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A Lesson in Interpreting Political Double-SpeakBob Collinsworth – Salem-News.com
U.S. politicians have a strong aversion to stating the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
(HARRISVILLE, N.H.)) - An AP article titled “Obama says new task force will examine gas prices” and dated 4/21/2011, quotes our President as saying “We are going to make sure that no one is taking advantage of the American people for their own short-term gain”. This statement was made at a town-hall style meeting held in Reno, Nevada.The article goes on to say that President Obama managed to sandwich this meeting in between six fundraising events to be held during his three-day west coast trip. The fundraising events appear to target big-buck contributors and young people. Both of these categories could be key to the campaign for his 2012 re-election bid. That campaign is currently being projected to set both fundraising and spending records.
The article then postulates that with the 2012 campaign in mind, the White House is anxious to show the public that it is taking action to address rising gasoline prices. Those gasoline prices hit a national average of $3.84 on Thursday, about $.30 higher than a month ago and almost $1.00 higher than a year ago.
Let’s examine what makes-up that $3.84 average per gallon price on gasoline?
Federal Taxes = 18.4 cents per gallon
State and local Taxes = 22 cents per gallon national average
Refining Costs = 24 cents per gallon
Transportation Costs = 26 cents per gallon
Retailer (Gas Station) Fees = 10 cents per gallon
Crude Oil Price = $2.67 per gallon (42 Gal. barrel @ $112.29 per barrel)
Oil Company Profits = 16.6 cents per gallon
When you look at the breakout listed above, you must also consider a few other facts. (1) The Retailer (Gas Station) fees are not pure profit. Out of those fees, the retailer must pay his overhead, taxes, and salaries, usually leaving him only 2 to 3 cents per gallon of actual profit. (2) We must also consider the fact that compared to most other countries in the world, gasoline is cheap in the United States. (3) Oil companies have made record profits during the last few years and most of the oil company CEOs make salaries (including stock options and benefits) in the millions of dollars each year.
Now if we are looking at cutting the price per gallon on gasoline, where should we begin and which components of that $3.84 price per gallon can/should we cut?
Here are a few other questions you should consider before answering that question: (1) Can the price per gallon of crude oil be controlled at all and who has the greatest influence on that price? (2) What would be the impact (to the U.S. consumer as well as the consumers of other countries) of exerting controls on the price per gallon of crude oil? (3) Are the taxes charged by Federal, State, and local agencies exorbitant? (4) What would be the impact of reducing any or all of those taxes?
The reason I have provided these facts and figures and the reason I am laying these associated questions on the table is to show that cutting the price per gallon on gasoline is not as cut-and-dried as one might think at first glance.
For any politician to take a stance against rising gas prices is a good political move but how realistic is it and how much impact can they really have? If they can and do have an impact, what costs and reactions would result from any action taken by the politician?
There is no question in my mind that the President would like to bring the price per gallon of gasoline down for U.S. consumers. There is also no question in my mind that he would do so if he could. Now based on what President Obama said and considering the facts, figures, and questions I have stated above, what do you expect to happen?
What I am trying to show here folks is that we must learn to interpret political double-speak because the last 50 years or so should have taught us that U.S. politicians, regardless of party affiliation, have a strong aversion to stating the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth... but, that is just my opinion!
Writer Robert Collinsworth is an American who isn't hesitant to talk about the good side of his country, and that is a welcome thing in this day and age. Salem-News.com admittedly, is very critical of both American politics, as well as those of other nations that we perceive is being wrong in their motives and actions. At the same time, within these structures we criticize, are many outstanding people who make each day a better place for all those around them. They embody and personify the American spirit that is sometimes fleeting, but always present. These are some of the things Robert takes into account when writing commentary that is designed reach people, to "get them thinking" in his words, and indeed it does. Salem-News.com's goal is for all people to be on the same page, we appreciate Bob's more conservative approach toward that same goal."
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