As a big Obama supporter I am delighted that McCain’s national co-chair and economic adviser Phil Gramm was stupid enough to talk about America being in a “mental recession” and the country being a “bunch of whiners”; it’s going to be the gift that keeps on giving (Obama had a great line about how the country doesn’t need a new Dr. Phil).
Gramm was 100 percent wrong about the “mental recession” part — we are teetering on a real recession if not already in one — but he actually was right about America being a bunch of whiners, although not for the reasons he thinks.
Courageous American politicians and economists (yes, there are a few), have been urging us to have a serious energy policy for more than three decades, including significantly higher gasoline taxes (see Jimmy Carter’s speech on April 18, 1977). Unfortunately, these ideas have been regularly scoffed at by Democrats, Republicans, and virtually everyone in between. Americans wanted to drive huge SUVs that trash the environment, kill innocent people, and feed our oil addiction (as well as the terrorist-sponsoring states we are supposedly at war with). And now the worst of scenarios has come to pass.
But you know what, America has no right to complain. No politician in their right mind can say this, but luckily I’m not running for elected office.
Not only did America turn a blind eye to energy conservation and maintain the lowest gasoline prices by far in the developed world (prices are between $7 and $10 in many developed countries), but we were stupid enough to vote for George Bush and his oil cronies not once, but twice. Anyone that votes for people like this and thinks we’re going to get a sensible oil policy is simply delusional. We got exactly what is to be expected.
I wish humans were much more rational than they are, but often they need crises to make them change their behavior. Now is our time for a reality check. We brought it on ourselves and now we got to deal with the consequences.