Friday, June 27, 2008

The blame for high gas prices rests on simple-minded Republican ideology not speculators

In Paul Krugman's June 27th column he writes:

"Why are politicians so eager to pin the blame for oil prices on speculators? Because it lets them believe that we don’t have to adapt to a world of expensive gas."

A perhaps even bigger reason why Republicans want to blame speculators for sky high gas costs is that they don't want the public to put the blame where it's really due – on them.

For decades Republicans have constantly blocked Democratic attempts to increase fuel mileage and many other efficiency and conservation measures. They've also constantly blocked or cut spending on alternative energy, all the while mindlessly chanting "Free market". The economics community had proven long ago that there are many situations and ways where a government role can add greatly to efficiency, wealth, and welfare, but this is a party that long ago refused to think beyond slogans. They acted as though not being simple-minded was a vice, liberal and un-American, when in fact, thinking, and believing in science, evidence, and logic is one of the things that made this country great, and the richest and strongest in the world.

Now we're paying a big price for Republican ideology in energy and so many other things. Had the Democrats not been outvoted, filibustered, and vetoed from enacting their "big government" mileage, conservation, research, and other energy measures over the last almost three decades, gasoline might be less than half its price today, and mileage more than twice as high, making the gas cost per mile less than a quarter of what it is now.

And, of course, it wouldn't hurt that this would have starved the terrorists,and some of the worst authoritarian regimes in the world of money, and greatly decreased the momentous risks of global warming, trivial benefits that aren't taken into account by the magical free markets. By the way, such things are called externalities by serious academic economists...There they go again, those elitist, liberal, academic economists and scientists with their fancy book learnin'.

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