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.