Bill O’Reilly is not particularly conservative. He’s a Catholic and holds some social-conservative views but he’s mostly a squishy moderate. He is also a pompous ass and he gives Republicans and Conservatives a bad name when he spouts off on topics where he is ignorant, which tend to be all economic issues.
He’s particularly infuriating when it comes to 2 key topics in this election year: Insurance companies and oil companies. There are some common threads. Both have lower than average profit margins. Both are heavily regulated and in both cases government interference in the market place is resulting in price distortions.
This has been going on for years but has come to the fore in recent broadcasts in conjunction with the return to $4 gas prices. Tonight he invited a liberal Democrat mayor to debate and hilarity ensued. O’Reilly ran up against his own circular logic when he found his guest agreeing with pretty much everything he said.
Wise people know what they don’t know. O’Reilly “bloviates”, blissfully ignorant of his shortcomings. He is emboldened by his frequent guest, Lou Dobbs, another clueless charlatan who recently advanced a crackpot theory that Bill blindly subscribes to.
O’Reilly’s “theory”, such as it is, is that evil oil companies are choosing to ship domestically-produced oil to China, causing shortages here and driving up prices at the pump. He then contradicts himself by stating that supplies are up due to the lagging economy.
In the next segment Monica Crowley countered with the exact metrics that O’Reilly and Dobbs are missing and was rudely dismissed. It happened again with John Stossel. How long will these respected journalists put up with O’Reilly’s abuse? What are those inconvenient truths?
1. Oil companies have low profit margins, in the single digits. The impact is less than a dime per dollar. So remove the oil company profit and the $4 drops to $3.64. Problem solved, right? O’Reilly laughed at Crowley, rolled his eyes and blathered about “record profits”. This is the language of the left. Then he made snide remarks about the Beverly Hillbillies. That is the language of children.
2. Oil is fungible, meaning that a barrel of oil here is pretty much the same as a barrel of oil half way around the globe. More supply here adds to global supply and lowers the price for everyone. Obama has banned drilling off-shore and on-shore, particularly in Alaska. That is a core component of the high prices we see today.
3. Shipping costs. Why would an oil company ship U.S. produced oil to China when it is cheaper, and more profitable to sell it here? It’s simple, they don’t. We are net importers of oil. We lack pricing power for this reason.
Will O’Reilly wise up? Will he invite a guest to debate who has some professional knowledge of how the oil markets work? How about Walter Williams to give him an entry level tutorial on Economics 101? I am not going to hold my breath. The Chicago Tribune won’t print my letters so I seriously doubt that my “pithy” rebuttal will be read on The Factor.
Instead I’ll just be a good Capitalist, and stop buying O’Reilly’s product.
Anyone care to join me?