What Fresh Hell Is This?

July 21, 2008

Jack Kelly Sunday

Jack Kelly dives head first into a crude subject in this week's column. Crude - oil, that is, black gold, Texas tea.

He starts, though, with a bit of a mathematical sleight of hand. Honestly, we'd be disappointed in him if he hadn't.

His first two paragraphs:
In the six years between President Bush's inauguration in 2001 and the Democrats' assumption of control of Congress in 2007, the price of gasoline rose an average of 14 cents a year. Since the Democrats took over Congress, the price of gas has doubled, the inflation monster has reawakened and the recession wolf is sniffing at our door.

I know. Post hoc, ergo propter hoc (after, therefore because of) was the first logical fallacy they taught back when logic was taught in school. It may merely be coincidence that things went to hell in a hand basket since the Democrats took over.
I want yinz to notice something. Our Jack is sneaky. Look how he anticipates the counter argument with a fancy schmancy "Post hoc, ergo propter hoc." His pointing out of a counter argument in order to refute it before it's raised is called , I believe, "Procatalepsis." Look it up.

So what's the sneaky? His use of it covers up the number switch he pulls in the first paragraph. Go read it again - see if you can see what's up.

The red flag is his mixture of two different math devices - he's adding in one place, multiplying in another. Be honest, you're thinking that gas prices rose steadily, $.14 per gallon per year, until those nasty Democrats took over Congress, aren't you? Then you're thinking that the price doubled in the time since then. You think that because Jack Kelly wants you to think that.

He's painted you into a corner.

Let's, however, look at the numbers. Here's the government's own data. I don't know if Jack was using this exact chart, so his numbers may differ slightly from those presented here. But in any case, there can't be that much of a difference.

For instance, the last datum show gas at $4.10/gallon. When the Democrats (those lousy Democrats) took over the Congress, the price was $2.36. Not exactly doubling. More like one and three quartering. The price, though, has more than doubled since Bush took the oath of office the second time, in 2005 - but don't expect Jack to say that.

January 2001, when dubya first took the Oath of Office, gas sold for $1.48.7/gallon. By January 2006, when those lousy nasty Democrats took over Congress it was up to $2.36/gallon a rise of about $.87. And as anyone with a calculator knows, $.87 rise/gallon divided by 6 years equals about $.14 rise/gallon per year.

Pretty close to Jack's numbers. But take a closer look at the data. Does it rise consistently?

No, it doesn't.

It rises until the middle of 2001 where it hits a high of $1.73 and then slides down over the next few months. There's even a twenty cent drop right after September 2001 (I wonder what happened in that month?). By the end of 2001 the price is down to $1.12, $.45 cents or so lower than when dubya first stole took office.

It seems that the price of gas rose back up to the $1.40s and then stayed there until the beginning of 2003. It jumped to $1.73 by March 2003 (Gee, what happened that month?) and stayed between $1.72 and $1.52.

It was never that low again.

Bottom line - look at them numbers. The price of gas has risen more or less consistently since the occupation of Iraq. Of course it's risen since the Democrats took over Congress - the occupation is still on going.

The fact that they haven't stopped it (or dubya) only adds to their lousy dismal poll numbers.

Hey, weren't we promised cheap gas once Saddam was disarmed?

Just asking.

After the mathematical sleight of hand, Jack rattles off the usual suspects of Republican blame on oil prices. Dems stopped "us" drilling in ANWR, off the Outer Continental Shelf and the Green River Formation in Colorado.


Haven't we covered some of this before?

Sigh - reading his post, you'd think that if it weren't for those lousy nasty stinkin Democrats "we" could just move some oil men into Colorado and start drilling. Not so. And what is this "Green River Formation" anyway? If you go to the EIA (it's labelled "Official Energy Statistics from the U.S. Government") and search for "Green River Formation" you'll find this:
The Green River Formation, a group of basins in Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah, hold the largest know oil shale deposits in the world. Colorado’s oil shale deposits, concentrated in the Piceance Basin in the western part of the State, hold an estimated 1 trillion barrels of oil—as much oil as the entire world’s proven oil reserves. Although this natural resource holds tremendous promise, oil shale development remains speculative and faces several major obstacles involving technological feasibility, economic viability, resource ownership, and environmental considerations. Pilot oil shale projects have been undertaken in the area, but the construction of commercial oil shale production facilities in Colorado is not permitted prior to 2010, pending the implementation of the U.S. Department of Interior’s oil shale leasing program.
So it isn't just the lousy nasty stinkin Democrats who are keeping "us" from all that oil, huh?
Jack doesn't mention any obstacle the government's own pages mention. Isn't that interesting?

