Hillary , Obama and the Price of Gasoline

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama disagree about how to help consumers with the rising cost of gas.

I'm paying attention to this because I was not happy when I filled up my tank Saturday and it came to $65.00. I also realize that the increased cost of gas is going to mean higher prices on everything since at some point, all goods have to be shipped from point A to point B, and whether it's by truck or plane, gas is involved.

Hillary supports a temporary reprieve for consumers on the gas tax. John McCain first proposed it. Obama criticized the plan.

Hillary Rodham Clinton criticized Barack Obama on Monday for opposing proposals to suspend federal gas taxes this summer, a plan she and Republican John McCain have endorsed. .... "My opponent, Senator Obama, opposes giving consumers a break," Clinton said at a firehouse. "I understand the American people need some relief," she added, implying that Obama doesn't get it.

Obama's comments:[More...]

He has said motorists would not benefit significantly from suspending the gas tax. "This is his solution to the problems of the energy crisis and your tax bills," Obama told several thousand at a noisy rally in Wilmington. "Keep in mind that the federal gas tax is about 5 percent of your gas bill. If it lasts for three months, you're going to save about $25 or $30, or a half a tank of gas."

Here's Hillary's full plan on dealing with the gas crisis and her long term plan on reducing our dependence on foreign oil.

In related news, Hillary is about to get some help from a 527 group that will air a $700,000 ad in Indiana criticizing Obama's economic plan.

The Indiana ad campaign would be the biggest single expenditure in a state for the mostly union financed group, called the American Leadership Project. The group spent more than $1 million running ads in Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

....The ad quotes commentators who describe Obama's economic plan as deficient. The ad campaign could come at a crucial time for Clinton. The Democratic presidential race in Indiana is a dead heat, according to public opinion polls. Obama, the better-financed candidate, has been spending more than Clinton in the state.

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    Obama's right on this (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by rilkefan on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 04:55:11 PM EST
    We need higher gas taxes, not lower (along with measures to make up for the regressive nature of the tax).

    Trying to figure out (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Edgar08 on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 04:58:22 PM EST
    How that makes sense.

    How do you make up for the regressive nature of a regressive tax and raise it at the same time?


    Tax credits. . . (none / 0) (#11)
    by LarryInNYC on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:01:23 PM EST
    or some similar mechanism (tax stamps, anyone).

    Personally I think gas consumption is something we're all going to have to bite the bullet on notwithstanding that it's regressive -- not only the tax but simply the cost.


    Higher taxes will not fix the problem (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by dianem on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:10:37 PM EST
    Neither will trying to make the tax less regressive.   This solution assumes that gas prices only cost us when we fill up our tanks. You might be able to somehow figure out a way to give poor people a break at the pump, but that won't fix the fact that those people will pay more for food and other consumer goods as a result of higher gas prices. If we want people to use less gasoline we have to require the automotive companies provide cars that use less fuel, and that they provide this option in cars that are affordable to poorer people. We also have to make sure that cars are affordable enough that people don't have to drive 20 year old clunkers that get 15 miles to the gallon.

    Actually, cutting the gas tax for a few weeks is not a bad idea. It won't have a huge effect on individuals, but it's a way of feeding a lot of money into the economy quickly. Unlike the recent tax credits, which will probably go mostly to pay off bills or savings, this will give everybody a few more dollars to spend every week, which, cumulatively, will help the economy a bit. It won't solve the economic crisis, but it will help a tiny bit. We're paying $4/gallon for gas right now, and it scares people.

    Regardless, it's bad politics to choose this issue on which to take a principled stand. People want to see some action taken on gas prices, and until we get somebody in Congress to stop the fuel companies from profiteering, we won't get any kind of realistic fix.


    I haven't done the math (5.00 / 1) (#98)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 06:16:52 PM EST
    but seems to me it will save average consumers a heck of a lot more than 25 bucks over the course of three months, particularly if they have any ideas about taking a vacation this summer.

    And it would mean a major savings for people who use heavy vehicles for their livelihood, like, say, family farmers.

    Raising the gas tax, OTOH, will kill off the last family farms in this country unless there's some kind of exemption for farmers, but then what's the cost of determining and qualifying and administering that exemption?  Just a mess, IMHO, and not worth it.


    Agreed (5.00 / 1) (#102)
    by PWT on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 06:33:04 PM EST
    The Federal Tax on gasoline is about $.18/gallon.  Using about 20 gallons/week during the twelve months of summer amounts to $44.  However, the savings would also show up in the price of goods and services.

    family farmers don't pay (none / 0) (#132)
    by cpinva on Tue Apr 29, 2008 at 01:00:34 AM EST
    excise taxes on fuel used for off-road vehicles, so any abatement of it will have no effect on them. think "dyed diesel"

    as it is, the fed. excise tax on gas is around 20 cents per gallon. it's not going to make that huge a dent in your gas bill.


    We need to put a floor on the price of oil (none / 0) (#78)
    by hairspray on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:37:10 PM EST
    at $60 dollars or so and promise that we will not let the price fall below that.  That will allow massive private money investment into alternative energy technology to get us on the road to independence.  We also need to pass a windfall profits tax on the oil companies. Jawboning the car companies is long overdue as well. Taxing the big gas guzzlers at the point of sale.  Oh there is lots to be done. And we need a massive education project on conservation. We can start with 55 m/hr. Show Americans just how Iraq and oil policy have driven us into this ditch and ask for SACRIFICE.

    Ask Soros about that (none / 0) (#97)
    by PWT on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 06:16:36 PM EST
    The only mechanism for commodity pricing should be the market.  England tried to set the price of the pound back in the '80s, Mr. Soros made over $1B because of the Bank of England's defense of the price of the pound.  Any kind of cap or floor, (seems silly to talk about a floor on the price of oil that is about 1/2 the current market price) would provide traders with an opportunity to make money at somebody else's expense.  

    Only the climbing price of oil will lead to real alternative energy sources.  Until it makes financial sense, there is no incentive.  At $120/barrel of oil, apparently there is not enough incentive.  Perhaps at $160......


    On the other hand (none / 0) (#131)
    by hairspray on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 11:42:28 PM EST
     Investors in alternate energy need to have a sustained floor price for oil. I believe that a guarantee that any difference between a sustained price of $120 per imported barrel would be taxed away by our government would meet that need. Thus is the delivered price of crude were to fall to $110 a barrel at any USA port of entry, the receiver would be charged a $10 surtax to bring the effective delivered price at the port up to $120.

