball and chain from our energy companies and provide incentives for them to boost production and consequently lower their prices.

By opening up Alaska and the coasts to oil exploration, providing incentives for increased production, and by allowing the construction of new refineries, we can reverse the ongoing trend of dramatically higher prices for gas, food and other goods.  It's simply a matter of the leadership deciding to do what is right for America rather than what is right for their special interest friends.