Gas Tax Holiday is Vapor: c’mon Hillary you know better

That’s the line being repeated by economists and other experts (those elitists!) this week.  We know that McCain already has questionable economic policy credentials and we covered his good politics/bad policy decision in a previous post.  But Hillary should know better. 

This gas tax holiday idea is a blatant pander to voters.  Now that the Democrats are divided on the issue, it’s on Barack Obama’s shoulders to explain why it’s a stupid idea.

The irony of this crazy “holiday” is that most voters are up in arms about the oil companies making record profits (Exxon Mobil up 17% this quarter).   Yet ..

Some economists say that suspending the tax will only promote greater consumption and drive prices up — sending more money to oil producers, not consumers.

That’s right.  Repealing the tax will just further line the pockets of oil companies and take money away from much needed infrastructure projects, despite what Hillary says.  And, it won’t do anything to help the long term issue of rising gas prices.

Hil’s other ideas sound great (pander, pander) but don’t have legs:
Additional tax on oil company profits. There is no way business leaders and the Congress will accept extra taxes for a particular industry. If oil companies, why not porn companies (bad moral values)? Why not McDonalds (too dangerous: they make food that causes obesity, resulting in higher medical bills)?  Why not Jewish or Black-owned businesses (too Jewish, too hip)?
Challenging OPEC : this is laughable. It’s like asking Saddam to give up his OMDs (oops!). On Bush’s recent trip to the Mideast he was kissing the rings of Saudi princes to no avail — and his Daddy is an employee!  OPEC is a monopoly because they don’t have to abide by the rules of our economy.  But they do have to abide by the rules of the market.  If demand is too great they can’t lower prices.  They wouldn’t be able to keep up production.
Price of oil won’t be based on the market “speculators”: okay, why not end speculative markets for corn, beef and other commodities?  Because that’s how commodities markets work.  Speculators read the market supply and demand and the price is adjusted accordingly.  The Enron analogy is a red herring used by Clinton to scare voters.  And, any government “watch dog” she may install will come from within the industry, making any true oversight benign.  C’mon.
Throwing a bone to truckers – her numbers on the $ savings for truckers are dependent on the price not going up as a result of increased demand.  Very misleading. 

Can this please stop. Now. Can’t anyone admit that it’s about demand, stupid? The $4 (maybe $5 this summer) gallon of gas is going to be here for awhile, so get used to it.

When will a leader step up and tell it like it is?  Certainly not our current president: Bush’s response to $4/gallon?  “Oh, yeah? That’s interesting. I hadn’t heard that,” Bush said at a news conference just a few days ago.  When asked about it again this week he repeatedly claimed that he didn’t have a “magic wand” to make prices go down but would surely use if he did (although his first wish might be more along the lines of getting his low approval numbers up). We as consumers have to start changing our habits.  And, yes, it’s going to be painful. 

And our leaders have to stop pandering on this issue.  That’s what true leadership means.  It’s easy to make false promises.  It’s tougher to get people behind a policy that may hurt in the short term but will reap rewards down the line. Europeans, who have been paying $6-7 per gallon for years, took the hit early on out of necessity and it’s helped them be a lot more efficient.

Our government needs a realistic energy policy that has not been created in back rooms by the oil oligopoly (Bush, Cheney and their cronies).  Provide more incentives and additional investment in non-agribusiness (i.e., non corn-based) fuel alternatives.  And, people and their elected leaders have to insist on stricter fuel efficiency standards for auto makers – at the risk of losing some votes in Michigan. 

I’m chipping in: this summer I’m rolling down the windows of my Jeep rather than use the AC.  It’s a start.

For more gas saving tips: http://autotechrepair.suite101.com/article.cfm/how_to_improve_gas_mileage

Tell Congress to get some backbone re mileage standards: https://secure.consumersunion.org/site/Advocacy?JServSessionIdr007=k4mc5gs4u6.app44a&cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=1499
(make sure to edit the personlized message by changing $3 to $4 in the part about gas prices.  Could be $5 by the time most people get around to sending it)

 

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Filed under Hillary Clinton, John McCain

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