Energy Collective blog power policy climate - the conversation happens here

Monday, May 05, 2008

Hillary Clinton Supports Seriously Energy Dumb Gas Tax "Holiday"

Hillary Clinton and John McCain support seriously Energy Dumb gas tax holiday

There's Energy Smart, like Mark Udall and this slate of Energy Smart US Congressional candidates.

Then there's seriously Energy Dumb, like touting a temporary gas tax holiday as an appropriate response to high gas and oil prices.

Hillary Clinton solidly aligned herself last week with the Energy Dumb camp, vociferously supporting a gas tax holiday first proposed by Energy Dumber John McCain that amounts to blatant pandering for votes.

This "quick fix" proposal, a three month suspension of the 18.4 cents/gallon federal gas tax during the summer "driving season," would at best save the average American about $30.00 this summer. That's right, Hillary Clinton and John McCain's idea of a solution to high energy prices is to mail you a check for half a tank of gas!

So, is $30.00 enough to buy your vote?

Don't expect to actually pocket those savings though. It's unlikely that a gas tax holiday will benefit anybody but oil companies, since laws of supply and demand will no doubt bring prices back up to pre-holiday levels as soon as drivers hit the road this summer (and you can bet that gas stations will raise prices by exactly 18.4 cents as soon as the "holiday" is over in September!).

Of course Hillary proposes funding this gas tax holiday by ending unnecessary subsidies and royalty loopholes for the oil companies. OK, not a bad idea. If we're going to propose a gas tax holiday that only profits oil companies, we can at least fund it by taking money from those very same the oil companies. One problem: it's not politically possible! And Hillary knows it.

Congress has tried to pass an incentive package for clean energy solutions funded by ending these oil company incentives three times already. Each time this truly Energy Smart idea has failed as it ran into veto threats from President Bush, filibusters from Senate Republicans and defections from "Oil Patch" Democrats. Clinton knows that. She was there all three times. Which means Hillary knows this gas tax holiday is an empty promise she can't deliver on!

Finally, in order to view this gas tax holiday as a "fix," Clinton and McCain would like you to ignore ignore that this three-month holiday will do nothing to help lower oil prices beyond the summer, which are expected to remain high over the long term.

Long-term problem. Short-term band-aid. Sounds like Clinton and McCain are proposing we take a shot of novocaine while we continue to saw our own feet off. Pretty soon we won't have a leg to stand on. Just like Clinton and McCain don't have a policy leg to stand on when they propose this gas tax "holiday."

How dumb is this policy idea? Well, Huffington Post and the Washington Post both did some digging to find an energy policy or economics expert that would support Hillary Clinton or John McCain's advocacy of a gas tax holiday. What did they find? Zilch. Nada. Clinton and McCain are so Energy Dumb and Dumber on this, not a single expert wants to back them. Ouch.

Clinton's response: "I'm not going to put my lot in with economists." Oh, ok Mrs. Clinton. We'll just forget all those experts. What do they know after all? They're just experts!

Which brings me to the worst part in my mind: Hillary Clinton knows better! She's got the best policy advisors out there. They no-doubt told her this was seriously Energy Dumb, just like all those experts she discounted. She knows paying for it with an oil company "windfall tax" is politically impossible. She knows it won't help consumers pocketbooks and will at best help their psyche. Heck, even John McCain admits it's mostly a psychological benefit, not a real economic one (seriously, he said as much here!).

And do you know how I know Clinton knows better? Because she told us herself!

Back in 2000, when then-senate-candidate Hillary Clinton was running for office, Clinton lashed out at a New York state plan to temporarily suspend the state gas tax, calling it, "a bad deal for New York and a potential bonanza for the oil companies." Well said!

Summary: Hillary Clinton is trying to buy your vote with $30.00 worth of empty promises that she knows full well are seriously Energy Dumb. John McCain is just happy to propose a psychological band-aid with no real economic savings for the American consumer.

I know. The stupid. It hurts!

And you wonder why people feel like politicians don't respect their intelligence! Good thing you can spot a gas tax scam when you see one!

So, where does Barack Obama stand? I'll let you know with my next post (hint, he's pretty Energy Smart on this one)...

p.s. I want to make it clear that I have yet to be particularly partisan in the Democratic presidential primary race, calling both Obama and Clinton out for supporting new uses of coal. That officially ended the day Clinton supported this seriously Energy Dumb idea. Sorry Clinton, this is just plain indefensible! You've lost the vote of this Oregon primary voter who just cast his mail-in ballot for Obama.

Related posts:

-"Energy Dumb, Dumber, Dumbest" by A. Siegel at Energy Smart.
-"Dumb as We Wanna Be" by Thomas Friedman at NY Times.
-"Udall Responds to Energy Dumnb Challenge from Hillary Clinton" at WattHead.


Cornerstone said...

While I'm glad Obama is a "high road" candidate, it's too bad that there's nobody to make this issue explode into the media and end her bid.
I've read three blogs/articles today both quoting speeches where Hillary praised economists and also about the experts opinions on the summer holiday. I guess that's the downside to Obama winning right now; McCain and the republicans are pretty much only attacking him while Hillary aligns herself with good 'ole Washington politics.

David J. Petersen said...

I fail to see how, if you oppose reducing the government's revenue from oil sales, you are somehow helping the oil companies. If anything a gas tax holiday will encourage the sale of more gas, thereby putting more dough into oil company coffers and increasing demand, which will put more upward pressure on oil prices.

WattHead said...

Well said David. Too bad Hillary didn't get that memo. At least Obama did

Weight Loss Warrior said...

Clinton is still probably still looking 4 that memo ha ha

credit repair