By Robyn Larson McCarthy
Thomas Friedman is just too impatient! For years, the New York Times columnist has been possessed with the idea of a deliberately punitive federal gas tax--one so high that only the wealthiest Americans would be able to get behind their wheels and drive farther than the local recycling station.
Now, the free market has done the government's work for him.
As Friedman himself points out, $4.00 a gallon seems to be our psychological breaking point--the figure at which the masses begin to change their behavior.
No sooner had Libya begun its likely descent into chaos than the global markets reacted with panic, as they always do when faced with uncertainty. It does not matter that the United States gets most of its imported oil from Canada. A threat to supply in one corner of the globe affects the price at the pump in another, because prices are simply a means of expressing information. High price = this product is in short demand, or soon will be. Low price = we have plenty of this product to sell.
Friedman really should have trusted that the free market would sort everything out in the long run.
I find it curious, though, that his
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