Sunday, August 10, 2008

There Is No Domestic Oil

This whole article is good, using very arch and pointed language to provide an econ and politics 101 lesson about the stupidity of presidential candidates blathering on about the importance of energy independence.
If we were energy independent, the politicians imply, prices wouldn't go up. But if you're an oil-striking American dude - maybe a little naive but smart enough to know that your hot daughter Elly May is going to be better off in Beverly Hills than the Ozarks - you're going to shop your barrels to the highest bidder, not just to whiny Americans with their near-worthless dollars. More oil procured from under U.S. soil means more oil on the global market, not more oil for just us.
And let us not overlook this point:
The only smart thing I heard was Obama's advice to fully inflate your tires, although he overlooked the fact that gas stations no longer have free air pumps or even decent pay ones.
That last part is SO true! 15 years ago, many stations had these nice, dial-your-psi pumps. When you hit the desired psi, the pump would ding 3 times, and would stop pumping. In one sense it is a silly and trivial thing, but since my solution (using my bike pump) is unlikely to appeal to most people, the absence of good pumps really is an impediment to a public good. A little bit like the shortage of public restrooms in many cities is an impediment to tourism and quality of life.

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