Can McCain Find A Single Economist To Back His Claim That Offshore Drilling Will Lower Gas Prices?

Our guest blogger is Adam Jentleson, the Communications and Outreach Director for the Hyde Park Project at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

The government’s official source for energy statistics says that offshore drilling will not have a “significant impact” on gas prices until 2030.

McCain’s own campaign admits that offshore drilling will have no short term effect on gas prices:

“Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a senior advisor to McCain’s campaign, acknowledged in a conference call to reporters that new offshore drilling would have no immediate effect on supplies or prices.”

Yet McCain insists on touting offshore drilling as the best way to “assure affordable fuel for America,” as he said in his speech on Tuesday.


This begs the question: can John McCain find a single economist who backs his claim that offshore drilling will lower gas prices in the short term — or even before 2030?

If not, what is the basis for his claim that offshore drilling will lower gas prices?

This is not the first time McCain has had trouble finding economists who would endorse his proposals for lowering gas prices — in fact, just a few weeks ago, McCain failed to find a single economist who would endorse his claim that a temporary suspension of the gas tax would provide significant relief for American families.

The policy was so thoroughly discredited that the only argument McCain and his team could muster was to simply bash economists as a group.

At a campaign stop in New Hampshire, a frustrated McCain told the audience, “If you want to call it [his gas tax proposal] a gimmick, fine. You know the economists? They’re the same ones that didn’t predict this housing crisis we’re in.”


On “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos, Senior Advisor Carly Fiorina, “scoffed at the lack of support from economic analysts. ‘I don’t think it matters,’ she said.”

Even Senior Advisor Douglas Holtz-Eakin — a Ph.D. economist himself — got in on the act, saying, “You can stack all the economists end to end and still not find common sense.”

Is this déjà vu all over again? Can McCain find a single economist to back his claim that offshore drilling will lower gas prices, or will his campaign be left with no recourse but to roll out poor Douglas Holtz-Eakin to trash his own profession, yet again?

UPDATE: The Huffington Post takes up the challenge and reports, “the consensus seemed to be that if the presumptive GOP nominee was persuading voters that he could help decrease their gas bill, he was either living in a political fantasy or being disingenuous.”