Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Going All Spastic
Geez, you'd think nothing else is happening in the world except for the price of gas going up. It is a truly amazing thing to watch the people in this country go looney-tunes over the price of a gallon of gas. Not even the drastic increases in the prices of housing for the past several years have caused this much panic and excitement. Wouldn't it be so nice if people would get this upset about income taxes! We could have a FairTax revolution on our hands. And it would make so much more sense. After all, the government does control the amount of income tax we pay, but it does not control the price of gas.
Here we are again, approaching the summer vacation season and gas prices are once again on the rise. It happens every year and it happens whenever there is a disruption of some sort with the oil and gas supplies, such as last year's devastating hurricanes. It always gets people talking and worrying that the sky is falling and it makes everyone's stress levels go through the roof.
It's ridiculous. Stop fretting over gas prices. You can't change them and neither can the president and neither can Congress. It's supply and demand, PERIOD! Leave it alone!
Of course, there are some things we could do to stop the insanity. We could put a stop to all of the various local and state governments imposing their own strict levels of environmental controls over the gasoline blends which causes something like 17 different blends of gas to be produced for sale in certain areas. Imagine if there were only ONE blend. Refineries could produce the same blend for everywhere in the USA and not have to retool every so often to up production levels of certain designer blends for where-ever a different blend is mandated by government.
Perhaps we could seek out our own oil, ANWAR, Gulf of Mexico, coastal California and produce our own gas without relying on the unstable oil producing countries to do that for us. Perhaps we could actually allow oil companies to build new refineries without so damned much government red tape. Perhaps we could allow the normal laws of supply and demand to work in the real marketplace without having government prop up this industry or subsidize that industry.
Perhaps we could learn the difference between profits and profit margin. Oil companies made 8.5% on each dollar earned last year. Banks keep 19%, drug companies keep 17%. Why is there no outrage at these businesses? Perhaps we could stop jumping on bandwagons whenever something doesn't suit our definition of what ought to be. Some things just are and we can't legislate it to be otherwise. We could always consume less and there are other methods of producing power that don't rely on oil. But inventors and businessmen and investors and engineers can do that without government help.
We have to stop believing that government is the answer to every one of our problems. Government is not the answer. More often than not, government is the problem. We built this into a great country because our citizens were imaginative and hard-working. We sought solutions to our problems through personal ingenuity and perseverance and we found ways to make things work. On our own, without government assistance or interference we made America the envy of the world.
America is great despite our government not because of it. America is great because of its people not because of its government. Truly, this Constitutional Republic is the enabler of entrepreneurial endeavors but government does not produce anything on its own. It requires people to power it. But a vast majority of our citizens today expect every economic problem to come with a government solution. And government solutions are by their very nature, inefficient and wasteful. Name just ONE thing that government does extremely well, well enough that we would like a business to emulate. Nothing comes to mind, does it? And I'll bet that most people would agree.
We need to quit jumping up and down and creating havoc whenever something happens economically that we don't like. We need to allow businesses to be run as businesses and we need to keep government out of it. Pandering to an uninformed electorate, like dragging oil execs in front of Congress to explain their business, is not helping. If anything, it makes matters worse by making the public think that big oil is the problem and government can simply slap their hands, take some more of their money and make the problem go away.
So, if Going All Spastic is your bag, I suggest you stock up on aspirins. Gas prices are what they are and you can't change that. Live with it.