Wednesday, May 14, 2008

SPR: Buy high, sell never? 

The Christian Science Monitor reports that the Congress has passed a bill that does something I consider good: Stop buying oil for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The economics is quite simple, as Thomas Sowell explains: Gas prices are high because demand is up.
Is there anything complex about the fact that with two countries-- India and China-- having rapid economic growth, and with combined populations 8 times that of the United States, they are creating an increased demand for the world's oil supply?

The problem is not that supply and demand is such a complex explanation. The problem is that supply and demand is not an emotionally satisfying explanation. For that, you need melodrama, heroes and villains.

It is clear that many people prefer to blame President Bush. Others prefer to blame the oil companies, who have long been the favorite villains of the left.
Local blogger Political Muse does us the favor of posting the summary of the bill that includes the one good thing. In one fell swoop, it takes $17 billion in tax breaks back from oil companies, imposes a windfall profits tax, and allows the executive branch to impose price controls. It's the audacity of dopes who want to create villains rather than deal with the real issue of short supplies. Betsy Newmark provides more evidence of how Democrats have prevented the release of pressure on that supply.

Frankly, I have no idea why we have an SPR, though, and if this is the first step in eliminating it, it would be a good thing. SPR is a Cold War holdover that's outlived its usefulness.

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