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Michele Bachmann: Minnesota's Pain at the Gas Pump is Real

High gas prices affect everything – from the price of goods and services to business investments and leisure travel, Rep. Michele Bachmann says. Every time the price of gas goes up 10 cents, it costs the American economy $14 billion.

The rising price of gasoline has Minnesotans, faced with having to choose between filling their gas tanks and scrimping on other necessities, demanding answers from Washington and the White House.

Gas prices have risen over 110 percent since President Obama’s inauguration and are up 30 cents a gallon just this month. A recent Reuters poll verifies what we already knew, 68 percent of Americans are unhappy with the way President Obama is dealing with high gas prices.

High gas prices affect everything – from the price of goods and services to business investments and leisure travel. Every time the price of gas goes up 10 cents, it costs the American economy $14 billion.

But more importantly, when gas goes up 10 cents, it costs the average Minnesota household close to $100 a year. At the current price that means Minnesota families are shouldering an extra $2,000 a year in gasoline costs compared to when President Obama was inaugurated.

That’s $2,000 after taxes that Minnesotans don’t have to update their home, buy clothing and other essentials, or put food on the table for their families.

Here in Minnesota high gas prices may have an even worse effect on our economy since tourism is an $11 billion industry in our state, accounting for 11 percent of all private sector jobs.

Our economy depends on families driving or flying here to enjoy all we have to offer, like the shopping with no sales tax on clothing or the more than 90,000 miles of shoreline. 

As we approach this election season, President Obama claims that Republicans will begin their normal refrain of “more drilling” as an answer to high prices.

But instead of offering solutions that could have a short-term effect on prices, the President claims “there’s no silver bullet” and has instead resorted to a public relations campaign to convince voters it’s not his fault. The reality is that President Obama is wrong; increasing oil production in the United States can lower the price of oil and, importantly, create thousands of jobs at home.

The United States is the third largest oil producer in the world. Our problem is not that we lack energy—the problem is that we don’t have access to that energy.

Federal lands and waters alone have enough oil to fuel 65 million cars for 60 years and enough natural gas to heat 60 million homes for 160 years. We have the energy, but this administration’s policies have kept most of it off limits.

Federal regulations currently only permit production on six percent of federal lands onshore production and 2.2 percent of offshore production. We can expand production on federal lands significantly without compromising the environment.  

If the President were really serious about addressing the challenge of high gasoline prices, he should have his administration cease its assault on domestic energy production.

He could start by reversing his decision to reject the Keystone XL pipeline that would have supplied up to 800,000 barrels of oil per day that would be refined in the U.S. Expanded domestic production would create thousands of American jobs and bring billions of dollars of new revenue to the federal treasury.

Energy is the lifeblood of our economy, and Minnesotans and all Americans deserve tangible solutions that will strengthen our energy future, and provide relief for currently high gas prices—not the empty promises of subsidized, renewable energy.

Washington must also realize that expanding domestic production of oil is central to that strategy because Minnesotan’s pain at the pump is real.

--Rep. Michele Bachmann is the Sixth District Representative in the U.S. Congress

Susan May 15, 2012 at 03:34 PM
Markus, I think it is a huge leap to say that those without insurance (especially in this economy) are lazy "because they don't want to enforce the idea of being personally responsible for anything including providing for themselves and their families". It seems you have worked hard, and been able to provide for your family, however not everyone has had your exact circumstances. Lumping everyone together, and not seeing that people and their lives are different, sometimes because of no fault of their own, is not seeing the entire picture. In summary, I believe that there should be a safety net (welfare, health care, etc) in government, but I think it should be based on need, limited in time (unless there is some sort of permanent disability), and one should be required to better themselves for the job market while using that safety net.
Markus May 15, 2012 at 05:53 PM
What I said was "laziness among the citizenry because they don't want to enforce the idea of being personally responsible". God forbid we should tolerate any sort of unfairness. That might make somebody uncomfortable. We have equality of opportunity, we want equality of outcomes. Life isn't fair. Get over it. When you make government the great equalizer, there are consequences of mass proportions we are now witnessing. Charities and churches used to take care of the indigent. They did pretty good job of it too. The free market delivery of health care worked pretty good too. People paid when they went to the doctor and if they were responsible, they bought a hospitalization policy to cover catastrophic emergencies. Now we require private hospitals to treat anyone who shows up at their door and of course they pass the cost on to the other users or the government. Edward and Susan think it would be nice to make sure everybody is taken care of by our benevolent government. The problem is, someone has to pay for it unwillingly. That violates the principle of a free market and the right to keep the fruits of your labor and is an illegitimate function of the Federal Government.
Susan May 15, 2012 at 06:27 PM
Markus, I don't necessarily disagree with what you say in reference to the Constitution, but I question stopping it altogether and/or abruptly. And how would we ever fix the problems in health care in this country, without some sort of mandate? You really believe (like those that applauded during the Republican primary debate) that a person should be allowed to suffer and die if they find themselves uninsured and get sick? What if they just lost their job, can not afford the Cobra payments, and get cancer? What if they were in an accident, leaving them disabled? What if they couldn't afford a college education, and even working two jobs were not able to get ahead? What if the bottom suddenly fell out of one's business? People's circumstances are always going to be different, and yes, I would like a government that can help people get through the very hard times in life...as churches can not take care of all who need their help. I like my idea of starting to limit some of the hand-outs, which you would only qualify for, if you are working to better yourself and/or helping in the community.
Markus May 15, 2012 at 10:47 PM
The main problem with government bailing everyone out of every conceivable circumstance they find themselves in is it always introduces moral hazard. There is no incentive to be responsible if you know the government will come to your rescue. The government subsidizes flood insurance so people build in flood plains. The government subsidizes hurricane insurance so people continue to rebuild and wait for the next big wind to blow. The banks know the government will bail them out so they take more risk than they would normally. The government prints money to meet its obligations and the politicians continue to spend what they don't have. The government extends unemployment benefits and those who could work decide it's easier to not work or work for cash on the side. The government subsidizes food, housing, health care, heat, automobile repairs which enables people to engage in risky sexual behavior resulting in out of wedlock births. I could go on an on here. Government intervention in health care introduces the same type of moral hazard. more...
Markus May 15, 2012 at 10:48 PM
If you want to argue that we need a safety net then let's go back to the days when the counties took care of the truly indigent. We can cooperate at the local level to provide for those who truly cannot provide for themselves. Our definition of need is subjective at best. Let's define what need really is and act on it. Most people including conservatives and libertarians are compassionate and are not willing to simply turn people out in the street or deny them medical care. There are better ways to handle it than by central government fiat however.

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