High Gas Prices Are Not Under Politicians' Control

In 2010, the rent was too damn high. In this year's election, the price at the gas pump is too damn high. 

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is betting his ailing campaign on a single issue: reducing gas prices to $2.50. Essentially, he plans to do this by increasing supply. More specifically, his plan entails: increasing domestic energy production, building the Keystone pipeline, eliminating the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and drilling more.

Gingrich's policy won't make much of a difference if enacted. Politicians don't have much control over gas prices, anyway (even though they still get blamed for them). In reality, global economic forces and the laws of supply and demand play a bigger role in determining gas prices. (I defer to Ed Hancox's recent comments on this issue on PolicyMic here.)

Americans should breathe a big sigh of relief that Gingrich is not proposing price controls to bring the price of gas down. Price controls would cause much more harm than good in the gas market. If the prices weren't able to fluctuate in accordance with supply and demand, then shortages and surpluses would be the result.

Instead of talking about unimportant issues, such as reducing the price of gas, I wish that candidates would discuss policies that would actually improve the state of affairs. How about we talk about reforming entitlement spending or cutting the federal corporate income tax?

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Christine Harbin

Christine Harbin considers widespread economic freedom to be one of the most important goals for sound public policy. She holds undergraduate degrees in economics, mathematics, and French from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and an MBA from the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire.

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