Tuesday, April 25, 2006

High Gasoline Prices: Good For America?

The original title for this post was: "Busy Setting Up His Own Straw Man: One More Presidential Political Parlor Tricks And A Question For The Day," but I thought of a better one that relates to my question at the end of the post, which will hopefully lead to a good discourse on an important subject in the comments.

And so it goes - the President is hard at work setting up straw men so that he can then knock them over himself:
And so the fundamental question is, what are we going to do? What can the government do? One of the past responses by government, particularly from the party of which I am not a member, has been to have -- to propose price fixing, or increase the taxes. Those plans haven't worked in the past. I think we need to follow suit on what we have been emphasizing, particularly through the energy bill, and that is to encourage conservation, to expand domestic production, and to develop alternative sources of energy like ethanol. (Applause.)
But yesterday, there was a different "fundamental question," no?

Let's see what he has to say:
Record oil prices and large cash flows also mean that Congress has got to understand that these energy companies don't need unnecessary tax breaks like the write-offs of certain geological and geophysical expenditures, or the use of taxpayers' money to subsidize energy companies' research into deep water drilling. I'm looking forward to Congress to take about $2 billion of these tax breaks out of the budget over a 10-year period of time. Cash flows are up. Taxpayers don't need to be paying for certain of these expenses on behalf of the energy companies. (Applause.)
Well that's a step in the right direction, but what about using record profits, and instead of giving it to the top executives, shed some of the cents at the pump? This leads me to another question, what other Corporate Welfare packages does the W, Rove and Co support that they could trash instead of cutting things that benefit more of the common people?
Second part of a good plan is -- to confront high gasoline prices is to promote greater fuel efficiency. And the easiest way to promote fuel efficiency is to encourage drivers to purchase highly efficient hybrid or clean diesel vehicles, which, by the way, can run on alternative energy sources. Hybrid vehicles run on a combination of a traditional engine and an electric battery. The twin sources of power allow hybrid cars and trucks to travel about twice as far on a gallon of fuel as gasoline-only vehicles. When people are driving hybrids, they're conserving energy.
But what about raising the CAFE standards? That would be easy, certainly. And less costly to the consumer. Instead, W is proposing that the consumer absorb the expense of becoming more fuel efficient rather than place that burden upon the automobile industry.

You get the idea. If you want to peruse more of the presidential propaganda, click on over to the location. But here's my discussion question for the day:

If you really want to encourage conservation,
are high gasoline prices at the pump all that bad?

1 comment:

Kvatch said...

If you really want to encourage conservation, are high gasoline prices at the pump all that bad?

No. But then everybody knows that I'm a crank on this issue. :-)

The real danger as I see it, is the US government taking over for the Saudi's in continuing to provide "cheap oil"--essentially a subsidy to the consumer that encourages high consumption. I'm going to blog myself about this momentarily.