Walk now, scapegoat later

If there is one thing that can have me truly shaking my head this election season, even more than the crass and stupid pandering from GOP candidates running for the office of the presidency; that is, that people who expect the president to somehow control the world price of crude oil. That isn’t possible. What drives the price of crude oil, is the market place. And after three years of GOP slamming President Obama for inviting socialism into the country for trying to bring stability to various businesses during the time of the great recession; it becomes an incredible rationale that gas prices should be the reason why Obama should have lower poll numbers, that those polled, think that Obama should do more to make buying gas at the pump easier on their wallets. Right there, is a demand for an intrusive government into the market place. Just as the GOP such as Gingrich boasting that he can bring down gas prices to a stable $2.50 per gallon as president is also an invitation for an intrusive government. And right now, I think that people need to simply wake up and take a good hard look at the real world for a change

First, oil is a limited fossil fuel. Given the high demand for oil across the globe, prices are going to climb as oil supplies begin to diminish. Second, speculators are going to be a percentage of the problem for higher oil prices. And third, since most of the world’s supply of oil is also located in areas of high political tensions—such as the middle east; you can be certain that oil prices are going to be pinned on how stable politically a specific region in the middle east is, or if instead, there are drums of war based on the conduct of a specific country’s leaders— such as Iran. Which is exactly why, when Obama was proposing early on the need to develop green technology, it was with a farsighted view of bringing this nation an energy independence where we could easily weather the storm of what was briefly explained above. Only, just how many people were prepared to mock the man for posing such a solution? Think about it.

So now, why don’t these people who are complaining about President Obama not doing more to ease the pain at the pump start taking a hard look in the mirror and thinking what more they can do to reduce their use of a commodity that simply won’t last forever. For me, I don’t drive all that much. Outside of packing up and moving to a new home, I made a trip a day, packing up what I could carry in a car until I could get the van operational, then loading up the van afterwards. Of course it took a while, but when you are on a limited budget, you can only afford to put so much gas in one rig or the other. I am done with moving now, and where I live on Ramsey Road, I am actually not far from stores, restaurants, banks, etc. “in walking distance” so to speak. And that is just it, if I can walk to it, then I don’t need to drive. If what I can buy can be packed out of the store in two hands, then I don’t need to drive. I can save the gas for the truly big jobs and make it a single trip, than if I drove for every little thing, and then have to put gas in my van far more often. Tellingly, higher gas prices haven’t reduced the traffic I see on the roads here in the Coeur d’Alene area. And I am just as certain, that higher gas prices haven’t reduced the love affair people have with their cars across the nation, either. So, if they are going to continue to drive cars that aren’t “green efficient,” then they have no business complaining about a president who is in no position to control the price of crude on the market today.

So my suggestion is, if it is just you in the driver’s seat and where you work is two to three miles away, park the car, SUV, or pickup and leave up to an hour earlier—walk. Longer trips—ride a bicycle. Unless you are looking at running errands that absolutely requires a car, leave it in the garage. Bottom line: in a free market society, the demand side has a better handle on how much of a commodity they actually use as to whether it truly becomes a “pain at the pump” or not than any president, anywhere, ever will. After all, the seller can’t sell without a constant demand. If people walk more, and it is actually healthy for them to do so, then they simply demand less. Also, it has to be the demand side that begins insisting on green technology to move this country into a future free of fossil fuel dependency. President Obama can make certain proposals, help subsidize the development of such technologies, but it is the people who must be prepared to make the switch to such technologies. So, it is a little late to start complaining about the failures of the Prez “to do something” about the latest oil shocks. It is time “we” did something for ourselves.


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