Back in late April, the Wall Street Journal had an op-ed piece that noted that “The dirty little secret about oil politics is that today’s high gas price is precisely the policy result that Mr. Schumer and other liberals have long desired”:
High prices have been the prod that the left has favored to persuade Americans to abandon their SUVs and minivans, use mass transit, turn the thermostat down, produce less consumer goods and services, and stop emitting those satanic greenhouse gases. “Why isn’t the left dancing in the streets over $3 a gallon gas?” asks Sam Kazman, an analyst at the Competitive Enterprise Institute who’s followed the gasoline wars for years.
Scan the Web sites of the major environmental groups and you will find long tracts on the evils of fossil fuels and how wonderful it would be if only selfish Americans were more like the enlightened and eco-friendly Europeans. You will find plenty of articles with titles such as: “More Taxes Please: Why the Price of Gas Is too Low.” Just last weekend Tia Nelson, the daughter of the founder of Earth Day, declared that even at $3 a gallon she wants gas prices to go higher.
The subtitle of the essay was “Don’t liberals like sky-high fuel prices?”. Well, here’s one who does, as he screedily writes in his gloriously stuck-in-the-seventies op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle:
No wait, not 6. To hell with that. Make it 10. Ten bucks a gallon, no matter what the going rate for a barrel of light, sweet crude. That would so completely, violently, brilliantly do it. Revolutionize the country. Firebomb our pungent stasis. Change everything. Don’t you agree?
Here’s what we could do: Give gas discounts to cabdrivers (at least initially), metro transit systems and low-income folks, those who have to drive their busted-up ’78 Honda Civics to their jobs scrubbing restaurant toilets and flipping burgers and vacuuming the residual cocaine from the seat cushions of numb SUV owners. Everyone else, 10 bucks a gallon, across the board. Eleven for premium.
It would take some finessing. Maybe also give a price break to some truckers and trucking companies (so vital to the economy), but not so much to global delivery companies (FedEx, DSL, et al), because that would force them to raise shipping rates and force you (and me) to reconsider buying everything online and hence encourage you to shop locally, thus reviving a stagnant local economy.
Voila — gas crisis, oil crisis, warmongering agenda, pollution issues, road rage, traffic congestion, urban decay, oil profiteering — all completely, almost totally, somewhat solved. Or at the very least, dramatically, gloriously shifted toward … I don’t know what. Something better. Something more humane, less greedy, more sustainable.
The Carter years.