06/04/2004: I don't get it....
but then again, I'm not a Republican.
Nathan Newman points me to this: The Coming Energy Crunch. I don't mean to blog about the substantive merits/demerits of this piece right now--I may later, then again, I may not; it's the weekend after all and I have an outside chance of getting a date this weekend, which may cut into my reading and blogging--but it was this paragraph which immediately caught my eye:
The Bush campaign struck back with a new television ad, entitled "Wacky." "Some people have wacky ideas," says a mildly sarcastic male voice. "Like taxing gasoline more so people drive less. That's John Kerry." A vaudevillian image of 12 guys in business suits riding a gigantic, clownish bicycle jitterbugs across the screen.What's so wacky about that idea?
Um, the President and Vice-President are alleged to have been businessmen in prior lifetimes (I'll concede that Cheney was; I have a bit of a problem calling Bush a businessman in light of his reverse Midas touch which required Daddy's friends and supporters to bail his sorry ass out of most, if not all, of his business ventures, but I digress). As such, they are, I'm sure, familiar with the basic price theory of demand: other things being equal, people buy more of a good when the price is low, and they'll buy less when the price is high. And during the much vaunted "energy crisis" of earlier days, we learned that when gas prices went up, people drove less (and moved from gas guzzlers to more economical vehicles for the driving they did do)--which isn't, in itself, A Bad Thing.
So, if gas prices won't go up on their own, and people won't moderate their gas usage by other means, taxing gasoline, it seems to me, will drive the price up. This will reduce the demand for gas (again, the price theory of demand; basic Economics 101), and yes, people will drive less.
So, what am I missing?
There is one possibility, and that is that the increase in price may have other, unintended effects which might, overall, be bad. Catastrophic, even. But that doesn't mean that the "tax gas to make people drive less" policy is itself wacky; it just means that there are countervailing policy considerations which contraindicate raising gasoline taxes.
Ah, but why address substantive issues when we can just mock candidates? It's so much easier to mock than think, after all.
God, I hate election years.
Len on 06.04.04 @ 01:11 PM CST