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Friday, April 28, 2006

Laissez Faire For Our Oil Companies


The following just came in as a letter to the editor from the Ayn Rand Institute. Understand this very short letter BEFORE the fascists have time to "fix" the oil companies.

If you saw Senator Durbin (D-Ill) on Neil Cavuto's program, 26 April, on Fox News Channel, you saw the fascist mentality in pure culture. Durbin was just drooling to sock it to the oil companies while completely gaffing off the role of incredible state and federal taxes and the fascistic regulatory meddling by government at all levels.

If people like Durbin, Schumer, and many others work their way, we will be in the "hurt locker" worse than you ever could conceive. We remember the gas lines under Nixon and shortages under Carter. The Congress was not so far fascistic then as it is now. Their "cure" will be worse than any disease.

There is no such thing as price gouging by private oil companies.

The term "price gouging" implies that oil companies and gas stations have an ability to forcibly inflict harm on us--but they do not. Any price we pay for a gallon of gasoline, we pay voluntarily, based on its value to us. If we think gasoline is too expensive, we are free to drive less, to buy more fuel-efficient cars, to use carpools or busses, or to travel by bicycle or on foot. Gas station owners cannot force us to buy gasoline; they can only offer us a trade, which we are free to accept or reject.

Since the prevailing price of gasoline is the result of trade, it reflects not the arbitrary "greed" of gas station owners, but the facts of the market: the producers' costs, competition, and what customers are willing to pay.

Oil company "greed" is not "hurting the nation"--it is making oil and gasoline available to all of us who are willing to pay market prices. We should be grateful for that.

Alex Epstein
Ayn Rand Institute

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