Swickard: Whom is stealing from whom?

Danger Will Robinson and us
© 2015 Michael Swickard, Ph.D.   "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interests." Adam Smith, 1776
             We are a nation lost on the road of good life, having lived so well for so long that we do not see our bounty nor do we see dangers. We live much better than our ancestors, yet many Americans are envious of those who have more. Despite having incredible blessings, they want to punish the "rich."
            We need the robot in the television series Lost in Space to say, "Danger Will Robinson" when we start playing with what made our nation strong and wealthy. More so, people in our society do not realize what keeps each of us alive and therefore they often take actions that are adverse to our own survival.
            Example: no one wants to pay more for electricity. You never see people holding signs, "Please increase my energy costs." But people have not really thought this through.
            El Paso Electric wants an increase to cover that they increased their generating ability. Protestors say the government needs to punish this energy utility.
            El Paso Electric along with some other energy utilities were on the hot seat, wait, it was a cold seat when a cold wave hit New Mexico in February 2011. What's really bad were the many people who existed for days without power. Their pipes froze and burst. That was the start of bad moments.
            Fast forward to today when the rate increase protestors want the power in their homes without paying for the increased capacity. They accuse the companies providing coal, gas and oil or taking advantage of them. Yet without power they would die within a week, if that.
            In our modern world we must have power to transport our food, pump our water, heat or cool our homes and to travel. Yet the majority of Americans seem to loath the energy producers. Several people have told me that the proposed El Paso Electric increase is theft. Really? Whom is stealing from whom?
            Most of the bounty in my life has been provided by strangers for the purpose of each having more for themselves. I drive a truck made by people who did not know, love and care for me. They were working because they wanted more. Sure they were professional so I love my truck but none of us knew each other.
            Some say gas prices are high because of the greedy oil industry. However, the record profits made by oil companies were exceeded 250 percent by the taxes on those companies. The government made 2.5 times as much as the oil companies with you at the pump paying both the profit and taxes.
            Further, those are just the overt taxes. Everyone who works to provide fuel, from the researchers and developers to the drillers and refiners to the transporters and stores, is taxed. You pay both overt and covert taxes when you buy gasoline.
            We know that the high price of gas is caused entirely by our government not doing the right things to increase supply. It is stupidity, not greed, that makes energy expensive for Americans.
            How much profit should people make? There is a fuel stop in the middle of nowhere between Phoenix and Los Angeles. It has a sign, "This gas is expensive. If you don’t need the gas, don’t buy it." Would those drivers be better off if no gas was sold?
            Pushing a car by hand for 50 miles is at the least daunting. After the first couple of miles of pushing by hand I think those drivers would gladly pay $100 per gallon.
            Everything is regulated by price in our country. If hamburgers were a quarter, more people would eat them. Gas costs what people will pay and no more.
            It does not matter to me if you do not want more. Some people live on the land, foregoing electricity, using only what they need. I would not stop them, but I do not want them to impose their lifestyle on me. Our country has been and is very prosperous. Let's keep it that way.