Democrats & Liberals Archives

As Much As This Hurts...

I’m one of those people who is faced day in and day out with the unfair level of gas prices. That said, I do not want the provision here for a 100 dollar rebate to go through. The private company should be the one to give out this rebate, if anybody.

Our government's purpose in terms of business should be to keep the worst of their behavior under control, to govern before the fact, not bail out and beat up after the fact. The GOP influence on our government has made it to where we're doing the latter things more than the former. There are any number of maxims we know from childhood that cover this kind of thing: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, a stitch in time saves nine, etc.. The Republicans, though, have adopted a real world policy of not doing anything about these problem until the milk is spilled and the voters are pissed off. Not only is this bad politics, its terrible policy, and it also encourages the kind of spur of the moment legislation that often makes things worse.

Right now, we are in deficit, which means when we have our little tax cuts and rebates, we're not giving people their money back, we're piling up more bills for them to pay later. Any rebate we get on gas here will only serve to worsen economic problems later, which will defeat the value of the rebate itself.

The rebate should come from the oil companies themselves. If they profited improperly, they should be the ones to pay. There should be a black page in the book of their memory, and when they turn to it, they should say, this is what happens when we overcharge people. Greedy folks should look at that and say, "If we overcharge the consumer, we will suffer penalties. " The story should not be "Yeah, we overcharged them. Couldn't last forever. Government stepped in and mollified them with their own money, though, so all we had to do was be good little boys and stop it. Maybe we can do it again when the outrage dies down."

The Republicans are too friendly with business. We Democrats, I'm sorry to say, are little better. That friendliness is a fertile ground for a crop of conflicts of interest. It's those conflicts that have us in this position. From them we got all kinds of tax breaks for those corporations, breaks which did little to lower gas prices. We also got deregulation on markets which allow them to bargain up the prices every time President Ahmedinejad's left nostril twitches instead of setting them according to supply and demand. If that isn't enough, these people know they don't have enough refineries to provide sufficient product to the market, and yet they continue to do these things.

We can't and likely shouldn't force them to build more, but the fact is, their irresponsibility threatens our security, our economy, and ironically enough, their own bottom line. It would be in everybody's best interest to end this Wild-West/Tammany Hall approach to energy.

From the general description, much of the other proposals are sound. The devil is in the details, though, and the results will be in the execution even after that. We should support those things, but not to have our government turn around and screw us for the sake of their buddies in the oil industry as well. The Petroleum industry needs to face the consequences of its high prices, either by issuing its own rebates, having charges brought against it for whatever crimes its committed, seeing its activities regulated, or seeing the alternative energy and fuels market chip at their bottom line. Our government should not pay the price for private enterprise.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at April 27, 2006 9:13 AM
Comments
Comment #143489

thank you for this, Stephen. I agree. I find it hard to believe that after billion dollar profits and an almost half a billion dollar retirement package for outgoing CEOs, that the oil c0ompanies still get so much money from the government (that means US, the tax payers)for R&D. And, the best congress can come up with is reducing it by a mere few million? WHy has congress dismissed the idea of a few billion dollar windfall tax imposed on Exxon and others? It is really time we, as citizens, showed our outrage with our votes in november.

What we need is an energy policy that is long term, I agree. Really long term, not opening up the Artic for drilling, but giving real incentivees for alternative fuel use. Caring about our environment and the health of our citizens. I think the real opposition to this is that real alternative fuels means small businesses and not huge corporations making money. It will be the small entrepeneur who makes money out of solar and wind energy use and products. And how about some real incentives for buying (and making) alternative fuel cars and trucks and heating equipment? Just so the big companies have some stake in our future? And real incentives for cleaning up the pollution we are engendering now that is costing us billions in asthma and other respiratory illnesses and eye problems and skin cancer, etc. Right now it seems to the only incentives are to give us a rebate so we can buy more gas, open up the artic to more drilling to find more oil and gas to make the oil companies richer and off shore drilling for the same. These are incentives to keep our addiction stronger and more in place while the administration and congress blames others for this and does not take on any responsibility for this happening themselves. How can we ask the pusher to stop selling the drug? how can we ask the pusher to control themselves? we, as citizens have to stand up and demand by our votes, that our gov’t be truly “of the people” not “of the companies that give them lots of money”

Posted by: judye at April 27, 2006 11:33 AM
Comment #143491

Some Questions for you…

The oil industry makes about 9 cents a gallon.
Taxes are over 50 cents a gallon…Thoughts?

How have enviromental groups and laws impacted the current problems we are facing?
Why haven’t these companies built more refineries? (see above)

Why did we give tax credits to the oil companies to begin with? (answer, they needed it…guess what, it worked, they seem to be doing better now…go ahead and take them away, they don’t need them anymore)

Why do we assume that a crime has been committed?
(We have this mindset that success equals guilt)


Finally “Our government should not pay the price for private enterprise.” Just what does this mean? Our government is solely dependent on private enterprise, without it, there would be no government.

Just how much socialism are you asking for?


Posted by: Cliff at April 27, 2006 11:36 AM
Comment #143495

It would be nice if the people responsible for high oil prices were held accountable.What you could do is put a sir charge of one dollar a gallon on regestered democrats and subtract one dollar a gallon from republican users.The dems. does not want to drill for oil at home so let them pay more for their stuppid idea’s!50 Miles from the united states china,will be drilling for oil as will the canadian,s.Have you ever heard the old saying you can,t have your cake and eat it too?Well democrats want both. these mongloyd,s have the middle class over a barral.Its time for the working class to hold all senater’s and state reps.accountable.If they don’t want to drill for oil here at home vote the bums out of office.If they don’t want to seal the border vote the bums out of office.If they think of raising tax’s in any way kick them to the curb.Take your country back from those who care more about wild life than the human being’s that the oil was put there for.These mental retards must be put in their place.And if they will not go the extra mile to protect the american people like spying on those who wish to harm us shun these leader’s and kick them out of office.Its easy this is your country you call the shots.VOTE REPUBLICAN they have problems too but they are the lesser of the two evils and their problems are brought on by the liberal democrats.

Posted by: saying at April 27, 2006 11:43 AM
Comment #143501

I see the $100 rebate idea as simple pandering. It doesn’t help in the long run, it doesn’t affect either supply or demand, and it isn’t tied to use.

saying says that “(i)t would be nice if the people responsible for high oil prices were held accountable.” I agree, but I think he’s wrong to point the finger at Democrats opposed to drilling in Alaska.

In fact, the people responsible for high gas prices are everyone that uses oil. The prices are up now because demand is up (thanks to growing economies around the world), but supply can no longer keep up. So, everyone that uses gas is responsible for the high gas prices, and they should pay.

Fortunately, the system for this is already in place - it’s the free market, and it’s working.

