So you can't go the day without seeing some kind of story on the current price of gas in the US (well, if you live in the US that is). I keep reading them and seeing the same thing...people are confused. I'm no better either. There are good things about it (people finally making the tough choices they've avoided for a long time) and there are bad things (spending money on gas, spending money on gas and...oh yeah, spending money on gas).
Now I keep reading about a possible "gas tax holiday" or a "windfall tax" on the oil companies. Personally I think both are pretty crappy ideas.
I think the gas tax holiday is just going to create a false sense of security or well being where none really exists. Sure the break would be nice, but I think people being a little more thoughtful in their driving practices would probably offset the whole what...18 cent a gallon difference? Now, on the other hand it could be helpful for business that are having problems adjusting to the new higher gas prices (and in turn us paying more for their services). Still, I just don't know what such a thing would "help" in the long run.
Higher gas prices have a major cascading effects. Food, shipping, etc. I think it's time to start looking at our spending habits (and believe me I need to myself) and see exactly what we're "wasting" our money on. Of course, if you're a person or family who is already doing their best just to get by then you don't have the "opportunity" to make "better" choices like the rest of us do in order to save gas money. Folks in that position (just scraping by) are just straight up screwed. They already need a job to pay the bills and now driving to their job increases their expenditures. That sucks.
Now the idea of the "windfall tax." I think it's crap and I think it's unfair to the oil companies. Now please understand that for the most part I think a lot of the people who run them are selfish bastards at this point, but we're a capitalist country so...tough for the rest of us. You see, this is where I get SO ticked off at how our society works. We talk all this crap about how capitalism is best and how we need less government oversight so we don't turn into one of those "other" countries. Yet, when a large number of people start defaulting on their loans, or we're paying higher prices at the pump we immediately EXPECT the government to step in and fix the problem. That's not right in my eyes.
Please know though that I believe the oil execs that were recently meeting with the Senate panel are a bunch of crybaby pansies too. I'm sick of hearing this "we shouldn't be penalized" in regards to how they are taxed. They're right, they shouldn't be. HOWEVER, if we take back their tax breaks we're not penalizing them. We're simply returning their tax level to where it's SUPPOSED to be. I mean, seriously. You're making that much money and you DARE to make such comments? It's a good thing I'm not in the senate because I would have verbally drilled the person(s) who said such things. If it was in response to a windfall tax being implemented, sure it's a fine comment, but to my knowledge that idea hadn't taken off at that point.
Still, the one thing I'm glad about is that I can sleep at night with the choices I've made. My car is about to turn 10 years old this summer. I've taken pretty good care of it and it treats me we. Here is the thing about my car though. When I was offered the opportunity to get the car (a good chunk of money from my father as a graduation present when I got my BS) I knew I wanted a car with three things. The first, was AC (a necessity where I lived before and also where I live now). Second, good gas mileage (30 MPG+ on average). Third, a manual transmission as a car with gas mileage that good back then just sucked as an automatic (having to floor the gas to downshift...ugh). You see, TEN years ago I already knew MPG was going to be a must (at that time to me it already was).
Since that time we've been assaulted and assailed by SUVs and pickups that are now equipped like they're family vehicles. If you're bitching about the price of gas due to having such a car, I take your complaints with a grain of salt. If it's a "necessary" car, then fine. If you're just pissed because your bad-ass Hummer costs you more to show off...screw you. Seriously. Go cry to someone who cares because I truly don't if your big vehicle doesn't serve a serious purpose.
Back to the oil companies. If they want to build their profits, that's their call. If the government wants to kill their tax break, awesome. If they want to hit them with a windfall tax, that's crap. WE created this problem. It was in motion a loooooong time ago. People have seen it coming for quite a long time. But, instead of acknowledging reality some of us allowed ourselves to get caught up trying to keep up with (or better yet "one up") the Jones'. The oil companies may be bastards on some level for making insane profits while people in their native country hurt economically, but that's our country. They have the right to do it. I think the bigger picture is that now the other countries see once again how hypocritical we are in turning on our own toted capitalism and desire to keep the government out of our business (figuratively and literally). Please know that I think capitalism is great and so is not needing the government to run everything, but I also acknowledge that certain concepts can get pushed too far and as such become painful distortions of the original ideas.
I wanted to say sooo much more but the tangenting was pretty bad even with this bit.