High Gas Prices Are Good For America – Part I

There has been a lot of fuss about high gas prices lately. The buzz is all over the media, I’ve heard talk show hosts, read articles in the paper, and seen clips of congressmen speaking out against this lately. I’ve been thinking about it quite a bit, myself. After much thought, I believe high gas prices are good for America.

There are several things that frustrate me about this. I’ll break this topic up into a few different parts over the next couple of weeks.

The first thing I’d like to address is our government doing something to limit the cost of gas. Apparently a significant percentage of the population believes that oil companies are taking in excessive profits. The phrase that I keep seeing related to this topic is ‘price gouging’. That’s pretty disturbing to me.

First, America’s economy was built on free commerce. Since when is it against the law to make too much profit? The fact that anyone in Congress is considering addressing this should raise red flags for all of us. My point here is not to defend oil companies; I’m not a fan of large corporate America. But, companies are supposed to be profitable, that’s why they exist. It doesn’t make sense to get upset with a company for making too much money, its what they do.

But, for the sake of argument, I’ll go along for a minute. Lets assume that making excessive profit is bad, and something needs to be done to turn this around. The oil industry is not the place to start. Pharmaceutical and financial industries are more profitable than any other. Microsoft might be a good target. Wal-Mart is another. Even the litigation riddled tobacco industry is more profitable than the oil industry. Should we lower the cost of cigarettes?

And remember, now that excessive profit draws attention to companies, how long will it be before public scrutiny casts its eye on your business? Would you be a good sport about enduring this attention for becoming successful? If making a profit becomes a problem, then we’re all at risk.

By now you see my point. Its ridiculous to single out one industry because prices have risen sharply within the past year. If we’re going to have Washington take action to protect us from large corporate America, then lets at least be straight forward about who and why. And if profit is the enemy, then lets crack down on profit, not make up reasons to be upset.

The way a free market is supposed to work, you buy the goods & materials that you appreciate. So if a company is charging too much or producing inferior quality products, vote with your dollar, DON’T BUY IT. If enough people agree that a product isn’t valuable, then the company gets the message. We should not have our congressmen stepping in to address the matter, we should be doing it ourselves.

I still haven’t gotten to my main point. In a future post I plan to explain why I feel its beneficial for us to have high energy costs.

11 replies on “High Gas Prices Are Good For America – Part I”

  1. I agree with most of what you have said here, but I still must say I am a bit frustrated when I fill up at the pump these days.

  2. The big problem, of course, is that fuelling one’s vehicle is pretty much a fixture in people’s budgets, so when the price goes up, it just balloons for everyone.

    What kinda chaps my hide is when people react to gas prices with such indignation that it’s clear that altering their lifestyle or habits to curtail gas consumption were just not an option on the table for them. Fat, drugged, air-conditioned, gas-guzzling Americans we are… doesn’t quite make me proud.

  3. I don’t know. Eurpoean countries have been paying high prices for gas for many years now. I don’t think it’s the price of fuel that’s the issue. It’s the fact that we Americans think we have the right to what ever we want. Our very freedoms have made us greedy. And not enough people are willing to sacrifice for those freedoms.

    During WWII (no, I’m not that old), the entire country sacrificed because it was the only way they could make sure their children would have the freedoms that were taken for granted. Where is that spirit now? If everyone would sacrifice something for the sake of others, there would be more to go around, maybe.

    Just venting.

  4. Yeah, I totally agree. As Americans its so easy to get lost in consumerism, because much of American business is about catering to our needs. I am almost finished with part 2 of this topic, and I need to go back and revise it after some web research. I’m glad to be working through my thoughts on this. I hope to post more on this soon.

  5. I agree with you about the profit issue. Price gouging – in its correct usage – is when let’s say the only company selling food in a disaster stricken region suddenly raises prices to take advantage of the situation. That’s wrong. But when oil companies profit because we like to keep using energy recklessly and prices have gone up becuase of market-forces, well, that’s not gouging.

    I also agree that high gas prices are good. I look forward to your next post to see if we agree about why though.

  6. The issue with high profits for oil companies is clearly a way of saying that our present administration has no control over what is beng done. The tiff is that the higher the price goes the lower the budget for other things..ie food. The cost is figured in with that also and becomes a large problem for people on fixed income or even middle class america. Something should be regulated in this industry of oil. Putting oil on the NYSE was a bad move!

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