Thursday, June 19, 2008

Maurice Hinchey on the Road to Serfdom

Fox News's Special Report with Brit Hume played a clip of my Congressman, Maurice Hinchey, advocating nationalization of the American oil companies. I have been concerned about inflation for the past year or two, and Hinchey's remarks suggest one reason. The instability and wealth transfer due to inflation lead to increased demand for authoritarian solutions. Increasing government control of oil companies will increase the authority of politicians but it will not reduce gasoline prices or increase exploration. In 1911 the Supreme Court broke up Standard Oil, the most efficient oil company of its day. The reason was to enhance competition. (The decision was misguided.) Now, Congressman Hinchey wishes to eliminate competition and establish a government-controlled oil monopoly.

Part of Congressman Hinchey's willingness to vent uninformed views without inhibition is that he has run unopposed for the past several Congressional elections. Hopefully, that will not be the case this year. A high school teacher from Binghamton, NY, George Phillips, is going to run against Mr. Hinchey. Mr. Phillips is disadvantaged for several reasons. First, New York's 22nd Congressional district is absurdly gerrymandered. (Mr. Hinchey corruptly designs his election district while he claims that he can run oil companies honestly and effectively.) Due to the gerrymandering, New York's 22nd Congressional district includes Poughkeepsie, the only point it is east of the Hudson, the southern and eastern Catskills, and then a thin strip that stretches west through Binghamton and Ithaca. This has the effect of including Poughkeepsie, New Paltz, Kingston, Binghamton and Ithaca, all Democratic, in one district. A second disadvantage is that Mr. Phillips is a newcomer to politics and is organizing a campaign from scratch.

Mr. Phillips can use all of the help and advice that he can get. Any support would be welcome. A defeat of Congressman Hinchey would remove a festering, reactionary sore from Congress.

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