Tuesday, November 18, 2008

if only we could know

I'm really REALLY worried about the price of gas at some undetermined time in the not-too-distant future. My concern starts with a wariness of Obama's energy policies (more "McSame" than most of McCain's policies), it doesn't get any better as I think of the Congressional Dems and their debt to the environmental lobby, and it gets out of control when I think of Somali pirates and other crazoids that hold some key cards that can have an unbelievably negative effect on the world's energy infrastructure.

And I realize that as we're sitting here, filling the gas tank up for $1.79 a gallon, that it's pretty negative of me to be focusing on something that, God willing, will never happen to us and our economy again.

But I just can't help but thinking that we WILL be there, and sooner than any of us would like.

Which makes me harken back to a long, long time ago . . .also known as this summer. Remember the raging debate about the "cause" of the $4/gal gas?

One side said it was the law of supply and demand. The other side tried to demonize "oil speculators" and the greed of the oil companies.

If only we could know which one was right!

Because truth be told, BOTH possible drivers of the price of crude have subsided significantly. Global demand, we are told, is down as the economies prepare for an expected (or is it already happening?) recession--which, according to the "law" of supply and demand, WOULD help drive costs down, provided supply has remained somewhat constant.

AND speculators had every reason to flea the crude market as they digested, in order, Pres. Bush's ending of the EO against OCS drilling, and the downturn in the global economy as it slid towards recession.

So now we're here. If we aren't at the bottom of the price curve for energy, I gotta believe we are pretty close. Which means, of course, that it will turn up.

I HATE that we can't know what lessons should be learned from this summer's fiasco, because that just means there's that much greater chance that we'll end up having the same debate when it happens again, rather than having a ready-to-go solution.

We got "bailed out", if you will, from circumstances this past summer (although, admittedly, saying that a downturn that has cost people thousands of dollars in savings is a "bail out" of any sort is a unique and extraordinarily mild way to describe it--pretty much just wrong as can be. But stick with me here, we're talking about gas prices!). Why I'd love to give Bush a lot of credit for his actions, I just can't be sure that his was the action that made THE difference.

Next time. . .what if nothing bails us out? What if we--or more accurately, our leaders--have to actually be the ones who put a stop to ever-escalating energy costs? Will they act in time?

Or, far more appropriately, will they act CORRECTLY in time?

'Cuz you know what they say: those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

And I don't know that lessons have been learned from this past summer.

I hope I'm wrong.


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