Middle class, working poor hurt by Obama's policies

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: September 4, 2012
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DEMOCRATS are poised to renominate President Barack Obama and make the case for returning him to the White House. That's going to take quite a sales pitch, with unemployment above 8 percent for the longest period since the Great Depression.

Obama claims he only targets the rich, but he's done much to harm the middle class and working poor, including here in Oklahoma, in ways both big and small. U.S. Census Bureau data show median household income has plunged over $4,000 under Obama. The rising cost of fuel and food are big factors in that decline; Obama's preferred policies are one reason those commodities are becoming more expensive.

The United States has about 1 trillion barrels of estimated recoverable oil. Yet Obama restricts drilling, limiting supplies and ultimately increasing prices at the pump. The American Energy Alliance notes the federal government leases just 2.2 percent of federal offshore areas and less than 5.4 percent of federal onshore lands for oil and natural gas production.

Obama's opposition to projects like the Keystone pipeline further harms supply; his call to hike taxes on oil companies is another surefire way to increase consumer costs. In contrast, the private-sector-driven surge of natural gas production caused prices to plummet from a pre-2008 average of roughly $7 per million British thermal units to around $3 today. The same thing could happen for oil — and gasoline prices — if Obama would get government out of the way.

This summer's drought has hammered crops, leading to higher food prices. The ethanol fuel mandate further limits the food supply. Nearly a fourth of the nation's corn is reportedly used for ethanol, driving up the price of food — including meat, because of higher feed costs for livestock. A bipartisan coalition has asked Obama's Environmental Protection Agency to waive the ethanol mandate and ease pressure on food supplies. So far, their cries have gone unheard. Mitt Romney has supported ethanol too, but it's hard to see him turning a blind eye to hunger.

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by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
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