Bernie Sanders, Vermont's socialist Representative in the House, wants an "energy summit".
Tuesday, May 02, 2006 :::
Sanders, of course, blames the oil companies for the high price of oil. Among his short-term solutions to the problem are a windfall profits tax and "reducing the high levels of CEO compensation in the oil industry."... With an electorate feeling everything from frustration to outright fury with the status quo?especially as it applies to the cost of gasoline?you'd think the "radicals" could come up with solutions that were, well, a bit more radical. The Sanders's solutions depend predictably on government action. The government does not discover, transport, or refine oil, so its influence on the supply side is limited to incentives. And a "windfall profits tax" does not exactly qualify as an incentive.Well, if the demand curve could be shifted down, consumption and price could both go down. I'm not sure how to do that, beyond developing substitutes. Maybe that's what Sanders is thinking, but it seems more likely to me that he's just nuts.
Sanders wants all sorts of things to come out of his summit. Included are lower prices and more conservation, which is to say, he wants to come up with hot ice. Nothing inspires people to cut down on how much they drive like paying sixty bucks to fill up the tank. If Sanders could force the price of gasoline down by fiat, people would buy more gas guzzlers and drive them down the driveway to pick up the newspaper.
Incidentally, when I wrote a couple entries ago that people ought to have a rudimentary understanding of economics, this was the sort of thing I meant.
::: posted by Steven at 9:34 PM