06/10/08 — No photo ops: Gas price crunch is hurting families, so real answers now

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No photo ops: Gas price crunch is hurting families, so real answers now

Governments are famous for sweeping gestures that are meant more to shut up voters and to distract them than to actually solve any problem.

So, it is not too surprising that there is a new round of pronouncements from Congress about the high gas prices — now that the military-causing-unrest-in-the-Middle-East-so-the-prices-are-going-up argument has run its course.

Now, it is back to the oil companies and their evil profit-making.

Surprise, surprise that there is no shortage of congressmen and women ready to jump on the bandwagon that the solution to the ever-increasing gas prices is to demonize the oil companies.

Now, before this discussion goes too much further, let’s admit it, it does look kind of suspicious that there are record-breaking profits when gas prices are skyrocketing. And, it is certainly reasonable to consider that there might be something oil companies could do to lessen the burden on the average consumer. So there is something to be said for some scrutiny.

But anyone who thinks that a windfall profits tax or any other penalty actually is going to solve this problem is dreaming, drinking, or both.

Dealing with gas prices and consumption requires new ways of thinking — and the exploration of a lot of issues that few if any lawmakers really want to discuss — at least not in front of other people.

From conservation to drilling in South Dakota and Alaska, it is time to consider not so much whom we can blame but more what we can do about it.

But that is not really how Washington works. Tough talk and truth are rarities for many of those who seek to lead these days.

So while there will be a bunch of photo opportunities for Democrats and others attacking big oil companies — and many who will jump on the bandwagon — families will continue to suffer.

Forget what we want to hear. Don’t give us the solutions that really aren’t but sound good. Don’t stand and rant and rave against waste and those who do not conserve and then get into your private jet or SUV.

Find real answers and ask some tough questions and then come up with a policy that makes sense — that will actually do something about gas prices.

Now that will be a speech worth listening to — and a photo worth taking.

Published in Editorials on June 10, 2008 1:08 PM