A Forceful Response to the McCain-Clinton Gas Tax Attacks
by Jonathan Singer, Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 02:30:42 PM EDT
Barack Obama is up with a 60-second ad pushing back against the notion that shutting down the federal gas tax for the summer would be a good move. Take a look:
While the rhetoric being pushed by the Clinton and McCain campaigns working together in tandem to attack Obama may sound sensible on the surface -- who doesn't want a little relief on the price they pay for gas (even if the savings won't completely go to the American driver because lowering the price of gasoline will lead to increased demand which will lead to increased prices; the actual price decrease might only come out to be half of 18.4 cent-per-gallon tax, at best, were the holiday put in place) -- the overwhelming weight of the evidence suggests that this is simply bad policy through and through. Here's Reuters:
A gas tax holiday proposed by U.S. presidential hopefuls John McCain and Hillary Clinton is viewed as a bad idea by many economists and has drawn unexpected support for Clinton rival Barack Obama, who also is opposed.
Economists said that since refineries cannot increase their supply of gasoline in the space of a few summer months, lower prices will just boost demand and the benefits will flow to oil companies, not consumers.
"You are just going to push up the price of gas by almost the size of the tax cut," said Eric Toder, a senior fellow at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center in Washington.
The American people aren't dumb. They understand that this policy proposal is basically a stunt -- something that the Clinton campaign has all but admitted -- that won't do anything to solve the underlying problems facing America's energy supply in the long run and won't really do much even in the short run, either. As such, even though I think it would behoove Obama to stress not only that this McCain-Clinton proposal would not achieve what it sets out to achieve but it would also have direct and adverse effects on American infrastructure (the tax goes directly to funding projects to shore up and build roads) and the U.S. economy (the tax helps pays for thousands and thousands and thousands of jobs right here in America), I think it's a solid play that hits Obama's core message while responding strongly to the double team attack from Clinton and McCain.