What Up, Prozac Nation?Posted: April 30, 2008
After I got the kids situated this morning, I sat down at the computer to read the New York Times. Man, that’s a bummer. I wasn’t in a good mood to begin with. The seeds of a headache germinated steadfastly in my frontal lobe.
The thing that caught my eye was an editorial piece by Thomas L. Friedman called “Dumb as We Wanna Be.” I have to agree with Friedman’s point about Hillary Clinton and John McCain wanting to suspend the federal excise tax on gasoline. It is short-sighted. If anything, we should be making gasoline more expensive, encouraging people to drive less and find alternatives to their cars. We should be investing in mass transit and renewable energy, but instead, politicians are hindering the changes this country needs to make.
My favorite point in the Friedman article:
“Few Americans know it, but for almost a year now, Congress has been bickering over whether and how to renew the investment tax credit to stimulate investment in solar energy and the production tax credit to encourage investment in wind energy. The bickering has been so poisonous that when Congress passed the 2007 energy bill last December, it failed to extend any stimulus for wind and solar energy production. Oil and gas kept all their credits, but those for wind and solar have been left to expire this December. I am not making this up. At a time when we should be throwing everything into clean power innovation, we are squabbling over pennies.”
Read more here:
Right here, in my own state, the legislature recently put the kibosh on a plan to build a wind farm off the coast because it would be “too costly” to consumers. What they believe the price of oil and natural gas is going to be in the next few years, I have no idea, but I do think the myopia of politicians in this country is epidemic.
I think it’s very hard for most Americans to live ascetic lives when it comes to energy, but there are things that we could try to do like insulate our houses better, turn thermostats down in winter, up in summer, carpool, ride the bus when we can, etc . But I also think the government, both local and federal, should be doing more to help us, i.e. providing tax incentives for solar panels and hybrid cars, investing more in mass transit, and the like.
In practice though, there are few options. I’m about to start shopping for a new car. With three kids, all of whom still need booster/car seats, my options are limited if I want to go hybrid. What I don’t get is that Toyota actually makes a hybrid minivan, but they don’t sell it in the US. Why is that?
Price is always a factor too. If hybrids remain so much more expensive than fuel-only cars, how are the majority of drivers going to make the switch?
In other news, there’s an article about cases of child labor discovered this week in China:
Oh, and there was this little tidbit:
“Even factories that supply global companies, including Wal-Mart Stores, have been accused in recent years of using child labor, and violating local labor laws.”
Price, as I said, is always a factor. Everybody’s looking for the lowest prices. No one wants to pay more, regardless of what those extra pennies or dollars get them. I know people around here love their Wal-Mart. Sure their prices are super cheap, but no one cares why they’re so.
I guess I’m just having one of those days where I’m tending to look on the dark side.
But whatever…let’s just go back to talking about a crazy preacher who’s got nothing to do with anything real…
(Hang on until the end — it’s the funniest part.)