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The Root Of All Evil

Recently, I got into a discussion about economics over at another blog that was triggered by a remark John McCain made about the economic problems we're having being largely in people's heads. That got me thinking -- that is so true that most people overlook it.

Economics doesn't really deserve the title of "science." It's an outgrowth of psychology, as it's entirely a creation of the human mind. It only exists in our minds and in our agreed-upon collective fiction. And it follows no rules of physics or anything else in the real world.

My own formal training in economics consists of a half-year class in high school that I've forgotten almost every single detail, and anyone who looked at my finances would agree I don't handle the micro end of things very well at all. But I've picked up a few things about economics over the years that have shown that in this matter, ignorance might not only be bliss, but the key to grasping key concepts.

For example, "value." "Value" is "what you can get someone else to pay for your item." Right now, just down the street from me, the value of a gallon of gas is around $3.50. A week ago, tha very same gasoline was valued at $3.20. The gas hasn't changed, Mongo hasn't changed, I haven't changed. But the gas's value has changed.

The first thing I know about economics is that it does not take well to attempts to control it. Almost every single example I can think of where a government or other body has attempted to command the economy, it has worked out disastrously.

The current example of biofuels is just the latest. The government thought it would be a good idea to replace too-expensive gas with too-expensive food derivatives, and now we have food shortages in the US -- something that hasn't happened in a very long time, if ever.

It's kind of like the time in the 90's when the government thought it would be a good idea to "soak the rich" by taxing yacht sales. The rich just started buying and registering their yachts overseas, and the end result was the near-destruction of the American yacht industry, putting a lot of boat builders out of work -- very few of whom were millionaires.

The Communists tried to centrally control and plan their economies, too, and look how well that turned out. Remember the Soviet Union and its glorious five-year plans? The Workers' Paradises of Eastern Europe? Hell, look at North Korea and Cuba -- they try to tell their economies what to do, and get a colossal middle finger in return.

This week, the first refunds to taxpayers as part of a "stimulus package" are going out. While I'm certainly looking forward to my $600 (it's going into Mongo's (my SUV) retirement fund), I don't think it's going to do a rat's ass for the economy. It's a temporary fix, and most people are planning to use it to pay down bills. While, on principle, I support most any measure that takes money from the government and returns it to taxpayers, I just don't think this'll do much good.

Now, let's take a look at gas prices. (We will briefly pause for some extended profanities.) They're bad. So, what are the ideas to fix it?

Well, we have those same idiots who come up with the idea they do every time: "let's all pick one company and not buy their gas for one day!" This is political masturbation. It will make some people feel like they're doing something, and do absolutely jack shit towards actually addressing the situation. (This, in essence, is in line with 90% of Democratic political activist plans.)

For years, the Democrats have said that we need to decrease our dependency on foreign oil, and develop renewable energy. One notion they've consistently brought up is a hike in the gas tax, to discourage waste. Well, now that gas prices have gone up without their having had to do so, they are quietly pretending that one never went anywhere.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Haight-Ashbury-Asshat) has an idea: have the government stop putting oil in the Strategic Reserve. Because, after all, expensive (but plentiful) oil is far more dangerous than very little oil. This is even dumber than the last grand idea of tapping the Reserve to increase the supply and, hopefully, bring down the price.

John McCain has his ideas, too, and while they're not as bad as the Democrats' plans, they are still short-sighted and weak. He wants to temporarily cut back on the gas tax, to remove that part of the formula that goes into determining the price of fuel. It's my understanding that the federal government makes more of a profit off a gallon of gasoline than the oil companies, and they don't do a goddamned thing productive to earn it.

I have my own idea of how the government can help bring down fuel prices, and it doesn't involve new government action. It simply requires some government un-action.

More specifically, they need to undo some of the things they've done in the past to "help" things, because there are few scarier phrases than "I'm from the government, and I'm here to help you."

