Clicking through cnn.com today, I was disappointed to see the headline "Senators to push for $100 gas rebate checks."
I don't want a piddly $100 check. That's not going to help me or anyone else in the long-term. I'd like our inept leaders instead to do something about improving the conditions that make high gas prices such an issue.
First off, how about spending that $100 to support alternative energy source research and development efforts? Or maybe we can spend even more than that and actually get a workable solution started in the next few years? Oil drying up should be enough of an incentive. But when you think about the utter desolation and destruction doled out in toxic doses by our leaders in the name of (secretly) securing foreign oil, there should be no alternative. We have to get off the sauce. Do that, and the West can stop meddling in the problems of oil-rich countries for self-serving reasons.
How about coming down hard on the oil companies who have consolidated into behemoths and basically are accountable to no one? Gas prices rise regardless of the market, and "excuses" are contantly found to jack them up higher. I wouldn't have minded paying those exorbitant rates after Katrina if the gas companies were spending the money on relief for a region that has supported them. Instead, these companies post record profits and their CEOs run off with $400 million retirement packages
. Being paid the equivalent of $6,000 per hour is a disgusting display of the greed that thrives in an unregulated industry. And the government lets them get away with it because they throw enough dollars into the campaign pool each year. They are above the law at this point, and they know it. It's time to change this.
And what about Detroit? If they made more hybrids instead of concentrating design efforts on creating larger and larger SUVs, we would make quicker progress. Hybrids should be more affordable and easily available. There's an untapped market out there, and consumers who are more than willing to purchase a greener car are dissuaded by high costs, limited availability, and paltry options.
There's other solutions too, such as providing greater access to mass transit and infrastructure improvements. It's much harder to attempt to work on a real solution, and there won't be any short-term results to focus on. A $100 check may impress some simple-minded voters on Election Day. It certainly provides a nice photo opp for the senators. But real change and lasting relief will only come about after a great deal of work and sacrifice.