Ross: Do Americans really believe in the free market when they plead for lower gas taxes?

May 24, 2022, 8:18 AM

(Getty Images)...

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Gas prices just won’t quit. It’s so bad that I know a Prius driver who can’t believe what he’s spending on gas these days.

But what’s really surprising are the demands for government intervention coming from people who are supposed to believe in the free market.

You have conservatives who say they believe in the free market standing up in Congress and with a straight face demanding that the government do something to lower gas prices.

You have Joe Biden – who says he believes in the free market – opening the emergency oil reserves, and complaining that the oil companies are gouging us.

Well, of course they’re gouging us! That’s how a free market works!

Everybody gouges you – if they think you’ll pay.

That’s not a bug, that’s our system.

Now, I don’t blame drivers for being angry at the oil companies – when you see oil prices going up and down but gas prices only going up, of course you feel gouged.

But haven’t some of us been doing a little gouging of our own? Employees, who go on strike, knowing there’s a labor shortage – that’s a way of making desperate employers pay more, isn’t it?

When you put your house on the market and charge 100-, 200-, 300- thousand over the Zillow price – why do you do that? Because you know you can. Why don’t we call THAT gouging? Because gouging is what the gougEES call it. When you’re the gouGER, that’s the free market!

Oil companies charge more because they can. Drivers could choose to bite the bullet and buy an electric car, or join a carpool, or take a bus, or light rail, or work from home – but enough still drive gas cars that the oil companies know they will make more by charging more.

But Dave – what about the artificial oil embargo against Russia?

What about it? Oil companies are free to drill more, but they’ve chosen not to.

So go ahead and complain – it’s good to let off steam as long as it’s peaceful – but this is a test of your belief in the free market. And if you believe it’s up to the government to do something about gas prices – it means you’re thinking like a big-government socialist, and I’m pretty sure it goes on your permanent record somewhere.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Ross: Do Americans really believe in the free market when they plead for lower gas taxes?