Posted by: LawnBoy at April 27, 2006 11:55 AM
Comment #143511

Lawnboy Why do we insist on making other country’s filthy rich when we could refine some of our own oil here in the u.s.a. this will not be solved over night but you have to start some where.more refinery’s is another good start.We will need all the oil we can get untill we have alternitve sources of energy.We have been bluffing for years its time to do the hard work.Alaska, california and yes jeb bush’s state of florida have great potentual to help this country ween its self from foreign oil.We need to stop the crying and get the job done.

Posted by: saying at April 27, 2006 12:12 PM
Comment #143515

saying,

Would drilling in Alaska, California, and Florida help on the supply side? Sure. Would it help enough really to matter? Not really. It would take years for the oil to be online, and then there wouldn’t be enough to make a significant difference in the overall market.

It’s not crying to acknowledge that the problem is demand, not supply. It’s also not crying to understand how to use punctuation and capitalization,

Posted by: LawnBoy at April 27, 2006 12:17 PM
Comment #143517

Let’s invade Canada!

We could send the Salvation Army in… about all we have left… but, come on! It’s only Cananda!

Posted by: tony at April 27, 2006 12:21 PM
Comment #143519

LawnBoy,

I agree with you. The weird thing to me is that gas still seems cheap. In the late 70’s gas was over a dollar a gallon. It’s still not to $3. I was young enough to remmeber that a coke cost a quarter in a machine. Now it’s about a dollar. A candy bar was a quarter also. Now they are about 65 cents or so. And oh yeah, water was free, now it’s about a dollar. I understand that we are all affected by gas prices, but the stability in gas prices was abnormal. Now the increases are abnormal, but they’ll level off as the supply and demand evens out over the next five years and we’ll see slower increases, won’t we?

Posted by: Rob at April 27, 2006 12:25 PM
Comment #143520

Stephen,

Thank you for posting on this topic. I agree with you that the idea of the $100 dollar rebates is bad. We are never going to solve the structural problem with our rising energy prices via a deficit funded program of tax refunds or credits.

I do not agree that the oil companies are to blame as the do not set the price of oil, which is the main driver of gas prices. The oil and gas markets are very open and transparent. I do not think that regulating them, or having the government set prices would help us out of our current or future problems. That is not to say that consolidation in the oil industry over the last decade has not created close to an oligopoly. The lack of a truly competitive market has created a disincentive for more investment in refining capacity which has contributed to the rise in prices. But one could also argue that government regulation at the local, state and federal levels, as well as the NIMBY effect, has also created the refinery problem.

What the country needs is true leadership on energy. That is not going to come from Bush or any Republican or Democrat that I can think of. We need to address not just supply issues but demand as well. Conservation should be rewarded, instead of creating tax breaks for energy companies to create more energy incentives should be created to award conservation. We need to re-develop out nuclear energy industry to both satisfy demand and to improve the environment. We should generate at least 80% of our electricity from nuclear, which is what France does. I know coal is used for most electrical generation and it is cheap and abundant but it is dirty.

The government should also set much higher CAFÉ standards on the auto industry as well. We use way to much fuel per mile driven in this country.

One of the long-term benefits of high prices is the investment it is causing in alternative and renewable sources of energy. We need to invest in this sector and harness wind solar and tidal power to help us become more energy independent.

Energy independence is an american problem, not a political problem. We need to solve it for many reasons; financial, security, environmental to name a few.

DCC

Posted by: DCC at April 27, 2006 12:27 PM
Comment #143521
It would be nice if the people responsible for high oil prices were held accountable.

I agree, let’s vote out the Republicans that have done little to decrease demand and lower prices.

If they don’t want to drill for oil here at home vote the bums out of office.

That will not solve the overall problem, Prices have skyrocketed recently due to increased demand. Drilling for oil in new places will only be a band-aid that will only temporarily solve the problem of energy prices and it will actually make the problems of pollution and global warming worse; we need to decrease demand for oil.

If they don’t want to seal the border vote the bums out of office.

I believe it is the Bussiness intrest in the Republican Party, not the Democrats, that is preventing immigration reform.

If they think of raising tax’s in any way kick them to the curb.

Do you prefer the deficits and borrow and spend policy of the current administration to small rollbacks in the recent taxcuts to the wealthy, like with the reduction of the Estate Tax combined with cuts in unnecessary things.

Take your country back from those who care more about wild life than the human being’s that the oil was put there for.

First of all, the oil was not put into the ground for humans to burn and use; it is just the remains of tropical plants that existed during the Carboniferous and Permean periods (The two periods preceeding the Mesozoic era when the Dinosaurs lived).

Second of all, I don’t think anyone in Congress or the Senate believes in putting wildlife before people. I recently read this article in National Geographic. The Inuit people native to that region of Alaska depend on the wildlife in the region for food, if drilling for oil kills the wildlife it will either kill these people too or force them to move.

Also, destroying lots wildlife can really throw the biosphere out of whack; remember, the majority of us get our food from things that were living at one time, be it plant, animal or whatever else.

And if they will not go the extra mile to protect the american people like spying on those who wish to harm us shun these leader’s and kick them out of office.

I am pretty sure Democrats are 100% behind the concept of eavesdropping on terrorist communications with a warrant. The power to tap the wires without this check could be disasterous if it came into the wrong hands. It could be used to spy on political rivals instead of criminals. What would your reaction be if one of the people the NSA surveyed was John Kerry during the 2004 election campaign? There is nothing wrong with getting a warrant within 72 hours after the wiretaps have begus. Remember the FISA courts are completly secretive and able to hear classified information.

Posted by: Warren P at April 27, 2006 12:29 PM
Comment #143522

OK lawnboy people want gas prices to go down now and they want them to stay down.You have a plan im sure to bring the prices down and keep them down.In your world you want one dollar per gallon gas and you want it to stay there.Now you tell me when i wake up tomorrow under lawnboys plan will gas prices be one dollor a gallon?Under lawnboys plan will it be one dollor a gallon five years from now?your problem is you live in a make beleive world.My punctuation and capitalization has nothing to do with the price of oil.Solving small problems like my spelling does not solve big problems.

Posted by: saying at April 27, 2006 12:29 PM
Comment #143527

warren p am i hearing you right?You think its george bush’s job to make sure you conserve energy?Who wipes you after you use the john?This is with out a dobt the dumbest statment ive ever heard.ACLASSIC EXAMPLE OF WHAT YOU FOLKS STAND FOR.George bush can suggest to you to conserve he can not ride in your car to make sure you conserve energy.

Posted by: saying at April 27, 2006 12:39 PM
Comment #143535

saying,

Where did you read that LawnBoy want gas prices to go down? In fact, as I do, he think it’s great there are going up. Because this (limited) resource was way undervalued for years if not since start. And cost is a very good the best way to change people minds about their energy usage.

