James Surowiecki worries about what another oil spike could do the the battered economy:
[U]nlike past oil spikes, which were the result of supply disruptions, today’s oil prices are driven mainly by the rise in demand from places like China and India, so, unless the economy falls back into the abyss, they’re unlikely to decrease sharply. What we’re hoping for is a Goldilocks solution, where the economy starts to boom again but the price of oil doesn’t. Perhaps we’ll get it. But, rather than leave so much of our fate to chance, we’d be better off doing what politicians always say they want to do: lessen the U.S. economy’s dependence on oil. One step toward that would be to phase in a gas tax designed to smooth out oil’s spikes and plunges by keeping the price of gasoline fixed (the tax would rise when the price of gas fell, and vice versa). Raising gas taxes is, of course, a solution that politiciansand votershate. But perhaps another oil shock or two will change that.
Roubini has similar fears, though oil crashed off its high as of late.
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