Psychodrilling

It seems John McCain is prepared to admit that his drilling schemes won't actually bring down gas prices but still defends the plan by saying: "Even though it may take some years, the fact that we are exploiting those reserves would have psychological impact that I think is beneficial."

Um, okay. But if even conservatives agree that "aesthetics" are a valid reason against drilling, why doesn't that override the psychic benefits of drilling? More to the point, couldn't people use some policies that are beneficial in non-psychological ways. Maybe the federal government should provide a cash infusion to mass transit systems so that instead of buckling under increased demand we can improve the quality of people's experience and start running trains and buses more quickly? That wouldn't solve everyone's problems by any means, but it would deliver genuine help to many people in the short run.

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Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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