Readers of this blog will know that one of my favorite papers is Investors Business Daily--and not just because of its very useful financial news. It's editorial page is stridently Libertarian. Two days ago, it published an opinion piece by columnist Mark Steyn, an hilarious writer who three years ago was prosecuted in Canada (where he lives) for offending Islam under the country's anti-free speech laws (i.e its Human Rights Commission. Anyway, he recounts a recent town hall type event where Obama openly mocked a working man who asked him about gas prices.
Steyn describes the interchange thusly :
"He was asked a question by a citizen of the United States. The cost of a gallon of gas has doubled on Obama's watch, and this gentleman asked, 'Is there a chance of the price being lowered again?'
"As the Associated Press reported it, the president responded 'laughingly.' 'I know some of these big guys, they're all still driving their big SUVs. You know, they got their big monster trucks and everything . . . If you're complaining about the price of gas, and you're only getting eight miles a gallon — (laughter) . . .'
"That's how the official White House transcript reported it: Laughter. Big yuks. 'So, like I said, if you're getting eight miles a gallon, you may want to think about a trade-in. You can get a great deal.'"
Here is Steyn's conclusion:
"America, 2011: A man [Obama] gets driven in a motorcade to sneer at a man who has to drive himself to work. A guy who has never generated a dime of wealth, never had to make payroll, never worked at any job other than his own tireless self-promotion, literally cannot comprehend that out there beyond the far fringes of the motorcade outriders are people who drive a long distance to jobs whose economic viability is greatly diminished when getting there costs twice as much as the buck-eighty-per-gallon it cost back at the dawn of the Hopeychangey Era.
"So what? Your fault. Should have gone to Columbia and Harvard and become a community organizer."
To me, the whole thing is ridiculous: The idea that the president can control the cost of oil, a commodity traded by literally thousands and thousands of people, businesses and institutions every day.
But a president and Congress, it has been shown over our long history, can indeed screw up the pricing mechanism of free markets.