Biden doubles down on oil profit criticism 

by Jacob Fuller

Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News


President Joe Biden followed his Friday scolding of oil companies for their profit margins with a Monday reaffirmation that petroleum companies have exceeded what the president views as an acceptable return on investment.

In keeping with the long tradition of politics, Biden chose not to specify the value of his upper-profit threshold, but he was willing to blast oil companies for having exceeded that number.

“In a difficult time, Americans across the country have stepped up, and they — to do the right thing. But not everyone has stepped up,” Biden said during remarks given in the Roosevelt Room. “The oil industry has not — has not met its commitment to invest in America and support the American people.

“One by one, major oil companies have reported record profits, not just a fair return on — for hard work. Every company is entitled to that: a fair return for the work they do or the innovation they generate. It means — but I mean profits so high it’s hard to believe.”

The president’s decision to lash out at the fossil fuel industry is nothing new. He has sought to share the blame for soaring gas prices with numerous entities since the cost of fuel began rising starkly earlier this year.

It’s a tactic the president no doubt hopes will spare him some grief in relation to his favorability ratings and perhaps mitigate Republican gains in the midterm, but the strategy seems to have had little effect.

To be sure, Republicans have been uninterested in Biden’s complaints, and have spent months painting Biden as an enemy of working-class Americans and a man incapable of addressing the nation’s pressing energy needs.

“In less than 25 days America is set to run out of the diesel fuel that powers our economy. Meanwhile, Pres. Biden continues waging his war on fossil fuels (and the families who depend on that energy),” Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) tweeted Friday.

The root of Biden’s complaint has been that oil companies have paid dividends with their profits or otherwise reinvested rather than passing their profits to customers at the pumps.

“Look, those excess profits are going back to the shareholders and their executives instead of going to lower prices … and [giving] relief to the American people,” Biden said in Pennsylvania Friday.

Monday, Biden argued, “If these companies were making average profits they’ve been making by refining oil over the last 20 years instead of the outrageous profits they’re making today and if they passed the rest on to the consumers, the price of gas would come down around an additional 50 cents.”

Fifty cents might not sound like a lot of money — and readers might wonder how the president did his arithmetic — but Biden has proven he’s willing to take extraordinary steps to lower gas prices by even a small number, a reminder that Biden understands that his political fortunes and those of his party are tied to the pain Americans are feeling at the pump and through inflation.

Biden has used the nation’s strategic oil reserve as a petroleum-filled piggy bank on multiple occasions, short-term and fleeting solutions that Americans for Tax Reforms warn will cost taxpayers billions.

“A political stunt has long-term consequences. Who would have guessed?” Wyoming Sen. Cynthia Lummis tweeted.