Ms. McConnell said:
Now we are at a crossroads. Companies that survive this economic downturn must continue the transition toward greener vehicles. But this transition will be neither quick nor cheap. Recently passed fuel economy standards are a step in the right direction, but high gas prices are essential. They provide incentives to manufacturers to produce the new generation of vehicles, and for consumers to buy them. The recent run-up in oil prices showed us what a powerful force the market can be in influencing purchase decisions and spurring innovation. Now, with gasoline back to $1.50 a gallon, sales of hybrid vehicles are faltering.
So, let's stop expecting the car companies to protect us from ourselves. If we want less dependency on foreign oil and reduced greenhouse gases, we'll have to put policies in place to achieve this. If we do, the automakers, whichever ones remain, will figure out how to get us there.
The trouble with think tanks is that they don't think much, at least not outside their laser-like focus on the particular issue that makes their heart beat. It's called single-valued logic: you rivet yourself onto one goal, which might be good in itself, and the context and all competing goals melt into air, into thin air.
Virginia, pull your head out of the clouds for a moment and look around you. I know it's hard to take this aboard, with you having a no-doubt secure and well-paying foundation job, but quite a few of those slugs who need to be saved from themselves are going through a sticky patch. Many of them are not as well connected as you, hence they have no visible means of support at the moment. Lots of others will get no raise or bonus to spike the punch at the office party this year.
There are also quite a number of poor working people in this country who depend on their cars to get to their employment sites, and for whom more expensive fuel could be a personal disaster.
For all of these lesser breeds without the environmental law, the merciful fall in gas prices is the only economic blessing they have to count.
But that's too good for those swine, in your enlightened view. They stand in the way of reaching the Promised Land where everyone will drive little kiddie cars or, better yet, be packed into sediment on public transportation. There's no way individuals or car manufacturers will do the right thing based on their own needs or good sense, so we've got to wheel up the Big Gun of the government and put it to their heads.
You think it's a disaster that our government lacks the moral fiber to tax its citizens till they bleed from the ears and surrender to the supreme wisdom of the State. I happen to be proud of the fact that, at least for now, I have the privilege of mobility and can afford it. Incidentally, Ms. McConnell, even when gas was at a dollar and change a gallon before the big run-up, I bought a fuel-efficient car no larger than was practical for my needs.
You see the big picture — environment! With environmental needs so pressing, people can't be trusted with outdated ideas like liberty. Well, there's a bigger picture. It includes both the environment and (excuse the expression) the choices of individuals.