The following commentary aired on the PBS program Nightly Business Report on June 27.
Whose fault is it?
I could be talking about the housing bust or the credit crunch, but today's crisis is record-high oil and gas prices. So let's finger the boogeyman responsible for that.
Maybe it's the government's fault that gas costs $4 per gallon, since the government won't subsidize the cost and give Americans a gasoline rebate, out of our own tax dollars.
The Saudis and Kuwaitis share the blame, for refusing to pump as much oil as we want or lowering the price for our benefit.
The Indians and Chinese sure have a hand in it, since they're using up oil and gas that's really meant for us, not them.
Then there are the greedy speculators, who are wrecking our lives by taking advantage of the strong demand for oil and making a profit by selling it at higher and higher prices.
Who came up with this idea—profiteers controlling the market for a valuable commodity? Don't they know that Americans have built a vast infrastructure—and in fact, a national lifestyle—around the belief that gas will always cost less than milk? Don't they know that we've committed a lot of money to big cars that make us feel proud and invincible—and require a lot of gas?
Whoever's job it is to get gas prices back down, they need to go tell all these people that they're interfering with the American Way of Life. Yeah, we could change our ways. But how about all those other people change their ways instead?