President Bush has joined the conservative chorus saying that restricting drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge has cost the U.S. more than 1 million barrels of oil a day. Clearly, Clinton and his legions of mealy-minded environmental protectionists are to blame for this year's unwieldy gas prices. Dean Baker's (Center for Economic and Policy Research) response is worth reading:
A few simple facts indicate otherwise. First, there is a world market for oil. What matters in determining the price of oil is how much oil is supplied in the world, not how much is supplied in the United States. If we were getting an additional 1 million barrels of oil a day, then its impact would be the same on prices in the United States whether the oil comes from Alaska or anywhere else...Iraq’s average oil output is approximately 1 million barrels a day less than it was before the war. In other words, the Iraq war has reduced world oil supplies by approximately the same amount that drilling in the refuge might have increased it.Score one for the economists.