Saturday, August 20, 2011

Bachmann on $2 gas and Kunstler on maniac politicians

Here's a clip that's been making the rounds lately.

Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann says, if elected, gas prices will fall under $2 a gallon.
CNN Money has more: Bachmann: I'll bring back $2 gas
President Michele Bachmann has a promise: $2 gas.

"Under President Bachmann you will see gasoline come down below $2 a gallon again," Bachmann told a crowd Tuesday in South Carolina. "That will happen."

Sure, politicians promise all kinds of things on the campaign trail. But Bachmann, a leading contender for the 2012 Republican nomination, is wading into truly tricky territory.
After hearing the above, I was reminded of one of James Howard Kunstler's favorite memes, which I first heard in "The End of Suburbia." Here it is from a speech to the second Vermont Republic.
There will be a great battle to preserve the supposed entitlements to suburbia and it will be an epochal act of futility, a huge waste of effort and resources that might have been much better spent in finding new ways to carry on an American civilization.
In the service of defending suburbia, the American public may turn to political maniacs, who will promise to make the country just like it was in 1997, before we started having all these problems.
The Fog City Journal quoted a more elegant version of that second paragraph.
Americans will elect maniacs who promise to allow them to keep their McMansions and their commutes and that’s going to produce a lot of political friction, probably a lot of violence, probably a threat to our democratic institutions.
$2/gallon gasoline would go a long way to keeping suburbia viable, I'll grant Bachmann that. Even so, it's just not realistic. The last time we had gas that cheap was during the first half of 2009, during the worst part (so far) of the Great Recession. Maybe Bachmann is promising a recession on her watch. She could certainly keep that promise, which prevents her claim from being complete fiction.

Open Book

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