Because Democrats apparently can’t look at the calendar to figure out when summer months are coming, among other simpler solutions that don’t involve market interference, they find it more expedient to blame oil companies.
Standing in front of an Exxon station near the Capitol on Wednesday with the posted $3.05-a-gallon price for unleaded regular in the background, half a dozen senators railed against the oil industry.
Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Congress would look into breaking up the giant companies. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) promoted her anti-price-gouging bill, which the Senate Commerce Committee adopted on Tuesday. And Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.) backed a windfall profits tax, pointing to $440 billion in profits over the past six years for the nation’s five biggest oil companies.
“I think it’s time to say to these people, ‘Stop ripping off the American people,’ ” Sanders said.
- Good plan. Investment in oil discovery and refining is expensive. Small firms with a smaller capital base are best suited to the task.
- Right, if the price is “high”, or higher than people want to pay in an ideal world ($0? negative prices?), means that companies are “gouging”. Who needs any context into costs, demand, or other basic economic concepts?
- Again, “windfall” is an empty buzzword, for it pretends that the laws of economics can be violated. Particularly, as Sanders said, the silly notion that oil companies are “ripping off” American consumers.
While they haven’t curtailed their driving habits, two-thirds of U.S. adults said in a mid-April Washington Post-ABC News poll that gasoline price increases had caused “financial hardship” for their households; 36 percent said that the hardship had been “serious.”
Rather than first look to strategies individuals can immediately implement, Congress needs to step in and threaten to transfer money from one group (oil company stockholders) to another group (gas consumers). We must make certain to ignore the obvious fact that the former is a subset of the latter.
For a real life example, consider my current
unemployment lack of a contract¹. Rather than complain that my income is dramatically reduced while continuing to spend, I’ve curbed my spending in response to an adverse situation. I deem zero income to be “bad”. My actions reflect that.
American drivers don’t seem to agree that gas prices are all that “bad”.
¹ A situation that appears nearing its end, thankfully. Hopefully.