Backed Against A Vinyl Covered Wall

The fact that people across America will struggle to heat their homes this winter, among many obvious dilemmas right now, is yet another aspect of this price-gouging profiteering oil scenario. People were clammoring for Bush to utilize reserves to mitigate the crisis, and yet- the major oil companies are boasting profits. They rationalize the unthinkable, like drilling in ANWR, citing shortages and dependence while doing little by way of the energy bill to reduce our appetite. (ie CAFE standards) And now they are giddy with the falling prices, forgetting to tell the people we've been subsidized by the EU. Yes, those Europeans we love to hate.
Furthermore, even some environmentalists are quick to point out that the American consumer is largely to blame for the crisis from oil-gulping purchases, as in big SUV's and large homes that require tremendous heating costs and are often not justified by family head count. (ever see the studies about construction and heat loss per day?) And this is not an unfair assessment by any stretch. Yes, our habits are also undeniable factors, no question. But as much as we need to hold ourselves responsible, we need to demand accountability and depart from the corporate world on matters of utility regulation, energy, resources, and planning.
See, when its in their best interest to pursue subsidies, market propping, tax breaks, or the fruits of their lobby-labor, they are pretty good about the hand of big government planted firmly on their asses. But when it comes to doing right by millions who will face a dangerous winter, possibly deciding if they should keep their kids warm or feed them- they would prefer to be left alone. This is also the theme of the tamaflu question.
We consider hardships as liberal-minded folks, but I wonder how often we think about the notion of warmth as a luxury? Just as we view healthcare as a privilege and not a right, we also consider utilities in America as gifts. We don't view ourselves as deserving 'customers' that pay for a service. Even people that try to get off the grid must pay for the privilege of being 'capable" of using the utility. Many people will be screwed, come winter, against the wall- and I don't mean those that stand against their walls of money from crisis profiteering.

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