Holy Crap… I Agree With Charles Krauthammer

I know I’m flushing my left-winger badge down the toilet here, but I think Charles Krauthammer is basically right:

If you thought the Dubai port deal marked a record high in Washington cynicism, think again. Nothing can match the spectacle of politicians scrambling for cover during a spike in gasoline prices. And this time the panderfest has gone all the way to the Oval Office. President Bush has joined the braying congressional hordes by ordering the Energy and Justice departments and the Federal Trade Commission to launch an investigation into possible gasoline price fixing.

What a disgrace.

Even if energy companies are colluding to keep prices high, the larger trends indicate that gas is going to keep getting more and more expensive. Instead of attacking oil companies for jacking up the price when demand rises, we should be searching for serious alternatives to oil, be it nuclear or wind or ethanol. But unfortunately, our culture dictates that it’s uncool to ask the American people for sacrifices, so we’re stuck with this shitty energy policy.

Incidentally, this is an area where the Democrats should be creaming the Republicans. Instead of going on television and shrieking about how evil oil companies are for reacting to market demand, Dems should be pushing for comprehensive energy reform that includes (gasp!) a tax on either gasoline or gas-guzzling SUVs and Hummers. But this unfortunately means that Democrats would have to show some political courage, and so far they’ve been scared to push for any new taxes because the RNC would send out blast faxes of their photographs with the word “FAAAAAAAAAGS!!!!!” written underneath. But courage means making difficult decisions, folks. It’s time to get crackin’.


Comments: 19

Charlotte Smith

If it makes you feel better, I agree with cabbagemallet too. I attribute it to that whole “crazy-ass stopped clock right twice a day” thing. Or the “blind crazy-ass squirrel finding a nut” thing.


To be fair, the price of gasoline in America is kept artificially low via massive federal subsidies to the oil companies.

Petrol in Europe seems to go for about the same price as gas in America….except they sell it by the litre, not the gallon.

If oil companies didn’t deflate the price of gas through tax writeoffs and externalities, there’d be rioting in the streets and press-gangs singing La Marseillaise on every street corner.


Just to specify, Jillian:
here in Central Europe, gasoline goes for $5.1-6.8 a gallon. So there.
Aux armes, citoyes 😛


Thanks, bulbul. As of a few years ago, we were getting it for a dollar and a half a gallon. Thus, the shrieking hysteria over paying three dollars per gallon today.

Anybody with a good head for microeconomics out there want to speculate on what would happen to the American economy if gas came within spitting distance of seven dollars a gallon?


Anybody with a good head for microeconomics out there want to speculate on what would happen to the American economy if gas came within spitting distance of seven dollars a gallon?

I don’t know, but I imagine we’d adjust like we’ve adjusted to all such ratchetings up. What I do know, however, is that with all the talk of reducing gas taxes (the brilliant Democrat plan I heard) and issuing each American $100 to help pay for gas (the brilliant Republican plan I heard) means that none of that sweet, sweet petroleum will be made into any sort of lubricant for the royal ass-fucking the vast herd of us are about to get over this whole deal.

Say, how much a day was that Exxon head getting? Something like $190 grand or did I misread it?


The fact that any serious politician is saying that the companies are making too much is a disgrace.

It’s communistic to say a specific industry makes too much.

Oil companies make a lot of money because they are good businessmen.

But a few squishy Republicans and Democrats are fighting to punish them for their success.

Completely outrageous.

But then again, your idea of more taxes will fail miserably, as every SUV driving person and every reasonable person in this nation would shoot down that idea.

The Democrats idea of “raise taxes” is one which will fail miserably.

If anything, we need less taxes on gas, not more.


Gee, Gary, whatever happened to

The efforts of the Republican leadership really got this idea[federal investigation of gas prices] off the ground. As Republicans, we’re a party of accountability.

So we’re going to check into this situation.

I wouldn’t say that there’s enough to indict executives. But, I wouldn’t be stunned if a few people did enough to go to jail.

After all, this is an investigation, not a leftist lynch mob.


For the last decade in the USA there has been a trend toward buying cars with crappier and crappier mileage. People have decided that anyone with 2 kids absoulutely needs something that weighs 3 tons or so. I wrote a long rant about this at my blog, so I won’t take up space here.


Persosnally, I’m very surprised. For years I’ve been predicting all manner of atrocious consequences when oil hit $75.00 a barrel. Anything from riots in the streets, to the outright annexation of Iraq or Venezuela. Then, this week, it happened. And what happened? (There’s those damn crickets chirping again). Pretty much nothing.

Politicians on both sides go out and pander. Oil industry execs spend a few extra million on PR flacks. News programs have “man on the street” interviews with people at the pumps. Clunk! Business as usual.

