VOICES: A chicken in every pot, and an EV in every garage

People tell me things. They tip me off. Spill the beans. Pass along some info. I don’t mind. As Ohio’s Auditor of State, it’s part of the job.

Usually, I learn about suspected wrongdoings or fraud in local government. When the information is serious and credible, I bring in my Special Investigations Unit, a team of law enforcement professionals and auditors trained to identify unscrupulous behavior in government. While we can’t believe everything we hear, our team has the experience and resources to separate fact from fiction.

Recently, a fellow Ohioan told me about an outrageous statement by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. At a press conference unveiling the Biden Administration’s plan to push electric public buses, Secretary Buttigieg mused that Americans from “rural to suburban to urban communities can all benefit from the gas savings of driving an electric vehicle.”

This isn’t a new idea for the failed presidential candidate turned cabinet secretary. Late last year, while gas prices were climbing, but not yet at the levels we currently see, he told MSNBC that families who invest in electric vehicles “never have to worry about gas prices again.” He went on to say, “the people who stand to benefit most from owning an electric vehicle are often rural residents who have the most distances to drive, who burn the most gas.”

Wow. What an idea! I live in Celina, a small rural town. Why haven’t all of us simple country folk thought of that? Maybe this afternoon I’ll head over to the local coffee spot and tell the farmers who gather there, that according to the Biden Administration, we rural folk would be better off if we traded in our well-worn pickup trucks for $60,000 electric vehicles!

Sorry Pete, but you’re not just misguided — you’re just wrong. Electric vehicles will have a place in the future of America’s transportation strategy, but only a tone-deaf elitist would suggest that these pricy cars are the immediate solution to the here-and-now problem of skyrocketing fuel costs hurting American families. This is particularly true in rural areas, where people regularly need to drive distances beyond the range of most electric vehicles.

Secretary Buttigieg may hail from South Bend, Indiana (about 150 miles of farm country from Celina), but his highbrow rhetoric sounds a whole lot like something you’d hear in South Hampton or South Beach. His call for an electric vehicle in every garage as a solution to out-of-control gas prices is as cringeworthy as President Herbert Hoover’s ill-fated campaign promise to put “a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage.” President Biden, by the way, is doing his best to channel the disastrous legacy of Hoover.

Make no mistake, the surging costs of gasoline impacting every Ohio family have less to do with the ongoing invasion of the Ukraine and far more to do with the Biden Administration’s ill-conceived placation of the radical left. By shutting down construction on the Keystone XL Pipeline on his first day in office, and by taking other actions that discouraged energy independence, President Biden made it clear that the energy needs of the United States would, for the foreseeable future, be outsourced to unreliable and hostile trade partners.

At present, the only countries capable of producing oil that can meet the current needs of the U.S. are Iran, Saudi Arabia, China, Venezuela, and Russia. What do they all have in common? At best, not one of these counties can be relied upon to be a fair-trading partner, while at worst they hate America and what we stand for. They are states that specialize in creating volitivity and uncertainly on the world stage. They are no friend to democracy, and they are certainly no friend to the United States.

We ought not be fooled by the Biden smoke. The surging fuel prices impacting Americans have no direct correlation to the inability of most middle class to invest in a shiny new expensive (which are tough to find these days), little connection to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and everything to do with President Joe Biden’s decision to appease his leftist base at the expense of middle-class Americans. We need to become energy independent again, and soon.

I may only be able to use my office to identify fraud in state and local government, but I can darn sure use my common sense to call out fraudulent rhetoric from the federal government. And Biden and Buttigieg are out of ideas and out of gas.

Keith Faber is the State Auditor of Ohio.

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