May 11, 2006 1:30PM

You Put Your Left Foot in

Look, I’m all for blaming government when blame is due, but conservatives have got to stop suggesting that high gasoline prices would disappear tomorrow if the government would repeal the ethanol mandate, build new refineries, open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, or do the hokey pokey [.pdf].

Doing all of the above (save the hokey pokey) might reduce prices somewhat (and do more so over time), but 85 percent of the variation in gasoline prices is explained by variation in global crude oil prices. Crude oil prices are established by global supply and demand patterns, and there’s not much Congress can do about either.

Arguing that there are simple legislative fixes encourages the mistaken belief that there’s no problem Congress can’t solve. Too many people believe that already.