Notice that last part. It looks as though the Department of the Interior's "oil shale leasing program" is already in place.

We've already covered ANWR and OCS drilling here.

If you missed it, your loss.


Heir to the Throne said...

Lets not forget that in the 2006 elections that the democrats promised to lower gas prices if elected.

Anonymous said...

John K: Bottom of the housing market as well as doubling of gas prices took place after the Democrats took over congress. In the first six years of a Republican Congress and Bush admin we did okay.
But considering that Conrad and Dodd got special deals from Countrywide and Rangel gets a special deal on his rent. Heh what else can we expect.
Elect the Democrats and watch the market go into a depression. After all, that is what they keep telling us is going to happen.

cathcatz said...

what about the fact that the democrats do not have a clear and veto-proof majority do you not comprehend?? having more seats does NOT mean you control the congress, especially when the president is from the other party.

this country has been, and still is, under complete rethuglican control since dumbya stole his first election. you cannot sit there and reasonably think that the price of oil has nothing to do with our occupation of iraq.

Anonymous said...

John K: Earth to Cathcatz, earth to Cathcatz, Bush never had a majority sufficient in numbers to override a Democrat filibuster. Especially in his first two years when he passed the tax cut you so readily enjoy and took the war, with Democratic votes, to Al Queda. So stop whining.
Pelosi/Reid promised lower gas prices, they doubled, more affordable housing, it went under, etc etc. Elect a Democrat, they have been telling us we have been in a recession for 7 years, let's make their promises come true.

EdHeath said...

Well, I think the EIA has some estimates that might be a little long, if the oil companies actually do know where to drill. But to my way of thinking, the real, hidden message of Jack Kelly's column is that if you vote for Republicans, you will not have to buy a hybrid or some kind of wussy electric car the next time you buy one. And you won't have to drive 55 miles per hour on the highway. So keep Tim Murphy, and bring Melissa Hart back. They'll fix the economy and bring back cheap gas.

Seriously we may see some blowback, some people split their vote between Obama for President and some Republican Representative or Senator.

Anonymous said...

Okay...it's quite one thing for you to point out the coincidental timing of the gas prices rising and the Democrats getting a majority in both house.

But please, tell me what specific a slightly Democratic Congress has done to increase the price of gas so dramatically? I'm not talking correlation here; give me at least a hint of analysis of CAUSATION.

Eric W said...

"Bottom of the housing market as well as doubling of gas prices took place after the Democrats took over congress."

Some aspects of the market can change quickly in the short term, such as stock prices, but most economic phenomena take quite a while to play out. The bubbles that recently burst had building for quite some time. There's lots of blame to throw around, and neither Reps nor Dems can claim innocence.

Anonymous said...

John K: No there is no blame to be thrown around. Pelosi specifically promised to lower gas prices and Dodd and Conrad did in fact ask for lower mortgage rates from Countrywide. Those are the facts. For 6 years this country moved along well economically. 18 months after the Democrats win Congress, bam doubling of prices.
Now for 7 years the Democrats have been saying we have the worst economy ever. Well they got elected and they kept their promise. Now we have a bad economy.

Anonymous said...

Mein Herr;

That's a good one. The link YOU provided quotes a New York Times article that begins like this:
Democrats running for Congress are moving quickly to use the most recent surge in oil and gasoline prices to bash Republicans over energy policy, and more broadly, the direction of the country.

With oil prices hitting a high this week and prices at the pump topping $3 a gallon in many places, Amy Klobuchar, a Democratic Senate candidate in Minnesota, is making the issue the centerpiece of her campaign. Ms. Klobuchar says it "is one of the first things people bring up" at her campaign stops.

But wait - the surge in prices occurred BEFORE the 2006 election??

How can that be if, as Jack and the rest of you conservatives assert, the price of gas DOUBLED from $2 to $4 SINCE the Democrats took office in 2007?

Nice going, Mein Herr. Nice to see you're still not doing your homework.

Anonymous said...

For some interesting insight into the oil conundrum, follow this link...


It's a branch off of James Howard Kunstler's site, which is non-partisan by nature, but certainly with a point of view! Makes for great reading.