Oil Prices Make Telework A Pivotal Strategy

It’s often useful, when your trying to solve a problem to have someone look over your shoulder. A wonderful bloke from downunda just came to visit, and his view on oil prices scared the hell out of us. He says the talk in Australia is that gasoline prices will triple before long.

Consider. In 1998 gas was just under $1.00 at the pumps, now there’s talk it’ll be above $5.00 a gallon by year end. Goldman Sachs says that the price of oil could reach $200 a barrel this year. But they’ve been wrong before–by grossly under estimating. So our Aussie friend may very well be right.

Granted, there’s nothing that says the curve has to continue up at such a steep rate, but China and India’s increasing competition for oil plus the prospects of war with Iran* suggests it will. Besides, there’s very little reason now to look back at history to help predict the future. We’ve reached, as others have said, a tipping point and old rules no longer apply.

Remember, our oil reserves represent only about 3 week supply. And you know OPEC ain’t gonna help by pumping more oil. The cartels are enjoying huge profits, and want more–after all, that’s the mantra of capitalism we keep trying to sell them (and democracy). Do you really think they’ll start pumping more simply out of the goodness of their hearts?

We could start drilling in Alaska and offshore near Florida and California, but so far environmental issues have been allowed to overshadow the reality that our economy is in extremis and desperate measures are called for.

Someone once said they thought the reason people didn’t support the Vietnam war was because they didn’t have a personal investment, it didn’t effect them directly–and they were horrified by what they saw on TV. World War II, on the other hand, had a nation drawn together by rationing, victory gardens, and a star in the window indicating my man was over there–and Edward R. Morrow tried to create a picture of what was going on for radio broadcast.

If you buy that, the idea of reducing gas prices with a tax holiday is exactly the wrong stimulus. Indeed, there are those who think we should increase the tax on gasoline (with low income credits) and institute a rationing system that would decrease driving, and reduce air pollution and global warming–not to mention our dependence on cartel oil.

Reducing our dependence on foreign oil would help balance the Federal trade deficit, and help reduce foreign investment in American corporations, something we’ve written about recently. It’s not much of an exaggeration, really, to say that we’re being invaded without a shot being fired.

So what’s the point to this diatribe? The point is, as our research has shown, if just 40% of our workforce would telecommute (a realistic percentage supported by three studies, plus government and corporate experience) we could reduce our dependence on Gulf oil by 80%.

What do you think?

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* Why has Bush, a President with nothing to lose from a party with a lot to gain, been running around talking to all the mid-east countries? Why are we sending 40,000 more troops? Why have Navy task forces been repositioned?

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