The New York Times, December 26, 2008:
President-elect Barack Obama and the Democrats in Congress seem to have a clear vision of the auto industry they think the country needs. It must be financially self-sufficient. It also must be capable of producing highly fuel-efficient, next-generation vehicles that can help the nation cope with climate change and finite supplies of oil.
Yet for all the conditions attached to it, the multibillion-dollar aid package for Detroit’s carmakers approved by the White House (with Mr. Obama’s support) fails to address one crucial question: Who will buy all the fuel-efficient cars that Detroit carmakers are supposed to make?
The danger is that too few will, especially if gasoline prices remain low. Therefore, it might be time for the president-elect and Congress to think seriously about imposing a gas tax or similar levy to keep gas prices up after the economy recovers from recession.
The New York Times, July 5th, 2009:
The extreme volatility that has gripped oil markets for the last 18 months has shown no signs of slowing down, with oil prices more than doubling since the beginning of the year despite an exceptionally weak economy.
The instability of oil and gas prices is puzzling government officials and policy analysts, who fear it could jeopardize a global recovery. It is also hobbling businesses and consumers, who are already facing the effects of a stinging recession, as they try in vain to guess where prices will be a year from now — or even next month.
No wonder the Times is for socialized medicine — the bills to treat the Gray Lady’s schizophrenia must be enormous.