Karine Jean-Pierre, the current press secretary for the White House, is looking down the barrel of some harsh criticism due to comments made this past weekend in which she attempted to fire shots back at Jeff Bezos, the CEO of retail titan Amazon, for his recent series of mocking social media posts against Democrat President Joe Biden.
Biden attempted to throw the blame for the insane prices at the pump on the privately-owned gas stations and issued a demand to them of lowering the prices they are setting at the pump.
These insane claims from Biden crop up in the wake of an NBC News report earlier this past year that these local gas stations end up making “15 cents a gallon on average, according to the National Association of Convenience Stores.”
“My message to the companies running gas stations and setting prices at the pump is simple: this is a time of war and global peril,” stated Biden on social media. “Bring down the price you are charging at the pump to reflect the cost you’re paying for the product. And do it now.”
As one of the most successful business people in history, Bezos stated, “Ouch. Inflation is far too important a problem for the White House to keep making statements like this. It’s either straight ahead misdirection or a deep misunderstanding of basic market dynamics.”
In response, Jean-Pierre stated: “Oil prices have dropped by about $15 over the past month, but prices at the pump have barely come down. That’s not ‘basic market dynamics.’ It’s a market that is failing the American consumer.”
“But I guess it’s not surprising that you think oil and gas companies using market power to reap record profits at the expense of the American people is the way our economy is supposed to work,” she went on.
But I guess it’s not surprising that you think oil and gas companies using market power to reap record profits at the expense of the American people is the way our economy is supposed to work.
— Karine Jean-Pierre (@PressSec) July 3, 2022
These comments from the press secretary led to quite a big of mocking online because her attempted clap back fell quite short. Some notable responses to her failure included:
- Bill Perkins, entrepreneur: “The rep for the highest office in the land should know that refinery output not crude oil input prices and global demand set the prices at the pump. To be this ignorant of such an important topic is just shocking. Or to be this mebdacious is just evil.”
- Ed Whelan, Distinguished Senior Fellow and Antonin Scalia Chair in Constitutional Studies: “She thinks that the oil companies decided to be so generous to us for so many years?”
- Bethany Mandel, columnist: “Sounding a lot like Venezuela.”
It was also highlighted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas that these gas prices staying high in the face of a small drop in the costs of barrels of oil can just be “attributed to events in the U.S. retail gasoline market beyond the control of oil producers.”
The institution continued:
Moreover, the asymmetry of the response of retail gasoline prices need not be evidence of price gouging. One potential explanation is that station operators are recapturing margins lost during the upswing, when gas stations were initially slow to increase pump prices. The reluctance to lower retail prices also likely reflects concerns that oil prices—and, hence, wholesale gasoline prices—may quickly rebound, eating into station profit margins.
Another possible reason for this asymmetry is consumers’ tendency to more intensively search for lower pump prices as gasoline prices rise than when they decline. This diminished search effort provides further pricing power to gas stations, causing prices to fall more slowly than they rose. This has prompted researchers to liken the response of gasoline prices to higher oil prices to a rocket—and the response to lower oil prices to a feather.
Yet another potential explanation for this asymmetry is that seasonal demand tends to increase as the weather warms, supporting higher retail prices.