When oil prices shoot up rapidly, my first instinct is to attribute it to supply and demand. I don't think even "Big Awl" would have the wherewith-awl to engineer this by itself anyway, especially given the constant scrutiny they're under. Plus, why would they want to risk incurring the inevitably punitive wrath of the political demagogues? As Thomas Sowell has noted, there have been countless investigations of Big Awl anyway and Big Awl has consistently been exonerated. And as "Fox News'" Neil Cavuto pointed out to Sen. Dick Durbin, the oil companies' average profit on gas is 9 cents a gallon, while we pay about 50 cents in taxes per gallon to the government.
The inexorable forces driving these prices -- supply and demand -- are bigger even than Big Awl. No matter how many prevailing economic theories of the Sixties and Seventies (and earlier) have now been discredited -- like much of Keynesian economics or the Phillips Curve, which said there was a necessary trade-off between unemployment and inflation, one fundamental law has remained constant. If demand exceeds supply, prices will rise. You can bank on it.
It is really sad, though predictable, that Democratic leaders are blaming Big Awl and demanding an investigation. It is much sadder that some Republicans are going along with them. Some of these gasbags are demanding the resurrection of the windfall profits tax. Would it be too much to ask for them to review their history books -- or even the Nexis database -- to see what happened the last time they tried that? Hint: decreased domestic production and increased foreign oil dependence. How refreshing it would be if we could see a little statesmanship and courage.
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