    We need higher taxes on the oil companies. (5.00 / 3) (#53)
    by FlaDemFem on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:20:19 PM EST
    Profits of $40 billion a YEAR is obscene. And they should be made to charge what the gas delivered cost to refine, not up the price every time the price of oil goes up. The gas you are using now was bought as oil last year, at last year's price. The price at the pump is what the oil they bought this week will cost when it's refined. And it's not like they have a slim profit margin they have to factor into the price. The oil companies are gouging and we are paying them for it.

    Personally, I think all oil companies should be nationalized and run on a cost basis. No profit, just a tax at the pump. Private companies should not control the country's energy. And the first thing I want Hillary to do when she gets in the White House is find a copy of the minutes of Cheney's energy conference and release it to the public.

    Ok, I rant a bit about this, but it really pisses me off to see people worrying about gas to get to work when the CEO of Exxon makes $100,000,000+ as a retirement package. Who needs that kind of money?? I mean, come on!!!


    Goldman Sach also (none / 0) (#80)
    by BarnBabe on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:40:12 PM EST
    Actually, the traders are the ones causing this problem. They are selling the oil to other countries before it even hits our soil. Goldman Sach is one of those traders and they had record profits. Exxon and other are reaping the benefit from this. They are not building refineries which would lower the price. They got a lot of tax reliefs. Hillary mentioned in her one speech that pull back that tax relief and look into how traders are manipulating the price. Note also, Heating oil was somehow left out of the Enron Bill. So last Dec, under the Farm Bill, they put in a Enron Loophole bill that would put a ceiling on the heating oil, a energy commodity. No one is implementing it yet. So heating oil remains around $3.80 a gal. 4 years ago before the Enron bill it was 98 cents. After the Enron bill, traders needed a new commodity and saw heating oil was not included in the original bill. In other words, there is a lot of things happening behind the scenes and the greedy are getting greedier. But, look at Ken Lay. Karma took it all away. This is the traders. The Opec even said that they could flood the market and bring the price down quickly. You would think GW would call his cousin.

    In all fairness (5.00 / 2) (#87)
    by BarnBabe on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:43:43 PM EST
    Hillary has 3 specific things she would do immediately. Lower tax, lift oil companies tax relief, look into trader manipulation. Bet the oil industry loves her too.

    How About A Hostile Takeover of the Oil Co's. (none / 0) (#83)
    by PssttCmere08 on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:41:09 PM EST
    They are out of control and indulging in legalized robbery.

    What do you think nationalization is?? (none / 0) (#101)
    by FlaDemFem on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 06:26:26 PM EST
    Nationalization is when the government takes over the business and runs it for the benefit of the country. Can't think of a more hostile takeover, can you??

    Well, there you go again (none / 0) (#7)
    by jerry on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:00:30 PM EST
    I don't want to have to go all JFK on you rilkefan, especially since I know squat about squat, but in a recession/depression the government should go keynesian and increase public debt by cutting the tax for sometime, not go all taxing and collapse the economy further.

    That said, we should be implementing carbon taxes, and encouraging companies to increase telecommuting and trip reduction.

    There's a lot that could be done for America by adopting a 4 day work week for many workers.  Imagine the free time people could have once again.


    Jimmy Carter -- Secy of Energy, Housing, and Peace (none / 0) (#13)
    by jerry on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:03:06 PM EST
    He's tanned, rested, and ready.

    Gas tax is not progressive and hits poor... (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by Exeter on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 04:56:22 PM EST
    ...the hardest.  Of course you should suspend it when prices are this high.  Perhaps not that big of a deal overall, but a good issue to demonstrate Obama is out of touch.

    Gas tax is regressive (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Edgar08 on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 04:56:41 PM EST
    Just as any point of sale tax is, especially more so because it's not like people have a choice to buy gas or not.

    18 cents a gallon. (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by lyzurgyk on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:09:21 PM EST

    The price swings more than that every week.  The oil speculators will eat it up in a second.  

    Gotta go with Obama on this one.  No pander please.

    Well (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by Steve M on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:19:23 PM EST
    There are good ideas in Hillary's plan, the tax holiday just isn't one of them.  You can't artifically force prices to go lower if there's not going to be any additional supply.

    Hillary needs to be making the case for why McCain's pander to the oil companies is a destructive idea.

    People need the tough love (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by Stellaaa on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:26:31 PM EST
    Americans cannot be deluded into thinking gas prices will go down.  They will not.  One good thing about the price, demand is high but people are using less.  

    My idea of how to solve the gas issue and the war, is add a tax on gasoline that reflects the cost of the war for oil.  Then it will teach people what oil really costs us and the world.  

    I know Hillary's policy is more than the tax holiday, but the tax holiday is what people here.  I hate that kind of selfish public policy.  It's a lie.  In political sense she took McCains wind on this one, but still, I don't like reducing fees, taxes etc, people then don't understand the cost of everything.  

    I think we're missing the point (5.00 / 4) (#61)
    by cmugirl on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:26:51 PM EST
    Of course it's pandering - she's a politician. But she's a politician that is trying to get elected in the next couple of months. And frankly, while it might be bad long-term policy, it seems like good short-term politics.

    I luuuuuuuuv my Saturn (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by Fabian on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:35:46 PM EST
    Bought it for the price, reliability and fuel efficiency and still luv it.  A fill up is about $40 now and can net me 400 highway miles.  I feel...a little sorry for everyone who bought their car for the frills and thrills instead of economy.

    We did try to tell y'all way back when, but irrational exuberance is too often the norm instead of the exception.

    Already good things are happening.  There are signs that the sprawlburbs are less popular, less pricy, less populated.  Some of us will learn by the carrot and others by the stick.

    I have a Saturn too.. (5.00 / 1) (#104)
    by FlaDemFem on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 06:37:54 PM EST
    got it for the gas mileage, bought it used. Does about 36-38 mpg..a little less when the back is filled with horse feed..LOL  But still hugely better than the trucks all my farmer neighbors have. I have the SC2 and the back seats fold down so I can use it as sort of a mini pickup..can fit several hundred pounds of feed in there. I insisted on two features, a CD player and cruise control. Got both and a sunroof to boot for about $1500 less than the asking price. Horses aren't the only thing I am good at trading.  Heh.