Now I really wonder–What about $100.00 a barrel? $150.00? Once again, this is a society that has lost it’s sense of outrage. Some combination of “I’m doing alright with the status quo”, “It’s a lot worse in Europe”, and “Oh look, American Idol is on”, and there’s no limit to the ongoing rape of the American people.

Nobody said a word when this administration created the multi-billion dollar giveaway to big Pharma (the Medicare bill), to big oil (the energy bill) and to the financial services industry (the bankruptcy “reform” bill).

These greedy grasping motherfuckers will contiue to reach into our pockets and enrich themselves, their friends and families, right up until we stop them. The only hope is that in their greed, they will overreach and finally cause the American Population to react. The good folks in Kansas and Alabama may well hate teh gays, may well want all the brown people out of America and may very well want the christian bible to be the only book their children read, but ultimately they have to put food on the table and a roof over their heads too.

I’ve been saying that the old saw “people vote with their pocketbooks” somehow became quaint in American Millenial politics, but there’s a point where it must make a comeback. I’m actually all for the current gas price gouging. Sometimes the disease has to get really bad before the fever breaks.


K. Ron Silkwood

Do those troops in Iraq really need to be doing that much driving? And why aren’t they doing patrols in hybrid cars instead of those gas-guzzling Humvees and personnel carriers? Why aren’t they showing some support for the patriots back in Murka?


It’s not just that oil companies are jacking up the price because of demand. It’s also the fact that they are making record profits that is so unseemly.

I’m not an economist, but if the price goes up simply because of demand, yet profit margins continue to increase to record levels, isn’t there something fishy going on there?

I agree that alternatives should have been part of the discussion a long time ago, but Democrats are not the ones who set the policy. And Republican media hacks have done a lot to paralyze the discussion on this.

Also, I don’t think that’s the real Gary.

But I would ask is it also communistic for the government to prop up an industry through massive subsidies and corporate welfare?


I’m not sure the profit margins are growing as a percentage of revenue, just the profits themselves.
Again, nobody forced people to buy vehicles that got 18 MPG on the highway, reversing the trend of the later 1970s through the 1980s. OTOH nobody discouraged it either. I really have no sympathy for anyone who bitches about gas prices, but drives a V8 Landcruiser.


Jillian, Gary is always contrary. If we started talking about what a pleasant and virtuous mother he has, he would start shrieking about what a disguisting whore she is and that only a leftist moonbats could love her.


It’s okay, it’s okay guys, I got it all worked out. Peak oil will cause the prices to sky-rocket, which means consumption will go down, which in turn will decrease fossil fuel emissions, which means the global warming catastrophe will be averted. Then we’ll all live happily ever after, provided Jesus doesn’t go make more oil. Gary, stop praying for more oil!


braying congressional hordes??

Well even if we can agree with what the idiot is saying I hope we can all agree that he can’t write for shit.


it’s uncool to ask the American people for sacrifices

No. Rather this administration makes the American people sacrifice without asking, or even bothering to mentioning that sacrifices are being made to support:

Wars of aggression
Tax cuts for the rich
A bloated oil lobby
A bloated insurance lobby
A bloated banking lobby
Your favorite here…


Let’s not forget that the price of gasoline abroad is much higher due to taxes! This is why the WPT is not a solution to our energy delima. Our goal here is to keep our fuel affordable so we can keep our economy strong.


we should be searching for serious alternatives to oil, be it nuclear or wind or ethanol.

H’mm. Yes, we should be searching for serious alternatives, but neither nuclear nor ethanol is serious.

Nuclear because even if you ignore the China Syndrome problem and the 25K-year waste-disposal problem, it’s significantly more expensive than, say, buying more efficient end-use technology. About two to five times more expensive. Since each dollar can only be spent once, it’s a better use of limited funds to, e.g., rebuild a carpet factory so the pumping equipment requires a total of 5HP instead of the current 95HP (this actually happened, over in Indonesia, I think).

Reducing demand is not just a “personal virtue,” it’s a cheap and clean way to bring supply and demand into balance.

Ethanol — I think maybe if we build new pipelines that can handle it (so we don’t use fuel to truck it all over the place), and make it out of something easier to grow than corn (which currently takes a fair amount of fossil fuel to grow), then we might actually reduce petroleum consumption by using ethanol. Until then, we’re fooling ourselves.

Mainly: nuclear power is a bad deal even among Faustian bargains. And ethanol looks like three-card monte to me.


(more info at rmi.org)


good call zenster… I’m afraid a WPT would only make our gas prices go up, plus it would take away from the money that oil companies are investing into new technologies. A better solution to our problems would be to find ways to increase the supply– open up ANWR access, loosen regulations on oil company expansion, etc. That’s the only real way we are going to see some price relief.


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