Power And Pain Of The Internet: We Are All Bound By An Historical Record!

By | February 5, 2016

Rule: Don’t write about anything on the internet concerning a position that’s been stated for political or professional expediency!

But, as most of us already know (and if you don’t know you are learning by watching both parties fight to find a presidential candidate), saying anything to earn a nomination or win an election is for most of those who seek to serve merely one of the the many rules of the road of politics.

This fact is unfortunately true no matter what the ideology.

Positional flip flops, regardless of how extreme, may or may not prove to be costly depending on a variety of factors including the mood of the media concerning that specific candidate, issue or political party.

And finally, if for some reason the person making the statement happens not to be up for reelection, then all bets are typically off and there will be no consequences.

Collapsing Price Of Crude Oil

As an example of playing both sides of an issue let’s use the current collapsing price of crude oil, and the morphing positions of many politicians concerning how it should be handled versus circa 2011 when the price of a barrel of crude oil was spiking higher.

Then, when a barrel of crude oil was above $100, there were loud and persistent cries out of Washington concerning the windfall profits being earned in the oil patch and how no company should have the right earn what Big Oil was earning.

Today crude oil has crashed to the low $30-range resulting in layoffs, bankruptcies, debt defaults and severe economic distress in oil towns across the country. The response, that you will read about below, coming out of Washington now is of course much different.

Example #1

Circa 2011

A Democratic source said an online campaign will use targeted Google and Facebook ads that coincide with oil companies announcing their latest round of mega profits. The ads, launching in four states, target Nevada Sen. Dean Heller, former Virginia Sen. George Allen, Arizona Rep. Jeff Flake and Montana Rep. Dennis Rehberg, all of whom have opposed ending tax subsidies for oil companies.

“For too long, the GOP has protected multi-billion dollar tax breaks for their big oil contributors. Now oil company profits are soaring and middle-class families are struggling,” said Matt Canter, spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, referring to reports that all the major oil companies are about to notch record profits, again.‘ (Source)

February 2016

‘Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell and BP will report their quarterly earnings starting on Tuesday, and the results are not expected to be pretty. Oil prices dropped nearly 20 percent in the fourth quarter, and natural gas prices also slumped. The only saving grace for the integrated oil companies is that they have large refining and chemical businesses that are helped by the low prices of the raw materials they process.

The biggest oil companies have put off, so far, the large dividend cuts of the smaller independents, but they can be expected to announce more cuts in investments and, maybe, personnel. Analysts will be listening closely for hints that the companies are looking to buy up the cheap assets of companies that are under financial stress.‘ (Source)

2016 Political Rhetoric Over The Crashing Price Of Oil And The Accompanying Economic Dislocation

Example #2

Barack Obama March 30, 2011 Commiserating With The Economic Pain Facing Consumers 

‘In an economy that relies so heavily on oil, rising prices at the pump affect everybody -– workers, farmers, truck drivers, restaurant owners, students who are lucky enough to have a car. (Laughter.) Businesses see rising prices at the pump hurt their bottom line. Families feel the pinch when they fill up their tank. And for Americans that are already struggling to get by, a hike in gas prices really makes their lives that much harder. It hurts.

If you’re somebody who works in a relatively low-wage job and you’ve got to commute to work, it takes up a big chunk of your income. You may not be able to buy as many groceries. You may have to cut back on medicines in order to fill up the gas tank. So this is something that everybody is affected by.’ (Source)

February 2016 Barack Obama Proposal Seeking To Inflict Pain On The Very Same Consumer

(Note: This tax proposal, termed a fee for political expediency, in the Obama budget may sound somewhat benign (not really) with crude oil at $30/barrel but we all know it won’t go away when crude oil goes back to $60/barrel. The tax is reported to be paid for by oil companies which means it will ultimately be paid for by the consumer!)

Obama aides told POLITICO that when he releases his final budget request next week, the president will propose more than $300 billion worth of investments over the next decade in mass transit, high-speed rail, self-driving cars, and other transportation approaches designed to reduce carbon emissions and congestion. To pay for it all, Obama will call for a $10 “fee” on every barrel of oil, a surcharge that would be paid by oil companies but would presumably be passed along to consumers.‘ (Source)

So what are the true positions of a politician concerning any issue important to the electorate? Your guess is likely as good as their words!

Michael Haltman is President of Hallmark Abstract Service in New York. He can be reached at mhaltman@hallmarkabstractllc.com

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