    I got a Prius... (5.00 / 1) (#129)
    by alexei on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 08:36:17 PM EST
    which I now use as a Rural Carrier vehicle.  This is much better than most - but now I am noticing the price more since I have to use more because of my job.  I can understand how others in my position who couldn't afford a vehicle like mine, or truckers, etc. are being squeezed out by these prices.  The Dems must show that they feel their pain and do the whole package.  But the onus on the Bush admin to either sign or veto.

    Prices to rise 50-60 cents in the next (5.00 / 1) (#76)
    by nycstray on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:35:47 PM EST
    couple weeks?! Oy.

    Just heard this on ABC Nightly News.

    Gasoline prices are directly tied to presidential (none / 0) (#90)
    by Mark Woods on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:53:28 PM EST
    Popularity ratings, aren't they, or did I imagine that?

    So why doesn't the same model work for candidates?

    Americans have had 8 years of torture under W and the last thing they want to hear is talk of 'tough love'.

    My Republican relatives call me when Hillary mentions gasoline, so I think she's smarter than most folks disagreeing with her over this.

    The point is, a brief break will spur the economy and relieve poor folks' pain -- we can drag in Gore and get serious once she's elected.


    Well... (none / 0) (#100)
    by Josmt on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 06:20:42 PM EST
    While I was looking into the market today, I saw the graphs hit $120.00 a barrel for oil today... I'm going to fill up my tank after work, it's going to hurt tomorrow if I wait.

    Well (none / 0) (#109)
    by chrisvee on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 06:49:35 PM EST
    I saw reports today of analysts claiming we'd be at $7-$10 in the next 2-3 years when crude reaches $200/barrel although there was also some discussion of a drop to $70/barrel if there's a global economic slowdown.

    I've never driven. Always have been (none / 0) (#126)
    by nycstray on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 08:12:03 PM EST
    a public transportation gal. But in 2 yrs I may have to drive some. That's gone hurt if something doesn't get worked out! I'll have to train my dogs to pull a cart for shopping and other errands  ;)

    This is a troubling issue (5.00 / 7) (#94)
    by Edgar08 on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 06:13:01 PM EST
    Perhaps we should just apply normal supply and demand thinking to food, head and water too when the time comes.

    People don't know the value of anything.

    The crux of this crisis is far more complex than is being discussed here.

    For every person that decides not to take a vacation trip because of gas prices, I'm sorry, but there is someone out there who is starting to be confronted with a very different decision.  Public transportation is not available to me, and the price of gas is starting to make employment itself a losing proposition for me.

    Barney Frank was trying to point this out to Bill Maher last year, how people think about gas, how infrastructure exists in America, and how it's different in Europe where large cities exist closer together, and public transportation exists for suburbs as well as inner cities.

    And I genuinely think the centrist position here is dismissed with much the same look of bemusement as Bill Maher had when Barney was trying to explain this to him.

    Listen.  Gas isn't food.  

    Gas isn't a flat screen TV either.

    It exists somewhere in between.  And I think gas is factored, at least until the entire infrastructure of American can be overhauled and turned into a puedo-Eropean exurban whatever you want to call it, gas qualifies as part of the cost of living.

    While it's great that the high price of gas might make some curtail their overconsumption, it might make less folks buy stupid cars, there are still people who are getting hurt by high gas prices in a way I know people don't intend.

    I like to think a progressive community is better than this.

    Speaking only for myself, the cost of living made going on a vacation for us prohibitive a long time ago.

    At this point, 4 dollar gas isn't keeping me from going on vacation, it's keeping me from buy our 2 year old a bathing suit so we can take her in a wading pool.

    But that's fine.  We'll get by.  We don't really NEED that either.

    I guess.

    Definitely troubling (5.00 / 3) (#103)
    by chrisvee on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 06:34:05 PM EST
    What are people to do when they live in areas with poor, inefficient, or expensive public transportation?  Or non-existent public transportation?  It's not always a matter of eliminating wasteful trips or buying a more efficient vehicle.  Without a proper transportation infrastructure, how does one make it to work each day?  Must we all live within walking distance of our places of employment?

    Ed, I'm with you on this (5.00 / 3) (#110)
    by MMW on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 06:50:42 PM EST
    I'd love to take a political, or environmental stand on this, but I can't.

    I've been joking at work the last couple weeks that I'm going to have to quit, use my vacation time or take a sabatical if gas prices go any higher.

    The f--ed up thing is, it's really hurting right now.


    Wow! Great post Edgar. And I agree, for a lot (5.00 / 3) (#112)
    by leis on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 06:52:15 PM EST
    of people it takes gas to get to work to earn money to pay the bills.  When the money they earn isn't covering the rise in gas prices, what is a working family to do?  Like you said there are people who have given up all the frills, this is a necessity.

    When you use supply and demand (5.00 / 4) (#115)
    by Edgar08 on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 07:02:25 PM EST
    To curtail consumption at one end of the market you have to concede you are pricing some people totally out of the market altogether.

    And nobody here has been willing to admit America doesn't have the public transportation infrastructure to handle that.


    Shift workers, weekend workers, rural poor (5.00 / 3) (#119)
    by eleanora on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 07:09:58 PM EST
    The five "big" cities in my state, all 90K pop or less, have horrible bus systems that shut down at 6:00 p.m.; the small towns have nothing. And many rural people have to drive 45 minutes just to get to a place with a gas station and a supermarket. High gas prices leave those people stranded and helpless to do anything about it.

    Then come up with sensible policies in response (none / 0) (#108)
    by rilkefan on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 06:46:03 PM EST
    instead of this pander which won't help the problem, as has been repeatedly explained here.

    It's a short term solution (5.00 / 1) (#113)
    by Edgar08 on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 06:57:57 PM EST
    If it was a long term solution, fine.

    And you can criticize a policy without resorting to that pejorative (pander).

    That's if you want me to take anything but a defensive posture towards your criticism.


    Since you're ignoring the substance (none / 0) (#125)
    by rilkefan on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 07:51:04 PM EST
    of the argument - that it's not even a short-term solution - you're not in a defensive posture, but an ostrich posture.

