What Charles Said

Dr K nails it today. What an absolutely pathetic spectacle in D.C. over gas prices. Almost all our leaders are giving off a rancid whiff of opportunism and stupidity - from Pelosi's dumb-ass populism to Bush's transparent politicking to the absurd notion that high gas prices are somehow all a result of evil corporations. In truth, these high gas prices are an obvious function of demand and supply, and, as such, they are one of the best things to happen in a long time. I hope they go much higher. Soon. If they don't, the government should force them higher with a big fat gas tax. Only higher oil prices will actually jump-start the new, greener technologies we all say we want (and our planet desperately needs). The government can help a little at the margins: lift ethanol tariffs from Brazil, drill in Alaska, insist on flex-fuel capacity in every American-made car. But for the rest, let the market show people that there are costs to things. This president has never let reality intrude on his conversations with the American public on energy, war, or much else for that matter; so maybe reality will have to speak for itself. Maybe the only way people will stop using SUVs is when they actually have to pay for their ecological destruction and energy inefficiency.

One simple conclusion: conservative government really is dead, isn't it? A conservative government would simply say: we have no control over global oil prices; consumers reap what they sow; companies should be left alone; and if your wallet is empty because of all that gas in your SUV, you've learned a useful lesson in self-government. If only Margaret Thatcher were around to punctuate that lecture with a swipe of her handbag.