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Page added on May 31, 2007

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American Gluttony – We Must Change Our Habits

An economic expert recently claimed that if every American driver pledged to save one gallon of gas per week, the prices at the pump would plunge. Tom Kloza, analyst for the New Jersey-based Oil Price Information Service, said that a 1-percent dip in demand could shave as much as 50 cents a gallon off the price of gas. As the narrator in Bang the Drum Slowly would say, this hands me a laugh.

What country does this expert live in? More to the point, what planet is he from? Kloza … that sounds vaguely foreign, maybe al-Qaeda, to me. Surely this guy’s a terrorist to suggest Americans sacrifice one gallon per week! Either that or he’s an extraterrestrial.

Though I agree with Mr. Kloza that this would be a good idea, I’d go much further: Americans should be required to drive vehicles that get no less than 30 miles per gallon and tax breaks should be given, on an upwardly prorated scale to all drivers who get at least 40 miles per gallon. Those who get more than 50 mpg should be exempt from sales tax on gas. Americans should not be allowed to pump more than 10 gallons into their tanks per trip to the station. Americans should this, Americans should that.

But Mr. Kloza … can I call you Tom? … Tom, you’ve been reading too many Brokaw books, listening to too many Hallmark homilies from Monsignor Tim Russert. This is not the America of the Greatest Generation. This is not even the America of the Second Greatest Generation. We’re in with the Also-Ran Generation or, at best, the Honorable Mention Generation. Americans feel entitled — yes, there’s that word we love to toss derisively at Welfare moms — to be gluttons. We feel we’re entitled to expand any where or any way we can. We just passed 300 million in population and are cruising in on an average weight of 300 pounds. We have 300 nuclear warheads aimed at 300 different places around the globe and we have a Global Warming Denier in control ready to stir up another hornet’s nest in Iran. We have 300 excuses never to change our behavior. Number one is that we are Americans.

Smirking Chimp

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