Sunday, September 11, 2005
  Re: Barking about gas

Barking about gas

Jeff conveniently, for him, compares house prices to gas prices. I'm not sure it's even worth the mental exercise….but…you don't need to buy a house to get to work.

Jeff Jacoby thinks that it is the mystique of the market that helps stabilize the system when gas prices spike. He forgets that stability in society should extend beyond just prices.

Jeff also forgets that the true price of our oil and gas is much larger than what is at the pumps. Our military costs around the globe do not reflect the true price at the pump. It has been assumed, at the highest levels of Govt that the American public can't assimilate the association of their decadence with fuel and what it really costs.

Our boys are dying in Iraq to help fuel the auto. It's not really a vote getter.

Jeff states:

The only rational and efficient way to allocate a scarce commodity is through price. That is because the more you value something, the more you are generally willing to pay for it. By charging what the market will bear -- for gasoline or anything else -- vendors channel their product to the customers who value it the most. A mandatory cap on the price of gas may seem like kindness to the poor, but all it can do is raise demands that can't be met. The result is ''Sold Out" signs on Joe's pumps, or gasoline lines stretching around the block.

I happen to agree with most of what Jeff says. My only problem with Jeff's argument is about those profits, who gets them?

As a nation, are we benefiting from this price valuation?

Why as a nation would we allow middlemen to reap windfall profits from a crisis?

What will the middlemen do with their money to help this nation?

Will they deposit their windfall profits to a fund for homeland security?

Will they use their windfall profits to further lobby the US Govt for relief from high taxes?

Will they disburse their windfall profits to the military?

Or will the profits just contribute to the decadence of America?

We could also allow for tax deductions for gas purchases to help those who must buy gas at such a high price, compared to those who just might want to consume a valuable national resource for their own pleasure. Price controls do not stop the purchase of gas. They only control the purchase of gas by people who can't afford to buy gas. If I remember correctly, the US Govt imposed gas rationing during WWII.

I wonder why Jeff wants the private sector to be the only salvation in a disaster that involves our whole country?

He needs to account for the cost of our military commitments. Why should middlemen make a fortune while our soldiers are dying to protect our country and it's energy needs?

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