Speaker Pelosi on the Drilling Controversy

Jon Cohen and Paul Kane eventually get around to quoting someone who understands the economics of this issue:

Pelosi has refused to yield on the issue, arguing repeatedly that the only short-term fix for gas prices is for Bush to release millions of barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. It’s a position that Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee, has also embraced, along with some public flirtation with supporting a compromise bill allowing for more drilling. “There is nothing that the Republicans are proposing that will have an impact on the price at the pump. Yeah, 10 years from now, 2 cents. But what we are saying is free our oil in 10 days, not 10 years. And that’s what we will keep pushing,” Pelosi told reporters before the August recess.

Dean Baker is not happy with the rest of this article:

The article notes that the overwhelming majority of voters now supports the removal of drilling restrictions. It never points out that the removal of restrictions will have no impact whatsoever on the price of gas for close to a decade, and even when the full effect of new production is felt in 15 or 20 years the impact will only be a 3-4 cents a gallon. The article does attribute a statement to this effect to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, but this would be comparable to having a quote from Speaker Pelosi denying the existence of the tooth fairy. The non-existence of the tooth fairy is not a matter of partisan dispute, it is a fact. Similarly, it is a fact that removing environmental restrictions on drilling will have no impact on oil prices any time soon and only a trivial impact in a decade or two. The polling results presented in this Post article are a testament to the incredibly bad reporting on this topic, which has led so many voters to believe something that is clearly wrong. This article provides an example of poor reporting.

This kind of terrible reporting is one reason why politicians feel the need to pander to voters. As long as voters are being misled by those they trust to tell them the truth, there is little incentive for politicians to propose sensible policies. Thank goodness we have economists like Dean Baker to “Beat the Press” as it were.