Our writer tells a harrowing anecdote about a woman in a grocery line having to unload her shopping bag, leaving behind a bag of Oreos, because she was short on cash. "People are hurting," he notes, "Families are having to choose between buying prescription medicine or meat."
Thirty two cents a gallon would make a huge difference immediately to people as they struggle to pay their rising bills. Democrats [are] quick to say it's not a solution and would just create a new set of problems. You know what, they're right but I say do it anyway. Cut the gas tax at the local, state and federal level and give people relief. We'll deal with the financial fallout later.
I like our new governor [David Paterson] but listening to him explain how cutting gas prices is not going to help you just made me angry. I feel like we're bleeding, standing in the emergency room and the doctor on duty is explaining how putting a band-aid on the wound will not help us in the long run. For now I think we need to stop the bleeding.
At no point in the column does our anchorman suggest an option that would provide the relief he begs for without creating the problems predicted by skeptics: price controls on gas. This might create a problem of its own if it leads to overconsumption, but people are predicting that if the gas tax goes away. So it would seem to hurt only the oil companies, in the way that life often hurts a spoiled child until it grows up. Yet our author doesn't propose this sensible measure. Since he quickly disclaims any Republican loyalties, I guess this is less due to ideology than to a basic lack of imagination -- the kind of political imagination that gets stunted in our culture of freedom. For some people, however, simple survival instinct is bound to kick in soon, and more imagination is sure to follow in its wake.