Thursday, August 07, 2008

Barack Obama's Tire Pressure Controversy

Hard to believe that the issue of how much we should all inflate our tires has become the central focus of Barack Obama's energy policy.

Obama's argument is along these lines:

"If we all would just be more responsible citizens and inflated our tires to the manufacturer's specifications, we could significantly reduce our consumption of foreign oil, thereby driving down the price of oil."

Obama, once again, is confusing a rhetorical point with an actual energy policy that would work.

The rhetorical point is this:

IF everyone inflated their tires as manufacturers suggested, experts agree that we would reduce our consumption of oil by around 1/3 of one percent. Depending on the expert and the wildness of assumptions made, that could be as much as one percent.

It's a rhetorical point with no practical value, however.

First, even a reduction in demand by one percent would do very little to change the price of oil. And a clear eyed view of the assumptions lead most observers to conclude the theoretical benefit would be much less than that.

Perhaps more importantly, Senator Obama, the big believer in command and control economies, seems to think that simply by telling those millions of Americans who are apparently under inflating their tires, they will change their behavior.

Obama apparently didn't take Economics 101 at Occidental or Columbia.

Millions of Americans will not change their personal behavior simply because Barack Obama asks them to. It's a vast free market, that consists of millions of individual decisions made each day, and no matter how much Senator Obama wishes he could change the behavior of those individuals by his rhetoric, the truth is, his incantations on this topic are just more of the same hot air that swirls around in a hundred million American tires as they hit the road every day.

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