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Why the increase in gas prices?

By Jack Ward
web posted May 5, 2008

Unless you depend on a solar power skateboard as your principle means of transportation, you have noticed that the price of gasoline has skyrocketed. When gasoline price spiked previously our pious politicians held congressional inquisitions to browbeat petroleum executives. After the executives explained supply and demand market principles, the politicians went back to sleep. But while the politicians snoozed the energy problem continued.

Now that the gasoline has hit record prices, the politicians have rushed back to the cameras and microphones to express their outrage. Chief bloviator, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said, "Unless the administration gets OPEC to increase oil supply, American consumers are going to be in for a scorching summer of $4 gasoline with no relief in sight." So according to Schumer the reason that our gasoline prices are high is because the Bush Administration has not strong armed the oil producing nation to give us more oil. While Schumer was berating the oil producing nations for not pumping more oil, why didn't he show his complete ignorance and demand that the oil consuming nations reduce their use of oil? The arrogance of Schumer and like minded politicians is embarrassing.

For decades we have permitted the radical environmentalists to coerce the Democratic Party to stop our national goal of energy independence. The U.S. has significant energy reserves but the Democrats are opposed to drilling for oil or natural gas, mining for coal or oil shale, developing hydroelectric power or utilizing wind power and don't even mention using nuclear energy. Every source of energy has an environmental group that opposed its use and the Democrats are beholding to these groups. So as long as the Democrats are beholding to these environmental groups the Democrats will not be leaders in the solving the energy problem.

In 2006, the Democrats were calling for ‘change'. Then Democrat Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi wrote that, "The Democrats have a common-sense plan to help bring down skyrocketing gas prices…" And Democrat Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said that, "Wherever you live, your gas prices are out of control, and you want to hold someone accountable for it." The Washington Post pointed out that that the Democrats were, "Seeking to gain advantage on a potent election-year issue"...and.. "are promoting ambitious ideas to lower gasoline prices." Of course that was just more political hot air. Since the Democrats took over Congress the price of gas has continued to increase. Where is the Democrats ‘common- sense plan' that Pelosi promised? The plan to solve the energy shortage is no farther along than the plan to fix entitlement programs, Social Security, or Medicare. But, rest assured Post Offices have been named, spending has increased and the Democrats were elected.

Recently we were reminded that Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman said, "One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results." Freidman must have envisioned the ethanol fiasco that we are now experiencing. Congress has mandated the use of ethanol to be mixed into the nation's gasoline supply and almost all of this mandate will be met by corn ethanol. By requiring that corn based ethanol be used, meant that commodities that had been primarily food sources would now be fuel sources. The battle of fuel vs. food has caused food shortages across the globe. As Friedman suggested, the ethanol policies and programs need to be judged on their failed results rather than their intent. I'm sure that all the politicians that voted for the use of ethanol never realized that their actions would cause food shortages in the third world and food cost increases in the rest of the world. The legislated use of ethanol has required additional farmland to produce food and fuel. This has caused the anti-environmental additional clear cutting forests, and draining wetlands to meet the food and fuel needs. The ethanol requirement was feel good legislation but feel good solutions are not what are needed.

But now our political representatives should see the folly of their legislation, we can only hope that they will repeal this ill conceived law soon. ESR

(c) 2008, Jack Ward


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