Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker, former lobbyist, and former husband to two different women, wants to set gasoline prices back to $2.50 per gallon. (here) But how? Would a President Gingrich sign an “Executive Order” setting the price of gasoline at $2.50 per gallon? The President can authorize a mission to attempt to kill terrorists, as Obama did with Bin Laden and Awlaki. But how can the President set the price of a commodity?
I suppose he can order rationing of gasoline – say 10 gallons per citizen per day. And if he does, with my 30 mpg ’99 Chevy Malibu w 165,000 miles, I will be able to drive 300 miles per week. If you have a Hummer that gets about 8 mpg, you can go about 80 miles. Or you can buy gas from me for $10 per gallon. (I’s a capitalist, yo.)
Or a President Gingrich can say “The market price for gasoline is $5.00 per gallon. But we’ll set it artificially to $2.50 via a government subsidies. We’ll tax the oil companies.” When a lobbyist for the oil companies reminds him that rather than tax oil companies we give them subsidies, as one will, he will flip-flop and tax poor people and the middle class – who don’t have lobbyists.
Or, a President Gingrich can say, ““The market price for gasoline is $5.00 per gallon. But we can set it artificially to $2.50 simply by revaluing the dollar so it takes Two Real Dollars to buy one Newt Dollar. As a stroke of marketing genius he could put Reagan’s picture on the Newt Dollar. But Newt, never known for his humility, seems more likely to put his own picture on the Newt Dollar.
Of course, if you have a brain then you’ll realize that this is not exactly small government. But then again if you’ve a brain then you’re not going to vote for Mr. Gingrich.
There is actually one other way to cut the price of gasoline: cut demand.
Suppose we build very efficient cars and a mass transit infrastructure. And we do research into bio-gasoline and figure out how to get octane and other hydrocarbons from plants we can grow without fossil fuel based fertilizers, rather than from fossilized plants. The only problem with that strategy is that it requires thinking, science, and engineering. Gingrich and Santorum, like Palin, Bachmann, Perry and Cain don’t believe in thinking, science, and engineering (except engineering what people believe). Ron Paul might believe in thinking, science, and engineering, but he doesn’t believe that the government should do anything. And Romney might, but he won’t admit it until after the convention.
Or maybe Gingrich wants us to go metric, and actually meant $2.50 per liter. He is getting old. He might be getting confused.