1 min read

Is the government responsible for high gas prices?

The lazy thinker says yes.

Ted Cruz and the gang have made a demand! The Biden administration must fast-track permits for oil and gas exploration.

To what effect, you ask?

Well, like most things Cruz does, very little indeed.

Being wrong never stopped them

Cruz is particularly annoying as one of the self-anointed, self-appointed crusaders against government. But he's not the only one carrying this line of thinking. My conservative buddy said much of the same thing in casual conversation:

If Biden went out and announced they were opening up land for exploration, you would see the cost of oil plummet.

Oh really? No.

Like Cruz, my buddy is blaming the wrong villain. Should the Biden administration have had a better plan for Putin's inevitable war? Certainly. Did I pay $80 at the pump because of tortoise-like bureaucrats in DC? Not even close.

Exxon is not digging because its investors want to juice profits. Exxon stopped drilling because the fabled free market — not the government — were watching the till closely.

Source: Dallas Fed

There are many limiting factor for big oil and gas companies — including ESG, another boogeyman — but government is not one of them. When asked to rank deterrents to growth, oil executives placed government overnment regulation dead last.

This lazy line of thinking crosses a range of issues: oil and gas, guns, the flagrant hollowing out of tax enforcement. It's lame, and those who use it are lame.

But being wrong has never stopped them before, and it won't stop them now.