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On gas and Clinton

May 6, 2008

Over at TfK, Josh more-or-less reads my mind about the rank stupidity of McCain and Clinton calling for a suspension of the gas tax:

This is stupid, because it won’t actually cut prices (the price of a good like gasoline is dominated by how much customers are willing to pay, and fiddling with the tax won’t change demand, just how much money oil companies get and how much goes to the government). It’s also stupid because it will starve the government of funds it uses to maintain roads, and infrastructure maintenance is always good, and is especially important as a form of counter-cyclical spending in a recession. Finally, it creates the impression that gas prices are dominated by onerous taxes, when in fact, the price of gas is driven by market forces, and will only be lowered by changes in behavior.

When faced with 200+ economists who disagree with the plan, Clinton derides "elite opinion" – you know, the opinion of those with years of training in a field.

Josh is, I think, being a little too kind to Clinton. I have given up on her as her actions (particularly with regards the screw-up by the Michigan and Florida Democrats) have only shown that she will do anything to win. While she’s preferable to McCain, it ain’t by much. Either way, it will be politics as usual.

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  1. May 6, 2008 at 8:45 am

    In fairness to Clinton, she at least tries to recoup those losses by charging a windfall profit tax on oil companies. That makes her plan more stupid than dangerous since the oil companies will just pass that tax back to the consumers. It’s still dangerous because it continues to argue that we can and should have cheap gas. Serious politicians need to accept that gas prices are going to rise and develop policies to ease the pain on the working class while combating the climate, enegry and food crises which are all tied to our oil policies.

  2. May 6, 2008 at 9:33 am

    Actually, Salon.com has a good article how on such a gas tax holiday could work, based on a study outlining the success of the gas tax holiday that Obama championed while he was an Illinois state senator.
    http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2008/05/06/gas_tax/

  3. SLC
    May 6, 2008 at 10:14 am

    Before claiming that Senator Clinton is nearly as bad as Senator McCain, consider the attached link where Senator McCain states he will appoint judges like Slimy Sam Alito. Compare her husbands appointees Ginsburg and Breyer with the type of judges Senator McCain proposes to appoint.
    http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5iXm7Wd2_tzpw2bFE9Jnx433fnrhgD90G4AHG0

  4. waywardcats
    May 6, 2008 at 11:47 am

    Yes! That’s what we need; a President who, faced with expert opinion says to herself “I know better”. That would be novel indeed. What kind of trouble could possibly result from someone who stands firm in their belief, however misguided, and admits no mistakes?

  5. John Lynch
    May 6, 2008 at 11:58 am

    @ SLC
    Obviously pointing to what Bill Clinton did in the past is no indication of what Hillary Clinton will do in the future. Yes, she wont nominate an Alito, but that is hardly a ringing endorsement. She probably wont eat babies either!
    IMO, it will still be politics as usual and the Clintonian forces that have been steadily killing the Democratic party will continue their death squeeze.

  6. John Lynch
    May 6, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    Clinton says the legislation would save the average driver about $70 over the summer and should be advocated even if chances of passage are slim.

    Or about $5.80 a week. That’ll make a difference. Not.
    (source)

  7. May 6, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    It should be as effective as what was suggested during the last gas crisis 30 years ago–“Conserve gas–put a brick in your gas tank.”
    Clinton is like the little girl on the radio recently who was much smarter than those elite scientists who had spent years studying climate, and knew that global warming is a hoax.

  8. Crudely Wrott
    May 6, 2008 at 1:12 pm

    But John! Don’t you know that what is important is that she will *look* like she is really concerned with the poor, poor people who just can’t afford to buy gas and ring tones and satellite Tee Vee and more music players all at the same time? I mean, if you can’t afford to drive anywhere and have to stay home and do nothing, then how can you stay sane and know who to vote for?
    Pity the poor voter faced with the choice between skim, 2% and reduced fat. None are real milk. You are right; politics as usual.

  9. May 11, 2008 at 6:21 am

    Hillary is not an economic wiz to say the least. But what about Obama? He is a Dem that most will vote for in here. What’s he going to do about the higher gas prices? It’s a difficult problem no doubt, but there are solutions…Here are a possible few…
    1) Stop devaluating the dollar, by pumping in worthless money into the system and lowering interest rates to nearly zero (2 percent) in order to bail out the housing crisis. By increasing the value will lower food and oil prices to a certain degree.
    2) Cease the bio-fuel frenzy. Even liberals are beginning to realize the harm it’s doing to the world rather than good.
    3) Build an oil refinery. One hasn’t been built since the 1970’s. Refineries break down, and even if we find more oil we wouldn’t be able to process it more.
    4) Even though the demand is a global problem, people should reduce their usage more if possible. I’m planning on buying a scooter, 80 miles to the gal, and can go 65 mph. However, buying these things is not for everyone.
    5)Allow for more drilling for oil in Alaska.

  10. John Lynch
    May 11, 2008 at 3:07 pm

    5)Allow for more drilling for oil in Alaska.

    Fail.

  11. Onias
    May 11, 2008 at 5:16 pm

    @John Lynch
    I wouldn’t feed it if I were you, dear.

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