    You can't be serious. (none / 0) (#117)
    by sweetthings on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 07:06:26 PM EST
    Perhaps we should just apply normal supply and demand thinking to food, head and water too when the time comes.

    Uh...yes. Of course we should. We don't really have any choice.

    The government isn't magic. It can't produce food, heat and water out of thin air. It can implement policies that affect supply and demand, but it cannot break the pricing relationship between them, no matter how hard it tries. When you have a situation in which demand outpaces supply, the only possible remedy is higher prices...no matter how much pain that produces.

    Unfortunately, we are entering a period where the demand for energy is rapidly outstripping the supply. China and India have 3 billion people between them, and they all want to live like we do. There is no possible way for supply to keep up with that kind of growth, so higher prices are the only way forward.

    And yeah, a lot of things are going to have to change to accommodate these new prices. And there's going to be a lot of pain. On the plus side, you'll have some great stories to tell your grandchildren.


    You can't start pricing individuals (5.00 / 2) (#118)
    by Edgar08 on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 07:09:23 PM EST
    Out of the food and heat market.

    You're not talking about pain.  You're talking about a Malthusian breakdown of society.

    Interesting stories indeed.

    I think we can do better.


    When I was a kid, in the 70's, (none / 0) (#120)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 07:16:33 PM EST
    I remember the highest priced gas anywhere in town was, wait for it, 35 cents gallon.

    Previous to that "shortage" gas was in the teens. iow, the price doubled w/in what seemed like months, iirc. And kept going up from there.

    Note the Malthusian breakdown of society that occurred then, and since then, because of similarly rising gas prices.

    My kindergartener just brought home Henny Penney last week. It seems appropriate.


    Have you even considered (5.00 / 2) (#124)
    by hookfan on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 07:40:06 PM EST
    how retirees on fixed incomes will begin to survive continued energy price hikes? Look at what's happening happening at food banks right now. They're strapped and middle income people are showing up now in greater proportions.
       I live in a small town working class environment. People are already turning to barter to offset price hikes in food they can't afford. Forget about vacations. And you can forget about levies needed for schools too.
       My wife works for a local newspaper. The current year's income from realestate advertisements is down, carlots adds are down 20% and falling, small local shops are stopping advertising. It's not pretty. The hospital is suffering budget shortfalls because people can't pay the medical costs.
       Pain isn't starting- it's here and worsening. If something isn't done about costs (anything) people will be contemplating the alternatives to starvation and death by freezing, or neglect. The anger is growing and something needs to be done NOW to avert the real potential for social disaster.

    Have you even considered (none / 0) (#133)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Apr 29, 2008 at 01:20:17 AM EST
    that there were retirees living on fixed incomes during the energy price hikes of the 70's and 80's as well?

    No one said it would not be difficult, it is and always will be.


    Unfortunately, we can. (none / 0) (#121)
    by sweetthings on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 07:21:16 PM EST
    And even more unfortunately, we'll probably have no choice, at least on a global scale.

    It won't be so bad for people here. I seriously doubt we'll see people starving in the US. We're still a very wealthy country. But we will have to make some serious changes to how we live. This whole notion of a commuter society will probably have to go. It's just too energy inefficient. That doesn't have to be a bad thing in the long run, but there's no escaping a lot of transitional pain.

    But India? Wow. I have no idea how they'll keep that ship afloat. 2 billion people, and 30% of them in poverty. That's a situation that'll make Thomas proud.

    The only way to 'do better' is to either have fewer people or more energy. The former is pretty much out of the question, at least for the moment. Scientists are working on the latter just as hard as they can, and hopefully they'll come up with something, but until then, all we can do is raise the price.


    McCain is ALREADY introducing this. (5.00 / 1) (#122)
    by eleanora on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 07:24:19 PM EST
    He's got the amendment written and out there.

    "U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) today called on Senate colleagues to join him in supporting the Kyl-McCain amendment to H.R. 1195, the Highway Technical Corrections Bill. The Gas Tax Holiday Amendment would suspend the 18.4 cents per gallon Federal gas tax between Memorial Day and Labor Day 2008.

    The attached letters were delivered to Senators Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Barack Obama (D-IL) earlier today."

    Hillary is trying to get some backing to tie it to a windfall profits tax or at least cutting out the tax relief the Repubs gave the oil companies. Does anyone seriously think this amendment WON'T pass? In an election year?

    I really don't agree with Hillary (none / 0) (#4)
    by andgarden on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 04:57:41 PM EST
    There's no great solution for this though, and it's probably a useful pander.

    Agreed. (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by sweetthings on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 04:59:51 PM EST
    Hillary's plan is ludicrous, and she's smart enough to know it. This is pander, pure and simple.

    There's only one answer to this problem, and it's one nobody wants to hear.


    Which is what? (none / 0) (#8)
    by Edgar08 on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:00:45 PM EST
    People stop driving?

    Ever been to europe? (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by andgarden on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:03:57 PM EST
    people drive smaller cars. That's the long term solution.

    Yes (none / 0) (#29)
    by Edgar08 on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:10:34 PM EST
    I know that.

    I have been to Europe.


    Didn't mean to sound condescending (none / 0) (#33)
    by andgarden on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:12:19 PM EST
    I think the situation was similar here in the early 1980s.

    Smaller cars are better now, though.


    Yes (none / 0) (#36)
    by Edgar08 on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:13:07 PM EST
    And looked what happened to the last Dem President who asked America to conserve.

    Jimmy Carter (none / 0) (#41)
    by andgarden on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:16:39 PM EST
    I don't have much nice to say about him, but he was right on conservation.

    He was right on the issue (none / 0) (#44)
    by Edgar08 on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:18:14 PM EST
    But he only lasted one term because of it.

    Being right and giving up control to Republicans for the next 12 years adds up to being wrong.


    You think he lost because of this single issue? (none / 0) (#47)
    by andgarden on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:19:08 PM EST
    I sure don't.

    He lost because of the hostages (5.00 / 2) (#58)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:23:13 PM EST
    in Iran.

    I think it was a big part of it (none / 0) (#56)
    by Edgar08 on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:22:55 PM EST
    Gas lines was not a minor issue.

    If there aren't roads or bridges to drive on... (none / 0) (#15)
    by Addison on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:03:19 PM EST
    ...because they've crumbled away, yes. They'll have to stop driving.

