Well, this post has been inspired by this comment:
I know you probably think I’m crazy, but I think we should have a much higher gas tax. I’d be all for something like $5 a gallon gas tax, it’s a win-win more $$ for the government for things like road and great incentive to reduce consumption.
First off, I think that crazy is too strong a word. I would prefer “horribly misguided”.. but whatever works…
Here’s the thing that really gets me… the folks who scream loudest about the environment are completely and totally squandering a perfect opportunity to work for real change and are instead chugging ahead with the current “climate bill” that rather than actually address any of the problems that this nation faces instead imposes heavy handed restrictions on the United States simply to pander to rabid environmentalists.
And this isn’t just the Congress… Barack Obama has followed through with this same heavy handedness by raising CAFE standards through executive fiat.
To start off… the Climate Bill will never accomplish it’s stated purpose of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. Cap and Trade has one inevitable result: the movement of industry offshore. The emissions will not go away. They will merely be outsourced to China and Mexico – where the factories will probably be orders of magnitude LESS efficient, and then the shipping will further release gases into the atmosphere. We lose jobs and accomplish absolutely nothing. The only way that a Cap and Trade scheme has any hope of working is to apply some penalty (i.e. a tariff) to goods coming into this country from countries that exceed the mandated standards. This, of course, will never fly with the Chinese who now own us.
This is of course assuming that one buys into the whole Global Warming panic, which I don’t. Nobody has shown that a marginal increase in the temerature of the earth is actually going to destroy the world (in fact, scientists generally tend to agree that the earth used to be significantly warmer than it is now). And not only that, as far as I can tell, nobody has even bothered to establish that a warmer earth is, in fact, a bad thing. Why should we want a cooler earth with the resultant shorter growing seasons? And to go even further, how is it that the answer is always heavy handed government intervention? Trees are an excellent means of absorbing atmospheric gases. Maybe we should just outlaw clear cutting of woodlands to put in McManisions. Perhaps we should plant trees down highway medians instead of grass – perhaps we can even save some on mowing as part of the deal.
But the really annoying thing is that the environmentalists seem dead set on these heavy handed laws rather than trying to encourage the development and adoption of technologies that would meet their prescribed criteria. The climate bill is more Anti-Industry than it is good stewardship of the earth and its resources. A proper energy plan would provide incentives for industries and power companies to change. In the United States the government has a lot of carrots it can offer to accomplish this without heavy handed draconian measures.
Now… on to cars…
As I have said previously, I have no doubt that Obama has no interest in running GM, but I am certain that Obama and every other liberal in this country is salivating at the prospect of being able to appoint one of their cronies to the GM board. They’re already planning to make little green Obamamobiles whether or not people want them (a la the previously mentioned CAFE standards).
I have had a little bit of a change of heart having now seen what has happened with Chryler and GM, and I am no longer sympathetic to bailing them out. The scariest words in the English language continue to be “I’m from the government and I’m here to help!”. GM and Chrylser would have been far far better off had they simply declared bankruptcy without government involvement and bailouts. Bankruptcy could have brought a fresh start to GM (or at least the pieces of GM) with a new direction and outlook. The way that this has happened, the government has siezed GM and has now taken away an opportunity from an entrepenuer to take the reins and innovate. It goes without saying that the main beneficiary of the government involvement has been the United Auto Workers who gave considerable support to Barack Obama’s Presidential bid and they’re now getting their payback. If GM had declared bankruptcy outside of this government arrangement, the UAW would have been defunct. The agreements between GM and the UAW wouldn’t be worth the paper they were written on, and no automaker in their right mind would tolerate a UAW rep within 100 miles of their operations.
The federal government is too big. It has too much power. This situation is getting out of hand very quickly. Powerful and invasive central governments very seldom turn out well for their citizens.