Appearing on CNN, Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich bet that oil companies will ruin the economy, getting President Obama out of office. Asked by Candy Crowley why he is so confident of a Republican landslide in the November elections, Gingrich predicted that gasoline prices — already on a rapid rise to the massive benefit of the oil industry — will continue to skyrocket, leading to an economic collapse by August:
The price of gasoline is becoming a genuine crisis for many American families. If it continues to go higher, it will crater the economy by August. Because people will have no discretionary income and as a result, the president’s going to go into the fall with very expensive gasoline, a weakening economy, a disastrously bad policy in the Middle East and a trillion dollar deficit. I think that’s a pretty big burden while he’s waging war on the Catholic Church and apologizing to Islamic extremists. I think that’s a pretty heavy burden for the President of the United States to carry for re-election.
Gasoline prices are rising much faster than oil prices are, because of decisions made by oil companies to increase their profits even as US demand declines. Americans have been shifting to much more fuel-efficient cars from a resurgent American auto industry.
But the oil industry has been shutting down oil refineries, reducing production, and exporting gasoline, putting the squeeze on gasoline prices to ensure continued record profits. Further refinery shutdowns are planned, guaranteeing further gas price spikes in the future. Rampant speculator activity accelerates the flow of wealth from drivers’ pockets at the gas pump to the one percent.
When gas prices go up, Big Oil wins and everyone else loses — except, Newt Gingrich bets, the Republican Party. It would take a conspiracy theorist like Rick Santorum to believe that the oil and Wall Street executives would deliberately hurt the U.S. economy to help Republicans win. But there’s little evidence that given the choice between their own short-term profits and the welfare of the 99 percent, Big Oil would make any sacrifice.