by: Khai Devon
The world we live in is complicated. That’s just plain fact. No one factor completely determines the outcome of any given situation, no matter how much we wish it would sometimes. Especially in the twin arenas of politics and economics, which have specifically been set up as systems of checks and balances so that no one factor can completely determine the outcome of anygiven situation. God doesn’t play dice with the universe, and America doesn’t play Jenga with our government. So when Mr. Newt Gingrich claimed that under his presidency, gas prices would be around $2.50 a gallon, while under a second Barack Obama presidency, they would rise to $10.00 a gallon—he was probably wrong. And he was probably wrong for a variety of reasons.
To begin with, even Fox News said, in 2008, that the President has little to no influence on gas prices.
Furthermore, while the President can influence policies that allow for more invasive in-country oil drilling, they cannot force price-fixing (that’s still illegal) or make it good business practice for Big Oil to sell gas for less than they can get consumers to pay.
While the President can play hardball with OPEC or go to war with a petroleum-exporting country claiming there are weapons of mass destruction somewhere, embroiling the United States in a financially and morally expensive resource war against an opponent we trained and implemented twenty years ago, they can’t actually force OPEC to change its prices, particularly if China or Europe are still buying oil.
While the President can choose to invest in oil rather than in alternative energy, artificially driving down the price of a non-renewable resource for a bit, they cannot actually guarantee that the mom and pop independent contractors that own the Chevron branded gas station will keep unleaded premium at $2.50 a gallon during the summer as people begin to flock out of town on vacations again.
And the President can only make those choices if they can get the Congress to back them on it. Again, the President isn’t playing Jenga. So, when Mr. Gingrich makes a wild promise like “you willsee gasoline at $2.50 a gallon again,” he comes across sounding like the classic stereotype of the kid running for 8th grade class president, rather than someone running for President of the United States of America.
Mr. Gingrich, I don’t need shorter class periods and less homework. I need someone who doesn’t think he’s playing games. I need someone who understands that the economy is a delicate balancing act between many factors. I need someone who understands that inflation happens, and oil isn’t a renewable resource anyway. I need someone who can inspire me to work towards being part of a solution, rather than promising to be my savior. Because, let’s face it: I probably won’t see gasoline at $2.50 a gallon again in my lifetime, regardless of who my President is. I probably won’t have less homework ever again, regardless of who becomes 8th grade class president. But I might, just might, have a better life if I’m part of a group of people working towards a common betterment of our world.
Khai Devon is a genderqueer pansexual in hir early twenties, about to embark on a life changing adventure, pursuing hir dream of becoming a slam poet in Portland, Oregon. Sie writes blogs at disturbinglynormal.wordpress.com and duffelbagandadream.wordpress.com, updating whenever the words overflow.