Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Latest Laugher from the Make-Believe Media – Why You Should Love $5 Gas

I suppose it was inevitable. Someone somewhere in an office at MSN told a “reporter” to write a puff piece about the high price of gasoline, “Make it sound as credible as possible. Try to make people think it isn’t as bad as it really is. If you have to stretch a few facts, go ahead. But have it in by tomorrow afternoon.”

And this is the result.

“Why you should love $5 gas. Stop grousing about the numbers on the pump. All of this could be good for you and good for America” by Lynn Mucken.

When I saw this yesterday in the sidebar over at Ace of Spades HQ, I read it. Then I reread it. And just for good measure, I rereread it. I still can’t find anything that approaches reality in it, nor can I find a good reason to fall in love with something that reduces my standard of living for no good reason.

There is a goodly part of me that tends to dismiss this outright. I first thought this was a satire, but the author seems to be quite serious. But occasionally, it’s fun to see just how much bullshit can be packed into an article in an attempt to spin something from a negative into a positive.

This one was all kinds of fun.

Ten talking points. Ten separate parcels of bovine excrement. Zero sense. Anyone with two functioning neurons to rub together can dissemble this in the time it takes to read it. In fact, you can do it on the fly as you’re reading.

Put on your hip waders, boys and girls…

1. Fewer people will die on the road.

Ok, that sounds plausible. The author then goes on to contradict herself by pointing out that the reduction in highway death statistics for 2008 were mostly due to decreased speeds. Hmm, I haven’t heard of any states that lowered their speed limit. The author then notes that more people will die on motorcycles. So, what’s that advantage again?

2. Demand for high-mileage cars may grow.
The author then shows a correlation between high gas prices and sales of more fuel-efficient vehicles. Sounds kinda like President Obama condescendingly chastising an audience questioner at his town hall meeting two weeks ago, “You need to buy a hybrid van for your ten kids.” Good advice, except that no one makes them. Also note the word “may.” And with a higher percentage of your income going towards increased gas prices, won’t you have less money to buy that new car with?

Oh, here’s a good one.

3. Shorter security lines. Airlines fares are extremely fuel-price reactive. Soon, hardly anyone will be able to afford to fly willy-nilly around the country or globe. You will breeze through the maze of airport checkpoints.
Hmm, if hardly anyone will be able to afford to fly willy-nilly, how can they breeze through airport security? Won’t they, like, not be flying at all?

4. Less pollution.
Sorry darlin’, but any figures you cite from the EPA are automatically filed in my mental circular filing cabinet. They lost any credibility they had long ago, right around the time they became infested with people who think people are the most horrible thing to happen to Earth since, well, forever.

5. Less congestion. Ever notice how well rush-hour freeway traffic flows on the minor holidays when most of the rest of us are working?
No, I had never noticed that there is less traffic on the roads when there are fewer folks driving.

6. High prices lead to lower prices. Mackubin Thomas Owens, a professor of national security affairs at the Naval War College and editor of Orbis, the journal of the Foreign Policy Research Institute, theorizes that if gas prices rise enough, the government will open up areas now closed to oil production, and oil companies will be able to invest in more-expensive methods of extracting oil. Soon we will be drowning in the stuff, and prices will drop again.
Pretzel logic: it’s not just the name of a Steely Dan album. We already have inexpensive methods of oil production, we’re just not allowed to use them anywhere, thanks to our very own government and president.

And pray tell, when will this miracle occur? $6 a gallon? $7? $10? $15?

7. More exercise. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development estimates that by 2020, three out of four Americans will be categorized as overweight or obese. So, it can't hurt to walk the three blocks to the grocery or bike to school or work.
Ok, maybe the walk three blocks to the grocery store is doable. Walking back with an armful of groceries might present a bit of a problem. The closest grocery store to my house is two miles away.

It’s right about here in the article that the BS gets piled just a trifle higher…

8. End of wars.
Wars can be fought inexpensively? Who knew?

9. Local businesses may profit. If you can't afford to drive out to the Wal-Mart or The Home Depot, you may be buying instead at the local supermarket or neighborhood hardware store. In addition, as the cost of transporting, say, grapes from Chile, goes out of sight, you may turn to regional farmers for your produce.
Remember the grocery store that’s two miles from my house? Guess what? It’s a Wal-Mart!

And now for the money shot.

10. It's all about democracy. If we let up on the gas pedal, we'll starve those oil-rich despots out of existence. Oh, we import as much from Canada as from Saudi Arabia and Venezuela combined.
Umm, we’re a republic. A democratic republic. But I’m going to assume that this author has a recent degree from a liberal college where American history isn’t taught well, if at all. And we have the means and the resources to starve all those evil, oil-rich despots out of business today. We just need to clean house in Washington and get rid of the likes of Obama, Reid, Pelosi, Frank, Durbin, Boxer, Waxman, Sunstein, all the Jacksons, Wasserman-Shultz, Nelson, the entire EPA, and the rest who, for whatever reason, are preventing us from harvesting our own vast natural resources.

Notable by its absence is any awareness of the devastation that rising gas prices are having on the recovery and the economy in general. Seniors on fixed incomes, the poor, and the sub-employed will all suffer. Grocery prices will continue to skyrocket, as will the price of any item that is transported by land, sea, or air.

The best summation of this article was in the comment section:

“There has to be a pharmaceutical explanation behind this article. There just has to be.”

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