George Will, on ABC's "This Week," asked a good question yesterday with regard to the President's ability to lower gasoline prices at the pump, a question that deserves an answer:
"[T]here's something about our obsession with the imperial presidency -- it's true in both parties -- that says nothing's out of our control. After all, Mr. Obama, the night he clinched the nomination, said this will be the moment when the rise of the seas stop[s]. Well, if he can stop the seas from rising, why can't he bring down gas prices?"
In fact, the President could - with the help of Congress - impose gas prices on the nation. With disastrous results. (See FDR's Office of Price Administration and The Emergency Price Control Act of 1942.)
With the stroke of a pen a President can, indeed, bring down gas prices. For a time. And wreak eventual havoc in doing so. (See "How FDR Made the Depression Worse".) (See "The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression.")
So can a President have a positive impact on gas prices?
Yes. By getting government out of the business of business.
See "Building Prosperity: Why Ronald Reagan and the Founding Fathers Were Right on the Economy."
See Ludwig von Mises: "The consumers suffer when the laws of the country prevent the most efficient entrepreneurs from expanding the sphere of their activities. What made some enterprises develop into big business was precisely their success in filling best the demand of the masses."
Can Obama lower gas prices? Yes. By getting government off our backs.