    The main reason to scapegoat the gas tax is that you view it as a socialistic state-sponsored use-based road building tax. Interestingly enough, that's also the main reason to like it.


    Transferring that cost (none / 0) (#19)
    by Edgar08 on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:04:44 PM EST
    Onto the Oil Companies sounds good to me.

    That won't be happening before this summer. (none / 0) (#21)
    by Addison on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:05:15 PM EST
    Yes (none / 0) (#25)
    by Edgar08 on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:07:35 PM EST

    Leftist blogs do not understand this issue.

    Jimmy Carter tried conservation, you folks want a one term president, fine.


    the shift to nowhere. (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by Addison on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:15:14 PM EST
    Well, you shifted from being against Big Oil to mocking the ignorance of "leftist blogs," but there's still no explanation of the realistic way to make up the tax revenue and keep federal transportation projects from crumbling.

    A gas tax cut is bad policy. It's among the worse taxes to cut, both because of the revenue and the social/economic consequences. Nowhere on this thread have you engaged with an actual, realistic argument. You should start doing that.


    I'm looking for someone else (none / 0) (#59)
    by Edgar08 on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:23:47 PM EST
    To explain how it's bad policy.

    Nobody has done that either.


    I don't know if I qualify as 'someone else'... (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by sweetthings on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:32:01 PM EST
    But it's clearly bad policy.

    Here's the problem: Gas prices are too high.

    Why are they too high? Because lots of people want gas, and there's a limited supply of it.

    So how can you lower the price? Either get people to want less of it, or make more of it.

    Hillary's gas holiday accomplishes neither. Thus, it is bad policy. Which, I'm sad to say, doesn't mean it's bad politics. As a vote getter, it might actually work. But it won't do a thing about gas prices.


    Well now I finally see why people are (5.00 / 2) (#71)
    by Edgar08 on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:34:51 PM EST
    Supporting Obama.

    He can get people to want less by making a speech.

    It's not something people want.

    It's something people need.  This is what folks don't get.

    Do you understand the difference between a need and a want.

    Do you understand the difference between heating a house and buying flat screet TV?


    It doesn't matter. (5.00 / 1) (#85)
    by sweetthings on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:42:16 PM EST
    The laws of supply and demand don't change just because something is perceived as a need. Gas prices cannot come down until either demand lowers or supply increases. They simply can't.

    You're saying that the demand cannot go down, because gas is a need. Fair enough. In which case supply must go up. If Hillary is really serious about bringing prices down, she'll present a plan that includes more refineries, and more drilling. Not silly tax holidays.


    Bingo. (none / 0) (#74)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:35:31 PM EST
    Reasons throughout the thread (none / 0) (#62)
    by rilkefan on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:27:11 PM EST
    Starting with comment #1.

    That isn't true. (none / 0) (#63)
    by Addison on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:29:01 PM EST
    BTD has done so, multiple times. I have done so. Many people have done so. You just find it impossible to engage in that discussion because you have no reasonable, implementable solution of your own.

    And besides, your main gripe -- with your non-sequiter carping about Carter's "conservation" --  appears to be that it's bad politics, not bad policy.


    Bad Politics is bad policy in this case (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by Edgar08 on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:31:02 PM EST
    If Democrats are branded as the party that impacts Quality of Life.  The party of limitted choices.

    One Termer? (none / 0) (#95)
    by CoralGables on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 06:13:08 PM EST
    I will always take a one termer that is right rather than a two termer like Bush that is repeatedly wrong.

    Close. (none / 0) (#18)
    by sweetthings on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:04:32 PM EST
    Global demand must be kept in alignment with global supply. And given that demand is going gangbusters while supply remains relatively static, that means higher prices. Much higher prices.

    I find 'pander' a bit too cynical. (none / 0) (#81)
    by Mark Woods on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:40:28 PM EST
    Instead, I think 'savvy' and 'sophisticated' are the qualities I see in Hillary here, since she seized the opportunity to give people only a wise politician can convey, which is a sense that she 'cares'.

    Obama responded to the issue, not to the gut need of Americans to have someone take a genuine interest in their injuries (real or imagined).

    Obama needs to not be less intellectual, as some have said: smart is good, if balanced with compassion, a balance Hillary and Bill often exude.

    The public reminds me of a hurting and bewildered child at times. But in the same way we patiently forgive and overlook and sometimes indulge children, Americans are looking for a little surrogate parent-kindness now and then in our leaders, not a sterile, 'grin & take your medicine' approach.


    Hillary doesn't agree with Hillary either (1.00 / 1) (#17)
    by bumblebums on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:03:58 PM EST
    Campaigning in the Hudson Valley, Lazio continued a two-day assault on Clinton's support of maintaining the 18-cent federal gas tax and then used tough rhetoric to declare that "trust" and "character" were campaign issues during an evening fundraiser in Manhattan that raised more that $1 million.

    Clinton, meanwhile, lashed out at Lazio's plan to repeal 4.3 cents of the gas tax, calling it "a bad deal for New York and a potential bonanza for the oil companies."

    During a visit to a shopping mall in the Buffalo suburbs, Clinton said that "the gas tax is one of the few exceptions where we actually get more money back than we send to Washington."

    that was in 2000 (5.00 / 2) (#37)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:13:13 PM EST
    don't play those games here.

    Heh (5.00 / 2) (#52)
    by Steve M on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:20:19 PM EST
    I'm curious, did you even take a look at where gas prices were in 2000?  Or is it too much fun playing Tim Russert by springing little gotchas with no context?

    To be fair. . . (none / 0) (#22)
    by LarryInNYC on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:06:34 PM EST
    her position then is consistent with her position now -- she was running for New York State Senator and if New York benefited from the gas tax her supporting it then is different than opposing it now, when she's running for President of the whole country.

    Nor are the conditions the same now as they were in 2000 -- the gas situation is cutting much more deeply into the many peoples' pockets now.


    IIRC, Obama voted for one when (none / 0) (#93)
    by nycstray on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 06:10:48 PM EST
    he was in the state senate . . .

    Hillary's pander is harmful (none / 0) (#10)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:01:17 PM EST
    policy. Obama is right.

    As politics, I do not know.


    Hillary's plan contains far more (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:12:19 PM EST
    things than the gas tax. Did you read it?

