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While the January 6th committee hearings reveal coordination, legal manipulation and even judiciary-adjacent chicanery involving the wife of a U.S. Supreme Court justice, Oklahoma’s Republican delegation is showing the limits of its collective imagination by aping the dumbest of their national colleagues in crass efforts to change the subject.

A little over two years ago, in the wake of COVID-19’s early spread, gas prices bottomed out for Oklahoma and Texas petroleum producers. We in Oklahoma understood how the reduction in gas-powered transportation in the midst of a global pandemic affected revenues. With about one-fifth of Oklahomans working in some element of the petroleum industry, we or someone we knew understood what was happening, especially when it was painful and jobs were lost. 

Currently, the opposite is happening. Late last week, oil production dropped below 1 million barrels in North Dakota, one of the largest oil-producing states in the U.S. With the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) raising both production and prices for July, domestic oil production is not increasing to meet the demand, which makes oil prices go up more. 

OPINION by George Lang

This is the theory of supply and demand in action, and no, the  U.S. president does not set the price of gasoline. President Joe Biden is currently considering a U.S. gas tax suspension that would reduce the cost per gallon by around $.18, but the American President’s role in the price of gas is mostly reactive, regardless of who holds the office. 

This is the truth: no matter how many “Let’s Go Brandon” stickers your car-selfie neighbors place on pumps, let it be known that I budget extra time to rip down every sticker I see. 

But those stickers can take many forms. Following the lead of one of the party’s dumbest supporters of treasonous sedition, U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Republicans nationwide are tweeting daily and sometimes more about gas prices. This includes Oklahoma’s delegation, which maintains a drumbeat on gas prices and inflation while the rest of the world discovers how their party tried to take over the U.S. government in a coup.

“Americans are paying on average $4.87 a gallon and will spend over $2000 more on gas this year than last year,” Bice tweeted on June 6. “The solution is clear. We must reverse Biden’s anti-energy policies and unleash American production.”

If American production is leashed at all, it is by the producers themselves, who are squeezing the public in a political effort to impact the midterms. But that does not stop Rep. Frank Lucas from playing the game. 

“Today, inflation rose 8.6% in May, the highest since 1981. And yesterday, the national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline rose to $4.99,” Lucas tweeted on June 10. “President Biden’s economic agenda is failing Americans.”

Unlike supply and demand, which is the essential building block for understanding capitalism, inflation is harder for most people to comprehend beyond its impacts. This means it can feel like inflation is being arbitrarily inflicted on people. 

In truth, inflation is usually the result of bills coming due. So, when a half-dumb real estate heir and reality TV host bumbles his way into the presidency and spends like he is accustomed, there is an economic response, and it is usually inflation. Just as the inflation that rocked the Carter Administration was the result of more than a decade of war spending, Biden is paying Donald Trump’s bill. 

Oklahoma’s delegation is playing dumb with economic realities and passing along their disinformation to voters. They want constituents to blame Biden for gas prices when, in fact, petroleum oligarchs living in our state are the ones who did this.

Last Updated June 20, 2022, 3:43 PM by Brett Dickerson – Editor