Boehner’s plan: drill our way to recovery

BOEHNER’S PLAN: DRILL OUR WAY TO RECOVERY…. It must be nice to be a Republican. I can’t personally relate, but I’m often jealous at their ability to just make up policies and arguments, without any real thought at all, and without regard for reason.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Thursday that sluggish first-quarter economic growth underscores the need for GOP offshore oil-and-gas drilling bills that will begin coming to the floor next week.

The Commerce Department announced Thursday that gross domestic product had increased at a 1.8 percent rate in the first three months of the year. The economy had grown at a 3.1 percent pace in 2010’s last quarter.

“Skyrocketing gas prices continue to batter families and small businesses, and the Obama Administration is actively making the problem worse by blocking more American energy production,” Boehner said in a statement.

Got it. Economic growth is far too weak, so Congress’ top Republican will call for more oil drilling, which will in turn lower prices, and which will then boost consumer spending. See how easy this is? Drilling = recovery. Why didn’t anyone else think of this sooner?

Perhaps because this is ridiculous. The administration isn’t hindering production; in fact, domestic oil production in 2010 was at its highest point in about a decade. That’s not “blocking” production, it’s the opposite. Does Boehner not know this?

For that matter, plenty of Republicans realize that drilling won’t lower oil prices. It’s really not that complicated: “Even a dramatic expansion of domestic oil and gas drilling will have little effect on oil and gas prices, as they are largely set on world markets.” Even Boehner should be able to understand this.

The Speaker’s three-part plan — (1) drill for more oil, (2) ???, (3) boost economy — only makes sense if you disregard reality altogether. It is the quintessential Underpants Gnomes approach to a recovery. Either Boehner knows this and doesn’t care, assuming we’re too dumb not to notice, or his economic agenda has all the sophistication of a third-grade book report.

That said, if the Speaker really is concerned after seeing the latest GDP numbers, he could do something that would actually make a difference: scrap his austerity agenda and stop trying to slow down an economy that needs to speed up.