Do you know why oil and prices are moving sharply higher? Some blame the oil companies, charging they are manipulating prices. Others cite US sanctions on Iran and the threat of a military encounter that would disrupt the flow of oil from the Middle East.
Speculators, too are blamed for ostensibly bidding up the price of oil. In the political arena, President Obama is taking credit for increased domestic oil production even as his critics point out the slow pace of drilling permits issued by his Administration soon will hamper additional increases in the US oil production.
Yet, the basic reason for higher energy prices is being overlooked, even though it is right before our eyes: Oil prices are up because the value of the dollar is down. Our common sense hides this source of higher prices because we view the dollar as fixed, and prices as moving. News reports explain the sharp rise in consumer prices in February were caused by higher energy and food prices, implying that higher prices cause inflation. Of course, higher prices do not cause inflation. Higher prices are inflation.
The cost of this deception goes well beyond the vilification of the oil industry and free markets. The real price of the on-going debauchery of the dollar is measured by the loss of our prosperity and the debasement of our liberty.
Neither the dollar, nor the price of individual items are fixed. Changes in the relative prices of goods and services occur because of technological change or shifts in supply or demand. The price of computers and televisions fall relative to the price of, well, just about everything. On the other hand, the freeze earlier this winter in Florida reduced the supply of oranges, leading to an increase in the price of orange juice. But, the value of the dollar also changes, usually in ways that are imperceptible over short periods of time. As a consequence, when the dollar price of gasoline rises 6% in a month, as it did in February, it appears that the price of gasoline is up, rather than the value of the dollar is down.
To see more clearly how the price of the dollar has changed, it helps to view price changes over a 10 year period. Since 2002, the price of a barrel of oil has increased four-fold, to $107 last Friday from $26 in 2002. To suggest that oil companies had enough power to impose such a price increase, or that speculators are responsible for a quadrupling of the price of oil is, on its face, preposterous. Instead, the price of oil and gasoline are up because the Federal Reserve has driven the value of the dollar down.
For example, if the dollar since 2002 had been as good as the:
Thanks Mr. Bernanke!
for The Daily Reckoning
Mr. Kadlec is a member of the Economic Advisory Board of the American Principles Project, an author and founder of the Community of Liberty.
Hi Chuck. Gas prices at the pump are falling now. In 2011 the USA was a net exporter of fuels, maybe they decided to keep more of it here at home?
That or the solution for high prices is high prices? Maybe the Wall Street boys pushed up the price too high? Betcha now they are selling their positions to those who invested their IRA or 401K money with them. Let them eat the lower prices.
“In 2011 the USA was a exporter of fuels.”
Your car probably doesn’t run on coal.
Why is it that the average American does not understand the value of the dollar? Rhetorical question? Not really; Government education is just one of the tools used by the socialist/communist/Marxist/islamofascist to dumb down Americans to the point that the average voter is too ignorant to make an intelligent decision when voting.
Gas went down another nickel at the pump over night. Using Joe’s world view, it must be the communist/Marxist/islamofascist’s who are causing it?
I get the inflation of the USD theory but how does that explain why gas is roughly $8/gallon in the Eurozone?
Is arthritis really genetic or is there something else at the root of it? Stephen Petranek lays out the compelling science and a disturbing connection between red meat and arthritis.
Our friend David Stockman took to the airwaves yesterday to deliver one message: The “ill gotten” stock market gains of the last few years are going to end badly. When they do, it will be America’s long-awaited day of reckoning…
The Greek stock market is down 36% year to date; the risk of global contagion in the event of a Greek exit is very real. Ordinarily such a crisis would require a massive coordinated effort from global stakeholders, perhaps directed by the IMF or some other pan-national financial body. But not in this case. Mark O’Byrne has the full story…
Remember, the great commodity boom took more than a decade to play out. Prices skyrocketed across the board. But what goes up must eventually come down. Gold and silver lost their wings in 2013. Copper went into a death spiral late last year. And I don't have to tell you what's happened with oil over the past six months...
Dr. Ron Paul, via his Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, has written a full-blown indictment of the Fed and their 2% inflation target. It’s below, complete with 14 lessons we’d be wise to heed. It’s lengthier than our normal feature, but well worth your time...
For 73 months running, the Fed has lashed the money markets to the gross financial anomaly of zero interest rates. Never before in the history of the world has any central bank dared to hand out so much free money for so long. David Stockman has the scathing report… and how it will splatter into a world of hurt…