Pumped Up

To paraphrase Mark Twain, “Everybody talks about the price of gasoline, but nobody does anything about it.”

Sort of nationalizing the oil companies, what are you gonna do?

Of course they’re gouging us. Gouging the suckers is what capitalism and the free market are all about.

And of course we are going to run out of oil before too very much longer, and yes, burning the oil contributes to global warming, so we really ought to stop using so much — but the cost is not dictated by questions of supply and demand. It’s rigged.

Here’s a prediction: In October of this year, the price of gasoline will start to dip. The week before election day, it will have dropped back below $3.50 per gallon. Then, in mid-November, it will start to climb again. By January it will be over $4.50.

Why? Because the oil companies want the Republicans to win the election, that’s why. If people feel bad about the economy, they’re more likely to vote Democratic. But if the price of gas starts to drop, people will feel better about the economy, so more of them will vote Republican.

Before you start feeling too mungy about the cost of filling your tank, though, you might want to look at this graph of gas prices. It shows that in constant dollars (that is, adjusted for inflation), we’re paying about the same price today as we paid in 1979.

This too shall pass. Once the election is history, the price will continue to rise. That and other factors will continue to suck the American economy into a black hole. Putting a Democrat in the White House probably won’t help very much, if at all, because the problems are rooted in the system. Congress is utterly incapable of instituting meaningful reform, because Congress is owned by the oil companies, and the drug companies, and so forth.

Karl Marx and George Orwell were having a drink in the corner pub when Francis Fukuyama walked in, and….

No, that isn’t a joke that has a punch line. Sorry.

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