Sunday, August 28, 2005
Bill O'Reilly's Economic Illiteracy
A few years ago, before I had watched much of The O’Reilly Factor, I happened to catch one of Bill’s segments on the Federal Reserve and interest rate policy. I was taken aback by how clueless he was on this subject and right away started wondering whether or not he was a total quack.
After watching him for a few years since, I have determined that he is not the complete dolt I had feared. I particularly love his show for the pounding he hands the New York Times and for his ability to embarrass and pressure deserving morons – be they politicians, pundits, or newspapers.
It almost goes without saying that I don’t agree with him on everything. I eschew his segments on Natalie Holloway, Michael Jackson, etc. But there is always a good fifteen minutes worth watching each day.
The thing I fear most is a paralyzing economic crisis here in the United States. I am not predicting one but there is bound to be some economic hiccup in my lifetime. I am afraid that when it happens, the collective economic illiteracy of the populace and politicians will end up compounding the problem. Remember, only WWII pulled us out of the Depression and that was a decade hence.
Bill O’Reilly was railing against OPEC the other day, accusing them of price gouging. He had some ridiculous stat that said the cost of oil production was only a few dollars a barrel and yet it was selling for over $65. Whoever is fact checking his economic stats should be fired. Oil does not cost only a few bucks to take out of the ground and anyone who knows anything about oil knows that OPEC can’t control prices and they haven’t for a long time. Oil is a global commodity and OPEC is not large enough to be the mythical cartel that economic illiterates like to blame.
Bill then trots out this oversimplified equation.
“Oil companies are making record profits…..therefore gasoline buyers are getting ripped off….”
Bill thinks it is safe and “populist” to whine about high gas prices and excoriate “profits”. I have a newsflash for Bill, if companies weren’t allowed to earn “profits”, the price of oil would be multiples higher. In other words, the only reason oil is a cheap $65 per barrel is because of this very “profit” incentive. Furthermore, the only thing that will eventually lead to lower prices is profit seeking oil companies. Fuel efficiency does not work and “alternative” energies are still the stuff of science fiction.
When are people going to understand that “profit seeking” has done more for humanity than almost anything else?
How much money does Bill O’Reilly earn? $30 million a year?
Fox is about to raise everyone’s already record high cable bills. Read it all here.
Isn’t Fox “gouging” its customers? After all, Bill and Rupert are enjoying record earnings.
Bill, when an economic story approaches....run far, far away.