My punctuation and capitalization has nothing to do with the price of oil. Solving small problems like my spelling does not solve big problems.

It seems, unfortunatly, that you didn’t pay attention to what LawnBoy *actually* wrote no more than to your punctuation. While it has nothing to do with price of oil, it could have everything to do with you totally missing LawnBoy’s point about it.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at April 27, 2006 12:53 PM
Comment #143536

Gas in the U.S. is very cheap compared to other countries. Most countries pay over $5 a gallon U.S. for gas. I am kinda surprised that the Republicans are the ones proposing this, that is until I read that one of the stipulations is that they can open drilling in the ANWR. So basically, they are trying to buy the right to open drilling there, $100 at a time.

The real problem is that there is not enough oil domestically to be drilled to make any real difference in our dependence on foreign sources. The problems we face today with security, dependence, and lack of our own supply should be forcing us to be seriously looking at an Apollo type program for energy independence.

Pursuit of opening new drilling in the U.S. is a waste. It will take God knows how much money, several years to bring these new sources on line, and then there isn’t going to be enough there to make any real difference in energy independence.

Instead of wasting time and money on a solution that is no solution at all and a hazard to the environment, we should be putting our efforts into renewable energy resources and putting the infrastructure in place.

The sad part is that while Washington dicks around about where to get more oil, at least one major
U.S. automaker is fully on board for renewable energy alternatives, Ford Motor Co. They are already putting vehicles on the road with flex-fuel technology. Most Ford vehicles can run on an ethanol blend as high as 80% ethanol.

We can continue to twiddle our thumbs trying to open new environmentally unfriendly oil fields, or we can be pursuing real solutions to this problem. The country that develops a reliable fuel alternative to fossil fuels will own the market.

Posted by: JayJay Snow at April 27, 2006 1:00 PM
Comment #143537
In your world you want one dollar per gallon gas and you want it to stay there.

Where on earth did I say that?

You have a plan im sure to bring the prices down and keep them down.

Where on earth did I say that?

Gas prices are up because demand is up and supply is down. The only ways to bring gas back to about $1/gallon would be to have a huge gevernment subsidy (which would be a bad idea), to drastically and quickly increase supply (which isn’t possible - Alaska, California, and Florida just aren’t enough), or do reduce demand.

Demand from growing economies will continue increasing. The best that we can do is to try to be more efficient in our energy use and research alternate forms of energy generation. However, none of that will be sufficient.

My punctuation and capitalization has nothing to do with the price of oil.

You’re right, but they do make it hard to read what you write.

Posted by: LawnBoy at April 27, 2006 1:02 PM
Comment #143539

Philippe,

Where did you read that LawnBoy want gas prices to go down? In fact, as I do, he think it’s great there are going up.

Thanks for trying to point out what I was actually saying vs. his straw man.

However, I’m not comfortable saying it’s great that gas prices are up. Gas prices go up because they have to go up - that’s the economic reality. And if rising gas prices help America become more efficient, then they’ll have a great effect. However, to say they’re great glides over the pain from the economic shock that is happening right now.

Gas in America is cheap on the global scale, but expensive compared to what we’re used to. Eventually our economy will adjust to the new cost of energy, but it will hurt until we get there.

Posted by: LawnBoy at April 27, 2006 1:06 PM
Comment #143540

This is nothing more than election year politics. Both parties are trying to get your vote. The Republicans want to keep control of Congress. And the Democrats are trying to get control.
If this wasn’t an election year neither party would be doing anything. Just like they didn’t the last times gas went up.

Back when I was 16 (1963) I bought a 56 Ford. I put a very high compression (15:1) engine in it. I had to run Sunoco 260 in it. This stuff was about 2 octane points short of pure racing gas. I thought I was getting ripped off. I had to pay 28 cent a gallon for it while everyone else was paying 23 to 25 cents a gallon.
Of course those days are gone forever.

Posted by: Ron Brown at April 27, 2006 1:08 PM
Comment #143541
You’re right, but they do make it hard to read what you write.

Amen! In fact, I didn’t half way through saying’s first post and I skipped the others. To me spelling is no big deal, it doesn’t change the underlying thought. But if you make something too hard to read then people will never read what your underlying thought is.

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at April 27, 2006 1:11 PM
Comment #143543

Lawnboy i stand corrected your every word is true.as is philippe’s.

Posted by: saying at April 27, 2006 1:14 PM
Comment #143544

Here’s a novel idea, maybe we should drill for oil here in this country.
I think that we should start in saying’s front yard.

Posted by: Rocky at April 27, 2006 1:16 PM
Comment #143549

Wow - Reps want a handout from China?

Why aren’t they proposing they all get extra jobs? They’re going to need to anyway a year or two from now.

Posted by: Max at April 27, 2006 1:21 PM
Comment #143555

This rebate dung is just a wooze to pass more oildrilling in alaska’s wildlife preserve. It’s part of the bill. Evil politics. Whats up there is not going to help an 1/8 of what the demand is.Pure Bush politics it is just sick.

Posted by: nature at April 27, 2006 1:40 PM
Comment #143560

Warren-

You want to vote out Republicans because they didn’t curve demand? Who would we replace them with? Democrats? SUV and minivan sales tripled under Clinton.

SUV and Minivan sales 1990-2002

Posted by: George in SC at April 27, 2006 1:53 PM
Comment #143562

Stephen,

I was a card carrying Republican, but you have found the main reason why I am now an Independent. Deficit spending, record oil profit ($8.4 Billion for the 1st Qtr for Exxon) and record executive incentives ($400 Million for retiring Exxon CEO)was all I could take.

Good post - I agree. Below is the email address to the RNC, might I suggest that you email them an express to them that this rebate is a short sided idiotic idea. That’s exactly what I just did.

Chairman@gop.com

I can’t believe I am about to publically say this but Sen. Schumer actually made sense to me yesterday. His idea is to break-up the oil co’s, so they will have to fight for market share. I am with him on this one.

Posted by: pat at April 27, 2006 2:03 PM
Comment #143569

Pat,

While I agree with the problems Republicans have with deficit spending and for that reason you should become an independant, I’m having a problem with the ‘record oil profit’ (which is about 9% of gross sales, far less than the pharmacutical companies making 23% or the average of 15% for most companies) and retiring executive incentives. How specifically is the ‘government’ suppose to do anything about that in a free market environment? I don’t say that I like it, but it doesn’t mean we can force it not to happen…

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 27, 2006 2:35 PM
Comment #143579

Rhinehold,

Sen Schumer made a good point yesterday that when we had 14 or so Oil Co’s they all clawed and fought for their market share. Now we have 5 Oil Co’s. They each realize they have enough market share to make a killing. Therefore, now when one Co ups their price the others follow. There is more money to be made by following each other’s lead. This is not a Free Market. When was the last time you saw a price war between Oil Co’s? They need to be broken up. The only sinergies that are being seen in Oil is how efficiently that money goes into the execs pockets. Wasn’t the idea for synergies to make R&D and product development cheaper. $400 million is a lot of R&D but it went to one old fart that is going to retire somewhere warm (where ironically he won’t need oil to for heating).

