Friday, May 2, 2008

Daily Kos on the Proposed Gas Tax Vacation

Reposted from Daily Kos, obviously.

Deja vu

Fri May 02, 2008 at 11:25:21 AM PDT

Uh oh.

"I want to know where people stand and I want them to tell us, are they with us or against us when it comes to taking on the oil companies?" [Clinton] added.

Wait, with us or against us? Isn’t that Bush’s line?

Making matters slightly worse, the Clinton campaign acknowledged yesterday that every policy expert of every ideological stripe has described the McCain-Clinton idea as nonsense, but they don’t care.

"There are times that a president will take a position that a broad support of quote-unquote experts agree with," spokesperson Howard Wolfson said. "And there are times they will take a position that quote-unquote experts do not agree with."

Remember the last time a president took a "with us or against us" line? And remember the last time a president ignored what the policy experts cautioned?

Yeah, me too. I have no desire to relive the Bush Administration yet again.

Because when you ignore the policy experts, you end up with the exact opposite of what you think you are trying to accomplish, as Steve Benen notes.

In the with-us-or-against-us formulation, it’s particularly odd that Clinton insists opponents of her gas-tax idea "stand with the oil companies." By all indications, she has it backwards.

Economists ... say the oil companies may end up the biggest beneficiaries, while the aid to families wouldn’t be enough to buy a $35 backpack.

The trouble with the plan, they say, is that oil prices are rising because of low supplies, and companies will continue to charge the average $3.60 a gallon and just pocket the money that would have gone to federal taxes.

"That’s $10 billion, and it’s going into the pockets of oil refiners," said Leonard Burman of the Tax Policy Center in Washington. "The last time I checked, they didn’t need it."

Supplies are "being cleared at the current price," said Donald Parsons, an economics professor at George Washington University in Washington. "If you take away the tax, you’ll have the same number of consumers willing to buy the gas at the same total price."

Clinton may have a political winner on her hand. I have no doubt it's been worth a few points in Indiana and North Carolina. But invading Iraq was a political winner for Bush, until Middle East experts (and by "experts", I don't mean the morons at the AEI) were proven correct by reality.

It would be nice to have a president who listens to reason, and not one who panders with bad policy in the mad pursuit of power.

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