Morning News: Mailer and Leadership

Rochesterturning has images of Kuhl's new gas mailer. Anyone who hasn't seen the mailer should take a careful look.

Being a Member of Congress has always been an eternal campaign, and over the years we've all become accustomed to abuse of the franking privilege by incumbents. Even at that, this one surprises me. It's indistinguishable from campaign literature. It's completely partisan, and full of falsehoods. The main claim Kuhl makes is that drilling and refinery-building that will take at least a decade to come online will immediately affect the price of gas.

In other incumbent news, the Corning Leader reports on a leadership conference attended by Kuhl and other Southern Tier incumbents in Elmira.


The minority plan, as Randy calls it, is pure fantasy. I am in favor of drilling, but only to ensure a supply of oil.

Unfortunately, Randy is dead on with his list of the majority party's plans to deal with the oil crisis.

Few politicians (Massa is a notable exception) want to talk about the quickest way to lower the price of gas: a stronger dollar. We'd get that by "raising our credit rating", including a balanced budget.

Of course, that would require some tax increases, which nobody wants to talk about, and raising interest rates, which might affect the mortgage bailout.

(And by "quicK" I mean months or even a year or two. There's no quicker fix.)

Maybe you saw Amy Myers Jaffe on C-Span this morning. Very impressive. She mentioned the weak dollar and how it isn't reducing our trade deficit significantly, as was hoped, with the implication that we should do as you suggest. She is at Rice University, the James Baker Center, so I assumed she wouldn't stray far from the party line. She shocked me when she analyzed the war and the Middle East and concluded that we should be putting our resources into a Project Apollo-like effort to get off of gasoline. That way we could analyze our international relations and obligations in a more rational way.

I'm sure no one on either side will agree with me about this, but I don't understand why the price of gas shouldn't be controlled by the market. You know, the way things are supposed to be in a capitalist society. If the gas companies are colluding and gouging, go after them. And long term, I think there should be more emphasis on alternative energies -- like wind and nuclear -- as well as on conservation. But the idea there's anything that can be done in the short term strikes me as unrealistic.

I agree with your realistic view of a market. However, when "the market" is discussed, it is often as some sort of free-for-all where there's no regulation. A well-run market is well-regulated to avoid market inefficiencies and monopolies.

Strengthening the dollar is simply helping our standing as a market participant -- it doesn't affect the market itself.