I have no argument against what you said about the Pharma Co’s. They need to be overhauled too. I understand R&D needs to be incented, but if you sell your product in another country for less than you sell it here, then something is wrong. Fortunately, I have damn good insurance and only pay $6 per script for name brand ($3 for generic). So while I am making out others are getting screwed. I think we should be allowed to buy from other countries. After all that is a Free Market.

Posted by: pat at April 27, 2006 3:04 PM
Comment #143582

Stephen,

This has been talked about in the media but rapidly forgotten. I think the Republicans have forgotten to be pro business and are now pro corporation. This is a subtle but critical difference.
Instead of ensuring the efficient use of capital and capping the monopolistic tendencies of succesful organizations, the GOPers are maximizing profits of the top players to the exclusion of new competition and ignoring the effect on nature and other citizens.

Posted by: Dave at April 27, 2006 3:08 PM
Comment #143587

Why aren’t there price controls on oil? It is a utility just like electricity..and we have controls over that so people don’t freeze in the winter and melt in the summer. Gas is not a privelige, it is a nessecity.

Posted by: Shelly at April 27, 2006 3:12 PM
Comment #143591

Everyone:

Straight off of the NYMEX website:
“Crude oil is the world’s most actively traded commodity, and the NYMEX Division light, sweet crude oil futures contract is the world’s most liquid forum for crude oil trading, as well as the world’s largest-volume futures contract trading on a physical commodity. Because of its excellent liquidity and price transparency, the contract is used as a principal international pricing benchmark. Additional risk management and trading opportunities are offered through options on the futures contract; calendar spread options; crack spread options on the pricing differential of heating oil futures and crude oil futures and gasoline futures and crude oil futures; and average price options.

The contract trades in units of 1,000 barrels, and the delivery point is Cushing, Oklahoma, which is also accessible to the international spot markets via pipelines. The contract provides for delivery of several grades of domestic and internationally traded foreign crudes, and serves the diverse needs of the physical market.”

http://www.nymex.com/lsco_fut_descri.aspx


If someone can tell me how the US government should put price controls on what is a globally accepted marketplace for oil, please do share. For the most part, oil at $71/bbl is the going rate anywhere in the world, and i don’t see how any type of political posturing by either camp in congress or the Prez is going to change that. All this talk of windfall profit taxes and price gouging investigations and whatnot is just election year jibber-jabber, and it makes me absolutely sick.

Is this what America has been reduced to; a bunch of crybabies everytime the price of gas hits $3/gal? We seem to conveniently forget that there are a few billion new consumers coming online (China/India), and they want their toys too. In my view, it is simple supply and demand.
Get used to it, because its only going to get worse.

Posted by: Greg at April 27, 2006 3:19 PM
Comment #143595

Finally the truth greg hit the nail on the head.

Posted by: mystified at April 27, 2006 3:26 PM
Comment #143597

Shelly,

I do not agree with strict price controls just look at what happened in California and what is happening in MD. this all happened because prices were kept artificially low. However, we could have the cost per barrel increase as a pass through cost. That is, if it cost Exxon $75 dollars per barrel than that is what it cost us. Exxon should only get paid for services they provide after the purchase. But that is not happening or else Exxons profits would be flat as crude is going up. Utilities have been required to pass through the increase in oil and gas. So when you look at that increase in your electric bill blame the Oil Cos.

Posted by: pat at April 27, 2006 3:27 PM
Comment #143598

anyone seen this at www.theoildrum.com?

The Politics of Oil: The Discourse Must Change
Posted by The Oil Drum Editors on Thu Apr 27 at 1:29 PM EST
Topic: Policy/Politics
Tags: (all tags)

[Editor’s note] This post is also available as a PDF press release.
[Editor’s note] This post will stay up here for a couple of days, please scroll down for new content, including a new post by Stuart and an open thread.
Leaders of both political parties are expressing concern about the high price of gasoline. President George Bush announced yesterday that he was suspending deliveries to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in order to make more oil available to consumers as well as putting on hold the traditional regulations requiring additives to make fuel burn cleaner during the summer driving season.

Meanwhile, Democratic leaders have had their own response to rising gas prices. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid has announced his support for the Menendez Amendment, which would “provide more than $6 billion in relief directly to the American people by eliminating the federal tax for both gas and diesel for 60 days.” Senator Charles Schumer recently called for a federal investigation to determine whether oil companies are withholding gasoline production, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has blamed high gas prices on the administration’s cozy relationship with the oil companies, price gouging, and royalty relief.

The editors of The Oil Drum are ideologically diverse. Over the last year, we have created a forum at www.theoildrum.com to encourage an open, rational, and fact-based discussion of energy issues. While individual editors frequently express an opinion on a subject, we have never felt it necessary to take a unified position on any specific issue. That is, until today.


We strongly feel that the leaders of both political parties are not only headed in the wrong direction with respect to gas prices, but we also worry that they fundamentally misunderstand the factors behind the current situation at gasoline stations around the US. Public statements by political figures over the past several days would seem to suggest that oil companies and their record profits are the sole factor determining the price of gasoline. Not only is this untrue, but it is dangerous to give the American people the impression that only oil companies are to blame. The American people need to understand that the phenomenon of high gas prices cannot be attributed to a single source. They also need to understand that no one political party will be able to fix our current woes.
The major factor that determines gas prices is the price of crude oil from which gasoline is derived. When crude oil prices are high, so are gas prices. The following are just a few factors that affect the price of a barrel of oil:

Oil companies do not single-handedly determine the price of oil. The price of oil is set on the crude oil futures market. Simply put, these prices are affected by supply and demand because, at present, oil trades in a global commodity market where increased demand or reduced supply in one place instantly translates into price shifts everywhere. A variety of publicly available information sources show that supply is relatively static at the moment, while world demand continues to grow as economies grow.
We have provided evidence many times at The Oil Drum that the output of major oilfields is declining and that we may now have reached a peak or plateau in global oil supply. Oil companies have not been able to increase production for a number of years, and it is unclear that OPEC is accurately reporting their reserves. Even if there were significant sources of high quality oil remaining, it is getting increasingly difficult and expensive to drill. These factors, along with aging infrastructure for oil exploration and a retiring workforce are also contributing to high oil prices.
The geopolitical situation is volatile, and an astute citizen may notice that every time there is news from Nigeria or Iran, the price of oil goes up because of the potential and real effects of these situations on world oil supply. Again, oil traders are fearful that the supply will not remain stable forever.
Countries like China and India are industrializing at a great pace, and while we are accustomed to obtaining oil at a comfortable quantity and price, it will be impossible (and immoral) to deny similar resources to these countries. China is working furiously to secure new oil supplies, and they’re content to negotiate with countries we’re reluctant to deal with, like Iran and the Sudan.
These points demonstrate that disruptions in the supply of oil that affect the price of gasoline at the pump are not just a temporary glitch. For various reasons—decreased discoveries of new oilfields, geopolitical instability, international competition for oil supply—we can no longer assume that we will be able to consume as much oil as possible, or ever get it again for $1.50 a gallon.
Demagoguery and grandstanding are not strategies for addressing our energy problems. As an alternative, the editors of The Oil Drum put forth the following recommendations:

