Froma Harrop’s Genius Economic Cure-All
And to think — as the cost of driving my work van, carting around the tools and materials of a jobsite carpenter, resumes its upswing — Froma Harrop had the solution all along:
Take oil. It’s not Bush’s fault that fast-growing China and India have fired up the global demand for oil, thus boosting its price. But his administration spurned proposals that could have cushioned Americans against the inevitable upward march of energy prices. It fought efforts to demand greater fuel-economy standards in vehicles. And it ignored calls for higher gasoline taxes, which would have spurred consumers to buy more energy-efficient cars. …
Europeans are less worried. After decades of paying high energy taxes, they have already adjusted their lifestyles to be more fuel-efficient.
See, if we’d been paying $3.00 to $6.00 per gallon of gas for the past couple of decades, we would have already made the adjustments that the market is now mildly encouraging. Call it preemptive corrective inflation. That millions of Americans are now in a better position to deal with increased costs than they were in the past doesn’t appear to enter into Harrop’s calculations (nor, by the by, do the efforts of her fellow liberals, among whom she finally admits to belonging, to ensure that oil would remain as much of an import market as it is).
But it is cause for reflection that I would have avoided the harder times ahead if only the taxes on the gas that I pour copiously into my work van, whatever the cost, had forced me to change my lifestyle previously. Forcing me out of work, perhaps, inasmuch as I’m finally seeing the light beyond the hard times of the past decade.
I wonder what other future instances of inflation could use some preadjustment. Food? Maybe we should wean ourselves into starvation now so that we won’t be alive to see a $10 loaf of bread in the future.
Why can’t I shake the impression that Harropian liberals’ brilliant spotlight of economic and social insight ends before it reaches the working class?