    She also has a plan for reducing our dependence on foreign oil.


    The reason that isn't coming up is that... (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by Addison on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:20:06 PM EST
    ...Hillary's plan makes up the shortfall with a windfall tax on Big Oil.

    However, her total plan cannot be enacted this year because she's not president yet.

    But she still wants the gas tax to be rescinded this summer, absent the rest of her plan, which provided the extra cash for federal project.

    So, her plan is irrelevant to this discussion because she's trying to institute piecemeal, for political gain, what she CLEARLY knows (proved by the wording of the plan, in fact) is a whole package deal.


    The gas tax holiday (5.00 / 1) (#123)
    by eleanora on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 07:33:55 PM EST
    is already going to happen. Clinton is trying get the idea in the public mind that Dems support this, we are not tax-and-spend, but that it has to be paid for somehow. She is not instituting it, McCain and the Republicans are; she's responding to the political reality that it's going to pass and be very very popular.

    Bad link (5.00 / 2) (#57)
    by lyzurgyk on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:23:07 PM EST
    The controversy is on the gas tax holiday (none / 0) (#38)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:13:41 PM EST
    You quote Clinton criticizing Obama for not supporting a gas tax holiday.

    Clinton is pandering on this. With bad policy.


    that's only one part of her plan (none / 0) (#42)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:17:32 PM EST
    You don't call a whole plan bad policy if you are only referring to a portion of it. My post included a link to her entire plan.

    I was calling the gas tax holiday bad policy (none / 0) (#43)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:18:13 PM EST
    I am still calling it bad policy.

    But you don't explain why (none / 0) (#49)
    by Edgar08 on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:19:42 PM EST
    It's a problem, it's that blogging thing where repeating something over and over again just makes it so.

    I'd like to know in detail what horrible things are going to happen to America if this policy was enacted?


    People have given you a number of reasons (none / 0) (#54)
    by andgarden on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:22:14 PM EST
    Here's one I haven't seen yet: long term, lowering the price of gas temporarily (or ever) is a bad idea. Burning more gas accelerates global warming.

    I know that (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by Edgar08 on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:32:13 PM EST
    So support Obama then.  Cause he's the magical guy who can get Americans to drive less by making a speech about it.

    This is candidate cultism at its finest (none / 0) (#72)
    by andgarden on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:34:53 PM EST
    I can support a candidate and say she's wrong in a particular issue.

    It's not a freakin' long term solution (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by Edgar08 on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:36:25 PM EST
    Wrong in a way that makes criticizing it sound pernicious.

    Yeah, if she was saying this will solve all our problems, great.

    Have at it.


    It is a bad idea because (none / 0) (#55)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:22:39 PM EST
    it will increase demand, lose necessary revenue for roads and set a bad example and precedent for dealing with knotty problems.

    I also do not necessarily think it is good politics.  


    I don't think so (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by Edgar08 on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:29:39 PM EST
    Gas isn't a luxury, people buy just as much as they think they need.

    Not as much as they think they want.

    Commercial supply/demand paradigm doesn't work here.  It just doesn't.  It's not like a flat screen TV or a trip to Tahiti or something.  That's what I mean when I say leftist blogs don't get it.  Gas is perceived to be bread and butter, not diamonds and pearls here in America.  Yes.  In Europe, it's different.

    Revenue for roads can be obtained by taxing the oil companies.


    Oh yeah? (5.00 / 1) (#69)
    by andgarden on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:33:30 PM EST
    Why is it that every time SUSA asks people about their summer plans, people say that gas prices have caused them to cancel their summer trips?

    People need to use a certain amount of gas, but as you reduce the price, people take more unnecessary trips and drive bigger cars.


    Tell you what (5.00 / 3) (#82)
    by Edgar08 on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:40:30 PM EST
    Take this seriously, OK.

    Jeralyn writes this above:

    I'm paying attention to this because I was not happy when I filled up my tank Saturday and it came to $65.00.

    Now.  Tell her she didn't have to do that if she didn't want to.

    Take that seriously.

    Go tell Jeralyn that she only did that because she wanted to.  Not because she needed to.


    I'm in total agreement with Ed (5.00 / 1) (#106)
    by MMW on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 06:40:27 PM EST
    I have to buy gas. I work an hour from home in an area where the minimal public transportation that's available, is more expensive and less reliable if I have an emergency, than driving to and from work. Not to mention the site visits I have to drive to.

    Gas is not a luxury. If I knew the prices were going to be lower for three months. I'd put the extra cash towards paying off bills. I'd definitely not be hitting the road. I'd love to change my driving habits (drive less) but I don't even visit friends and family.


    If gas is too high for trips now (5.00 / 2) (#96)
    by nycstray on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 06:14:54 PM EST
    the gas tax holiday won't change that, but will offer relief to people who have to drive. If the gas is going up another 50 cents and people have already changed their plans, do you think they will reconsider when gas will only be 32 cents a gallon more?

    Whether we pay directly at the pump (none / 0) (#70)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:34:27 PM EST
    or indirectly by the oil co's, we still pay.

    Huh? (none / 0) (#73)
    by Addison on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:35:07 PM EST
    In what way do "leftist blogs" not get that gas is a necessity for most of us, in what way does very temporarily (gas has proven to sell @ $3.55, so it will) reducing the price of gas 18 cents fix the problem, and in what way are we going to start taxing Big Oil's profits before this summer?

    ok, it's clear now (none / 0) (#86)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:43:05 PM EST
    you are referring to the gas tax cut part of her plan, not the whole plan.

    Personally, I'd like a gas tax cut. I think a lot of  folks are like me, thinking about it from the standpoint of our wallets right now, not larger issues involving long term solutions.


    Personally I'd like an income tax cut (none / 0) (#91)
    by rilkefan on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:54:54 PM EST
    But as a citizen I don't support that because, well, that kind of policy preference would make me a Republican.

    The part she points to in her ads (none / 0) (#39)
    by andgarden on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:14:26 PM EST
    regards the gas tax. I think that's bad policy.

    Exactly....Read It...It Won't Hurt You....Step (none / 0) (#46)
    by PssttCmere08 on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:18:47 PM EST
    into the light...

    Hillary is probably not helping herself (none / 0) (#14)
    by andgarden on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:03:10 PM EST
    with Al Gore.

