Saturday, May 17, 2008

"There's nothing wrong with the street!"

Why do we need gas tax? There's nothing wrong with the streets:

"Congress can make and remake a lot of laws. They can. But the one law they can't repeal,is the law of supply and demand; but that doesn't stop them from trying."
- Michael Medved on air, May 7, 2008.

Michael Medved Show May 7, 2008:
"...Hillary has talked about, Obama too, that they're going to go ahead and have a FTC investigation of the oil companies with price gouging; this'll fix it all- you just watch: in a couple of weeks, price'll be back down to...what? $1.50 a gallon, you figure? Something like that, the way they should be...right? Of course! It should be that America is spending one-fifth of what the rest of the world spends on oil and gas- why not? The Congress of the United States taking care of the problem...if you believe that they are and that some of these approaches are encouraging, give me a call.

A report in the Wall Street Journal by Stephen Power:
Calls for windfall-profits taxes, investigations of oil-price fixing and punitive actions against oil exporters are flying through the air -- just as they have in almost every decade since the first major oil-price shocks of the mid-1970s.

Tuesday, the price of crude oil settled up $1.87 at $121.84 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after rising as high as $122.73.

Members of Congress are talking about measures such as blocking arms deals with Saudi Arabia, demanding OPEC's secretary-general make himself available to testify about the bloc's production policies or imposing windfall-profits taxes on oil companies.
This is meaningful stuff, right? If you can explain to me, why any of this would actually lower the price of gas at the pump, I'd love to hear it. To me, it is shameful; it is the most ridiculous example of the "do-something disease": gestural politics that accomplishes nothing at all except making the problem worse, while making the politicians look good; at least for people who don't think about this for more than 10 seconds.

Meanwhile, Barack Obama gave the same kind of approach last night in his victory speech in North Carolina. Barack Obama last night was talking about all the suffering he's seen in this long campaign; and he talked about one particularly unfortunate individual that he encountered in the great state of Pennsylvania:
The man I met in Pennsylvania who lost his job but can't even afford the gas to drive around and look for a new one, he can't afford four more years of an energy policy written by the oil companies and for the oil companies, a policy that's not only keeping gas at record prices, but funding both sides of the war on terror and destroying our planet.

He doesn't need four more years of Washington policies that sound good, but don't solve the problem. He needs us to take a permanent holiday from our addiction from oil by making the automakers raise their fuel standards, corporations pay for their pollution, and oil companies invest their record profits in a clean energy future.

That's the change we need. That's why I'm running for president of the United States of America.


Did you just hear that? And people cheering wildly? Here he is, starting out talking about a guy who can't afford a tank of are any of the things that Barack Obama is talking about here, forcing the automakers to build more fuel-efficient vehicles? If you want a more fuel-efficient vehicle, who's stopping you from buying it? As a matter of fact, nobody! Right now you can read the reports! Everybody out there who is buying new cars is avoiding gas-guzzlers for obvious reasons. There's talk that the price of oil is going to continue going up; and by the way, for those people who say that it's meaningless...the whole John McCain idea of a gas tax holiday...?

Gas taxes, on a tank of gas, are .18¢ a gallon; and the total profit that the oil companies make is .08¢ per dollar;'s about the same. In other words, about as much of what you are paying is going to the federal government in gas tax as is going total to the oil companies in terms of profit. The profit that oil companies make- and the idea that you're going to make it harder for oil companies- Look: This is very basic; and I think it's so basic, that, honestly, I've talked to my kids about it, and kids can definitely understand it- anybody can understand it:

If you want the price of gas to go down, you need to produce more gas; or to consume less of it; or both. Putting extra taxes on oil companies, doesn't produce more gas, does it? It produces less. Why? Because the oil companies have less money to invest in getting the gas out of the ground. If you want to produce more gas, actually, one of the things that is good about rising oil prices- and it's not all bad- is that all of a sudden it becomes more economical to get some of the petroleum that is difficult to get at...and is costly to get at. Suddenly it pencils out. But, anybody believe that somehow, as Barack says, forcing the oil companies to invest in clean energy? The government knows better about how to get more gas out of the ground? Do the oil companies want to get more gas out of the ground? Of course. Why? Because the reason they are making "record profits" is because they are selling more of their oil- that's the same reason prices are high; because we as the world are consuming more. Most of the increase in price it's one thing: The world's biggest country, China, has literally hundreds of millions of people who, in the last couple of years, have begun transforming their lives from bicycles to cars. You don't think it makes a difference? You're talking about a country with one-and-a-half billion people?"

McCain’s Gas-Tax Plan May Be a Clunker, but not as misguided as Hillary Clinton's windfall-profits tax.

(Balance out your reading of that last one, with this.)

Thomas Sowell, being the "admiral of awesome":
Too "Complex"?

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Blogger Karen said...

Most people just don't get it, Word. They want someone to blame for the woes of the world, logical or not. The market is more complicated than what the oil companies have control of. Hauling oil execs up to committee meetings on Capitol Hill just makes them feel better and they'll say, see, we had hearings.

But, as you know, this is personal with me and I am the one who relies on common sense to get me through!

Terrific post.

Sunday, May 18, 2008 1:18:00 PM  
Blogger Indigo Red said...

I agree with Karen. Oil companies don't pay taxes, the state and federal tax is passed on to the customer which only leads to higher taxes, leading to increased prices, and higher taxes...

Sunday, May 18, 2008 3:49:00 PM  
Blogger Nightcrawler said...

I love Thomas Sowell...

Sunday, May 18, 2008 9:49:00 PM  
Blogger Gayle said...

Sorry, but this entire thing is so frustrating! People who buy into all this Democratic hoopla about them (either Hillary or Obama)caring one whit about the "little people" are so infuriatingly lacking in common sense that it's almost unbelievable, Wordsmith. And I think both Hillary and Obama are making up these stories about (I met one person who... ) Sure they did. Where is he or she? Show me! I'm sure there are people out there having financial problems, but neither Hillary or Obama are going to solve anything.

Thursday, May 22, 2008 10:59:00 AM  

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