Give Barack Obama credit for the straight talk, not John McCain or Hillary Clinton. Obama has refused to climb aboard the crazy train of his opponents in both parties suggesting that cutting the Federal tax on gasoline this summer makes sense. It doesn’t.
Gasoline usage is price sensitive. Cutting the cost for the summer by suspending the Federal tax of 18.4 cents will not lower the price because the same fixed amount will be available and oil companies will merely raise the price to take advantage of customer demand. Any decrease in prices will be very short term.
The oil companies have no qualms about raising prices. They continue to rake in record profits at the expense of American car and truck users. Republicans in Congress, and President Bush with his threatened veto power, continue to support the oil companies making record profits at the expense of the American economy and American consumers.
And the bulk of the profits raked in don’t even go for producing more oil or alternative energy. For example, as Yahoo.news reports:
“Exxon posted record earnings of $40.6 billion in 2007, with revenue higher than the gross domestic profit of Turkey, the world’s 17th-largest economy….
The company has been criticized by some analysts and investors for laying back on capital spending while going full bore on share buybacks.
Exxon spent $31.8 billion to buy back shares in 2007 while shelling out $20.9 billion for capital expenditures.”
Exxon Mobil reported today that they raked in another $10.89 billion in first quarter profits this year.
So American consumers are shelling out their cash so that companies like Exxon can but back their stock. It’s absurd. At least Hillary Clinton proposes that the oil companies be hit with an excess profits tax to pay for her proposed summer tax cut. John McCain does not even support that and says he would cut elsewhere.
Democrats tried to pass legislation to end special subsidies to oil companies but Republicans held fast and stopped legislation passing. Democrats wanted the subsidies to go for funding alternative energy programs like wind and solar, which would help to reduce global warming impacts from carbon fuels. Instead we are left with no approval of existing incentives for solar and wind energy which expire at the end of this year.
And where was John McCain when votes were taking place to pass an energy policy to reduce dependence on carbon fuels and reduce global warming. AWOL – see excellent article by Grist on McCain’s missed votes in Congress, rightly pointing out McCain’s professed concern about climate change action is more hot air than anything else.
Dumb as we Wanna Be – New York Times
The Gas-Guzzler Gambit – New York Times editorial
Summer Fuel-ishness – Seattle Times editorial
Clinton Gas Tax Proposal Criticized – Washington Post