An oil refineryLife is like a game of Tetris: it throws down difficult conditions sometimes, it gets faster and faster until you feel you’re going to throw up from stress, and it never ends happily. …. Okay, I don’t really mean that. I was playing Tetris on my phone a few minutes ago and just can’t get those colourful little pieces out of my head.

But game analogies could actually be useful here.

US President Bush today triggered a ‘blame game’ with Congress over high gas prices, saying that he’s submitted many proposals to utilise America’s own oil reserves in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), thus increasing vastly the supply in relation to the demand for oil, greatly lowering gas prices, and blaming Congress on failing to enact those proposals (leaving us in the current situation).

If this sounds familiar to you, it may be because I made mention of ANWR on Sunday here, saying that I couldn’t understand why it wasn’t being drilled.

Bush is right on this one. True widespread use of alternative fuels like cellulosic ethanol or hydrogen is still some years out, and in the meantime the global economy relies upon having access to affordable fuel (the US economy even moreso). I advocate putting ANWR up for bidding: the job goes to the oil company with the highest bid, and the money gained by the government goes toward reducing the budget deficit. (Want to see oil profits going back into the hands of the people? That’s how to do it.)

Here’s an excerpt from Bush’s speech today:

“One of the main reasons for high gas prices is that global oil production is not keeping up with growing demand. Members of Congress have been vocal about foreign governments increasing their oil production, yet Congress has been just as vocal in opposition to efforts to expand our production here at home. They’ve repeatedly blocked environmentally safe exploration in ANWR. The Department of Energy estimates that ANWR could allow America to produce about a million additional barrels of oil every day, which translates to about 27 million gallons of gasoline and diesel, every day. …. And yet such efforts to explore in ANWR have been consistently blocked.”

Ladies and gentlemen, this is your government standing in the way of progress, the government stifling the economy willingly, the government hurting the pocketbooks of the citizens who elected it. And on this one, Bush happens to be right: it’s Congress who are responsible.

The blame game continues with a returning shot from Democratic Senator Charles Schumer saying that it’s Bush’s fault. Of course! Everything is. He didn’t elaborate. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hit back also, by calling for Bush to give tax credits for renewable energy. What a nice idea! (She doesn’t appear to have noticed that her response is entirely irrelevant to the discussion about gas prices; neither does it answer Bush’s charge that it’s her and her cronies in Congress to blame. I’ve heard that if you hold Pelosi to your ear, you can hear the ocean.)

So it goes on. But the beginning of a Washington DC ‘blame game’ on the cost of fuel can only be a good thing for the general public and the world. Perhaps now the pressure will build sufficiently so that we stand a chance of seeing the government do what it should be doing: give the People access to their own commodities, and allow freedom to be the rule by which the oil market is governed.