Questions the Oil Executives Should Have Been Asked

  1. What would happen if gas prices were forced down? Thankfully, they were asked this, at least with respect to Katrina. Yes, as supply and demand would indicate, lowering price sends an artificial signal that supply is greater than it actually is. This always results in a shortage.
  2. What can the government do to decrease the cost of oil and gasoline for everyone? Blaming others on profits is typical Washington politics: let’s blame someone else for our problems and avoid taking any responsibility ourselves. Frustratingly typical, and of course, completely pointless.
  3. How can an adversarial Senate committee on a crucial election year possibly have the country’s best interests at stake?
  4. How can an adversarial Senate committee on a crucial election year actually think to accomplish anything by grilling oil executives?
  5. How can an adversarial Senate committee on a crucial election year determine what level of profits, for you or anyone else, are “reasonable?”
  6. If your pay was cut to zero, what would be the next effect on gas prices in America? As salaries here are three orders of magnitude less than profits, the cost benefit to you and I, even for executives to work for free, would be negligible; a couple of pennies per gallon at most.
  7. How many U.S. jobs are associated with the oil and gas industry?
  8. How do record profits affect shareholder earnings?
  9. What is the relationship between shareholder earnings and the American public?

Answering these questions would show that it is in the country’s best interests to have a strong oil and gas industry: our economy depends upon it. It would also show what the government can do to lower gas prices: stop restricting and regulating oil exploration and refining, and instead let the market go to work, providing low-cost, efficient energy producing fuel for all of us.

Who will teach our Senators that we are a capitalist nation, not a communist one?

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Filed under Austrian Economics, Libertarian, politics, role of government

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