What do Donald Trump and Bill O'Reilly have in common? Arrogance, I'll grant you, even pomposity. But if you watched The O'Reilly Factor last night, you know they both are in total agreement that Big Oil is ripping us off. If you missed it, here's Bill's Talking Points.
So he wants to know the name of the individual who sets the price for the gas you pay. Hmmm. How simplistic is that? The claim is that some single individual is responsible for calling every retailer and telling them what to charge for their gas. Now that really required a lot of thought. I think my 5 year old could probably do better than that. But just to be sure, I ought to go ask him and see what he thinks. Hold on...
Back now. Here's how that went:
Me: "Who do you think is responsible for telling gas station owners what they should charge for gas?"
5 year old: "The President?"
Me: "Do you think he sits down every day and calls all of the gas station owners in the United States and tells them what to charge?"
5 year old: "Maybe."
Me: "How long do you think that would take?"
5 year old: "Forever."
7 year old brother: "Dad, maybe the owners decide."
Me: "How would that work?"
7 year old: "I guess like a yard sale."
Me: "What do you mean?"
7 year old: "You know, if no one wants to pay five dollars for something, you say 'okay, how about three bucks, or whatever'."
Me: "Good point."
5 year old: "Let's sell some of our old toys so we can buy some new ones."
Me: "I like your thinking."
So the youth of America (at least in my house) doesn't buy the idea of one single person setting all of the oil prices, yet Bill O'Reilly does. Hmmm. What's up here?
O'Reilly says he called an oil "expert" and was told "...for gas to cost $3.00 a gallon, crude prices would have to be $95.00 a barrel". So he has decided that means we're being ripped-off. He also says "don't tell me 'the marketplace' or 'the market' is setting the price..." He, and later Donald Trump (obviously another of the nation's top oil experts), talked about how the oil companies are "making obscene profits". O'Reilly urged viewers to "conserve, conserve, conserve", and "don't drive on Sundays" to "send a message to the oil companies". Riiiiggggghhhhhttttt! I guess that means O'Reilly either walks to church or just plain doesn't go -- I'm guessing the latter. Not to mention that's an extreme over simplification with significant consequences -- it would impact a whole lot more than just oil companies.
He's obviously got a bone to pick with restaurants, retailers and the NFL with his "boycott" idea. Honestly, I didn't know he was so mad at so many people, did you? How does he think we get the goods and services we buy on Sunday? They just appear out of mid-air? Hey, Bill, a lot of your fellow Americans WORK on Sunday, in case you hadn't noticed. It's called "helping to make ends meet". Surely you can't fault someone for trying to make a living, can you?
And as for Trump -- who makes his money in real estate development --for him to jump on big oil is just too rich! Pot calling the kettle black sort of thing, I'd say. Yep, now there's an industry that plays the profit thing fairly, isn't it. Real Estate. Hey, Donald, who sets the price of housing? To paraphrase Bill, it must be one person. Right? Right? Don't tell me it's "the market" or "the marketplace". And why is selling a home you paid $75,000 for 20 years ago at $350,000 today not called an "obscene profit"? In stead, it's called "a smart investment". Why is that? Hmm?
I welcome your thoughts.