Biden’s Day One Actions Haunt Him Still

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esident Joe Biden was outraged on October 5 when the oil-and-gas cartel OPEC+ announced that it would cut production by two million barrels of oil per day. He had reason to be angry. The dis was personal. And the move has global implications. OPEC+ includes Russia, and rising oil prices will help Vladimir Putin, undermine Europe’s ability to keep the lights on, and reduce food supply in the Global South. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and National Economic Council director Brian Deese released a joint statement slamming the decision as “shortsighted” and harmful for “lower- and middle-income countries that are already reeling from elevated energy prices.”

Yet the White House’s true worry is domestic. Here is how you can tell: Sullivan and Deese mentioned Ukraine only once in their 311-word missive. But they brought up the proverbial gas “pump” twice and U.S. “gas prices” three times. President Biden has been around long enough to understand the special relationship between fuel prices and presidential job approval. He’s incensed that OPEC+ may have helped the Republican opposition weeks before the midterm election.

Biden really ought to look in the mirror. The OPEC+ embarrassment was the latest reminder that he, not Putin nor Saudi Arabia, is the chief author of the Democratic Party’s current woes. On issue after issue, the instructions that Biden gave at the outset of his presidency have made America less prosperous, less independent, and less secure.

Energy and immigration tell the tale. Biden signed 17 executive orders on his first day in office, and two of them dealt with U.S. oil and gas production. One order pledged that America would rejoin the Paris climate accords and commit to the deal’s targeted reductions in carbon dioxide emissions. The other order blocked oil and gas exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, forbade drilling in large parts of Utah, and canceled the Keystone XL pipeline between the United States and Canada. One week later, Biden stopped issuing new oil and gas leases on public lands.

Biden knew what he was doing. The “clean energy transition,” as Sullivan and Deese put it, is among the top priorities of the Democratic Party. The transition involves hiking the cost of carbon-based energy to the point where renewable alternatives become affordable by comparison. You decrease supply of oil and gas until prices rise enough for the average consumer to search online for a Tesla.

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