It is nonsensical for political leaders of both parties to eliminate the gas tax temporarily or permanently as this will only worsen our dependence on oil by disincentivizing the innovation of oil alternatives and oil conservation efforts.
Both mainstream American political parties are doing their country a disservice by accusing convenient scapegoats of price gouging or price fixing instead of educating the public about how the price of gas is actually set.
Right now, governments should be focused on helping us cure our “addiction to oil.” The answer does not lie in lowering gas prices, which will only encourage people to drive more and further waste our valuable resources. As the Department of Energy funded Hirsch Report on Peak Oil laid out, the consequences of not taking steps to transition away from oil could be dramatic to our economic system. Appropriate solutions include large-scale research, development, and implementation programs to improve the scalability of alternative sources of energy, other projects geared towards improving mass transit and carpooling programs across the country, providing incentives to buy smaller and more fuel efficient vehicles, and promoting a campaign to increase awareness about conservation.
The political discourse on this topic is simply so devoid of fact, and constructive discourse so buried and out of the mainstream, that we felt we needed to raise a voice of reason. Public officials will continue to misinform and obfuscate if we allow it.
The only solution is to educate the public about the most important problem we face as a generation. We, the citizens of the US and the world, must move our attention to this the issue of energy more than any other. We must hold our representative governments accountable for having an open and honest debate on the subject.

Simply put, we must learn more about where our energy comes from.

Posted by: Susan at April 27, 2006 3:27 PM
Comment #143601

Why $100? I don’t get it. Sure seems like a thinly disguised attempt to buy approval ratings.

I think the democrats should cry cheapskates and up the ante with a call for $1000 a head.

Posted by: Schwamp at April 27, 2006 3:32 PM
Comment #143603

saying,

I’m just pointing out that George Bush (and as George in SC pointed out, most of the presidents of the last 50 years) have not done anything to foster conservation of energy. I think the best thing he could do would be to do something similar to what Eisenhower did to create the interstate system, but for mass transit. Spending money on expanding our mass transit systems to the extent that they can outcompete cars like they did in the first half of the 20th century with more frequent service that covers a larger area in most metropolitan areas where gas usage is greatest.

Posted by: Warren P at April 27, 2006 3:36 PM
Comment #143608

Greg i just wanted to point out that the american people wants instant results.We are spoiled and there is no way you can make them beleive that what they want is impossible short term.

Posted by: saying at April 27, 2006 3:49 PM
Comment #143617

Saying,

You’re absolutely right. The kneejerk reaction in Washington DC just makes it more disgusting. I believe the current energy situation is going to continue to be ever more painful, and when the politicians start to screw with the market in their pandering wisdom (which they will), the result will just be more pain.
The focus of discussion should not be on sticking it to Big Oil or any of that hogwash, but alternative energy and real solutions to getting America off of oil. I guess until then we all will have to listen to this bitching and moaning because it costs more to roll around in the Escalade now than it did 2, 3, 5 years ago.

Posted by: Greg at April 27, 2006 4:17 PM
Comment #143623

Jimmy Carter tried a windfall profits tax in 1980 to balance the budget, but Reagan got rid of it as soon as he could. The oil companies are the ones running the country. GWBush and his boutique fuels speech the other day, show that clearly. It must be their terminology that he is using, although it was amusing to watch his attempts to pronounce it over and over again.

Posted by: ohrealy at April 27, 2006 4:28 PM
Comment #143645

ohrealy,

Hold on to your gut then once O’Lielly starts giving the sheep their new mantra.

Posted by: Dave at April 27, 2006 5:02 PM
Comment #143649

Steve et all

Before you blast the energy companies,look in the mirror.
We are the energy pigs of the world and we piss and moan when prices go up.
Try paying 1.85 euro a LITER as they do in Italy.That’s nearly 6 bucks a gallon.
If Europeans paid 3 bucks a GALLON,they’d have a group European orgasim.

Here is the Eagle’s suggestion:From now on instead of filling up that tank,fill up only 3/4 of it.Then for one day a week,drive as little as possible.Try to reduce your consumption.

At home,turn out unnecessary lights.Take a shower instead of a bath.Same in the workplace.

20 to 25% of our energy consumption is sheer fat.

Like the Federal deficit,we can trim 20% without it eccefting our lives at all.

Look in the mirror,friends.We are our own worst enemy.

P.S In January I believe I wrote a similiar post of warning.

P.P.S Ted Kennedy is against a wind farm at the Cape that would supply nearly all of the Cape’s energy requirements.Nice.

Posted by: sicilianeagle at April 27, 2006 5:20 PM
Comment #143654
The oil industry makes about 9 cents a gallon. Taxes are over 50 cents a gallon…Thoughts?

The news last night said the normal “profit” for the oil company (not the gas station!!) has been 8 to 12 cents…it went up last week to 20 cents a gallon…

Posted by: Lynne at April 27, 2006 5:30 PM
Comment #143657

OK from the stupid ideas and cerebral drool font.

1) Reduce or remove the “other alternative fuels” tax rate. I have not seen a figure in years but it used to be almost double petrolium based fuels.

2) Establish an “Alternative Resource” prize.
It could come in the form of a monetary lump sum or several years of tax credits to the winning company. I’m not concerned if this is publicly or privately funded.

3) Change the formulation of the tax code to reward those who are already producing alternatives biomass, hydrogen, used socks, etc.

Now for the part that will have me burned in effigy….

4) Double the tax on petrolium based fuels.

One last little note:
Do not allow either party to have final authority on prize winner or recipient of credits. A balanced group of D and R any of whom have veto authority would help.

Posted by: Ted at April 27, 2006 5:31 PM
Comment #143660

On the subject of 9 cents per gallon profit-
That’s on gasoline, friends and neighbors. Have we forgotten who gets this stuff out of the ground? Have we forgotten all the feedstocks for asphalt, plastics, and other organic compounds that come from oil? Go check and see what makes the bulk of the oil price: the crude. Who produces the Crude?

It’s also important to factor in the activities of energy traders. The price of oil is a traded commodity, and with recent deregulation of energy trading, guess what? Suddenly, we’re paying more for each gallon. Consumption adds to it. We’re no longer consuming alone. And of course, it’s getting harder to find more reserves.

