Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Politics: Attack of the midget vote-suckers.

AOL has a poll up. It's attached to a breathlessly panicky article about how bad gas prices are going to suck this summer.
In Hawaii, for example, you'd better walk to the beach because it will cost you $3.40 a gallon to drive there.
It'll cost me a lot more than that to drive to a beach in Maui; they won't blow-dry a BMW's Engine Control Module for only $3.40... Anyhow, the punchline is the poll itself. It asks "Who do you blame for high gas prices?" The available answers, along with the percentage of voters, are:
Who do you blame for high gas prices?
  • The Bush administration (Evil neocons) 45%
  • Oil companies (Evil capitalists) 38%
  • Other (Default answer for anyone with a lick of common sense) 7%
  • Congress (Midget vote-suckers) 7%
  • No one (Default answer for the illiterati) 3%
  • Gas stations (Evil capitalists) 1%
You'll note that the answers "Tofuista watermelons who've caused domestic oil to be legislated into the cornfield" and "Shrieking Islamonazis who threaten to turn the Middle East into a sea of radioactive blood" are not available choices in the poll. Discuss this amongst yourselves.

(Post title shamelessly stolen from PJ O'Rourke's chapter on Congress in Parliament of Whores.)


Standard Mischief said...

Well, they could consider at least temporarily dropping the tariff on imported ethanol. Because of the shortage of refining capacity in this country, we could also consider dropping for a while the import protective tariffs on already refined unleaded. If free trade is good for everybody, then it's good for the energy companies too.

When all the refineries are pretty much controlled by just a few global corporation and the barrier to entry (capital outlay, conforming to government regulations, etc) being so high. I can see where the companies might, while not outright conspiring, might decide that it's not in their best interest to build more refineries. This is akin to two companies that provide shuttle flights from DC to New York deciding to compete on service rather than price.

All my laissez-faire economic theory goes decidedly non-linear when it comes to defense. I mean, I'm sure China would just love to take over all the ironwork on future navy warships. We'd probably save a big chunk of cash too, but that still doesn't make it a good idea.

In that vein, I don't think having most of the country's refining capacity located in the gulf region is a particularly wise move. Subsidize construction elsewhere? Yea, that leaves a bad taste in my mouth too, but it might be the right thing to do, as long as it's Not In My Backyard.

T.Stahl said...

$3.40 per gallon? I wish fuel was that cheap over here!
You forgot two more options:
- A growing Chinese economy and overall increased demand. The higher the demand, the higher the prices.
- One day there will be no more oil. Better make the most (e.g. money) out of what's left of it. The lower the supply, the higher the prices.

Last weekend I had a nice political discussion with a friend and said something like, 'Germans are willing to pay the equivalent of five to six dollars per gallon. Considering what gas costs in the USA, why aren't American oil companies making a much higher profit by just rising the price of gas?'

phlegmfatale said...

Well, I would venture that we need to also have an option to blame the media, who have made an art form of obfuscation to confound and subdue the public. Insulting.

oh, and great suggestions on dropping tariffs on petrol, standard mischief, except that our government never lowers taxes. What would the original revolutionary colonists say about the confiscatory taxes our government exacts, considering they broke with England over a puny 2%? I'm thinking it's time for a new revolution, but I'd settle for people starting to think for themselves. That would be a step in the right direction.

Standard Mischief said...

phlegmfatale said.. oh, and great suggestions on dropping tariffs on petrol, standard mischief, except that our government never lowers taxes.


Just look at this fine-assed piece of legislative standard mischief: (

Back in April, some of the D people got together and actually proposed temporarily cutting the federal excise tax on gas. To “make up” for the lose in revenue (because, you know the government can't possibly get by on a penny less of revenue), well, I'll quote the article:

Democrats say the money will be made up by cutting six billion dollars in tax breaks to oil firms. Currently, the money from the federal gas tax goes to the Highway Trust fund.

Obviously that six billion dollars will come directly out of the greedy oil executive's pockets and will in no way be passed directly on to consumers. Sorta exactly like the wave of cigarette lawsuits by municipalities absolutely did not affect the price of the coffin nails.

Yea, right.

phlegmfatale said...

sad but true, standard mischief. much eye-rolling here at the phlegm propulsion laboratory.