Monday, May 15, 2006

Two Solid Gas Price Articles

Really good story by Jason Stein this weekend regarding all the gas price pandering at the state level (by both parties). Nice to have someone look skeptically at the information they're fed - I think he used to be a business reporter, so he probably gets how market forces work. From the article:
But economists are panning most of these short-term solutions, saying there's not much a state like Wisconsin can do about gas prices besides promote long-term solutions such as alternative fuels. What's more, they said, taking steps to artificially lower fuel prices may actually send consumers the wrong message - that they can keep blithely guzzling gasoline without cutting back.

Exactly. (Disclaimer: I am biased pro-Stein, as he spent an hour interviewing me for this story.)

And in that vein, I dug up this column from UW-Superior Professor of Environmental and Cultural History Nicolaas Mink, in which he illustrates the long term benefits of higher gas prices. He says:
I hope gas prices climb higher.

While the $3-per-gallon threshold certainly makes many rethink (and perhaps even question) their suburban automotive escapades, gasoline selling at $4, $5 or $6 a gallon, as it does in Europe, would radically alter American habits, culture and society for the better.

This line of thinking was what I was trying to illustrate with this post. The Democratic Party as a political operation may be trying to squeeze some good publicity out of the gas price issue, but I believe honest liberal thinkers would support anything that causes cutbacks in consumption and more conservation. Even a good conservative thinker like Charles Krauthammer advocated for increasing gas taxes to keep the price artifically high. On this issue, I think the Democratic party apparatus is out of step with its base.