For starters, get rid of the requirements and subsidies for biofuels. It was a dumb idea at the time, and all it's done is prove how dumb an idea it was.

Secondly, cut back on the regulation of gasoline. Abolish (or reduce) all the regional and seasonal blends and formulations we require the oil companies to produce. Right now, if there's a shortage in one area, there's a good chance they can't just shift some from another area, because it won't meet the requirements of the area that's lacking.

Thirdly, stop micromanaging the whole thing. Here in New Hampshire, we're still suffering over well-meaning government bureaucrats who thought they were doing the best. They required that we include MTBE in our gas to reduce emissions in our engines. The fuckheads didn't take into account that sometimes gas leaks, so instead of breathing slightly nastier fumes, we're drinking this shit in our groundwater. The federal government figured they'd make everyone's air fractionally better at the price of pouring poison down our throats. Way to go, assholes -- the fact that you thought you were doing a good thing makes it so much easier.

Fourth (and this one is almost heretical), look at the chokepoints in the gas supply and work on fixing those. US refineries are running at near capacity right now, so that would be one good point to start. Loosen up the regulations and offer some tax incentives for people to build new (and, consequently, cleaner and more efficient) refineries to get things going more smoothly.

Don't like foreign oil? Then start looking at domestic supplies. We just discovered a big reserve in the Dakotas area. Other countries are drilling off our shores, but we won't. And the thought of tapping even the slightest portion of the reserves in the Alaskan National Wildlife Reserve sends people screaming into the night, desperate to find some tree to hug. (Here's hoping they run or bike off to the tree in question, reducing the carbon footpring of their hysteria.)

I wouldn't mess with the gas taxes right now, though. While I think they're too high (as a matter of general principle, I think most taxes are too high, and the government could do with a lot less of our money), they aren't a major factor in the skyrocketing price of gas. Let's leave that can of worms alone for a later time, and deal with the real problem now. (Yes, I know that's a bit of heresy -- asking government to deal with real problems -- but I'm a bit of a heretic anyway.)

In essence, the best thing the government can do to fix most economic problems is GET THE FUCK OUT OF THE WAY. The free market is not perfect, by any stretch of the imagination, but it has a hell of a lot better track record than any well-meaning bureaucrat or politician.

Here's how the government can mess up even the most simple concepts. As I said earlier, the value of an item is whatever you can convince someone to pay for it. This boils down to "I will charge you the most I can get you to pay, because if I make it any higher, you will either get it from someone else, go without, or take it from me and pay nothing." And the buyer says "I will pay you this much and no more, or I will get it somewhere else, go without, or just take it." Negotiations boil down to who can con the other into thinking that those values are not what they are.

When the government gets involved, though, this gets perverted. The government says things like "OK, when you settle on your price, tack on a bit more and give it to me." Or "you can't sell this. We're going to take it from you, and then sell it to only those people we think should be able to buy it." Or "you can only get this from certain people of whom we approve." Or "you can't charge more than this for this item." Or "you can't pay less than this for this particular commodity, no matter what it's actually worth to you." (Bonus points to whoever gets this reference) Or (more bonus points for identifying this planned change being floated by not a few major political leaders) "you can't buy this. We'll take your money from you in taxes, buy it for you, then give it to you, and you'll be thankful that you got it for free."

I suspect this is because economics, as I noted, is at its core a matter of psychology. It derives from deep-set human instincts and tendencies and beliefs. The free market is, to my way of thinking, the expression of our collective subconscious. Our brains, freed from the constraints of our minds, is handling matters at a level so far below our thoughts that we can't even perceive it.

Government tends to ruin this because it introduces "idealism" into a system designed to work off the fundamental human principle of enlightened self-interest.

I once saw this diagram that illustrated the problem with government spending. It was a simple 2X2 grid, with "YOUR MONEY" and "OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY" on one axis, and "YOUR BENEFIT" and "OTHER PEOPLE'S BENEFIT" on the other.

