We need action, not talk on gas price issue

By Staff
The big news story Thursday?
Well, one of them had to be that Exxon Mobil Corp., the world's largest oil company, reported the fifth highest quarterly profit for any public company in history.
Did you get that? Let's hit it one more time: The fifth highest quarterly profit for any public company in history.
The average retail price of gasoline in the U.S. is now $2.91 a gallon, or 68 cents higher than a year ago. Ever wonder where your money is going when you watch the numbers on the gas pump spin faster than a group of politicians? We've got a good idea.
"Big Oil," as the group of large American oil companies is known in the media, is fleecing the American public. They use to their advantage the fears of the nation regarding terrorism, natural disaster, and troubles in the Middle East, run prices up and enjoy the money that rolls in.
And the result? Record-breaking profit for them, backbreaking prices for us.
Sure, the politicians talk. Nobody, it seems, wants to be without a plan on this topic, especially in an election year. The GOP came up with the bright idea this week of sending taxpayers a $100 rebate check. Thanks, guys. That should buy about one tank full of gas.
But, here's the catch: The Republicans linked the measure to a bill authorizing drilling in the Alaskan Wildlife Refuge, something they know the Democrats will oppose.
So they have the politicians dream: The spin of "We have a solution, but the boys on the other side of the aisle won't let us do it." In other words, don't make big plans on how to spend that rebate check.
A similar idea was the new price-gouging measure the GOP advanced, which basically ignores Big Oil but wants to seek out mom-and-pop stations that raise prices. That's like losing your keys in the living room, but searching for them in the kitchen because the light is better there. It's another lip-service suggestion.
Truthfully, if it weren't for a near uprising in recent days regarding outrageous gas prices, coupled with election-year pressure, the government would likely do nothing. It's not hard to figure out, especially with the easy "follow-the-money" rule of thumb, to find out why Congress is not eager to harm Big Oil.
So plans are bandied about like shuttlecocks. There are some good ideas to be found: Easing restrictions on new refineries, for one. An immediate 60-day suspension of the 18-cent federal gas tax, for another. But the bottom line is that talk does the American middle-class consumer no good.
We need bipartisan action on this issue, an issue that will eventually cripple the American economy. Immediate action, drastic if necessary, that will bring relief to Americans. Action that will be taken without fear of harming the enormous Big Oil profit margins.
Otherwise, that "giant sucking sound" Ross Perot spoke up back in the 90's will be regenerated – not due to American jobs heading to Mexico this time, but from our economy going down the drain.

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