And no, opening ANWR is not going to do the trick. We import 60% of what we need, and ANWR will, after all its development and preparation only provide so much in the way of oil to alleviate that.

Another key to prices is the whole ethanol thing. That stuff is basically a subsidy bonanza for agribusiness, a headache for engines, and an added expense to the gas prices.

Additionally, we’ve seen massive consolidation on the part of the oil companies, which discourages the operation of multiple refineries, and removes the competitive pricing pressures that would motivate oil companies to actually give a damn about keeping gas cheap.

Oh, and did I mention all the trouble that the Republicans went through to encourage people to buy SUV’s?

Maybe it’s misleading to blame one factor. Maybe we’re just dealing with all-around crappy policies combined with generally crappy situations. I’m not for windfall profit taxes or anything. I’m for more stable markets, more efficient vehicles, more alternative technologies, and an end to policies that benefit oil company shareholders at everybody else’s expense.

We should take a look at the taxes and see whether general funds from other taxation would be more efficient. That said, we might end up lowering taxes on gas only to have to raise the same money from elsewhere, which would gain us no net profit.

Cliff-
On the subject of environmental friendliness, you haven’t lived in Houston long enough to have seen as many exploding refineries as I have!

I would say there is an element of rationality to NIMBY thinking. After all, is it one’s self interest to be exposed to carcinogens, toxic gases, nuclear materials and everything else? Without regulations and dependable industry behavior, it’s easy to believe that the big, faceless corporations will screw you for their own profit. My father’s environmentalism comes in no small part growing up in Pasadena, TX, with the fumes from the chemical plants a constant companion.

With all the handouts, special favors, liability protection and everything else the politicians feed into the system, the impression people get is that they must refuse these people at a local level. People don’t want to get stuck with a big stinky facility that drives up healthcare costs (bad enough already) and drives down property values. It’s not worth it.

Ultimately, then, this about the social license to operate. If oil and chemical companies are not willing to take the initiative in cooperating with communities to keep pollution and other troubles to a minimum, people will simply act in their best interests and send the problem to somebody else’s backyard.

As for tax breaks and everything, I suppose I could argue that tax breaks and subsidies in these cases are basic violations of the free market principles. I could also say that I really doubt the oil companies were doing all that badly.

As for the dependence of government on private enterprise, government preceded and created private enterprise, and creates the rules under which these companies exist. The very act of incorporation requires an act of government. You got this backwards.

Systems based on pure agreement, without enforcement or bound to what can and cannot be enforced, soon destroy themselves. People have to know where they stand. It’s not socialism to impose requirements on those participating in the free market.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 27, 2006 5:33 PM
Comment #143661

Every spring we have exorbitant gas prices because the oil companies need to “clean out” the pipelines for the “boutique” gas that’s environmentally mandated.

1) I’ve heard that the “boutique” gas can’t go thru the pipelines and needs to be delivered via truck/trailer/train/tanker. So why are we paying for gas companies to clean out their pipelines?

2) Why should each locality/state have a different specialized “boutique” gas…this runs up the price for everyone…there needs to be one environmentally sound mixture of gasoline and we should just use it year round. Why should we pollute during the winter and not during the summer? Doesn’t make good sense.

Posted by: Lynne at April 27, 2006 5:34 PM
Comment #143666

I go beyond even Lawnboy. The price of gas is not high enough. Let it go to $5. That will give “incentive” to alternatives better than anything the government could do. That will encourage conservation faster than any persuasion.

My fear is that the government will SUCCEED in lowering the prices. My the price of gas never again see the downside of $3. And may it rise even more.

You want an energy future, it means nuclear & high oil prices. Everything else is useless chatter if you don’t get those two things right.

Posted by: Jack at April 27, 2006 5:42 PM
Comment #143667

Saying-
We import 60% of our oil. ANWR, at best, just takes a few percentage points off that. Trouble is, we don’t even have proven reserves there, so it’s counting your chickens before they’re hatched.

It’s consumption we need to cut. We need to start getting our energy needs elsewhere. That isn’t pie-in-the-sky ivory-tower thinking. The Oil ship is sinking. You want out on a lifeboat, or do you want to go down with the ship?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 27, 2006 5:42 PM
Comment #143670

Lynne-
The reason for the differences in mix are a matter of chemistry. Gasoline burns differently at different temperatures and altitudes.

What we should perhaps be wary of here is ethanol additives. That stuff is expensive to make, and we’re subsidizing its manufacture and addition to gas.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 27, 2006 5:46 PM
Comment #143681

Stephen Daugherty:

blockquote>What we should perhaps be wary of here is ethanol additives. That stuff is expensive to make, and we’re subsidizing its manufacture and addition to gas.

Ethanol is a giveaway that makes farmers happy…unfortunately it makes corporate farm owners even happier…and from what I’ve heard, it takes a gallon of gasoline to make a gallon of ethanol…so we’re gaining nothing and giving subsidies to those who don’t need it…

Posted by: Lynne at April 27, 2006 6:23 PM
Comment #143685

yes SE, conservation is very important. even in the mid 1990S when gas was only $1.38 a gallon. what did the u.s auto makers retool for? big heavy ,gas eating suv’s. a ( not picking on ford)!a expedition fully loaded ,weighs almost 6000 lbs. a excursion tips the scales at a massive 7300 lbs, about the same weight as a male adult hippopotamus! and the same appetite for fuel.even today look out there most everybody is still driving big suvs and big trucks. the mini van of the 1980s and early 1990s was a very good idea, that’s all you saw then. you could seat six people in them. and still get reasonable mpg . but today only cissys drive those things! you have to drive a BIG four wheel drive suv with four hundred horsepower that gets 13 mpg at best, while your sitting on the freeway to be cool.conservation is not a bad word. you can be very liberal and conserve, you even can be very conservative and conserve. now, how do we get the auto makers and washington dc. to get back on board.

Posted by: RODNEY BROWN at April 27, 2006 6:39 PM
Comment #143703

In 1994 - I purchased a Honda Civic Hatchback VX. It got 58 mpg highway, 50 mpg city. It was and still is their most fuel efficient car ever. the next year’s model came out, 500 lbs heavier, more perfomance and approx. 10-15mpg less.

We Americans are the teenagers of the world. !0 days after payday, when funds are tight - we start conserving our money, but end up not having enough money to go with our friends to the movies. On payday - BAM - all lessons are flushed out of our heads and we back spending cash like mad dogs.

We forget painful leasons that are bound to haunt us again and again. We now want fuel efficient cars and are selling our SUVs for a loss. But if the economy takes off for a couple of years, and we see oil prices drop a bit - who wants to bet that SUV sales will soar again.

