Something that Flabbergasts Me

Since 1972, oil company executives have, like clockwork, been dragged up to Washington every five years to defend themselves against charges that they have cartelized the oil industry with the express purpose of limiting supply and driving up prices to consumers.  Over the last 10 years, and particularly post-Katrina, scrutiny has fallen heavily on US refiners to justify refined product supply shortfalls and resulting price spikes.

So, after years of demagoguing oil companies for purposefully limiting refining capacity and output to drive up gasoline prices, Democrats in Congress are on the verge of passing Waxman-Markey, which will have the very focused and predictable result of... limiting US refining output and driving up gas prices.  In fact, the only possible way it will achieve its goals of limiting CO2 output is if it is wildly successful in reducing gasoline supply and driving up gas prices.  Amazing.

Yet more proor that what is never OK for the [private] goose is always OK for the [public] gander.


  1. dave smith:

    Good point. If your concern is emissions, then an energy cartel is for you!

    But the politicians don't care about emissions, they care about power.

  2. russell steen:

    Right, but see Coyote, they are doing it for "the good of everyone", so that makes it okay (sarcasm).

    I'll never understand the Hypocrisy of liberals who feel that it's monstrous when someone forces them into even the loosest morality (ie: no third term abortions), but are just fine with making everyone goose step to their ideal vision of the world.

  3. morganovich:

    does it ever occur to these folks who cry about high gasoline prices that they really ought to be yelling at the environmentalists, not the oil companies? you can't put straight oil your car (well, not and expect it to run...). it needs to be refined. that is the bottleneck. here in CA, yet again, a refineries plans to become more efficient and use more grades of oil have been halted by court order due to environmental obstructionism. their pretexts are exceedingly flimsy, but given a judge who has no understanding of the issue, they can certainly get injunction and hod this up for years or possibly stop it altogether.

    just try to add refining capacity anywhere in the US. seriously. we want cheap gas, but then do everything we can to limit its supply. it's one or the other guys.

    alas, i fear this is the new era of government interventionism: stealth interventions performed through bureaucracy to foment crisis and pin the blame on private industry and capitalism.

    make it impossible to build a refinery, then blame mobil for high gas prices.

    require refiners to buy carbon credits, then blame them for price increases. a tax would be easy to point out, but carbon credits will muddy the issue in public perception.

    create a government HMO to compete unfairly with private insurance until it can drive them into crisis just as the HRA forced banks to make a $1 trillion in bad subrpime loans and drive them into crisis.

    it just goes on and on. it's not a failure of capitalism if it was created by the government.

  4. Xoph:

    Critical thinking is a skill that has to be taught. Researching issues you know nothing about takes time and takes the admission of ignorance, making it a high cost activity. Our politicians are excellent at engaging emotion and hiding the facts; manipulating opinion to accomplish their own goals. Freedom has become freedom from want, not freedom to succeed or fail. We are not acknowledging our schizophrenia such as we want cheap gas without polluting the environment let alone having an intelligent debate to make the best choices. The plebes are voting for bread and circuses while not understanding there is no such thing as a free lunch.
    I don’t know how to fix this. Pointing out the contradictions doesn’t work.

  5. Rick:

    A Waxman-Markey sanctioned energy cartel would be just as bad as the government sanctioned Federal Reserve banking cartel. So when the price of everything starts to dramatically go up because of these state sponsored cartels people will predictably start blaming "greedy businesses" or "price gouging merchants", and the backers of government intervention from across the spectrum will not accept any responsibility for it but will instead circle the wagons around the state.

    If there is any hope at all it's in the sharing of information and ideas on mediums like this one, so when the inevitable inflation becomes a mainstream issue, hopefully more people will understand that it's the governments interventionism the created these problems.

    Also, a clever tactic of the left is to create that aura of inevitability. As in, "of course" something Waxman-Markey is going to happen... even if some factions of the left disagree over the details of the bill, i.e. "it doesn't do enough".

    People like us can counter that by saying things like, "well, it will inevitably be a disaster" and we'll probably be right. But that doesn't convince enough people because it comes off as "doom and gloom" rather than "progressive" and "positive". So I don't know what the answer is, other than to continue sharing information and rational thought with those who live everyday in a thick fog. Be an example of liberty.

  6. Dr. T:

    It's all about motives. Congress is trying to save the planet. The greedy oil and refinery barons are trying to line their pockets. Thus, our Congresspersons are not hypocrites. (Hah!)