Saturday, December 27, 2008

Flash! Gas Prices Too Low!!!

From an editorial in today's New York Times which is advocating a gasoline tax for the purpose of raising gasoline prices:

"A bitter recession is not the most opportune time to ratchet up the price of energy. But if the Obama administration is to meet its twin objectives of reducing the nation’s dependence on foreign oil and cutting its emissions of greenhouse gases, it needs to start thinking now about mechanisms to curb the nation’s demand for energy when the economy emerges from recession in the future."

I'm no economist by any means - I can barely balance my checkbook, but this is such an asinine position to me. We're in extremely volatile economic times right now, and the New York Times is advocating a gas tax to keep gas prices higher.

Americans love their cars; we love the 1964 Mustang and we love big luxurious Cadillacs and we love our SUVs. We love our big 8-cylinder engines! We even love to buy American (usually). Does anybody seriously think that a freaking Prius LOOKS good? Could you imagine Tony Soprano in a Prius?? Try packing the family of four into a Prius and driving to grandma's house fourteen hours away. It's not going to happen.

The problem with the American auto industry, as most real people know, is the unions. The union costs force auto costs up higher than they should be; it's perfectly possible to get a well made, good car without the exorbinate costs. As an example, Steve bought a Hyundai SUV last year and it's a great car! It's solid and better made than some of the American counterparts we looked at and test drove.

The position of the Obama team has been that we need to lower our dependence on foreign oil. That's all well and good - let's drill in ANWAR then. Let's produce our own oil. Build refineries.

I may be over thinking this, but it seems that the additional objective here, of lowering greenhouse emissions, is the real focus of the New York Times editorial. Tax gasoline to make the price higher so people who don't want to pay $4 a gallon will go buy an ugly Prius (or some other toy-car) which will supposedly lower greenhouse gas emissions and solve global warming (which many scientists don't believe exists.)

It is a proven fact that lowering taxes in a recession is the right course of action. The Obama team needs to look at lowering corporate taxes rather than raising gasoline taxes. With the New York Times own dismal financial position right now, they are in no real position to be giving economic advice to the incoming administration.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As a resident of a typical car-culture city, the higher gas prices this past summer definitely curbed consumption here. Use of public transportation rose dramatically, as did carpooling. Americans have proven over and over that we only change our behaviors when it hits us in the pocketbook. So, although an increase in gas prices would not be popular, its not a radical idea. We currently pay a fraction of what other countries pay for reason why we consume so much.

Americans in Shreveport may love their cadillacs and suv's, but there's a big chunk of America that sees them as old, wasteful, irresponsible vehicles. I'll be the first to admit that a Prius is not the most attractive car, but that's no argument for Americans to continue driving 8-cylinder gas guzzlers.

You're right, there are some scientists who don't believe in global warming, but they are a very small minority, almost as small as those who believe that gloabl warming can somehow be explained through religious scripture. Believe either if you wish, but most of the world believes that the factual increase in worldwide emissions over the past 20-30 years is linked to the factual deterioation of our ozone over that same period of time.

Its ok to admit that we (Ameicans) have been a very wasteful culture, but we should look to do something about it heading into the future, rather than act as if its our right to be wasteful.