One day it's Earth Day.
The day before, on Capitol Hill, it's Give Tax Breaks to the Oil/Natural Gas Industry Day.
It's hard to think of a sequence of events more American than that: lip service to citizens, followed by full service to corporations.
Even President Bush paused long enough to hem and haw over $8 billion in subsidies to, as they call it in Texas, the awl bidness.
Addressing business owners earlier in the week, the President allowed that, what with prices hitting the $50-plus per barrel mark, "energy companies do not need taxpayer-funded incentives to explore for oil and gas."
Well, for that matter, untamed rising gas prices should also be incentive enough for a variety of American industries (shout-out to Detroit now!) to come up with more energy-efficient products.
There's a reason why cars like the Toyota Prius are hot commodities now, and it's not just because they're cute.
Don't any of us remember the 1970s, waiting in long lines to fill the tanks of our gas guzzlers?
And yet, the energy bill as passed by the House this week doesn't even require something as fundamental as higher gas mileage from auto manufacturers.
But then, maybe what's shaping up to be America's energy policy simply mirrors broader American attitudes.
Got it? Spend it! Don't got it? Spend it anyway! There's plenty for everybody - just get yours later!
It's the same attitude that has us racking up record household debt, cramming the landfills with easily recycled materials, and, yes, contributing to waste through such unthinking acts as simply letting the water gush from the tap as we brush our teeth.
Now, why would we want to do that?
We've always got more. "More" is our American birthright.
Let the Europeans walk to the market with their silly reusable string shopping bags. We Americans are in too much of a hurry for that kind of lollygagging nonsense.
Besides, we couldn't walk to the store even if we wanted to; our urban planning and transportation policies have seen to that.
This is the third time in the past four years our elected representatives have tried to push through an energy policy. As an editorial Friday in USA Today aptly pointed out:
"What's not in any current proposal, or any one prior to it, is a candid discussion of what a real campaign to reduce the nation's energy dependence would entail and how much it would cost. The last president to make such an effort was Jimmy Carter. In part because of his lecturing speeches on conservation and sacrifice, he was not re-elected."
But we can't even say now that our current leaders are dodging the issues of conservation and sacrifice. That's because they're not even distracted by any such high-falutin' notions, so busy are they turning matters of policy into corporative giveaways.
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