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Posts Tagged ‘Robert Reich’

First was this picture in the San Francisco Chronicle, of a ‘Pray-in at San Francisco gas station asks God to lower prices’. I almost choked!

Then came Hillary Clinton and John McCain‘s joint request for a “gas tax holiday“:

Hillary will impose a windfall profits tax on oil companies and use the money to temporarily suspend the 18.4 cent per gallon federal gas tax and the 24.4 cent per gallon diesel tax during the upcoming peak summer driving months.

I understand Hillary is trying really hard to get elected, but still . . .

I have to join Thomas Friedman in his ‘Dumb as we wanna be‘ lament:

The McCain-Clinton proposal is a reminder to me that the biggest energy crisis we have in our country today is the energy to be serious – the energy to do big things in a sustained, focused and intelligent way. We are in the midst of a national political brownout.

At the roots of this environmental policy fiasco is a lack of understanding of some basic economics principles, and malicious efforts on the part of politicians to appeal to the crowds’ dumbness. Maybe someone should take the time to explain, in plain English, why artificially lowering gas prices is not such a good idea. Robert Reich summarized it best:

McCain and HRC are proposing a tax holiday on gas – so this summer you wouldn’t pay the 18 cents a gallon that would otherwise go to Uncle Sam. Talk about dumb ideas. This will only encourage Americans to drive more, thereby increasing demand and causing gas prices to rise even higher. Driving more will also put more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which fuels global warming. And this will cost taxpayers some $10 billion. It’s a cheap political gimmick that does nothing to stem the rising price of oil.

Someone needs to sit down with Americans, and treat them as intelligent people, and explain how things really work. The answer is not in lowering gas prices. The real solution is in conservation, and learning new ways to deal with gas, as in carpooling, driving less, biking, walking, taking public transportation, shopping less, better planning, living more locally, buying more fuel efficient cars, etc.

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Last night was Back to School night at my daughter’s high school. I got a chance to be impressed by all her teachers. Her dad and I thought of skipping the Living Skills presentation. It is not a ‘serious’ class. Not like Maths or Humanities, or Social Studies. It turns out I was very happy we went. Living Skills is the class where kids learn about ethics, and civics, and values, in addition to other important stuff like what it’s like to have a baby, how to say no to drugs, how to have safe sex, how to balance a checkbook, . . . This is a class that teaches them how to think about what it means to be a good citizen.

I am not sure what Catherine will take out of the class, but it surely made me think. Citizen is an old fashioned word, a remnant of the French revolution. Being a good citizen has never been something I cultivated consciously. I strive to be a good person, but a good citizen? ‘Instruction Civique’ was on the curriculum in my eigth grade class, back in France. My father was teaching it, and he was very bad at it. Boring . . .

What I need: Now that Robert Reich has put some new life into the word, I am looking at being a good citizen, as a moral duty of the highest order. Green citizen that is. And it strikes me that I could benefit from green living skills education. Not in the form of a lecture, but rather a structure for thinking about my role as consumer, and green citizen. And making informed choices about who I really want to be, a consumer, a green citizen, something else?

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