Posted by: tony at April 27, 2006 8:38 PM
Comment #143721

We have absolutely no one to blame but ourselves. We choose to be the gullible suckers of corporate America. Yes, madison avenue helped us chose but, it was our decision. The oil companies and car manufacturers were and are more than willing to accommodate us.

Jimmy Carter was our prophet president. He practically got down on his knees and begged us to conserve energy and develop alternative energy sources. But we cast him aside for Ronnie Raygun. And, Ron said turn those thermostats back up, get yourself a silverado or a Bronco and don’t worry be happy.

Here is my prediction: the price of gas will reach an all time high the 4th of July or Labor Day weekend. Sometime in October the price will plummet to 1.95 per gal. The oil companies want to retain their bought and paid for politicians and we will probably be their chumps once again.

Posted by: jlw at April 27, 2006 10:12 PM
Comment #143726

Jack: Do you remember what the nuclear industries old comercial selling point was and do you think it is time for them to resurect it.

You may not be old enough, so here it is. Build nuclear power plants and the price of electricty will be to cheap to meter.

Posted by: jlwilliams at April 27, 2006 10:26 PM
Comment #143735

Nuclear power has improved a lot in the last 30 years and it is the only major form of energy that doesn’t produce CO2

The French get 78% of their electricity from nuclear. We get only about 20%. In this case we can learn from them.

And everyone should recall that more people have died in Teddy Kennedy’s car than in ALL the civilian nuclear accidents in American history.

Posted by: Jack at April 27, 2006 10:40 PM
Comment #143738


I have one in my back yard. Can we put one in yours? Will electricity be to cheap to meter?

You forgot, the librarian’s car to.

Posted by: jlw at April 27, 2006 10:57 PM
Comment #143746

Stephen,

Your comments are a bit cryptic…

Does the goverment serve the corporate world or the corporate world serve the government?

So, if NIMBY reigns supreme, then are selfish people to blame for the current gas prices?

Unfortunately, I think most people aren’t thinking this whole thing through very well…If we had normal inflation on our gas over the years and gas was $4 gallon…nobody would say a word…


Posted by: Cliff at April 27, 2006 11:31 PM
Comment #143762

fact is the 1980s brought the auto makers to downsize,jlw? did you remember the oil crisis of 1977-1980 and those odd and even gas days? i sure do. hell in 1980 most cars were still big heavy gas hogs, people like lee iacocca developed the chrysler K CAR platform in 1981. chrysler mini vans and the k cars. they came with four cylinder power and had a v-six as a option. those vans and cars would get over 34 mpg on the highway and run forever! chevrolet came out with the smaller s10 pickup in the early 1980s and downsized there cars. ford came out with the mid size ranger pickup in the 1980s and the bronco 2 was a smaller version of the big bronco. fact is they sold more bronco2s than the big broncos! and people were buying small toyota cars and trucks like crazy. and honda cars and datsun pickups. of course there was a need for big pickups for work. and pulling loads. and the macho men still had to prove they were macho with the big broncos and blazers and chevy pickups. it was still a guy thing then! but they where the minority in the 1980s because most people drove smaller cars and trucks then.

Posted by: RODNEY BROWN at April 28, 2006 1:47 AM
Comment #143778
Taxes are over 50 cents a gallon

of course, THIS is a lie
Federal gasoline tax is 18.5 cents per gallon.
State gasoline taxes vary and only the taxes in my home state of Wisconsin (32.1 cents per gallon) and New York (33.55 cents per gallon) does the combined total come to over 50 cents a gallon. In Georgia (7.5 cents per gallon) the combined total is 26 cents per gallon.

Let’s call the $100 rebate exactly what it is…
ANOTHER OIL COMPANY SUBSIDY THAT WILL ADD ANYWHERE FROM 1 TO 10 BILLION MORE DOLLARS TO THE NATIONAL DEBT. Oh yes, it’s nice and shiny and spins and flashes… sure to attract the same feeble minded idiots that thought a $300 check in the summer of 2001 was going to turn the economy around (of course they were too feeble minded at that point to realize that it was going to be deducted from their tax returns the following year).

Yes, of course the price of gas in America is low compared to other places and of course the price of gas is going to continue to climb AND ALL THE DAMN DIGGING IN EVERY DAMN NOOK AND CRANNY ON EARTH IS NOT GOING TO CHANGE THAT. I like the environment as much as the next liberal, but if I thought an endless supply of fossil fuel would be found under the Anwar Preserve, I’d say dig away. But it isn’t.

The time has come to for us to stop pretending as though there will always be more oil IT’S RUNNING OUT FOLKS. And if we don’t find a cost efficient alternative LONG before it does, oil companies will be charging you the amount of that rebate for one gallon of gas all too soon.

The federal tax on gasoline is 18.5 cents? Raise it NOW to 118.5 cents per gallon and dedicate that extra dollar per gallon to nothing but a way to make solar, nuclear, and/or hydrogen power as safe and as cost efficient as fossil fuel power. From practically zero technology, the force of American will and ingenuity combined with dedicated resources generated the developement of a Nuclear Weapon in just over three years at the Manhatten Project. Again, from practically zero technology, the force of American will and ingenuity combined with dedicated resources we put a man on the moon in less than nine years. If ANYONE can do it, we can.


Posted by: Thom Houts at April 28, 2006 5:49 AM
Comment #143790

Thom,

Even at $1/gallon tax, that’s less than $150B per year. We spend more than that in Iraq.

It’s not the money, it’s the will to do it. And as long as Big Oil, Big Auto, Big etc… own our government, it just won’t happen!

Posted by: Dave at April 28, 2006 9:07 AM
Comment #143799

100 bucks for the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge?

Not for sale.

Frist is right, though. All we need to do is change our car’s air filters and the problem is solved.

And this guy wants to be the next president?

Scary….really scary.

Posted by: texex at April 28, 2006 10:11 AM
Comment #143800
You may not be old enough, so here it is. Build nuclear power plants and the price of electricty will be to cheap to meter.

And we’ll put the spent fuel in your backyard…

Posted by: Lynne at April 28, 2006 10:19 AM
Comment #143801

Cliff-
Corporations are legal entities, and are made so by government. Without the government, there is no charter, no special legal status, no nothing. On a more basic level, contracts require a backing in law to be enforceable, and the currencies of exchange require a government to issue and back them as well.

Commerce is essential to society, but it’s only one aspect of it, and it cannot exist independently of the other aspects of the community.

C.S. Lewis’s notion that a thing becomes a demon when it tries to become a God fits here. Sure, economic interests are important in government, but they can be made too important. Government has a purpose outside being a source of artificial stimulus for the economy.

The folks on the right have paralyzed this government when it comes to doing anything that might harm the bottom lines of different corporations. They take the side of business again and again, only taking punitive actions when public outrage is strong.

