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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

NY Times fails Econ 101

According to the New York Times, the current high price of gas is, like everything else in the world it doesn't like, President Bush's fault.

In a general editorial called "How Not to Cure an Addiction," the Times castigates the President for on the one hand acknowledging that "higher prices reflected global demand," but on the other for offering "no strategy to combat demand-driven price rises."

So the Times would like Bush to repeal the law of supply and demand. Sure, and maybe after that he can work on getting Newton v. Apple overturned. (By the way, I thought the whole War in Iraq thing was supposed to be about cheap oil, but now the Times says that it's actually pushing prices up by "reinforcing the market's anxiety over political upheaval in oil-producing areas." I wish these people would make up their minds when they're telling me what to think.)

According to the Times,
The obvious solution, to increase fuel efficiency standards for ordinary cars, was not mentioned. The current standard, 27.5 miles per gallon, on average, has not been raised in more than two decades.
Really? This is the "obvious solution?" With all your Navigators that I can't see around and your Escalades with 20" rims and your Hummers that come damn close to getting single digit mpgs on the road nowadays, ordinary cars are the problem? I doubt that. (Yeah, I have a thing against SUVs, but that's a topic for another post.)

The bottom line is that in the end - at the end of the day, when all is said and done, after the fat lady's sung, when all the petards have finished their hoisting, when the cows come home - in the end, gas prices are high because people are willing to pay high prices for gas. And even if they're not willing, they have no choice.

Interestingly, on the op-ed page directly across from where the gen-eds are, there's a piece by William Sweet called The Nuclear Option, which says that the US needs to rely more on nuclear power. My earlier post here explains how organizations such as the Times helped prevent the growth of the nuclear power industry for the past thirty years, thereby contributing to the mess we now find ourselves in. Not that the Times will acknowledge that one of its stances was wrong any time soon. Hell, it took them forty years to figure out that championing Stalin might've been a mistake.

As blogger Counter Top points out, there are several things the government can do that might lower the price of gas, but all of them involve getting out of the way of the free market, not mandating more regulation. And though this will offer short-term help to consumers, lowering the price of gas will do nothing to ease our dependence on oil. Indeed, by making the economic burden less severe, it will do quite the opposite.

Unfortunately, we've probably reached the point where only higher prices than we're used to paying will force us to explore serious (i.e., not corn) alternatives to oil-based power sources. Never forget that the piper, he done like to get paid.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is really time to find an alternative. Oil has had a few days off pricewise,2933,193216,00.html

But it is just going to keep going up. As countries like India and China require more and more oil.

There is nothing the US can really do to stop global demand.


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