When you're spending your money for your benefit, you tend to focus on value. You want the most for your bucks, and you pay sharp attention to details.

When you're spending your money for others' benefit, you tend to focus on efficiency. You want the best results for the least expenditure.

When you're spending other people's money for your benefit, you focus on satisfaction. Since it's not your money, why not get the best, price be damned? It ain't coming out of your pocket.

When you're spending other people's money for other people's benefit, most any considerations go right out the window. It ain't your money, you won't see any of the benefits, so who gives a rat's ass? It's just numbers moving around a spreadsheet. It's a very dull version of Math Invaders, or a Sudoku for those who can't handle that kind of excitement.

And that's what government spending boils down to: people getting paid to spend other people's money for other people's benefit. There is no motive for the spenders to get value for their expenditures, and no consequence for spending foolishly.

And they're doing it with OUR money. That's MY money, and YOUR money.

Maybe that's the problem with modern economists. They're so overeducated, they have forgotten these simple, key concepts. These ideas might be too simple for them, they can't handle anything below a certain level of complexity.


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Comments (31)

For example, "value." "Valu... (Below threshold)

For example, "value." "Value" is "what you can get someone else to pay for your item." Right now, just down the street from me, the value of a gallon of gas is around $3.50. A week ago, tha very same gasoline was valued at $3.20. The gas hasn't changed, Mongo hasn't changed, I haven't changed. But the gas's value has changed.

BARF. Worst post ever! It's the LAW of supply and demand.

Go read Thomas Sowells Basic Economics.

I've been amazed at how Con... (Below threshold)

I've been amazed at how Congress has been handling the 'gas crisis'. Oil prices are high - so you hold hearings and blame the oil companies. Oil prices continue to rise, based on speculation and increased consumption worldwide, and you continue to hold hearings and blame the oil companies.

You can't drill. You can't build refineries. You can't build nuke plants. You can't take any REAL steps to alleviate the problem - but you can have hearings all day long and make people think you CARE! Because it's going to take TIME to do ANYTHING realistic to solve the energy crisis, and as far as a politician is concerned (of any stripe, left-right-center or all of the above) if it's going to take longer than one election cycle to solve it's pretty much something that doesn't NEED to be solved.

So hold a hearing. It looks like you care, and the people who pay attention will remember your name come election time. They might not remember WHY, but they'll think you 'care' - and isn't that more important than actually doing anything?

Re getting rid of biofuel subsidies - it ain't gonna happen. That would require Congress admitting they made a mistake - and you know THAT is completely impossible!

The entire democrat leaders... (Below threshold)

The entire democrat leadership has spent the past 7 years trying to destroy the economy (along with lose the WOT) in hope of gaining more 'political' power. That is not too surprising when you look at their history, but the citizens buying their defeatest BS is a surprise. I guess it proves the last two decades of brainwashing by unqualified (90%)teachers in the public schools is taking effect. I reared two daughters but if I had one in most public schools today I would end up in prison because there's no power on earth that would stop me from killing some of the teachers/administrators if they pulled the BS they now pull on others. I'm not advocating others do it but I see no other way out of this mess unless you are willing to allow your children to live in a brain dead world. 90% of college professors aren't qualified to 'teach' pre-kindergarden. 99% of politicians are only interested in their own personal 'ego' building. Where do we go from here, Dictatorship, Communism?

Excellent piece! Thank you... (Below threshold)

Excellent piece! Thank you for the thoughtful and sensible analysis. I spent a semester of college lost in an economics class, flunked it miserably, and still find the concept, personally and globally, very much like you do. I'm sorry to hear you're getting a $600 check from Uncle Sugar; the bastards will tax you on it in 2009. I'm told I've contributed so much to that "not my money" - "not my benefit" quadrant that I won't get into the "my money" - "my benefit" part of the grid. There is a gross and dangerous imbalance in the comparative size of those four quadrants in government. All government employees are in the "not my money" - "my benefit" corner, because they get paid and many won't get a $600 check, either. At the same time, government employees control the "not my money" - "not my benefit" side, and the rat's ass is buried in cash. Can I get an amen for The Fair Tax Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America? Will anyone else call Congress and demand it? DEMAND IT!! America needs to vastly increase the unemployment rolls by firing about half the government employees and closing half the bureaus and agencies. On the farm we described greed by saying that pigs eat and hogs get slaughtered. Mmmmm Government! Tastes like bacon.

