April 29, 2008


As Clinton seeks gas tax break for summer, Obama says no (John M. Broder, April 29, 2008, NY Times)

As angry truckers encircled the Capitol in a horn-blaring caravan and consumers across the country agonized over $60 fill-ups, the issue of high fuel prices flared on the campaign trail on Monday, sharply dividing the two Democratic candidates.

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton lined up with Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, in endorsing a plan to suspend the U.S. government excise tax on gasoline, 18.4 cents a gallon, for the summer travel season. But Senator Barack Obama, Clinton's Democratic rival, spoke out firmly against the proposal, saying it would save consumers little and do nothing to curtail oil consumption and imports.

While it's admirable of Senator Obama to be willing to be right on policy but wrong as to politics, this unfortunately plays right into the fear that he's just another tax and spend liberal. If you're going to defend a consumption tax on gasoline -- an excellent policy -- you need to be proposing offsets in other areas, like taxing investments, savings and income less -- all moronic policies.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 29, 2008 9:20 AM

As pointed out elsewhere, it wouldn't even lower gas prices. Supply is inelastic, so in summer when demand increases prices spike until somebody finally says "No mas, for $4.50 they can keep their $#%!#$ oil and I'll take the train to Disneyland" and demand and supply rebalance. Cutting the tax in this period will just shift profit from the Federal government to the oil companies - the consumer price will still reach equilibrium at the same point.

To her credit, actually, Hillary's package also includes a windfall profits fax that would cancel this, making her proposal a big fat complicated nothing, as opposed to McCain's rather silly cut.

Posted by: Mike Earl at April 29, 2008 10:41 AM

If they want lower gas prices and possibly burst the bubble, why not start releasing the strategic reserves that are reportedly larger than normal?

Posted by: Patrick H at April 29, 2008 11:14 AM

McCain must have gotten this one out of Rove's playbook. Forget the strategic reserves; this will blow over and McCain will come out smelling like a rose ... as the Dems. trash each other over his ... "big idea."

Posted by: Genecis at April 29, 2008 1:29 PM