As per my usual these days, I'd just like to ask a simple question:
Why is anyone so surprised that this Administration's Energy Secretary said what he said and then had to walk back his comments about the Administration wanting the price of gasoline to go high, stay high, and get higher?
And higher, and higher and higher...
And higher, until it is as high as it is in....Europe? It's not like it's any SURPRISE or anything. Which is probably why Chu said it in the first place.
I mean, that's been a policy recommendation that you could have read in the pages of Scientific American 7 or 8 years ago, from Michael Shermer. Everyone who knows anything about energy prices in terms of petroleum energy - gasoline, diesel, fuel oil, etc. - knows that the strategy has been to push the price into the hard core pain zone for most Americans to force them to what are euphemistically called "clean energy technologies". The kind that our country has been funding through the front door and the back door to people who become millionaires on the taxpayer dime and then have their companies go bankrupt. On the taxpayer dime.
Now, we all know that people in the LARGE areas of this country where you have to drive to get to a store - not to mention your neighbor's house - are going to suffer the most when gasoline gets to European price levels. You "flyover" people out there in Middle America that have to have a pickup truck, a family car, and a good 4WD vehicle for the winter and need to drive 20 miles to get to town or a store, you're the ones who are going to hurt the most. Anyone in the RV business can look forward to multi-up camping. And I don't even want to talk about the recreational boating industry. But see, that's part of the plan! They're going to need more government assistance to make ends meet at that point! This time, they won't massacre the Kulaks, they'll subsidize them.
So why is anyone so surprised? Stephen Chu shouldn't be walking back his comments - it's a CONSENSUS among his colleagues and has been for a long time, which is why he said it. The only question has been how to do it politically. Now, when Barack Obama was elected there was such a messianic buzz floating round the Administration that for a while, to his believers, it seemed like he could just raise the price of gas to $8 a gallon all by himself and people would just forgive him and melt into a swoon. Chu himself wanted to make every roof in the country white to reflect more solar radiation.
Really, that's what everybody thought! Stephen Chu, if anything, is only guilty of testifying honestly in front of Congress! He just didn't elaborate! With all due respect to Newt Gingrich, Barack Obama has no intention of firing him over that testimony -- it was perfectly honest and only backwalked when it became a political liability, which is exactly how the Obama Administration operates and always has. Instead of firing him, Obama should give him a medal for telling the truth, and then taking the heat for his boss. Chu is first and foremost a scientist and he's a little rusty when it comes to politics - he just assumed everyone got it. There's nothing extraordinary there at all, and in fact, what Chu should be doing is being called back to discuss why he initially said what he said, in much more exhaustive detail, because he can provide it if anyone can!
Barack Obama would absolutely like to see gasoline at $8/Gal and so would Stephen Chu and so would Andrea Merkel and so would Sarkozy and so would everyone who advises these kinds of policy decisions at Harvard University. There is *absoultely nothing* wrong with what Chu said. The only thing that's even the least bit funny is that he had to backwalk it, because that's been THE PLAN for more than 10 years now: to make America's gasoline prices comport with Europe's - "One way or the other, you..."