Here we go again. We’ve been through so many gas price boom cycles that we know the script by heart: The lefties will say “We told you so,” and call for fuel tax hikes and business credits to be applied to developing alternative sources of energy, and they’ll get nowhere. The conservatives will first figure out some way to blame Obama, and once they’ve dealt with that priority, they’ll call for planting rigs right on Waikiki Beach if that’s what it takes to become energy independent.
Hardly anybody ever talks about this topic when fuel prices are low. That, of course, would be the best time to slap on a federal fuel tax, when it would do the least damage to the economy. Nobody in congress is willing to commit political suicide just yet, however. Better to play it safe and wait, so that high prices caused by disturbances in Libya, of all places, will result in our paying the same kind of “tax,” only to the Saudis and Venezuelans rather than to Washington.
The body politic only becomes agitated and focused when the pain hits it in the wallet. Then, of course, it becomes susceptible to demagoguery. Enter the shills for the oil industry, who argue for drilling in ANWR and other politically sensitive locales. They know none of this oil will make a difference for twenty years, and even then, of only a couple of cents per gallon.
One thing they have learned from President Obama, however, is never to let a crisis go to waste. Those cheaper, domestic wells will be producing long after the sense of crisis goes away, and we’ll still be hooked on what they’re peddling. Since oil is a world commodity, the oil companies can charge the same high prices for oil they don’t have to cart in from overseas.
Let the dance begin.