Biden is frantic to help Americans hard-hit by COVID-19, or so he says. But while his $1.9 trillion “American Rescue Plan” would send cash to millions, much of that windfall may go to pay for higher gasoline and home heating prices.
Americans should blame Biden, but not for the reason you might think. Biden’s attack on U.S. energy producers, starting with his freeze on federal oil and gas leases, will assuredly take a toll on output down the road and cause prices at the pump to rise.
But today, Biden has pushed those prices, which were already rising because of severe weather, even higher by gratuitously alienating Saudi Arabia. The Gulf kingdom just surprised energy markets by announcing it would not raise oil output, despite developing supply constraints and rising prices. Oil prices jumped on the news, popping 4 percent to pre-pandemic levels for the first time in a year; the surge rattled markets already nervous about rising inflation.
The Saudis are reminding Biden that they can be a valuable ally or a formidable foe.