Wednesday, April 16, 2008

how the grownups would do it

Maverick John McCain today suggested that the Federal government have a moratorium on Federal gasoline taxes between Memorial Day and Labor Day this summer. His logic, if you can call it that, is that it will stimulate the economy as people take advantage of lower prices to drive around for the summer. Of course, it will put a further cramp on the availability and price of automotive fuel in the long run, and Federal taxes on gasoline represent slightly less than twenty cents per gallon anyway so it really wouldn't be that much of a benefit to the consumer anyway.

However, someone who was serious about trying to alleviate gasoline prices in this country while still providing the government with about twelve billion dollars in tax revenues that it would be deprived by the McCain "plan" would implement two simple measures that would have a far greater effect, although they wouldn't let people to continue to mindlessly waste increasingly scarce resources.

First, we need to bring back the 55 MPH national speed limit, and enforce it with fines of at least five hundred dollars for the first offense, a thousand for the second, and absolute and permanent revocation of driving privileges for the third offense. No exceptions. Abuse the privilege, lose the privilege. That would save about twenty-five percent of the fuel that we use annually right now and would drop world demand which would also cause a corresponding reduction in per-barrel prices. It would have the additional effect of making traveling on American highways far safer than it is today, what with millions of Nascar wanna-be's fired up on oppression, testosterone, Pabst, and Red Bull driving three hundred horsepower automotive missiles like there's a huge cash prize to be awarded to some lucky winner.

Second, we need to keep the Federal gasoline tax, but we need to make the gasoline producers pay it. Drop our pump prices by twenty cents and let the freeloaders who have been getting enormous tax breaks as they reap astronomical profits pay the tab instead of the citizens of the country. Put price fixes on gasoline so they can't just turn around and re-charge the consumer for it, and we have lower fuel costs but still get the tax revenues that are getting more crucial every day as the United States' infrastructure slowly decays.

These are not going to fix the energy crisis, but they will certainly make a big difference to the lives of millions and millions of hard-working Americans who have already been sodomized by the Bush administration long enough.

And, if you want to add one more thing that will help us start to get our country back on track in a large way, here it is, and believe me, it won't be popular.

It is time for America to give up the "lawn" thing. We waste way too much water and energy growing decorative ground coverings that serve absolutely no real purpose. The esthetic value of a green lawn is going to be meaningless in a country that can't afford food and a place to live. Let's go back to natural, unwatered plant cover for lawns. And I mean everything. Golf courses must go. Football and baseball fields can go turf or dirt. One golf course in the desert consumes as much water as fifty thousand average homes annually. That is once again a needless waste of resources that should be diverted elsewhere before it's too late.

We can't avoid a depression, but we can ameliorate the one that is approaching with some evasive action. If we don't, you can expect gas rationing, riots, and the cost of living escalating with ever-increasing speed. These three simple steps would have a vast impact on the coming crisis and all they require of us as a nation is some judiciously applied self-restraint and a little common sense.

Of course, if there actually was such a thing as "common sense" we wouldn't have a special name for it.


Blogger Ronni said...

I am arguing over huge houses over at Ronni's Rants.

Apparently, some of my friends have them.

The average mew house on the market today is much bigger than it needs to be, causing all sorts of problems, like day cares raising the next generation because the house is too expensive for one income, excessive fuel use to keep it cool in summer, etc, etc.

I have too much house, in my 3/2 tract house. I need a couple of rooms and some storage. Period. Problem is, I don't want to live with my walls touching somebody else's. I am spoiled enough to want a little house set down in the middle of un-watered, un-mowed ground cover.

I like my 30 mpg car, though.

9:59 AM  
Blogger Milo Johnson said...

I have a large (2800 sq. ft.) house, but it contains a recording studio, eighty keyboards, a planetarium, a shop, and a buttload of kitties, so I really can't get by with much less. However, last September I traded in a Ford Explorer for a Toyota Matrix - 34 mpg, fun to drive, and carries my entire stage rig in comfort and style. It's about as perfect a vehicle, in terms of meeting real needs and still being fun, as any I have ever seen. I took six months and tons of research to decide, but it was one of the smartest purchases I've ever made.

2:39 PM  
Blogger Ronni said...

I do have to admit that there are people who actually need a large house.

I guess I just don't want to see people buy them that don't need them. and, as that's all that is around these days, a lot of people are buying them that don't need them and can't afford them.

How big is a Matrix?

11:43 PM  
Blogger Milo Johnson said...

A Matrix is basically a Corolla sport-wagon.

12:39 AM  

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