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Posturing over oil prices

Gas prices are going up and politicians are casting blame like people throw rice at weddings. Some silly folk are looking to the government to do something about the rising gas prices. The ugly truth is that, short of rationing or giving gasoline away for free, there's nothing the government can do to lower high gas prices now.

Taxing the profits of oil companies (I presume that would be part of "get tough on big oil", note to self ask my good senator Charles Schumer how he intends to do that) will do nothing for us. As anyone who has spent about 5 minutes in a highschool economics class should be able to tell you, companies don't pay taxes. Their customers do. How do you suppose oil companies would recoup their losses if they were suddenly slapped with new taxes?

Drilling in ANWR won't help either. It will be years before one drop of oil is squeezed out of the tundra. The same problem holds for building more refineries. By the time they're done (and by the time companies are done passing the construction costs on to their customers through higher gas prices) we would have gotten used to shelling out $3 a gallon anyway. Does anyone remember back when we thought $1.50 a gallon was expensive? There'd be stampedes if a gas station had such low prices now.

Tax incentives are pretty much useless. If you haven't go the money to spend on the gas you aren't likely to have it to spend on expensive alternatives.

If the government poured money into alternative fuel research now viable technology (meaning someone could make themselves lots of money off of selling it to us) would still be years away. Anything that could have been done to keep down gas prices now needed to have been done 20 years ago. If the government and industry had taken a serious interest in developing alternative fuel 20 or even 10 years ago we'd have better options today than hybrid cars and ethanol.

For now the only viable options (meaning, what can actually be done to help you right now) open to the average American are walking, public transportation, carpooling, and staying home whenever possible. Any politician (or anyone else) who claims otherwise is just trying to make you feel better or themselves look good. Don't be fooled.

Bush and Schumer together -- oh my
Critics question Bush's plan to cut gas prices
Oil prices cool on Bush move

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