Last week the Center for American Progress (CAP) released a paper showing how the organization can exploit, deepen, and further American misconceptions about the price of gasoline. What amounts to nothing more than a propaganda piece, CAP looks to capitalize on the inherent complexities of America’s energy sector and translate ignorance into Democrat electoral gains.
While this may be good politics, this type of misinformation is damaging—it lowers the energy debate to the lowest common denominator making it harder to solve America’s very real problems.
The CAP report urges Democrats to:
Play offense. Focus the debate on our policy agenda that big oil opposes. The strongest policy solutions are the ones being advocated by progressives, and are viewed as far more credible than the solutions advanced by the “drill here, drill now” contingent.
Ironically, the premises for CAP’s questions are largely false making their “solutions” irrelevant and inaccurate. Encouraging partisans to stand on shaky intellectual ground simply for the sake of “playing offense” is what most Americans find so offensive about Washington.
A quick fact check about CAP’s four main talking points:
Claim: American Oil for American Soil. Require oil companies to use the oil that is produced in the United States from public lands and offshore to meet energy needs here at home, and stop oil companies from exporting oil from our public lands and waters to overseas markets. (60 percent)
Fact: Americans will be happy to know that Americans consume nearly all of the oil we produce. But don’t take my word for it; check out the Energy Information Agency’s oil export import numbers. Many of the petroleum products the U.S. exports are substances that are of no use in this country, like oil coke, so prohibiting exports of these manufactured products would be of zero benefit to American consumers.
Claim: End Oil Subsidies. Repeal the four billion dollars per year in federal subsidies that currently are given to the oil companies, and use that money instead to fund investments that will make us less dependent on oil. (55 percent)
Fact: American oil and natural gas companies don’t receive a single dollar from the American people to produce oil and natural gas. What CAP is referring to as subsidies are standard tax deductions employed by many domestic manufacturers. Click here to read more about these cost recovery mechanisms utilized by the oil and natural gas industry.
Claim: Crack Down On Excessive Speculation. Tighter oversight and regulation of Wall Street speculators to prevent them from artificially driving up the price of gasoline. (54 percent)
Fact: While it has always been popular to denounce Wall Street, oil speculators actually help smooth changes in oil prices. Also, if you are going to blame speculators for high oil prices, you must credit them with record low natural gas, i.e. electricity, prices.
Claim: More Fuel Efficient Cars and Trucks. Increase fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks, so they get more miles per gallon and consumers will save on their gasoline costs. (49 percent)
Fact: If people want to buy more fuel-efficient cars, they are entirely capable of making that decision absent government mandates. There are many reasons why Americans might choose not to purchase more fuel efficient cars. For example, poorer Americans who value their lives might abstain from purchasing a government-mandated car since they are significantly more expensive and lighter, increasingly the likelihood of death in an accident.
All in all, the only real conclusions one should glean from this paper is that CAP is more interested in electoral gains than facts.