Bob's Links and Rants

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Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Hypocrisy on parade

Senators of both major parties, who sat idly by as the world's largest oil companies became even larger through mergers in the past decade, are now grilling oil company execs for profiting from the monopoly power the government has allowed them to have. The idea, of course, is to browbeat them into lowering gasoline prices once again, allowing our phony economy to rev up one last time so that when it inevitably hits the wall the wreckage will be cataclysmic. Some senators are calling for a windfall-profits tax.

I don't think that the oil execs or their stockholders should be getting rich for selling a scarce commodity to which they have only the most dubious claims to ownership. On the other hand, high oil prices are desperately needed to steer us towards a more sustainable economy and to mitigate the impact of global warming. A completely different approach is needed, and clearly not coming from the hypocrites in government. But as much as I hate to see ExxonMobil execs and Saudi princes profiting from disaster, if the only options are a)low gas prices and low profits, or b) high gas prices and high profits, I'll take b as the better option for the future of the world. Low oil prices have distorted our economy, our landscape, and even our society as a whole for way too long. I don't believe free markets are the answer to everything or even most things, but I think that scarce and valuable commodities, at least ones not absolutely critical to life (like water), SHOULD be expensive--otherwise they are wasted frivolously. And I doubt if any one of our 100 senators would openly state that free markets are not a good thing--but they don't seem to believe in them when it comes to gasoline.

See my September 21 post for more along these lines. If you want to, that is!