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Gas Tax Scam (Dot COM)

May 5th, 2008 · 2 Comments

Clinton’s and McSame McCain’s energy dumb and dumber song-and-dance act about a ‘gas tax holiday’ is not getting any support from independent people who actually understand energy issues and/or economics.    As per GasTaxScam DOT com, the merit of this idea is about the merit of setting out on a long voyage with an empty tank.

A secret and confidential letter from energy dumb and dumber provides some details:

We are top officials of the United States Senate Government who are interested in importation of oil into our country with funds that are presently trapped in the FEDERAL TRANSPORTATION TRUST FUND dedicated to improving transportation. We wish to send this money to overseas accounts in the MIDDLE EAST but cannot due to restrictions in Congress Transportation Equity Act requiring that this money must be spent to build roads, bridges and high speed trains.

If you accept we will deliver to your a sum of 30 DOLLARS in the summer 2008 in form of a “GAS TAX HOLIDAY”.  You will then deliver this money to accounts of our friends in Middle East by taking it to your nearby gasoline station where they have information to forward the money. 

Sure, this is a parody but parodies often hit the mark.  After all, does the ‘gas tax holiday’ concept have any more merit than that latest Nigerian oil scam or Dutch lottery winner e-mail that hit your inbox.  And, just as with those fraud emails, Hillary’s and McSame McCain’s energy dumb and energy dumber proposal merits filing in the spam folder.

Hopefully, the American public is developing the filters to filter such political spam into the ‘junk’ folder without wasting time and energy on them.

Gas Tax Scam DOT com offers the chance to sign a petition and put your thoughts on the page.   That petition:

Dear Senator Clinton and Senator McCain,
Please stop insulting the intelligence of the American people with pointless gas tax scams.
Sadly, that George Bush is in the White House is reason enough to believe that ”insulting the intelligence of the American people” is good politics.  A question to consider is whether the voices pushing back on this, from economists to politicians, will give the American people an understanding of the disingenous and high-risk nature of the proposed “holiday”. (”Holiday” … ah, the framing, it makes it sound so nice.)

Soaring gas prices are not something we can solve with a cheap gimmick. Gas prices are high because people around the world are using lots of gas including rising demand in developing nations like China and India. Prices are high because oil is a limited resource and production is limited, because of speculation on Wall Street, and instability in the Middle East. Gimmicks won’t change any of that.

“Gimmicks” won’t change reality. And, this ‘gimmick’ is like putting a shiny animal out to confuse an animal. Hopefully, the traditional media won’t foster a look toward the shiny object rather than the issues of substance.

Eliminating the federal gas tax all summer would only save American consumers about 30 dollars,

Well, here they went somewhat wrong as it is unclear whether a ‘gas tax holiday’ would save consumers anything as the market backfills to take advantage of the price opportunity.  Past experience suggests that, at most, about half the savings might be seen by consumers.

send more money overseas, reduce our ability to invest in infrastructure, and encourage even more driving and pollution contributing to global climate change. At the end of the summer, gas prices would be as high or higher than before and no problems will be solved.

Yup. Yup. Yup.

The only way to save Americans from spending huge sums on gas is to reduce the gas Americans use. We need to invest in alternative sources of energy. We need to build more fuel-efficient cars. And we need to make it easier for more Americans to accomplish everyday tasks without having to drive.

Every day that passes without serious action makes tomorrow’s action that much more difficult. If there is a call for a gas tax holiday at $115 barrel oil / $3.50 gallon of gas, what will happen when it is $200 / $5+?  $300 / $7+?   Sensible action might seem difficult today. Just imagine how hard it will be tomorrow. 

But, rather than dealing with this substance, Energy Dumb and Energy Dumber want us (the US) to watch the ’shiny object’ and ignore the hard choices and challenges we face. 

Real estate values are strong in walkable communities while they plummet in exurbs which require long, expensive commutes each day. Our federal policy can encourage more housing near offices and schools, and support more transit lines that get people to work without having to pay for gas. We also need to transport more of our freight by rail, a method that consumes far less energy and makes everyday goods cheaper for consumers.

These are just a few of the realities that we face and options for changing the situation for the better. (For more, see Energize America.)

Experts and commentators agree that your gas tax “holiday” proposal is naked politics and bad policy. No matter whom we support in the Presidential race, we want a race about serious ideas instead of cheap scams for votes.

“Naked politics …” Yes.

“Bad policy …”  Yes.

Let’s hope that bad policy makes for bad politics in 2008 America.

That would be a sign of real progress and a reason for hope.

Tags: Energy · Hillary Clinton · climate change · conservation · government energy policy · john mccain · politics

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