by Jerome a Paris
Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 09:27:03 AM EST
Atrocious policies but devious politics from McCain:
McCain Proposes Break in Gas Taxes
PITTSBURGH (AP) — John McCain wants the federal government to free people from paying gasoline taxes this summer and ensure that college students can secure loans this fall, a pair of proposals aimed at stemming pain from the country's troubled economy.
To help people weather the downturn immediately, McCain was calling for Congress to institute a "gas-tax holiday" by suspending the 18.4 cent federal gas tax and 24.4 cent diesel tax from Memorial Day to Labor Day. He also renewed his call for the United States to stop adding to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and thus lessen to some extent the worldwide demand for oil.
Let me make the following bets:
- that proposal is going to be very popular, given how people are unhappy with gas prices;
- it is going to embarrass Democrats, who know it's an atrocious idea, and who are going to either be accused of wanting to tax poor Americans, or to not know what they want;
- it's going to reinforce McCain's reputation as a maverick with bold ideas (swoon);
- this is going to be supported by Bush, pushed through Congress in record time, and divide the Democrats - and eventually be applied;
- the price savings from this proposal will be cancelled by the increase in oil prices it will trigger;
- rather than saying it's a bad idea, McCain will double up and propose to eliminate the tax all year long (repeat and rince the earlier embarrassment - just before the election).
As I said: devious politics.
There is a simple answer: be bold. Call the proposal insane. Say loudly that the prices will increase to catpure the differnece, with the money going to Riyad, Caracas, Moscow and Tehran instead of Washington. Accuse McCain of financing the enemies of America and terrorists worldwide.
And be bolder: offer to incrase the gas tax in exchange for a check to all Americans based on the yearly consumption of a big pickup truck (say - 15,000 miles at 15mpg ie 1,000 gallons. Increase the gas tax by $1 and send a $1000 check to each car owner). That would be smart politics.
Why am I not holding my breath?
Meanwhile, oil has hit $113 on news like this:
Fears emerge over Russia’s oil output
Russian oil production has peaked and may never return to current levels, one of the country’s top energy executives has warned, fuelling concerns that the world’s biggest oil producers cannot keep up with rampant Asian demand.
Leonid Fedun, the 52-year-old vice-president of Lukoil, Russia’s largest independent oil company, told the Financial Times he believed last year’s Russian oil production of about 10m barrels a day was the highest he would see “in his lifetime”. Russia is the world’s second biggest oil producer.
Mr Fedun compared Russia with the North Sea and Mexico, where oil production is declining dramatically, saying that in the oil-rich region of western Siberia, the mainstay of Russian output, “the period of intense oil production [growth] is over
Oil hits record on supply concerns
Supply concerns and the weak dollar drove oil prices to record highs on Tuesday.
Nymex West Texas Intermediate for May delivery rose as high as $113.66 a barrel, while the May Brent contract touched $111.85, also a record.
In Mexico, one of the main exporters to the US, the three main export terminals were shut due to bad weather in the Mexican Gulf.
Meanwhile, a top Russian oil executive added to concerns, after saying he believed oil production in the country had peaked at 10m barrels a day.
This comes as oil cartel Opec said the world oil markets were well supplied and added that it expected a seasonal slowdown in demand - a signal that it may consider lowering its production quotas.
Bravo to McCain - his irresponsible proposal will only help show what a joke our current energy policies are.