Many factors goes into the ... (Below threshold)

Many factors goes into the price of goods. Supply and demand is one however what the market will bear is another one of those conditions.. So Jay and you are both correct.

I vote Jay for Energy Czar.

My point, Will, is that not... (Below threshold)

My point, Will, is that nothing PHYSICAL changed. The gas (presuming it was not replaced in the week or so) was still the very same gallon of fluid it was the week before. The changes -- dictated by the law of supply and demand, as you noted -- are entirely abstract and intangible. They bear very little relation to the physical world.

What you said didn't contradict my point, it enhanced it. Thanks.


"The free market is not per... (Below threshold)

"The free market is not perfect..."

I advise you to avoid such evaluations. An evaluation presupposes a standard by which to evaluate. But the positing of such a standard amounts to an arbitrary imposition of values -- the evaluator's values -- on the very thing you've just proclaimed, correctly, to be a mere apparition that exists only in our heads!

When a conservative attacks a marketplace phenomenon -- the easy availability of recreational drugs or pornography -- he's imposing his values on the market and everyone in it. When a liberal attacks a marketplace phenomenon -- the cost of health care or gasoline -- he's imposing his values on the market and everyone in it. If one is justified in doing that, then so is the other...yet each one would oppose the other's contentions. They can't both be right!

It's important to remember that in many a case where two combatants can't both be right, they can both be wrong. And so it is with each and every complaint about a free market "imperfection."

Maybe should take the billi... (Below threshold)

Maybe should take the billions in subsidies we are currently paying to the energy companies and funded an all out, Manhattan Project-style effort to develop alternative fuel sources. The 20th century was the age of fossil fuels: we need to move beyond them as our primary fuel source, and soon. Technology in every other sector is developing so fast we can barely keep up, and yet our economy continues to run on a fuel source that has remained virtually unchanged for more than 100 years, which exemplifies the stranglehold the global petrochemical cartel has had, and continues to have, on our government.

I agree with Jay that Congress' attempts to deal with this have been pathetic, certainly one of the factors contributing to their barely visible approval rating. Both sides of the aisle are responsible and should be held accountable come November. This is becoming a national emergency, a few cents at a time and needs to be dealt with as such. All the candidates' feet should be held to the fire on this, rather than yammering on about who sat next to so-and-so years ago. The only way out of this in the long term is to look forward to the next source of energy, wherever it may come from.

The devaluation of the dollar on the world market is also driving up the cost of crude oil, a corner we've painted ourselves into by this administration's massive increases in the amount we need to borrow in order to fund our out of control foreign policy.

I think that we are reaping the harvest of following the Milton Friedman, free market at all cost, economic philosophy, namely a redistribution of wealth, and thereby global political power, to a tiny fraction of the population. The fraction of a percent who control the vast majority of wealth are more and more able to bend economic trends to maximize their profits without regard to the cost borne by those on whose labor their fortunes are built.

Perhaps if there were a res... (Below threshold)
Billll Author Profile Page:

Perhaps if there were a restriction in effect and both the Federal and State level along the lines of "No tax upon the sale or transfer of any item shall exceed the average margin of profit realized by the largest 2 producers of the item."

This would bring down the price of gasoline and other refined hydrocarbons, and drastically slash the cost of smokes and booze. This alone should raise the happiness quotient of the country.

