I am getting dizzy from constantly rolling my eyes at pundits who keep trying to spin high gas prices as a good thing. Well, good thing if you are raking in record profits as an oil company — not so much for everyone else not profiting from it.
For a different perspective on high gas, look at it through the lens of the US health care system. Has the high cost of health care in this country caused people to become more healthy to avoid having to pay for health care? No. It has just produced a widening gap of those who can afford care and those who can’t.
The same is true for the recently bandied about factoid pointing to reduced miles driven since gas shot up. Great, seems like a positive thing, but it is probably comparable to the number of pills dispensed or office visits in the health care scenario. People aren’t going to the doctor less because they are healthier, it’s because they can’t afford to. Just as people aren’t driving less because they are suddenly eco-friendly, it’s because they can’t afford to drive. In either case, the economy ultimately suffers.
Then there is the rosy predictions about it forcing alternative fuels and/or electric cars. Right. I am old enough to have heard similar empty claims back in the 1970’s. ‘If oil ever reaches $50 a barrel, we’re gonna…’ liquefy coal, boost solar, improve battery technology, etc, etc, etc. Apparently a few efficient electric car was created, tested and proven, then collected an destroyed en masse in the desert. Yep, that’s how serious we are about this problem. I can only imagine the efficiencies that we would have gained by actively tweaking that technology over the last decade or so.
Next myth is that this high gas prices will spur the development of mass transit. Uh-huh. In Cincinnati, they would rather spend hundreds of millions of dollars building sport stadiums for losing teams than spend a dime on improving public transportation. I was floored when money was actually approved to put in the beginnings of a street car system, though with all the squabbling going on over that I have my doubts that it will be much more successful than Cincinnati’s subway system. And don’t get me started on how we could be spending the trillions of dollars not on a failed war to grab foreign oil resources, but on funding infrastructure development in the US.
Come on folks; wake up to the fact that when Bush was installed in office gas was selling at a quarter of the price it is right now. Cheney claimed that all of the USA’s woes were due to not having an ‘effective energy policy’. Apparently, the solution to that was to have closed door (illegal) sessions with the oil companies to drive the price at the pump as high as it will go. And while we are at it, lets do nothing to stop the dollar from going into a free fall; after all big oil and global corporations benefit from a weak dollar while the citizenry gets screwed. Let’s maintain ridiculously lax CAFE standards for autos, especially SUVs. Let’s provide no tax incentives to people to by hybrids or to use available public transportation. Lets encourage people to buy McMansions that they can’t afford further and further away from where they work.
Let’s recover money from the war profiteering that has been going on for the last eight years and channel it into improving public transportation and funding research for alternative fuels, etc. There is still time to return this country to a representative form of government where those being represented are the people and not select business interests.