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Out of Gas

Nashvillian, Glen Dean says that Music City is out of gas:

I have never seen anything like it. I traveled from the east side of Nashville to the west side this evening, and if I had stopped at the one or two stations that still had gas, it would have taken hours to get some, and who knows, they may have run out before my turn.

Dean adds sarcastically; “I’m not sure what he did, but this has somehow got to be George Bush’s fault.” Since he has been joining in the foolish talk about punishing price gouging, Bush probably bears a small part of the blame:

The president also said, though, that people should not be subjected to price gouging. The federal government is working with state leaders to monitor whether consumers are being charged unfairly high prices during the disruption in the energy supply.

However, America’s energy predicament is a long term problem that is the result of decades of political cowardice evident at all levels and in both parties. And blame doesn’t reside exclusively or even primarily with politicians. Nobody buys an Escalade or moves to the exurbs because they have a gun to their heads.

Dean and his commenters should read Andrew Bacevich on the man he describes as a “prophet of profligacy“:

Ronald Reagan . . . portrayed himself as conservative but was, in fact, the modern prophet of profligacy—the politician who gave moral sanction to the empire of consumption. Beguiling his fellow citizens with talk of “morning in America,” Reagan added to America’s civic religion two crucial beliefs: credit has no limits, and the bills will never come due. Balance the books, pay as you go, save for a rainy day—Reagan’s abrogation of these ancient bits of folk wisdom did as much to recast America’s moral constitution as did sex, drugs, and rock and roll.
. . .
On one point at least, Reagan agreed with Carter: “The only way to free ourselves from the monopoly pricing power of OPEC is to be less dependent on outside sources of fuel.” Yet Reagan had no interest in promoting energy independence through reduced consumption. When it came to energy, he was insistent: “We must decide that ‘less’ is not enough.”

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