    This is weak stuff.

    It's stupid (none / 0) (#26)
    by andgarden on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:07:44 PM EST
    And I know you won't be consoled by the fact that it will never ever happen.

    Right about what? (none / 0) (#28)
    by Edgar08 on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:09:31 PM EST

    The gas tax holiday is bad policy (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:11:05 PM EST
    It's short term (none / 0) (#32)
    by Edgar08 on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:12:11 PM EST
    What horrible thing will happen to America if it's enacted?

    Obama can't win even if he's right. (none / 0) (#89)
    by Mark Woods on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:44:44 PM EST
    because to deny a tax break for Moms and truck drivers while watching the Bush cronies ride into the sunset with multi-million $$ tax breaks makes Obama look like a mean person, not a nice, kind person -- in other words if he responds he can't win, either way.  Very good politics for Hillary, whether it ever happens or not.

    Who are the cronies? (none / 0) (#138)
    by VRWCONSPIRACY on Tue Apr 29, 2008 at 05:02:23 PM EST
    Do you mean the shareholders?  Millions and millions of people own shares in the companies your slamming.  You make is sound like 3 people at Exxon are splitting billions of dollars.  

    I guess anyone who owes a mutual fund is a crony.  Never mind the thousand of employees who drill and deliver the gas to your pump.  


    lol (none / 0) (#116)
    by boredmpa on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 07:04:27 PM EST
    I'll step in front of the bullet.

    It's bad policy because:  

    It puts a short-term hack on a serious problem, thereby setting a precedent for repeated hacks.  Such a precedent is bad because it leads to opportunistic pro-special-interest laws that do not have sunset clauses.  It's also bad because it creates the expectation that the government will blink in the face of high-prices -- and that definitely impacts the market.

    See also: going to war without paying for it, bailing out bear stearns and LTCM, re-extended snooping laws and tax cuts, special case legal exemptions from class actions, and repatriation taxes for businesses.

    It's also bad policy because it requires political capital to get something done (like the rest of hillary's plan) and you can bet that one of the negotiating points would have been a gas tax cut.  Now she's basically taking that off the table, and that means if elected then she has less leverage and could just end up being stonewalled on energy reform (or having to cave on other issues).

    Bad policy, possibly good short term politics. Sure as hell worked for bush.


    1/2 a package deal is a bad deal. (none / 0) (#9)
    by Addison on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:01:14 PM EST
    The federal gas tax is a right-wing scapegoat for other, more important factors. I don't see the use -- long-term or short-term -- in a Democrat using this GOP talking point, not focusing on the real causes, and furthering our national debt and the weakening of our national transportation infrastructure.

    Her plan to make up the difference with "windfall" taxes on the oil giants is fine and good, but it won't be happening this summer so the gas tax shouldn't be lifted this summer. They are proposed as a package for a reason, and to lift one without the ability to impose the other would be irresponsible considering where that money goes.

    But, of course, by next year the primaries will be over.

    McCain is introducing (5.00 / 1) (#105)
    by eleanora on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 06:39:25 PM EST
    a bill in the Senate to suspend the gas tax already, and I don't see it failing. Repubs will be all over this--they're running for re-election too. I think Senator Clinton is trying to get it tied to a windfall profits tax against the oil companies, so at least the federal budget won't take another hit it can't withstand.

    If we're going to get stuck with it, might as well amke sure it's paid for.


    The Dems should be proposing her package... (5.00 / 1) (#127)
    by alexei on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 08:27:18 PM EST
    pass both the "tax holiday" and the windfall profit tax to cover that and let Bush and the Repubs veto and not override the veto; or Bush signs (which I doubt) and it is the Dems who are for the people either way.  Great politics and the policy is fine because you are trying to mitigate short term harm while stressing that medium and long term policy ideas that Clinton has proposed are also quite necessary.

    I think that's a potential tactic... (none / 0) (#130)
    by Addison on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 08:46:20 PM EST
    ...I don't think that will happen, and it would clearly be a dead end b/c Bush would immediately promise to veto it -- thus risking Democrats appearing to simply be playing politics (by being right, of course, but whatever) -- but it's probably the best action along these lines available.

    The problem with a gas tax holiday is manifold (none / 0) (#23)
    by scribe on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:06:39 PM EST
    1.  It will increase demand for gas, because gas will be cheaper or at least not-more-expensive.  No net change in how much people pay for gas, but more being burned.

    The price won't go down, BTW.  The difference will go straight into the oil companies' pockets.  Where I live the price of a gallon has gone up 39 cents in the last 2 1/2 weeks - more than twice the 18 cents/gal federal tax.

    2.  The money it generates is plowed right back into road repairs.  You know those red-white-blue signs alonside construction/maintenance projects which show how many dollars the feds and your state are contributing to fixing the particular road you're driving on, and how the fed dollars always seem to be 10 or 20 times the number of state dollars?  The gas tax is where those fed dollars come from.
    No gas tax, no road repairs.  Remember that when you're in getting a tie rod replaced after hitting that pothole, or when the bridge you're on falls into the river.

    3.  #2 plays into the continuing GOP project to sell off your public highways to (foreign) companies which will operate them as toll roads.  Why?  Because your state will not be able to keep the roads up with their measly budgets and be forced with the alternative of getting un-elected by angry drivers with broken tie-rods and fell-into-the-river case, or selling them to a toll operator.  And, you can bet that the tolls will be several times more than the cost per mile of the gas tax.  

    You want to save money on gas?  Drive less.  If you can't drive less, Get a tuneup.  I recently replaced my plugs and my mileage went from about 20 mpg back up to about 28 mpg.  The just-over $200 I spent on the plugs, wires, tuneup and labor will be amortized, at $3.50/gal gas, in about two months.

    As much as it pains me to agree with you, (5.00 / 2) (#45)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:18:19 PM EST
    you're right. Especially #3.

    For example, our CA Guvenator is supporting changing some of our HOV lanes into toll lanes.

    What? Those HOV lanes are owned by us. We paid for their construction and continue to pay for their maintenance through our taxes, and now you want us to pay again to use them through tolls?!


