I found this ridiculous piece on MarketWatch about why people should be happy that gas prices are high and going higher. Using oil is apparently an evil, evil act, and now we are being punished and this writer is happy.
I can't really argue with his points on a decreased dependence on the Middle East and the potential for new investments and inventions. But where I go crazy with these types of things is the idea that this will force people to live "correctly" in the author's eyes. He mentions that families will be forced to be more financially responsible with super-high gas prices. Newsflash: If you were bad with money before, you're not going to become a financial genius just because gas got more expensive.
He says "urban sprawl" is bad. High fuel prices will stop that. What's wrong with people living wherever they choose to live? Why is it better to live closer to hundreds of thousands of other people in urban areas? It's not! Unless that's what you choose! Why would we celebrate limiting people's choices?
The writer's logic says that public transportation is good, and individual transportation is bad. You who drive your cars deserve to be punished for ruining the environment. Well the environment isn't being ruined. Is there pollution? Yes. Is the sky falling? No. We are supposed to believe that the use of mass transit is something we should all aspire to. We should enjoy the inflexibility and inconvenience of mass transit in order for us to feel better about ourselves. Choose to pay the toll of gas prices for the convenience of one's own car, and you are both foolish and evil.
You see, environmentalists are elitists. You aren't as good as them unless you do all the things that someone says is good for earth. You must recycle, regardless of the pollution and consumption that the process of recycling creates. You must sacrifice the comforts available to you in a free land whether you can afford them or not and whether you want them or not, because it is far more noble to pretend you are saving the earth.
This guy says sky-high gas prices will be good. But he is ignoring the trickle-down effect of high gas prices. He forgets that high gas prices hurt consumers in so many ways. The basics are more expensive because the cost of transporting them has gone up exponentially. We're talking groceries and basic needs.... made far more expensive with increased transportation costs. He forgets how business may be hampered because of high fuel prices. We can see this now with the struggling airlines, and clearly higher fuel prices won't help them or the business travelers who rely on the airlines to do critical parts of their jobs.
Oh sure... higher gas prices may cause people to create new fuel options and might make some people more conservative in their use of gas. But there will be far more negative effects on our economy and on households from extremely high gas prices. Like Judge Judy says: Don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining. Extremely high gas prices won't be good for consumers.
Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.
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