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McCain and Hillary: suspend the federal gas tax. Obama: don't

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

John McCain is advocating for a suspension of the federal gas tax.  Clinton supports the idea of halting the gasoline tax over the summer, while Obama has spoken out against it, saying "The only way we're going to lower gas prices over the long term is if we start using less oil."

 

Score a point for Obama over Hillary on the environmental front.


Edited by dana1981 - Mon, 28 Apr 2008 17:48:27 UTC
post #2 of 14

I mean....clearly I'm not a huge fan of shelling out $4 a gallon for gas.  But without behavior changes or market demand, the alternative technologies industry isn't going to move as quickly.  At least with slightly higher prices, people do think twice about their transportation choices. 

 

As we all know, gas in a relatively inelastic good (yes, there I go harkening back to my days in high school econ class).  The only thing that suspending the gas tax would do is keep demand high and encourage it to be even higher for the summer.  And that's not a good solution.  It's not any solution at all.

 

 

post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 

I agree.  Suspending the gas tax would just be a temporary solution to make it easier for people to continue to be able to afford heavy gas consumption.  We need to face the facts - gas supplies have nowhere to go but down, developing nation gas demands have nowhere to go but up, and thus gas prices have nowhere to go but up.  We need to get people looking at alternative options, whether that be public transportation, human transportation (i.e. walking and biking), alternative fuel technologies, etc.

 

We still have some of the cheapest gas in the world, less than half the cost of 'petrol' in the UK.  It's high time Americans stopped complaining about high gas prices and started to become more efficient with our fuel consumption.  Cutting the gas tax for a few months is just helping to delay the inevitable.  I don't know about McCain, but in Hillary's case this looks like another pretty clear attempt to win votes at any cost.  Good for Obama sticking to his guns rather than pandering to the voters.

post #4 of 14

Here's a little article from AutoblogGreen today on the whole gas tax fiasco:

 

Man, all this presidential candidate pandering is getting out of control. When John McCain first talked about saving the average family $30 on gas taxes over the summer by instituting a "gas tax holiday," it was easilypegged as a pretty dumb idea that wouldn't do much to help with the average family's budget or with America's addiction to oil. Still, calling for lower taxes is a time-honored pander in American politics, and McCain was soon followed by Hillary Clinton in singing the praises of the tax holiday idea. Her plan includes charging the oil companies $8b to pay for the tax holiday, which McCain's doesn't.

Clinton spent the weekend defending her support, and did so in a bizarre way. During an Indiana town-hall meeting, she did not give ABC host George Stephanopoulos an answer to his question about which economists support the tax holiday. Instead, she tried to argue that the lack of expert/economist support for the idea just means that "
elite opinion" is against the working class on this issue.

Clinton and her Democratic rival, Barack Obama, continue to fight over the issue
today, with Obama rightly calling the holiday idea a "gimmick" (although, as AutoblogGreen readers have pointed out, he did support a state gas tax holiday back when he was in the Illinois Legislature). In a CBS News/New York Times poll that was released yesterday, voters came out against the holiday: 49 percent said it was a bad idea, 45 said it was good.

 

I still think it's a very, very bad idea myself. 

post #5 of 14

 I totally agree -- the Gas Tax seems like a gimmick on behalf of both McCain and Clinton to sway undecided voters.  It's a bad move, in my opinion.  All that's gonna happen is it'll encourage more gas use and then people will have even more sticker shock come fall...what's the point.  The only way we're going to encourage people to buy more efficient, smaller cars is buy keeping the price of gas sky high!!

post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 

Good article.  I have little doubt that Hillary would be against the gas tax holiday if she weren't running for president and losing.

post #7 of 14

 The gas tax holiday is a complete political gimmick that is meant to pander to the American people and give them the impression that they care about their interests.  The issuance of a gas-tax holiday would effectively help to gut the federal transportation trust fund and suspend work on many highway/bridge projects across the country.  The lost revenue would not be made-up by anyone other than the American people.  If the loss of projects/money/jobs is not enough to convince the American people that the gas-tax holiday is anything other than a political trick akin to kissing babies and eating corn dogs at county fairs, then we have bigger issues to tackle than a 20-cent cut at the pump.

However, neither Clinton or McCain addressed the issue of what happens when gas goes to $4/gallon with the tax-holiday, only to go up to $4.19 when the gas-tax holiday is taken away.

This stupid ploy would cost more to implement than it would save the American taxpayer as a whole.  What a truly disappointing plan to address our addiction to oil......

post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 

Well the good news is that the majority of people saw through it.  Subsequent to the gas tax holiday proposal, Hillary got whooped in NC and squeaked out Indiana by less than expected, and now she's essentially been eliminated.  I suspect the gas tax proposal played some roll in these back-breaking losses.

 

And now Obama has a nice weapon to use against McCain in the general election.

post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by dana1981:

Well the good news is that the majority of people saw through it.  Subsequent to the gas tax holiday proposal, Hillary got whooped in NC and squeaked out Indiana by less than expected, and now she's essentially been eliminated.  I suspect the gas tax proposal played some roll in these back-breaking losses.

 

And now Obama has a nice weapon to use against McCain in the general election.

I completely agree!  Very nice summary analysis too!  

post #10 of 14

I'm just so excited to finally get the general election under way...enough with the primaries! Those are going to be some fascinating debates - I'm more engaged in this election than any other before.

post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deej:

I'm just so excited to finally get the general election under way...enough with the primaries! Those are going to be some fascinating debates - I'm more engaged in this election than any other before.

 

Agreed.  As much fun as it's been to sweat out the Obama v. Hillary saga, I'm ready for the real thing!

post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 

Yeah, me too.  In 2000 I was less than inthralled with Gore (before he turned his attention to the environment), and I certainly wasn't thrilled with Kerry in '04.  The Dems finally have a candidate that I actually like, and we're at a critical time politically with global warming, Iraq, health care, etc.  Exciting times.

post #13 of 14

Hahah...okay.  So this is just amazing.  So Hillary has TV spots, right?  Right.  Well...check out this one.

 

 

Great. Fine.  Whatever.  Right?  Wrong.  So did you notice that "newspaper article" floating around with the headline that Obama is attacking Hillary over the gas tax thing? 

 

Yeah, not a real headline.  That story was never written.  Hillary's campaign folk just couldn't find the headline they wanted so they pulled a little Photoshop magic.  Check out the screenshot of the article (courtesy of berni_mccoy):

 

 

The text is a little blurry....but you can still read a lot of it.  Yeah, that article...it's not even about the gas tax!  It's about Troopergate.  In fact, here is the article they used

 

Utterly amazing.

post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 

Haha that's funny.  I mean, Obama has "attacked" (criticized) Hillary on the gas tax, and rightly so.  It's funny they had to photoshop a headline like that though.

 

I think it's more amusing that Hillary is trying to portray herself as the candidate who looks out for the working class.  How does that work?  Both she and Obama are rich politicians who went to Ivy League schools.  I don't see her looking out for blue collar workers any more than him.  She does pander to the working class more than Obama - the gas tax being a perfect example (also drinking beers, doing shots, talking about how she hunted when she was a kid, standing in the back of old pickup trucks during speeches, etc.).

 

Her whole campaign has been about perceptions and illusions, so I guess photoshopping a newspaper headline is par for the course.

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