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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Barack Obama Shows Off His Energy Smarts on Gas Tax Holiday

As the ad campaigns intensified before tonight's primaries, Hillary Clinton made the seriously Energy Dumb decision to promote a gas tax holiday as a way of demonstrating her supposed affinity for "the hard working American middle class." Too bad the gas tax holiday won't help anybody's pocketbook but the oil companies. I guess Mrs. Clinton missed the memo from every single energy and economic policy expert out there! (Seriously, every one of them!)

While his opponent pandered for votes with empty promises of $30.00 in cash, Barack Obama, to his very strong credit, took the Energy Smart position and called the gas tax holiday proposal what it is: "a pander," a cheap trick to buy your vote.

Here's Obama's clear, honest, Energy Smart response on the gas tax holiday (speaking on Meet the Press earlier this week)...

Well said Mr. Obama. Well said. Bravo for making this Energy Dumb gas tax proposal into an opportunity to talk about the urgent need to free America from our oil addiction and spark a clean energy economy.

I also think Obama deserves credit for openly stating he'd learned from a past mistake: Obama voted for a gas tax holiday in Illinois when he was a state senator and now openly acknowledges that was a mistake. The gas tax holiday was a failed policy in Illinois, and it'll be a failed policy for America.

After 7 years of a President Bush who'll never acknowledge a huge mistake (*cough*Iraq!*cough), I welcome a president who learns from his errors.

In contrast, Senator Clinton, who said herself that a New York state gas tax holiday proposal in 2000 would be "a bad deal for New York and a potential bonanza for the oil companies." She had it right then. Now she's get it wrong.

Obama learns. Clinton panders. Which do you think is a more admirable trait?

Related posts:

-"Energy Dumb, Dumber, Dumbest" by A. Siegel at Energy Smart.
-"Holiday on Ice - What North Carolina and Indiana Tell Us About Future Oil and Climate Policy" by Joe Romm at Climate Progress.
-"Hillary Clinton Supports Seriously Energy Dumb Gas Tax Holiday" at WattHead.
-"Dumb as We Wanna Be" by Thomas Friedman at NY Times.


WattHead said...

BTW, just to be fair, Obama’s pulling off his own pandering in Kentucky, staying cuddly with “clean” coal.

OK, I took a break from giving Obama and Clinton crap about talking up "clean" coal for a few minutes… Luckily Kate Sheppard, now at Grist, picked up the slack.

Looks like Obama still has some learning to do...

David said...

Saw that - Obama cosponsored a bill with Jim Bunning (R-KY) on liquid coal, I think

WattHead said...

Indeed he did, David. He backed off a bit after getting a ton of flack for it (another good sign of learning I hope). I wrote about it here if you're interested.

Sun Tzu said...

This came to me in a nightmare last night!
Obama’s Bold New Energy Strategy
AJAX News Services, Houston, May 1st, 2010 – Despite record domestic supplies of energy, with oil at $165 per barrel and gasoline prices hovering around $4.75 per gallon, recent national polls indicate that 75% of the American public believes the federal government should cap the price of gasoline, fuel oil and electricity; and prevent big energy producers from making record profits, profits that exceeded $100 billion in 2009. In response to these polls and to fulfill the promise that his administration is one of change, President Obama, Secretary of Energy Hillary Clinton, and key congressional Democrats laid out a bold new Energy Strategy in Houston this morning at the annual meeting of the Alternative Energy Resources Council. In an hour long presentation, Obama and Clinton laid out a six point plan to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign energy sources and prevent profiteering by domestic energy producers. Obama and Clinton are confident that the legislation needed to make this strategy a reality will easily pass the Democratic controlled House and Senate. The following summarizes their six point plan.
• Within three years, all major U.S. energy producers, to include electricity producers, will be nationalized and become non-profit operations under the Department of Energy. This will ensure that energy consumers are treated fairly, and not subject to obscene profits by producers.
• As soon as legislation can be passed, the price of gasoline, diesel, heating oil, coal, and electricity will be capped at reasonable levels. Producers may not sell their energy at prices higher than these caps, but may sell them at lower levels.
• Until such time that energy producers are nationalized, profits from operations are capped at 5% and all subsidies, tax incentives and other federal support for energy producers will terminate. Alternative energy producers may operate at an 8% profit to encourage investment.
• The United States will negotiate wholesale oil prices with major foreign oil producers and refuse to pay per barrel prices higher that $150 per barrel. Obama believes our outstanding relationship with Venezuela, Iran, China and Russia will make these negotiations possible.
• To protect the environment and help stop global climate change, U.S. Energy strategy will reduce domestic energy consumption by 20% in ten years. At first this will be done through rationing and caps on personal energy use. Eventually, once major energy producers are nationalized, the Department of Energy will control the supply to ensure consumption reduction goals are met.
• The final aspect of this bold energy strategy involves the Strategic Petroleum Reserve which both Clinton and Obama believe is not necessary because of the administration’s No War policy. The Reserve will be depleted systematically by the Department of Energy during the transition to nationalized energy production.
After the speech, energy stocks fell 35%, taking $80 billion out of investment and pension portfolios in less than three hours. Obama and Clinton did point out that this strategy will inevitably cause some short-term hardships for some Americans during the transition, but both are confident that the Department of Energy under Clinton is up to the task of running the country’s energy production. Clinton said her Department will set up counseling programs for energy challenged consumers during the transition. Obama was very confident in this strategy and recognized that even though the transition may be difficult, in the end, everyone in America will feel better because big energy producers are not making big profits and the price of gasoline is reasonable. In their Presidential campaigns both Obama and Clinton promised to “Go After Big Oil” and Obama promised change. Obama has always fulfilled his campaign promises and indeed this energy strategy is a big change.