Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Quench my thirst with gasoline

Here's something crazy. The House approved a bill today to allow for the penalization of big oil companies as a result of price gouging. On the outside, this looks like a step in the right direction and perhaps Congress is actually acting on behalf of the general population instead of big oil lobbyists. However, if you actually look at the wording of the bill, you'll quickly realize that it has more "gray" than an aircraft carrier. According the article, the bill states that the only time a company would be in danger of being fined or prosecuted would be when gasoline prices reach "unconscionably excessive" prices and the president declares an "energy crisis". There are a couple of glaring problems with this law.

First, who decides what "unconscionably excessive" is? A college student who is barely scraping by and the Attorney General of the United States probably have different opinions of what qualifies as excessive.

Secondly, why do we need the president to declare the an "energy crisis" in order to stop oil companies from exploting the American public. Of course, this section of the bill was demanded by Texas democrats who would have refused to vote favorably without this stipulation. So what we have here is Congress's typical show of pretending to act while not actually acting at all.

The only real answer I can see to the oil problem is for the consumer to find ways to decrease demand. However, we all need to get to work or school in the morning so I don't really see that happening. Maybe I'll start digging for oil in the backyard. Of course, I don't really own my backyard anyway.

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