But Francis, in one instanc... (Below threshold)

But Francis, in one instance you spoke of the "easy availability of" and in the other the "cost of". You've confused me here. One is relating to values and the other, value. I would posit that the conservative and the liberal would both agree that the cost of health care is high. What they might disagree on is the cause and the solution.

Unless, of course, the conservative is complaining of the cost of drugs and porn ...

When a conser... (Below threshold)

When a conservative attacks a marketplace phenomenon -- the easy availability of recreational drugs or pornography -- he's imposing his values on the market and everyone in it.
When a liberal attacks a marketplace phenomenon-- the cost of health care or gasoline -- he's
imposing his values on the market and everyone in it.

What a disingenuous comment.
Are you broad brushing all conservatives
as evil purveyors of drugs and pR0n?
And all liberals as saints eschewing health care and gasoline
for free?
I do hope this was meant as tongue in cheek.

The real problem is the cos... (Below threshold)

The real problem is the costs that are going up cannot be avoided. The cold winter has left budgets severely depleted, and now that food is joining in, the results are not in people's heads. Gas prices are impacting every one and every business. To deny the real pain is folly. To try and make it sound like it's in people's heads, is just not going to work.

Didn't Pelosi promise to bring gas prices down, before voting to raise food prices? Oh sorry that was before the last election, not after it. Everyone knows before the election you say anything.

The government invented a f... (Below threshold)
Largin Testin:

The government invented a form of pollution. In 1970 Humphrey and Muskie sponsored the clean air act that bears their name. One of its mandates was to clean up hydrocarbon emissions and accomplish that feat without increasing the cost of cars to the consumer. The manufacturers took the simplest expedient and increases the stroke in their engines. This was a 2'fer because a way was needed to extract more power from the lower compression needed from no-lead gas ,( and catalytic converters),to eliminate lead from gas. The longer stroke and higher friction reduced engine life and invented NOX.

Let's be clear on this: mon... (Below threshold)

Let's be clear on this: money can be exchanged for matter, energy, or work. That makes it a form of energy. As such, it is in the realm of science.

However, you are correct in saying that it requires psychology. The only thing this socially-defined form of energy works upon is the the human mind.

Any economic science which is more chemistry than alchemy must take into account an accurate psychology. We do not yet have that.

I mostly agree with what yo... (Below threshold)
Anon Y. Mous:

I mostly agree with what you've said, but I would add some qualifications. The role of government in the economy should be to maintain the rule of law and to ensure competition. Things like monopolies and cartels can totally negate the normal rules of supply and demand.

Your example is a good example of that point. The energy market is not working the way it should because of the way it is manipulated by a cartel. If our government really wanted to do something constructive about the price of gas, it would be working on ways to break OPEC.

Apply your reasoning to Hea... (Below threshold)

Apply your reasoning to Health Care.

It works.

Jay has overlooked one fact... (Below threshold)
Dodo David:

Jay has overlooked one factor that influences the price of crude oil (and, thus, the price of gasoline). The oil traders at the New York Commodities Exchange are able to make the price of crude oil go up even if there isn't a change in the supply and demand of oil. These people manipulate the market in response to what could happen in the Middle East. If they think that the world's supply of oil could be reduced because of what could happen in the Persian Gulf, then they begin trading oil futures at higher prices. The result is that the price of crude oil rises, and we end up paying more for gasoline.

Now, I don't want the government to regulate what happens at the New York Commodities Exchange, but I do wish that members of the MSM, especially those in New York, would report to the public the role that oil traders play in the rise of the price of oil. If the MSM won't do it, then I wish that bloggers would do it.

