Tuesday, May 09, 2006
oil and politics mix all too easily
rising gas prices. you can't get away from the subject. you'ld think that by now, someone, anyone, would have stepped up and told the truth, how the present system should be changed, and just what unpleasant dose of medicine called reality it will take to turn a corner and display a plan and vision for the future, instead of being shackled by present practices. in short, it's time to get tough, because unless you do so now, it's gonna' be a lot tougher when you might not have quite so many options to choose from.
let's see how this government has responded to the present dilemma.
1. a $100 check. the idiot(s) who dreamt up this economic tour de force should be fired because:
a) they are stupid, short-sighted, passing the buck, incapable of insight, evil. (pick one, or more)
b) suspend or reduce the federal tax on gasoline. that's great, except what are you going to do, if/when prices still rise? very difficult to re-implement a tax. it also does absolutely nothing to solve the problem, except in the months leading up to an election that is...
this is great, guys...here's old nutty's quick fixes:
1) claw some of the ridiculous tax-payers subsidies back from the oil companies and hit them with a windfall profits tax. what are they going to do? stop selling gasoline?
2) invest all the tax revenues raised through oil and gasoline, and instead of building more and more roads, actually come up with a plan to invest equally in roads, public transportation, and alternative fuels. it's called hedging your bets and not keeping all your eggs in one basket - stupid, i know...
3) pass legislation that directly and adversely affects the sale of gas guzzlers. not just a single one-off tax, but a yearly scalable sum depending on just how fuel-inefficient these present behemoths of the highway are. that should make the auto manufacturs scuttle to the autocad, especially if this yearly tax was to be split 50/50 between the owner and manufacturer.
f) pass legislation that directly provides incentives to auto manufacturers to produce ever-efficient vehicles, and not just the trendy media-grabbing hybrids. i mean all small, fuel-efficient vehicles. come on america, make small interesting, cars that are actually fun to drive.
g) pass legislation that provides tax incentives (yes, i said it) to oil companies who earn an increasing share of their profits and income through the sale of alternative fuels and energy sources. the oil industry seems to be extremely well merged and vertically integrated, why cannot this immensely profitable industry succeed horizontally as well? there won't be any 'oil' companies in the distant future, so the shareholders and executives shouldn't be too alarmed at this suggestion if they want to survive. i have no objection to these companies making huge sums of money, but let's see some real long-term vision, combined with action and responsibility to the environment in doing so.
in 100 years from now, if we have managed to survive mankind's best efforts of screwing the planet up, how will the text books cover this period for american students learning about their current energy and transportation needs. it's impossible to answer, of course, but i bet it will be very different from today's b*****ks coming out of the mouths of fat, overly-lunched politicians, who display an amazing ability to talk a good show and yet do nothing at the same time, all in the sole interest of not representing their public, but rather in maintaining their own status quo.
perhaps this attitude will change once america is no longer number 1 in the world. i believe that that historically significant moment will come to pass in a lot less than 100 years.
america will have to get used to the idea of having to change its ways. it may be a very bitter pill to swallow, but does anyone actually believe that we can continue to bury our heads in the sand and instead look to poiliticians to come up short, and wheel out band-aids as a way out without anyone sacrificing something?
all that and global warming, too! the planet 100 years from now will physically be a very different place than it is today. that $100 check looks even more stupid than it did before i started writing any of this.
you may think i'm a bit of a hypocrite as i have no problem watching racing 230+hp motorcycles that weigh less than the average adult that frequents mcdonald's, race around circuits. well yes i am. but i also know that for the 100,000 fans and spectators who make their way home from such races, what they ride or drive has a far greater impact tahn the 22 riders on the grid.
and just to give you a feel for the difference between cars and motorcycles, the current top sportsbike, the suzuki gsx-r 1000 costs $10,500, will hit 0-60 in 2.9 secs, 0-100 in 5.50 secs, 1/4 mile in 10.10 secs at 143mph, top speed 180 mph, and deliver 40mpg.
it's called power to weight ratio, and it demonstrates that there is no getting away from the laws of physics. there isn't a single standard for-sale, anyone can afford one, car on the planet, that can come anywhere close to this set of figures.