Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Oil import fee and lower Social Secuirty taxes to combat petro-authoritarianism

That's the upshot from veteran economist Phil Verleger via Tom Friedman's column in today's (September 27) editions of The New York Times: "If Bush were the leader he claims to be, he would impose an oil import fee right now to kep gasoline prices high, and reduce the tax rate on Social Security for low-income workers, so they would get an offsetting increase in income."

Friedman himself dispells talk of any conspiracy connected with the dramatic drop in oil prices since July. He attributes them to several reasons - "some cyclial, some technical and some having to do with the emergence of alternative fuels and conservation." That emergence is threatened, Friedman argues, if gasoline doesn't stay above $3 a gallon.

As for the petro-authoritarians, Friedman fingers not only Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for widely apparent reasons, but China's U.N. ambassador, Wang Guangya, as well. Why Guangya? China National Petroleum Corporation owns 40 percent of the Sudan consortium that pumps more than 300,000 barrels of oil a day from Sudanese wells. And Guangya tried blocking a U.N. resolution calling for the deployment of peacekeeping troops to Sudan to halt the genocide in Darfur.

What a tangled web we weave with our dependence on foreign oil.

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