Jay Tea:Churchill ... (Below threshold)

Jay Tea:

Churchill said: "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time ..." I say: "Free markets are the worst system of economic organization, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time ..." Every attempt to "perfect the market" creates more problems or exacerbates problems that already exist. Bush, McCain and most other Republicans are well off base on most of their economics but at least they're not way out near the left field wall like B.H. Obama, H.R. Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, et al. The basic idea of America is freedom, and we should be looking for ways to get back to basics rather than trying to find more ways for people to rely on government to solve all their problems, economic and otherwise, none of which will work - they will just burden us, make us less free and destroy the benefits of free markets and free people. Free markets are like a giant train engine that keeps this country moving forward, and all the government programs, controls, regulations, etc. are like the train cars. A powerful train can pull a lot of cars behind it but eventually they start slowing the train down. Who knows what economic growth the U.S. and all other countries could achieve with true freedom. If you want an economics education, you might start with Milton Friedman's "Free to Choose." By the way, the cost of refining crude oil into gasoline, including the oil company's "excessive profits" amounts to about 7% of the cost of a gallon of gas. 11% of the cost represents taxes, and the government provides no added value like making an unusable gallon of crude into something your car's engine can burn. When it comes to real greed, nobody can match the government.

<a href="http://www.chicago... (Below threshold)


Here's a great article that shows that there are many factors that are going into the price of oil. As a economics major, I do believe in the laws of supply and demand. People's expectations do play into the equation as well as external factors like war or demand from other countries. Eventually I do think that prices shake out to their natural value, like the housing market is doing right now.

Great piece with great poin... (Below threshold)

Great piece with great points. But the amount of profanity in the mid-section of this article was approaching Kos-ian levels for a few paragraphs. I found it hard to concentrate on what you were saying wondering what f-, s-, gd-, or a-bomb was going to be dropped next.

This just in on CNN...Over ... (Below threshold)

This just in on CNN...Over 40 gun crimes committed just this week in Chicago (mostly black Southside). At least 12 killed. What do they blame? Bad economy, the Iraq war, warm weather. WOW!?!

You won't believe the response of the police department. They are bringing ina surge of extra police including SWAT teams armed with M-4's.

As a matter of principle DEMs must insist the surge will fail. We must pull out of Chicago. The insurgents are killing at will. I am not willing that police forces remain in Chicago for 100 years.

Also, the money spent on police forces in Chicago could better be spent rebuilding New Orleans and giving free healthcare to lazy bums that won't work.

If we atleast pull out half of Chicago's police force by...say..August 25th. We can send them to Denver to hunt for Osama . Word on the street is that he will be at the DNC convention with Hamas to show his support for Barrack Obama.

Nancy Pelosi is a plastic w... (Below threshold)

Nancy Pelosi is a plastic whore fabricated piece of refuse found under every nondescript barnacles habitation.. scum

But I digress ... (Below threshold)

But I digress Not!

While some of the words of ... (Below threshold)

While some of the words of this article were a little 'crass' ... the general thought is one worth commenting on. That general thought was this: 'economics does not take well to attempts to control it.'

I agree.

Let's look at some examples of government controling OUR money (by the way, 'we the people' are the government; so letting one group of REPRESENTATIVES of 'us' control the funds put into the 'family kitty' could be mis-used if the REPRESENTATIVES have little understanding of their responsibility to 'Common Go(o)d.

first example of government controlling money:

It was the democrats who began taxing the interest from 'we the people's' savings accounts. First 'we the people' earn the income, pay tax on the income...what is left is our money to do as we wish with, if we decide to put some away 'for ourselves' ... THE DEMOCRATS decided...ooooh nooo...wait a minute, who said you could take care of your own life? Interest on your savings comes back to us, 'your provider' [wrong idea Mr. Democrat] You are not 'the provider' of all,
we are not your 'dependent children' ... we provide for ourselves and our family.

Let's look at credit card interest. 1983 'act' of Congress Democrats determined that credit card interest was no longer tax deductible.

First, 'the government of reps' determines 'we the people' can't save and acquire wealth from the 'interest' gained from saving our monies remaining AFTER taxes paid on income, then they decide if we of our own adult self wish to purchase large ticket items, on credit, we cannot deduct the interest banks charge for our loans.

The result, no one saves, government then becomes THE PROVIDER OF DOLLARS (as a parent is to a child) and buying stops when people can't buy larger items on credit...

So...after a few years 'government' who now has all this money 'stacked up' says WHOA...
LOOK OUT THERE...nothing's happening ...what should we do? ahhh...let's toss the kids a few dollars (stimulus packages) and let 'em spend for awhile...

The article writer is correct. LET IT FLOW naturally, let people spend WHEN they wish to,
nice and steady all along...not with stimulus packages here and there. Let 'we the people' control our own funds like the responsible adult persons we are.

Oh...by the way, the stimulus package will benefit the economy because those with children get additional rebates. CHILDREN (real children) have needs.

Thank the Democrat 'pro choice' philosophy for also slowing the economy for all. People who have family (children)spend. ALWAYS. CHILDREN are always in need of something. The abortion philosophy of democrats is 'killing not only new life to society but the economy of all who work in that society' There is only so much
"adults" need. CHILDREN always need much.

Correct...controlling the economy has distrous effects...Democrats wish to control 'the whole show' ie: play God, provider.

Not good. Count me a Republican.

BLAH BLAH BLAHWHAT D... (Below threshold)




What i find hilarious is th... (Below threshold)
Dave W:

What i find hilarious is that you summed up the problem with liberals in a very simple, easy to understand piece about the economic approach. Liberals would instead implore you to feel better that your money is going to "help" those less fortunate. They don't realize that they screw the majority of americans the majority of the time with their tax and spend policies. They can't argue the economics of it, so they appeal to people's emotions. It's amazing what the left does for power...

GrouchoI have an i... (Below threshold)


I have an idea ( actually, it's from Newt Gingrich's book Real Change ), how 'bout instead of those subsidies, we offer a 1 billion dollar, tax-free, award for the company that creates the first alternative energy vehicle that is affordable to the average joe. If the federal government gets involved, it'll take a longer and will be 10x more expensive.. guaranteed...

#25 jax: Wasn't Henry Ford... (Below threshold)

#25 jax: Wasn't Henry Ford's original engine designed to run on alcohol? My ancestors had this quaint and rustic method of storing excess corn on the farm in liquid form. I believe it would make a viable fuel, and if you got tired of driving, you could pull over and syphon a snort or two out of the tank for happy hour. What's old is new again. I need a drink, or three.

You are right about one thi... (Below threshold)

You are right about one thing for sure...nothing is worth a gotdam cent more than what someone will pay for it..and that is why it is called the law of supply and demand.

Our government has operated under the Keynesian theory, ie, deficit government spending is good
for the country because it puts money into the economy, creates jobs, and increases tax revenue from the new jobs and businesses. The problem with the theory is someday someone is gonna have to pay it back...

The USA is now trillions of dollars in debt..maybe 11 trillion plus and the debt continues to spiral. The debt has caused the de-evaluation of the dollar against major world currencies which has made our imports higher. There was a time when the USA was a major exporter when a cheaper dollar would have been good for the economy..but now we have made it so tough on business that most factories have moved off shore and we don't produce and export even enough to have a balance of trade and have not for decades.

A service economy will not last for ever. If I sound pessimistic it is because I am. The problem is complex and yes, part of it is in our heads. But government regulations and the voters misguided ideas that they can tax and regulate business without paying for it is the root of the problems.

If I learned anything in economics..several college courses as well as the school of hard knocks..it is that the consumer pays for all business taxes and regulations..business considers it just part of doing business and passes the cost to the consumer. And, when the consumer will not pay business eaither closes up or moves off shore or both..been there and done that.

Congress wants to do someth... (Below threshold)
John S:

Congress wants to do something about oil prices? Here's something: a 125% tax on any profit made on speculating crude oil futures. The price of crude would be $50 barrel in 4 hours.

did you go off your meds ag... (Below threshold)
mount rushmore:

did you go off your meds again, jay?






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