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Who is responsible for the current high oil prices?

May 14, 2010 - Michael Palmer

I can still remember when gas was under 50 cents a gallon and the gas stations could afford to pay four people to wait on each car. One checked the oil and tire pressure, one washed the windows, one asked you if you would like to ‘Fill ‘er up’ and one pumped the gas. So what has changed over the past 50 years that makes gas $3.00 a gallon and you have to pump it yourself?
Who is responsible for the current high oil prices?


Every red blooded American who has voted over the past 30 years – Republican and Democrat – who voted for federal lawmakers who have not built new refineries, nuclear power plants and pushed to use our own national oil reserves. The politicians who obey large political action committees and cater to lobbyists vote against advancing alternative energy resources, allowed the Wall Street regulations to be rescinded and let OPEC dictate policy to the world is responsible.


We can all understand how most of these can effect oil prices but what does Wall Street have to do with it you ask?


The “speculation premium” added to the current price of oil – about $40 according to the Wall Street Journal – is based on a perceived tightening of the market by 2-3%. There’s a good chance that premium wouldn’t even exist with better regulations on trading and making oil an exempt commodity for speculation on the stock exchange.


Back to my point. We the voters made conscious and deliberate choices to elect presidents, members of Congress, and state legislators who ran on a platform of outdated energy policies.


We did it in the name of ecology and preserving Mother Earth. In light of the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, it would be difficult to argue against these objections. There is nothing wrong with being good stewards of the land, fighting the good fight against greedy oil and coal companies who would rape the land and coastline in the name of profits.


If that were indeed true then there would have been a concerted effort to also expand solar power, electric and alternate fuel vehicles, like the Hydrogen Car. The technology exists, so what is preventing the government from demanding that we stop using up the world’s oil supply? The answer is GREED.


There are huge profits to be made off oil. If there were a law passed that prohibited any gas-powered vehicles in this country by the year 2020, the Oil Industry would descend upon Washington DC like a pack of wild hyenas.
If that law was passed along with expansion of nuclear power plants and other energy alternatives the oil companies that have been giants in the financial world for the past 100 years would fade away. OPEC would become a group of angry desert people who wielded just about as much clout as the European Cheese lobby.


There is nothing wrong with being in favor of protecting the environment. The question is why are we not accepting responsibility for what is clearly something that is the consequence of being an apathetic consumer.


The American voter has to start electing politicians to office who are realistic about what needs to be done. Perhaps a law that links the minimum wage to the price of gas. We could up the minimum wage each six months based on the gas prices over the prior six months giving a one cent an hour raise for every penny over $1.99.9 a gallon at the pumps. The fat cats who run oil companies and investment firms would become really unpopular with their fellow country club CEOs if this law passed.


How about part of our Detroit bailout being that the change to Hydrogen powered is part of the payback plan.


Let’s make the banks lend money to companies developing alternative energy vehicles at 1 percent interest, which is about what they are paying us while they collect 28 percent off of the credit cards.


Ben Franklin said at the signing of the Declaration of Independence, “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”

 
 

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