Friday, July 18, 2008

A Few Thoughts on Pricey Oil

Imagine, in your head, a restaurant. It is owned by two people. They work hard, build the restaurant, and after a couple of years have built up one million per year in sales. The couple grosses a little more than eighty-thousand a year.

Not bad, right? It's a decent living, but not enough to imply that they are gouging prices or doing anything dishonest. I bet my hypothetical restaurant owners are good businesspeople and hard workers. I don't begrudge them their profit; eight percent is less than half a percent over the average profit for businesses.

So why are we all over oil companies with their similar margins? Because our politicians, in an attempt to take the pressure off themselves and the blame off our own shoulders, are eager to point fingers at the evil capitalists.

This is a result of the fair market system, said Elizabeth Edwards rather snarkily on Colbert Report tonight.

Right, we should totally go social like the Europeans. Look what it's done for their gas prices. Aren't they up to almost $10 a gallon now?

I hate it when politicians pander to class envy. They know the big bad oil guys aren't to blame, but they'll let you think that if it might buy them your vote. They think we're too stupid to see their deception, or too indifferent to care that we are being deceived in the first place. Attention candidates--if you can man up (there's no women left, so I can use this phrase) and look at the camera and say, there is very little oil left, and a huge demand, and it's no one's fault. It's a challenge we are going to have to deal with, and here's my plan... I will vote for you. I don't even care what your plan is.

My problem with getting government involved is this: governments never do anything right. Seriously, can anyone give me an example of a government, any government, running a program economically and well? The only examples I can think of off-hand involve the government backing off and letting free enterprise take over. Giving them control over oil will be a move in the wrong direction--away from American $4 per gallon gas and toward European $9 a gallon gas.

In my opinion, for what it is worth, the best thing they can do for us is to keep us safe, provide necessary safety nets, and let us adapt to less oil and higher prices however we must. Most people I know are making really positive changes to deal with the rise in oil prices. People are carpooling, taking public transportation, walking, or staying home. (clap, clap, clap). Yay, us.

If I can't afford to eat out whenever I want, it isn't the restaurant owners' fault. If I can't afford to drive wherever and whenever I want, it isn't the oil companies' fault. It isn't the government's fault either. Part of being an adult is knowing that I won't always get what I want.


Shannon said...

Wow Emily - I couldn't have said it better myself! I read your blog article right after readinga CNN article on Gore and Pelosi hitting up "grass-roots" bloggers to take charge of the climate and election. Your article made me feel so much better! Now, if only we could get more people to think this way!