A number of disasters have occured during recent years whose origins were all too predictable. We relaxed accounting standards, and now have seen a wave of industry wide book-cooking. We relaxed restrictions for those who sold stock so they could finance companies, too. Lo and behold, we see banks screwing stockholders on behalf of lousy business that serve as their meal tickets.

It’s not that these people are all evil; many are not. It’s not that corporations are evil; their status as real entities is largely an illusion supported by agreement and bound by law, so morality and immorality don’t apply to the business itself. It’s just that corporations and the rest of society can have contradictory goals, and the pursuit of profit by one in certain ways can compromise the interests of the other.

Government, I feel, should not serve two masters. It should serve the public, the people. If that means hurting somebody’s business, the loyalties should be to folks first. Too many problems have been allowed to fester because resolution of them would bad for somebody’s business, and that somebody got a government official to run interference for them.

I feel that regulation is the key here. Market solutions will only work to the extent that there are selective pressures against other options. If the price of gas drops, so will people’s outrage. If, instead, we see rises in fuel efficiency requirements, then the average American would be buying more efficient cars by default- the market would adjust to the new reality, and prices on such vehicles would come down.

The key to a free market economy is that the government doesn’t interfere with prices, or prop up businesses that aren’t sustainable on their own. Perhaps in emergencies we can make exceptions, but I think the best contribution that the government can make to the economy is to keep misbehavior to a minimum, and set the standards that business are required to rise to.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 28, 2006 10:20 AM
Comment #143811

Stephen,

Well written…
I tend to agree with you here…especially your last paragraph…We may argue on what “standards” are used, but your point is valid. (I am a Republican BTW)

So…
If the government is not supposed to “interfere with prices”, does that change your original post?

Also, do you think this price gouging accusation is just political grandstanding?

Can the goverment regulate socialistic change and mandate how corporations should be acting? (The social wind blows in many directions which is why we are a republic and not a fully democratic society)

Posted by: Cliff at April 28, 2006 11:01 AM
Comment #143824

Cliff-
Interference with prices should be taken to mean tax and subsidy breaks or penalties. I take the 100 dollar rebate to be in the category of a subsidy, the government essentially buying off consumers on behalf of the oil industry.

I think there are people in the oil industry who are deliberately creating supply problems, much the way Enron engineered supply problems for electricity in California. We can talk about Refineries not being built because of NIMBY’s but there are two problems with those assumptions. One, the oil companies have been shutting down refineries as they merge. Two, I think they could find people willing to take them up on the offer, especially on the Red State Coast.

So, I think that the way oil companies consciously do business is somewhat to blame. Environmentalists are just the scapegoats for what likely is the product of all the consolidation and deregulation of energy markets.

Government can take a hand in change, and often has. The key is the development of consensus. I think many in the leadership are just catching on to what this consensus is, but still, they’re trying to have things their own way.

We need folks in charge who recognize that the status quo is untenable, especially if we want to remain a major economic and world power.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 28, 2006 11:57 AM
Comment #143830

Stephen,

Businesses are in business to make money. Tell them the rules they have to play by and they will figure out how to “make it”. If the consumers don’t like the rules, change them…If companies do not think that can do business and make money under certain rules, they do not have to “play”.

This “status quo” was created and subsidized by government regulation to begin with. I believe this is a culmination of 40 years worth of trying to micromanage the economy.

Politicians do not nor will they ever understand business…Unfortunately, they think they do…

Posted by: Cliff at April 28, 2006 12:12 PM
Comment #143845

Cliff-
I agree entirely with the first paragraph, but I’m not certain how it meshes with the next two. I agree that trying to micromanage the economy through subsidies and tax breaks is mostly a bad idea, but I think the politicians, if it becomes a prerequisite of keeping their jobs can learn to understand business. In fact, I would suggest that understanding in various fields is crucial to the proper legislation and administration of the law.

At the very least, we should get some people in office who actually think it’s a good idea to listen to experts, instead of just stabbing in the dark or taking the advice of industry insiders.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 28, 2006 1:18 PM
Comment #143854

People need to start watching The News Hour with Jim Lehrer on PBS instead of whatever sources they are using to come up with the idea that the oil companies are not making big profits. They explain both sides, although it is usually obvious who is lying and who is telling the truth.

Low gasoline prices in Venezuala, should give even the most stubborn conservative, a clear concept of reality.

Since the oil is so valuable, we should be exporting all of our production, allowing none for domestic use. We will find better alternatives. The future will not be scary without oil.

Posted by: ohrealy at April 28, 2006 1:54 PM
Comment #143862
Low gasoline prices in Venezuala, should give even the most stubborn conservative, a clear concept of reality.

What, that Chavez’s government significantly subsidizes the cost of energy in his country in order to maintain populist support? Subsidies he can afford because the overall price of Oil on the world market makes it easily affordable?

Sure, that’s obvious, but what’s your point?

Posted by: LawnBoy at April 28, 2006 2:12 PM
Comment #143905

is that tiny bit of oil up there in the long run going to make a difference? i don’t think so. opec has 80% of the oil. the u.s.has what about 4%of proven reserves.don’t ruin the land for 1.2% of the oil. that is crazy short- sighted thinking. Teddy Roosevelt has to be rolling and so am I.

Posted by: RODNEY BROWN at April 28, 2006 3:57 PM
Comment #144131

Stephen Daugherty:

I think I have something that would make for a very good topic:

Paste this into google and read what comes up… and look at how many warning and states are covered…

“children should not eat fish”

This seems to be the official solution to the overwhelming mercury pollution within our fish supply.

It’s one of the most shocking things I’ve even seen.

Posted by: tony at April 29, 2006 12:08 PM
Comment #144240

Stephen and LawnBoy: [*wild applause*!]


saying: - ahhh, forget it: `waste of my time and only serves to confuse you…


Howzabout these:

1.) Run the CAFE Standard up to 50+ MPG. With no exceptions except for Emergency Services and Cargo Transport vehicles.

2.) Nationalise the Goddamn evil bastards: many other countries do/have; why, even the threat of it would have them scurrying to pay taxes, fix pollution, and lower prices.

3.) Implement a Maximum Wage: no Corporate Officer could make more than 25x the annual income of the company’s Lowest-Paid Employee.

4.) Do away with the notion of Corporations: no equal protection for Non-Existent “entities” under the law. (See the Effects of #2, above.) Do away with Corporate Welfare.


Any time you boys need any more helpful suggestions, Betty will be happy to come by and lend a hand.

Posted by: Betty Burke at April 29, 2006 9:56 PM
Comment #144345

Betty Burke, I agree with 1 and 3 completely,
2 and 4 would require a revolution.

Posted by: ohrealy at April 30, 2006 3:29 PM
Comment #144454
Betty Burke, I agree with 1 and 3 completely, 2 and 4 would require a revolution.

And the problem is…?

Posted by: Betty Burke at May 1, 2006 2:48 AM
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