Apr 28, 2006

Money's For Nothing & the Chicks are Free

Downhill Cruising. So Far so Good.
I hear that the oil companies are making a pretty penny these days, especially after the current gang took over our White House and the Congress. There's nothing wrong with it--making a profit--not the way the Praetorians are running things. Our President wears cowboy outfits, bought a ranch a few days before the election, and talks like a tough big dude. Impressions sometimes matter more than the facts. And, he isn't fighting for us, but, as Kevin Philips points out, he fights for the oligarchs and how to institutionalize cleptocracy as the order of things in this country. Of course, he makes others do his fighting when blood runs, so he doesn't feel the pain himself. Lately he's been complaining about high petroleum prices but he doesn't want to bring in the oil execs to his office and exercise some leadership, nor, god-forbid, try to even the playing field, or at the very least have some refs in place to enforce the little rules left in this brutal football game. Besides, everybody knows that the rich make money in the vacuum of space so it'd be unfair to be subject to a progressive tax system.


Let's see what he's done since the price per gallon of oil was $1.40 (US average) when he took office. He refused to force the auto industry to raise CAFE standards, he made his buddies in the oil industry so rich that when they retire they get half a billion dollar bonuses, has given upwards of $80 billion in incentives and tax breaks to oil companies, and he relaxed the environmental safeguards on air pollution. His Republican guard wants to give the taxpayers some $100 to offset the high gas prices, which is a crude joke. To be fair, some Dems are trying to be twice as ridiculous by offering a $200 rebate! Anyway, when BushCo started a war in Iraq he told us that, among other good thinwouldn't wouldn't cost us much since Iraqi oil would pay for the war & the reconstruction, and it would ensure ample oil supply & lower gas prices! Of course, we're running up a big tab (more than the Vietnam war), and guess who's saddled with this debt? The statement "Mission Accomplished" [click on the link for a cool video] takes on a new meaning, doesn't it?

The $100, or whatever amount we might get back, doesn't sound like a good deal to me in light of the big money given to the oil companies. What we've been paying at the pump and all the other price hikes because some 60% of all goods delivered in this country go via truck, plus
the cost of the war, is a very heavy burden. Yeah, we got an energy policy that was formulated in the same manner as the Iraq war--and you know how careful, competent, and effective this has been.

Again, gouging isn't a good thing and there should be some serious investigation, but Americans have their share of blame. They're responsible for electing BushCo. Second, they're demand for oil hasn't diminished; actually, it has increased. There hasn't been any reduction in the numbers of 8-cylinder, gas guzzling vehicles sold in the US. Assuming that the auto manufacturers have done their marketing research, their ads for new cars emphasize power, size & speed, not fuel efficiency. Heck, Europe and Japan are flooded with smaller & much more fuel-efficient cars that would fit very nicely our city driving needs and for most short trips taking place in suburbia. Why do Americans buy off-road vehicles when some 95% of them never come near a dirt road?

Despite the con games played by the oil industry and our current political leadership, the fact is that all cheap oil has been burnt up. Cheap prices--I guess anything under $2 per gallon--aren't coming back. We are a tiny percentage of the world's population and yet we're consuming more than 25% of the oil produced. China is rapidly developing a bigger thirst putting more pressure on the demand for fossil fuels. Interestingly enough, China has higher fuel efficiency standards than the US! But, like many other things in life, choices must be made and priorities must be set. People who don't like politics should be reminded that leadership does make a difference. The elected representatives act in our name and have the power to re-arrange our national agenda. They may give us $100, our money, while they still possess the national credit card--which is the only way they can spend money today since they managed to waste a huge surplus and turn it to a huge deficit, about $8.4 trillion!


By the way, I wonder if most Americans realize that our debt is financed by the Chinese government and others who have a rather antagonistic relationship to the US. Why do they lend us money? I hear the interest is good and they can play the Repo man if necessary. As for the priorities, I can only dream what hundreds of wasted billions of dollars could have been used for, healthcare, scientific research, education, alternate fuels--something that could have benefited the common good, increased the commonwealth instead of mortgaging our future.

Now let's get back to a bumper-sticker mentality and hot-button divisive issues. After all, this is an election year when the appeals to the lowest common denominator will again add to the cacophony of our politics.

8 comments:

misc said...

I don't necessarily have a problem with people making a big profit, but it's obsene to give tax breaks & incentives to the big oil companies when they're making huge, unheard of, profits. It was just a year ago when the oil execs met with Cheney in secret to "advise" him on our national energy policy! Soon after that, Congress gave the oil companies some $2 billion in tax breakes.

Accountability? I don't see why they shouldn't be keep doing what they've been doing all these years when the American voter keeps sending them Washington...

I don't have much hope for the future, maybe in 40-50 years....

Geeshus said...

this is off topic, but I have to rejoice... Rush Limbaugh, wearing a smile and overdressed, was arrested today in Florida for drug use!

the big fat liar's mug shot

Anonymous said...

Cool video of "mission accomplished".... great find

Samantha said...

This country is still at the forefront of inovation, so if we invest wisely in alternative forms of energy, AND the government gives serious incentives to the new industries/inventors, then we will find a solution to our energy needs and oil dependence on volatile world regions. The environment will also benefit from fewer/cleaner emmissions. But it takes leadership....

Anonymous said...

Something about his reminds me of ..dire straits!

Emerson said...

A gas station owner was interviewed on NPR and he said that he makes less than 10cents profit per gallon so the money gouging lies elsewhere. Many other sources confirm this. This particular person has his store across a Starbucks and he said people spend $10 on coffees and other food/drinks and then they complain about high gasoline prices.

I think Americans will pay even more to drive their cars. If everyone drove a little less, or bought more fuel-efficient vehicles demand would drop and prices would be lower.

Drone said...

I also think that not so long ago $2.00 was the ceiling, and everyone was saying that Americans would never pay more than that.... I guess the oil companies/oil producers found out the price can break the $3 mark and Americans would buy just as much even if they complain. So, why not charge higher prices? Everyone else does it.

Anonymous said...

Collectively we suffer because most people are idiots. They elect crooks, liars and fast talkers and then they complain about things. It's pathetic.