GIVE ME MY GAS TAX CUT

All you elitist whiny liberals who are trying to keep me from getting my gas tax cut need to buzz off.

This is about me. It's about whether I can buy a gallon of milk or a gallon of gasoline. Gas prices will go WAYYYYYY DOWN when you cut the gas tax and give me MONEY. And you elitists need to keep your economic elitism away from me and at least 20 feet my kids, who need both their gasoline and their milk, and they don't need no lectures from elitists.

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Hillary - Experts are elitists (w/Video)

Here's a great quote form Clinton on the Gas Tax Holiday.

Many economists oppose the plan and Clinton, during an interview on ABC's "This Week," demurred when asked to name one who supports it. "I'm not going to put my lot in with economists because I know if we did it right ... it would be implemented effectively," she said.

I initially followed this up with snark, but have since decided that this is too serious for that. I am really bothered by this style of argument. Writing off "experts" wholesale is scary. She is essentially saying, "Despite evidence, despite analysis, I know that I am right." Check out both videos beyond the fold for a discomforting comparison.

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dismissive liberals to white workers: drop dead

oh the righteous indignation and guffawing by the right wing creeps towards this silly clinton mccain idea of a gas tax holiday...in this merriment are many so called progressives who sniff about how insignificant this measly amount of money is, how its a ruse, oh, yes, easy to mock and minimalize, which is what many of you progressives here are doing, the struggling blue collar workers, as a whole.

i recognize that many young working class peeps are for obama, as is my son, who lives on his own and he and his girlfriend are finding it tough nowadays...but he does yearn for change, i can understand that, and him being my spawn, well, i expect him to have a mind of his own, and he does....but most blue collar middle aged voters are not so sold on this change being offered.

while it might not be fiscally tidy, while it might be sneered at by folks who drive tanks posing as highway motor vehicles, drinking $5 coffee, the impact of gas, food, medical costs are killing lower class families.

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What the gas tax issue shows about Clinton

Clinton and her supporters claim that what Clinton offers is in-depth policy knowledge, experience, and the ability to get things done in Washington.

But this gas tax proposal shows some serious weaknesses on her behalf.

First, it demonstrates her lack of leadership abilities when it comes to dealing with Congress.  Today she said that they should vote on the plan, which every expert pans, to show if they're with her or against her.

Would this be her strategy for congressional relations should she become president?  Well, we saw how poorly she managed that with health care under Bill's administration.  HRC ignored Senator Moynihan's advice to create a plan in consultation with Congress. Then Bill said he'd veto a plan that wasn't enough like the one HRC developed.  As a result, all of us lost because nothing was passed.  With Hillary telling Congress to just do what she wants, it sure doesn't look like she's learned anything since.

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Undeclared Superdelegates Don't Like "With Us Or Against Us"

Yesterday, Hillary Clinton threw down the gauntlet on the issue of a holiday for the gas tax, asking members of Congress, "Are they with us or against us"?

Apparently members of Congress -- and perhaps more importantly for the race for the Democratic nomination, Democratic members in their roles as superdelegates -- are not taking this ultimatum well, joining with the consensus of energy experts and economists opposing the Clinton-McCain plan. According to The Hill's Jared Allen and Jackie Kucinich, the House leadership, most members of which have not endorsed in the presidential race, are calling the plan "DOA", or dead on arrival. Specifically, both Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer have spoken on the record as to their opposition to such a move.

But it is not only the Democrats' congressional leadership that is staying away from endorsing the Clinton-McCain plan. Take, for instance, unpledged superdelegate Mark Udall, the congressman from Colorado who is the Democrats' presumptive Senate nominee in the state and who also has a background in energy and environmental policy. A release from Udall's campaign reads as follows:

Yesterday in Indiana, Hillary Clinton challenged every member of Congress to go on the record with a position regarding her proposal to temporarily suspend the federal gasoline tax, and state whether they were with her or against her. Senator McCain has offered the same proposal, despite experts from all sides declaring that this plan will not actually lower costs for drivers.

Today, Congressman and Senate candidate Mark Udall responded to the challenge:

"There is no issue I have spent more time on in my public service career than working for real, responsible change in our energy policy - the kind that breaks our addiction to foreign oil and puts us on a path to greater national security, a stronger economy, and lower energy costs for our families.   There is certainly no question that families are hurting with the soaring cost of energy and need relief.

"The so-called 'temporary gas tax holiday' that Senators Clinton and McCain propose won't deliver this needed relief.  This will not create the economic relief they say it will, because prices will continue to rise until we address the real source of this problem.  We do need to provide immediate relief for families hard-hit by spiraling gas prices, and we can do that by demanding the President stop adding to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. This will ease the production crunch that is causing these skyrocketing gas prices.

"Senator Clinton claimed yesterday that I either stand with her on this proposal or stand with the oil companies.  To that I say: I stand with the families of Colorado, who aren't looking for bumper sticker fixes that don't fix anything, but for meaningful change that brings real relief and a new direction for our energy policy.  We can't afford more Washington-style pandering while families keep getting squeezed.

"It is exactly the kind of short-sighted Washington game that keeps us from getting real results to our energy problem.  Experts across the ideological spectrum agree that it will increase the deficit, drain money away from Colorado roads and bridges, and hurt the environment, all without actually making prices lower for drivers."

Looking at a study from the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (.pdf), a three month suspension of the federal gasoline tax would cost roughly $12 billion in revenue for infrastructure but would also cause the loss of over 300,000 jobs. This would include $96 million and 3,351 jobs for Colorado. For reference, it would also cost Indiana $183,722,596 in transportation money, as well as 6,390 highway-related jobs, and cost North Carolina $203,319,748 in federal highway funds and 7,071 jobs. All of this for a plan that would likely do more to pad the profits of big oil companies than it would to lower the actual price at the pump, while at the same time potentially increasing gasoline usage, thus detrimentally affecting the environment.

With numbers like these, perhaps it shouldn't be such a surprise that Democrats on Capitol Hill -- both in their roles as members of Congress and as superdelegates -- aren't biting at Clinton's challenge, and that, what's more, Clinton herself is reportedly toning down the language of this ultimatum.

Update [2008-5-2 17:42:30 by Jonathan Singer]: Some say that I should mention that there is a difference between Clinton and McCain on this issue. I think it's a fairly meaningless one. McCain says that he would pay for the gas holiday through deficit spending. Clinton says that she would pay for the gas holiday through increased taxes on oil companies -- something that would not have any chance of passing through the Congress, and even if it did would not pass with a veto-proof margin to override President Bush's opposition to such a move. Given this set of circumstances, Clinton either has to pay for this policy through deficit spending (like McCain), through cutting off funding to the highway trust (which has terrible ramifications, as mentioned above), or simply not having the holiday. So while there may be some daylight between Clinton and McCain on this issue, it's really small, and not so much that it would be wrong to call this the Clinton-McCain plan (particularly when both of them are using similar talking points to hit Obama on the issue).

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