Talking Points: Putting Country Before Self

Are we Americans a selfish bunch, generally speaking? Is it all about us? That's the subject of this evening's Talking Points memo.

President Bush is over in Europe and as you may know, many Europeans dislike Americans and Mr. Bush for a variety of reasons. Few of them are valid, in my opinion. America leads the world in almost everything, so there's bound to be some jealousy. When you're a power there always is. But on one point the Europeans may have a point. Many Americans are very self-centered. We are living in a time where our national motto might be "where's mine?"

Take, for example, California, the most powerful state in the union. The Bush administration is going to force the Golden State to use ethanol in gasoline to clean up the air and to reduce dependence on foreign oil. This will add about $0.06 a gallon to the price of gas for every Californian.

Now, Governor Gray Davis doesn't like that and is against the ethanol. This is the same Gray Davis that allowed environmentalists to shut down the state's ability to produce power, the same Davis who failed to warn citizens about impending price hikes due to terrible energy deregulation policies, the same Davis who now wants federal price caps on power.

Davis is crying that ethanol is too expensive. Hey, Gray, your administration is charging every Californian $0.18 a gallon in gasoline tax. Cut that down by $0.06 and we're even. Got it?

The U.S. government subsidizes the ethanol industry to the tune of $700 million a year. If ethanol, which is made from corn, becomes widely used in this country, we cut down OPEC's influence and save gazillions of tax dollars as the subsidies are not needed. And we also get cleaner air to boot. Make sense?

No, the powers that be in California don't like that. Selfish, selfish, selfish. Now, I believe every American should be patriotic and that means looking at the big picture. If there's an energy shortage, we all should use less energy. If pollution is a world problem, let's deal with pollution in a very disciplined way. If it costs us a bit more, so be it.

Unfortunately, that's not the prevailing wisdom in America today. We love our SUVs. We want power, but not the plants that generate it. We want guns, we want booze, we want drugs, and on and on. The Europeans are no better, of course, but we should be setting a better example. The planet needs to be cleaned up, it's obvious. Let's start here and do it the smart way.

And that's the memo.

Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

Word out of Hollywood is that celebrity Jennifer Lopez is pregnant. Of course, she's not married, but hey, we're not here to nit-pick. The ridiculous part about this is that Jennifer will now not be doing Anaconda II.

I don't know whether I can live with that.

— You can watch Bill O'Reilly's Talking Points weeknights at 8 p.m. ET.  And send your comments to: