Monday, March 24, 2008

Diesel wars

In case you haven't noticed, gas prices are a tad high. People who drive for a living certainly know it, and some are threatening a strike on April 1 (unless it's some kind of big truckers joke). It won't bring down prices but it will help the Democrat candidates, who'll turn it hard against the warmongering Bush and by default, McCain.

I've nothing against truckers and certainly feel some of their pain at the pump. If they were to strike en masse the economy would die a quick death. But a few comments in the story demand rebuttal, such as:
Everything in this country is trucked.
Er, no. Anyone who's been in Memphis around 3 pm trying to go north or south near Poplar Avenue and has waited 15 minutes for several 100 car coal trains to pass knows this isn't entirely true. And how would our trucker explain this picture? Or this one? Finally:
“Our federal government is subsidizing railroads, airlines, banks and farmers,” he said. “Meanwhile, we’re being taxed to death.”
Railroads can be included only if you call Amtrak a railroad. Otherwise, the subsidies largely ended when the original land grants were gone. Truckers do pay road taxes but enjoy the subsidy of a nationwide network of public highways also funded by the rest of us. The Feds aren't pumping money into fixing railroads unless public transit shares the tracks and they suffer from skyrocketing diesel prices just like everyone else.

That said, Bush has said he can't "wave a magic wand" and bring down the price of oil, but he recently sent Cheney to the Middle East to hold hands with the Royals. We'll see if any magic occurred but my guess is the OPEC nations are holding the price up to help get rid of rulers like Cheney. Maybe we should dangle this in front of them.

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