    The price won't go down (none / 0) (#92)
    by fuzzyone on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 06:04:20 PM EST
    Is a key point (though it undermines the claim that demand will increase).  In fact it may do both. What is likely to happen is that the Oil Cos will let the price slip temporarily, then jack it back up again, turning what was a tax to build roads into oil co profit.  This is way worse than pandering it is terrible policy that turns money for roads into Oil Co profits.

    In one of the few policy differences I have seen Obama is 100% right and Clinton is 100% wrong. That being said the pander may make for good politics.

    In any event high gas prices are what we need to help save the planet.  We need to find ways to ameliorate the regressive nature of the tax effect, but the way to do that is with carbon taxes on gas guzzlers and tax breaks for lower income people.  It needs to be expensive for everyone to drive.


    Just remember this (none / 0) (#139)
    by scribe on Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 01:41:34 PM EST
    The price of gas was, in fact, manipulated (downward) in anticipation of the 2006 elections, so that the Republicans would not suffer an even worse debacle.

    I received that information on authority about as good as anyone can get.


    The planet doesn't need saving... (none / 0) (#140)
    by kdog on Fri May 02, 2008 at 01:56:28 PM EST
    what hubris to think a couple billion mammals could destroy an entire planet.  The earth will be just fine and dandy, once she gets rid of us humans.  

    Global warming/emmisions/pollution/plastic bags/whatever is not a threat to the planet, they are threats to human life on this planet.

    The gas tax should go permanently.  We can fund all the road maintenance we will ever need by restructuring the federal budget.  My first choice would be the abolishment of the DEA.


    Windfall profits tax is key. (none / 0) (#107)
    by eleanora on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 06:45:18 PM EST
    They can jack up the price again, but it just jacks up their taxes. And Hillary has it as a temporary fix, not a permanent one. Her long-term environmental plans are more in line with Al Gore's outlook. Plus political reality check: John McCain and the Repubs are going to do this anyway--do we really want Dems to be left straggling behind? Obama should come out for it too.

    thinking ahead (5.00 / 1) (#111)
    by rooge04 on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 06:52:14 PM EST
    her support negates the issue against McCain, Obama will just come  across as someone against the gas tax cut, loves taxes, etc etc

    Let's (none / 0) (#24)
    by Wile ECoyote on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:06:59 PM EST
    avoid the elephant in the room.  No new refineries since the seventies, Drilling in Anwar, off the coast of FL.  

    Drilling in Anwar (5.00 / 3) (#35)
    by rilkefan on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:12:58 PM EST
    won't help in the short term, it won't help in the long term.  The country has to start reorganizing itself to use less gas - by smaller cars, more efficient cars, better mass transit and urban development, etc. etc. etc.

    Agree... but right now, there is a lot of fear due (none / 0) (#128)
    by alexei on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 08:32:38 PM EST
    to high gas prices and no real alternatives in most areas of the Country and mom and pop operations (like truckers) are going out of business because of this.  I realize that the gas tax won't alleviate enough, but, it helps some along with her idea on releasing Strategic Oil reserves and not buying.  Good politics, and policy as long as her entire short term, medium and long term plan is also implemented.  I really think though Bush will veto this because of the windfall profit tax.  Dems should be jumping all over this.

    Ok (none / 0) (#134)
    by Wile ECoyote on Tue Apr 29, 2008 at 05:55:08 AM EST
    lets hear you timeline on fixing things.  Ideas, timeline.

    Pandering Alert (none / 0) (#68)
    by WorkinJoe on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 05:33:03 PM EST
    Looks like many people realize that McCain and Clinton are just pandering with this idea.  We're already running annual $300 billion deficits.  This will just add another $10 billion.  Hillary, use your Senate seat to get that windfall oil profits tax passed first.  McCain, he's got nothing but more debt.  At least Obama is taking a fiscally responsible position.

    I agree with Obama (none / 0) (#99)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 06:20:26 PM EST
    Suspending the gas tax is an indirect giveaway to oil companies.  How?  It will enable them to raise prices even more due to "demand".

    Instead, offer people incentives for taking mass transit, give people a tax credit for hybrid cars, offer some form of assistance to elderly, poor, but this part I don't know how.

    But don't decrease prices directly at the pumps.  Any decrease will disappear into the hands of an already profit-rich oil industry.

    Let's look at some numbers. (none / 0) (#114)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 07:01:41 PM EST
    big oil makes money in a lot of different areas, but in 2007 Chevron, for example, made about 1 Billion profit from domestic "downstream" sales. "Downstream" is sales of gas, jet fuel, diesel, engine oil, etc.

    Chevron sold about 22.3 Billion gallons of "downstream" stuff last year, of which about 1/2 was gas.

    That means they profited $1Billion/22.3Billon gallons = $0.045 per gallon. iow, profit of 4.5 cents per gallon.

    Even if you (ridiculously) assume they made 100% of their downstream profits on gas sales, and zero profit on jet fuel, diesel, engine, etc., that means they only made twice as much or 9.0 cents per gallon profit on gas.

    Sure, if they were forced to make zero profit margin on gas the price of gas would be $3.89 instead of $3.935 or $3.98.

    Big whoop.

    say it ain't so.... (none / 0) (#135)
    by AgreeToDisagree on Tue Apr 29, 2008 at 09:53:44 AM EST
    Regulate the private oil company cartel!!! (none / 0) (#136)
    by mikestrechland on Tue Apr 29, 2008 at 03:53:56 PM EST
    Noone can be blind to the bonanza going on since the last few years at the private oil companies cartel. They have without justification increased their profits margins by price gouging and cartel to earn record profits. They have politicians & bush/cheney in their pockets and that is why noone is stopping them which is disgusting.

    We must regulate the price on pump and place special taxes on this oil companies cartel otherwise we shall see prices even higher than $5 in summer and a recession that will never stop.

    Lets get real. Gas prices are going crazy because demand has out-paced supply.  Conserving and hybreds have nothing to do with the production of new oil.  

    Tax holidays and wind-fall profits are gimics.  Even if oil companies produced gas for free, the price is still going up up and away.  Get use to the idea of $10/gal unless we start tapping into the vast oil reserves right here in N. America.  

    For those who say, US oil reserves are minimal or meaningless.  Let the oil producers prove you right or wrong.  If it's not your money at risk, what's the harm.  Oh ya, the environment will be harmed.  At what price will the public demand more exploration.  $5, $8 or $10 gal.  Pick your price and how long you want to suffer.