Jimmy Carter Tried Government Oil

November/18/2013 5:14AM
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Somewhere, Jimmy Carter has a huge grin plastered on his face. He will no longer be known as the worst president in my lifetime. But, few remember why Jimmy is rated so bad.

A big reason was Jimmy’s plan to have the federal government-run the oil business. He created the Department of Energy. The DOE created the allocation program. The DOE set off to control every barrel of crude oil and every gallon of refined product in the country. In 1977, if you ran a corner gas station you got an allocation of gasoline from the DOE. It might be 70% of your 1975 sales. But, gasoline was tight. To make your allocation last you could raise prices or shorten hours. Carter figured that out, so he put in price controls. That left shortened hours, which let to lines at open stations.

The DOE took control of a huge pool of fuel that was not under allocation. They parceled that out with allocation applications. Priorities went to minority businesses. That allocation went through a series of daisy chains like any black market product with everyone taking a piece of action along the way. This kept supplies tight and prices high.

One of Reagan’s first acts was to abolish government controls of energy. In days prices went down, supplies balanced, and lines at stations went away. Lawyers, lobbyists, and crooks who made fortunes under the Carter era had to find new ways to scam the public.

I lived through this. I was in the retail business running 50 unbranded outlets and trying to find supply so I know how bad it was. The energy business in this country is a complex business. Too complex for Jimmy Carter. Complex as it is, it’s simple compared to the health care business Obama is trying to run. Carter was a micro manager. Obama is totally uninvolved with anything except campaigning, fund-raising, and public speaking

The disaster that was Carter Oil is nothing compared to the debacle of ObamaCare.

The next president will abolish ObamaCare in his or her first hours as president.

The results will be the same. An unregulated health care sector will get it together quickly and the mess created by ObamaCare will heal just as the energy business did in 1980.

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