When it comes to government policy and the politics that supports it, why people advocate what they advocate can get complicated.
It’s obvious that people don’t always vote their wallets, their narrowly perceived “self interest.” But it’s just as obvious that even the biggest advocates of “sacrifice” and “public spirit” often come off as greedy and narrowly pandering to at least some interests.
And then there’s the issue of fuel to throw on the fire of ideology.
Gasoline, especially, leads to some bizarre expressions of opinion.
When gas prices rise, people talk “conspiracy.” Chris Cuomo makes the case that “speculators” drive fuel prices up — though I notice that neither he nor his guest seemed much inclined to use actual economic analysis to explain anything. “The facts” Cuomo makes much of are embarrassingly superficial.
Two U.S. senators now push for regulators to “apply the breaks” on speculators. Current prices are, as one of them puts it, “unwarranted.”
In past decades, I remember some prominent politicians talk about adding huge taxes to gas, “just like in Europe,” to discourage consumption and “encourage green energy” and thereby “save the planet.”
I don’t hear those notions often, anymore. Could it be that none of us wants to pay more, so when gas prices rise, we forget our ideologies and other fine notions and just yearn (or scream) for cheaper gas?
Not exactly a rational attitude towards policy. But maybe not that mysterious, either.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.