Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Oil prices are the symptom

I watched Larry Kudlow and Peter Schiff go at it on CNBC. Larry Kudlow asked about the huge "tax cut" as a result of lower oil prices. Mr. Schiff replied that low oil prices are only temporary and will go higher.

I'm not sure if Mr. Schiff is correct in his prediction, but I know that, while we are benefiting from low oil prices, it is wrong to count our blessings. Low oil prices are the symptom, not the cause.

As the world economy enters a deep recession, demand has fallen sharply and oil prices have crashed. As long as the economy remains weak, oil will stay low. And when the economy recovers, so will oil prices.

So let's not hope for continued low oil prices caused by weak demand. Let us instead hope for higher oil prices caused by an economic recover. Or better yet, low oil prices caused by increased supply and alternatives, coinciding with an economic recovery.