Tuesday, June 01, 2004


On the way to Home Depot yesterday afternoon, my wife noticed the price of regular gas at the Exxon at the bottom of the hill – $2.42 per gallon! As the kids were safely restrained in their car seats, she exclaimed, “Holy crap!” in lieu of a more profane interjection. She had not filled the gas tank in a couple weeks and was clearly shocked by the current price. (Whether or not she hadn’t filled the tank within a couple weeks is up for debate. After all, her power of recall can suffer random acts of disability as our two children can scream Einstein into a single digit IQ.)

What is alarming is not so much the rapid rise in the price per gallon, but the realization that our 10 gallons-a tank Honda Civic costs more than $20 to fill. Now, the extra $5 it takes to fill the tank and drive to Meriden, CT for a visit with the grandparents will not break the bank. Nor will it cause us such hardship that The New York Times would select us for an article on how hard the increases in gas have affected our lives. (See today’s FPBF article)

And it is that article that has spurred this missive. This type of article is a staple of NYT reporting – The Man on the Street article (MOS). In it, the Times takes a particular view, such as Bush is having problems with his base or the cost of gas causing people to stop eating or some other unsubstantiated opinion which often dovetails nicely with the Left’s thinking at the moment, and finds some people to quote for the article. By doing this, the unsubstantiated opinion is lent credence. After all, it must be true if it is worthy of publication in the Paper of Record.

Other than the sampling malfeasance practiced regularly by one of the alledged pillars of journalistic integrity, and it is a big gripe of mine, is the missed opportunity to explain in further detail why the unsubstantiated opinion arose. In particular, the FPBF (Front Page Below the Fold) article does not mention why prices are so expensive. The article offers perfect segues into a more-fleshed out position as when the average price of regular is cited with the caveat that prices are more expensive in California and New York. “Why?” I ask but there is no answer.

Or an explanation why, apparently, once a summer holiday rolls around, the gas stations are caught off-guard by the demand for gas. Are gas station owners so bereft of IQ points (screaming kids maybe?) that they don’t notice the spike in demand around the holidays? (I seriously doubt this and here is an expose waiting to happen. “Gas Stations owners pad pockets around the holiday season because drivers are so stupid as to think the demand for gas at this time is not anticipated”)

And now, another leap! Maybe we don’t see this type of expose because the Left desires higher gas prices as a deterrent to gas consumption. But you ask, “How could that be? John Kerry is assaulting President Bush for doing nothing about this regressive attack on the poor!” Well, that certainly shows the Left is aware that rising gas prices negatively affect consumers. It also amply demonstrates the problem the Left has in gaining adherents. Its message is inherently contradictory. On one hand, it derides anything that effects the “poor” disproportionately than the “rich” while at the exact same time espousing solutions to environmental degradation that exactly impose this regressivity. Is there any difference between a market-based rise in gasoline and the imposition of a gas tax that raises it price to a level that will deter driving? There is not. The end is the same. Only the means differ. And if it does deter driving, wouldn’t that directly cause the hardships quoted in the NYT MOS article on gas prices? More elderly shut-ins without human contact because other elderly volunteers can no longer afford gas to put in the cars to deliver those Meals on Wheels.

From “Escort-ilac”, a reference to my 44 MPG first car, to a “Holy Crap!’ from my wife to a critique of a staple of NYT reporting to an explanation of why the Left is losing the ideological battle, you get it right here!

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