The heads of U.S. oil companies completed the second stage of their Congressional Big-Oil-Bash-Athon yesterday by answering questions from largely-economically illiterate congressmen--and women.
Congress took time out from pandering in person to pander in front of the TV cameras. The big winner of the "Comrade Stalin" award was Maxine Waters, who threatened to nationalize (seize) the oil company's assets.
Apparently, Waters is committed to bring the same brand of efficiency to the oil companies that government has demonstrated at the Post Office and Social Security.
Rep. Waters seemed a bit confused on what she was calling for--"socialization" was on the tip of her tongue--and it was guessed that she was wanting Big Oil to "work and play well with others".
The congresswoman declined to elaborate immediately afterwards--no doubt until she received further talking points from Hugo Chavez.
Of course, the Congresswoman is one of the reasons that oil supply is restricted: she's voted against opening up U.S. oil fields in Alaska. But, being a member of Congress, she's used to changing laws.
Waters will find that The Laws of Supply and Demand will continue to defy her best efforts. However, Waters is a gamer and one is assured that she will continue in her quest, no matter the facts.
Any number of rulers throughout history have drug their countries down the broken path of price controls: Rome, Russia, France, Great Britain, the United States are the examples that come to mind. All of them got a lesson in economics; when you control prices, there are less people willing to sell less of something for less money. Scarcity is the result. The next step is to criminalize those people who are not willing to give away their products for less. "Hoarding" is the charge that's most often heard.
Allahpundit was right on the money on this one: "Befitting the catastrophic stupidity of this idea, she doesn’t even know what the proper term for it is."
For those with the slightest historical recall, Congress has been here before: in the 1970s oil and gasoline prices were controlled by a government hellbent on demonstrating that There is Such a Thing as a Free Lunch.
Sadly, the inelastic laws of Supply and Demand trumped the U.S. government's best efforts then: "Windfall Profits Tax" and "price controls" soon meant that gas stations were open a couple days a week--and when they were open, motorists waited hours in line for privilege of filling up.
When Ronald Reagan was elected, gasoline prices in 1980 were in the $1.50 per gallon range. One of his first acts was to decontrol the oil prices. Pundits and Democrats screamed that gasoline would soon hit $2/gallon.
The Democrats in Congress were just as economically savvy in 1980 as they are 28 years later: within weeks, gasoline prices dropped to 60 to 70 cents/gallon and there were no more supply problems. Chalk one up for the philosophy of "government is the problem, not the solution".
9/11 changed that a bit for some people. The struggles of the Homeland Security leviathan to do anything effectively--other than spend tax money--should have reminded people of the abilities of government control.
It has taken 28 years for Democrats to figure the American people had forgotten that 1970s episode of Congress "fixing" gas prices.
By calling for the nationalization of U.S. oil companies, Maxine Waters is betting on the "amnesia" of the American people.
hat tip: AllahPundit @HotAir
Source: Video: Maxine Waters threatens to nationalize America’s oil industry