Choosing between food and fuel leaves more Americans in the cold

Choosing between food and fuel leaves more Americans in the cold

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Conversations around Sherri Bukovskey’s kitchen table are a lot like yours. A dental hygienist from Maine, Sherri remembers when not too long ago she could keep her house warm in the winter for half the price it would cost today. She recalls the time when no one in her neighborhood would even consider foregoing medication to pay her weekly grocery bill — a decision only America’s poorest poor had to make recently, but one that’s becoming increasingly common across America today.

According to the National Energy Assistance Directors Association, more than 20 million American households (1 in 6 American households) are struggling to pay their home energy bills, the worst crisis the group has ever documented. The collective amount due has doubled from the end of 2019 to today. Families struggling to put food on the table may not find those nasty tweets as distasteful now that they remember with nostalgia the Trump-era policies that saved an average family of four $2. $500 per year.

But why are American families facing this energy-fueled inflationary spiral? Well, prices went up because President Joe Biden’s policies basically guaranteed that they would go up. When there is a shortage of a product in demand, the price of that product increases. Fossil fuels are clearly in high demand and limiting the supply of these fuels has obviously increased costs.


Biden made his devastating policies on oil production crystal clear early in his run for president. Recall that during the 2020 campaign, Biden told a young supporter to “look me in the eye” saying, “I guarantee you we’re going to end fossil fuels.” This statement was not one of Biden’s most common blunders. At a rally in February 2020, he said very clearly from prepared remarks, “We’re going to get rid of fossil fuels.”

US singer James Taylor performs for US President Joe Biden during an event to celebrate the passage of the Cut Inflation Act of 2022 on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC on 13 September 2022. (Photo by Mandel NGAN/AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

US singer James Taylor performs for US President Joe Biden during an event to celebrate the passage of the Cut Inflation Act of 2022 on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC on 13 September 2022. (Photo by Mandel NGAN/AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by MANDEL NGA)

And There you go.

Today, tight supplies of diesel and natural gas threaten to exacerbate already spiraling inflation and supply chain problems, devastating American families. According to data released last week by the Department of Energy, our supply of diesel fuel (essential for supply chain transportation) has fallen to 25 days, the lowest level on record dating back to 1993. For Northeast residents, who rely on diesel to heat their homes in winter (like Sherri Bukovskey), supplies have fallen to a third of their usual levels for this time of year.

The situation is critical. To deal with the existing and impending crises that Biden’s anti-fossil fuel policies have caused, it seems obvious that the president should unequivocally admit the error of his ways and tell American bankers, asset managers, officials administration and environmentalists to step aside because America needs more oil now!

This is apparently not as obvious as it seems.

On Monday, the president – who guaranteed he would get rid of fossil fuels – demanded that fossil fuel companies increase production. Seriously. He attacked oil companies for taking ‘war windfall’ profits, demanded they increase production and threatened them with a ‘higher tax’ on excess profits if they failed to invest in production increased.


It blows the mind. In what economic universe do you encourage investment with the threat of tax hikes on an industry that you have already pledged to destroy? For some inexplicable reason, Biden remains committed to his “whole-of-government approach” to attacking the oil and gas industry — seemingly unaware that his policies are the root of the problem. To the extent that oil industry profits are a boon from a war, it was the Biden administration’s war with fossil fuel producers – that was driving up energy prices long before the president Russian Vladimir Putin invades Ukraine. Even Fed Chairman Jerome Powell has admitted that Biden’s claim about “Putin’s price hike” is just plain wrong.

It is not by threatening the oil companies that we make them invest. Just a few years ago, during nationwide forced shutdowns, these same businesses suffered record losses. Now they’re using some of those profits to pay off their debts, and if Biden stops his attack on fossil fuels, they’ll eventually use that money to increase production. But why would a company invest in new infrastructure if the government is just going to regulate it?


And speaking of profits from rising oil prices, when Biden releases oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve, he’s doing exactly what oil companies do: he’s selling it on the open market as part of of a “sale at a competitive price”. The government does not give away its oil for free and it does not sell it at cost. It sells at market price, just like the oil companies. Biden criticizes oil companies for taking profits “a windfall of war” as he sells oil at the same price, taking the same profits and taking credit for any reduction in the federal deficit. Some might call that hypocritical. Others might be more direct.

In fact, access to affordable and reliable energy has reduced poverty and dramatically improved human life for two centuries. Few industries have truly invested in America like oil and gas. Biden’s policies are an irrational threat to that prosperity. American families are now bearing the initial impact of the left’s war on fossil fuels. I hope that’s enough of a wake-up call to end the madness.


Andy Puzder served as General Manager of CKE Restaurants for over 16 years, following a career as a lawyer. He is currently Executive Chairman of 2ndVote Value Investments, Inc., Director of the Job Creators Network, Visiting Scholar at the Heritage Foundation, and Senior Fellow at Pepperdine University School of Public Policy and America First Policy Institute. He was appointed by President Donald Trump to serve as US Secretary of Labor.

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