Greg Pulscher: Steamboat on the economy
June 19, 2011
Steamboat Springs — Large offshore platforms, deep shale fracturing, rising corn prices, United Nations CO2 offset program, supposed democratic revolutions, and the list goes on. Each world event is just as important as the other with philosophical turmoil embedded in each situation and decades of propaganda, technology and history behind each one. No individual in their right mind could have a complete understanding of all without becoming a hermit cooped up in their office reading pages of blogs, books and Drudge reports.
What is important to someone in Steamboat Springs is the price of a tank of gas or a pound of meat, landing a job, earning enough for a house and even starting a business. Whether democracy takes hold in Libya, a debt ceiling is raised or some billion-dollar company can or can't build one offshore platform is insignificant if you can't afford to drive to work, feed the family or get yourself out of unemployment.
But all of these things taken together are important because they affect prices, your ability to make a living and, ultimately, your freedom.
The common problem behind these large events and, more important to Steamboat, the effect that their resolutions have in terms of the price of goods, services and the unemployment rate, is the philosophy of government involvement, and decades of compromise and passing the problem off to the next year until the problem is no longer controllable or capable of being disguised by taxes, borrowing or spending money not yet in existence. In other words, the problem is Democrats and liberal ideas and Republicans and conservatives not willing to stand for limited government involvement.
Remember hearing Republicans saying they are going to set their beliefs aside for the betterment of the country? These people were elected for their ideas and beliefs, so setting them aside should in fact hurt everyone involved, not benefit them.
It is like a doctor being hired to treat a patient with an illness, but the doctor telling the patient, "In the interest of you and everyone else, I am going to consult with a high school student studying biology and compromise on a treatment."
Your price of cereal and meat are going up? Well, the problem is a government giving taxpayer money to ethanol subsidies to produce a product that will make sure your car gets less per gallon than regular gas.
Your price to fill your tank going up? The problem is a government taxing not just the gallon of gas, but taxing the oil companies so they pass the tax on to you, and making oil exploration so expensive that new drilling or discoveries are terribly expensive, if not impossible. Furthermore, a large reason for the rioting in the Middle East was caused by rising food prices triggered by the subsidy of ethanol in America — and we have yet to understand just what ill effects these riots will have.
Just with these two problems we can see how intertwined each problem is and see just how an idea such as improving the environment can snowball into a mass frenzy of higher prices, less affordable food, rioting and then come full circle with higher prices at the pump. The original idea of saving the environment was nice, but when interacting with the real word and using a big government philosophy, this large mess ensued.
In a system of more limited government, ethanol would still find a way in our tank if it actually saved energy and was cheaper. However, ethanol neither saves energy nor money.
In a free market, a solar panel entrepreneur who wants to stay in business discovers a revolutionary panel that makes solar cheaper than fossil fuels, and new fuels are developed because of the immense return that can be earned by the inventor. What we have now is maintaining the status quo of worthless technology.
Have a problem with rising prices, inefficient new appliances, unaffordable housing and other problems? Check your premise, and I am sure you will find government is the problem and will never be the answer. As Ronald Reagan observed, "Government does not solve problems; it subsidizes them."
Greg Pulscher is a Steamboat Springs resident and leader of the Young Conservative Club. For more information, email email@example.com.