Thomas Friedman is Back: Gas Tax Holiday "Dumb" and Energy Policy Even Worse
by mefck, Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 10:06:03 AM EDT
Thomas Friedman is back from his sabbatical with a wonderful column criticizing the "McCain-Clinton" gas tax holiday.
It is great to see that we finally have some national unity on energy policy. Unfortunately, the unifying idea is so ridiculous, so unworthy of the people aspiring to lead our nation, it takes your breath away. Hillary Clinton has decided to line up with John McCain in pushing to suspend the federal excise tax on gasoline, 18.4 cents a gallon, for this summer's travel season. This is not an energy policy. This is money laundering: we borrow money from China and ship it to Saudi Arabia and take a little cut for ourselves as it goes through our gas tanks. What a way to build our country.
When the summer is over, we will have increased our debt to China, increased our transfer of wealth to Saudi Arabia and increased our contribution to global warming for our kids to inherit.
No, no, no, we'll just get the money by taxing Big Oil, says Mrs. Clinton. Even if you could do that, what a terrible way to spend precious tax dollars -- burning it up on the way to the beach rather than on innovation?
The McCain-Clinton gas holiday proposal is a perfect example of what energy expert Peter Schwartz of Global Business Network describes as the true American energy policy today: "Maximize demand, minimize supply and buy the rest from the people who hate us the most."
Good for Barack Obama for resisting this shameful pandering.
Friedman goes on to talk about how warped our energy priorities are.
Few Americans know it, but for almost a year now, Congress has been bickering over whether and how to renew the investment tax credit to stimulate investment in solar energy and the production tax credit to encourage investment in wind energy. The bickering has been so poisonous that when Congress passed the 2007 energy bill last December, it failed to extend any stimulus for wind and solar energy production. Oil and gas kept all their credits, but those for wind and solar have been left to expire this December. I am not making this up. At a time when we should be throwing everything into clean power innovation, we are squabbling over pennies.
The entire column is here: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/30/opinio n/30friedman.html?_r=2&hp&oref=s login&oref=slogin
This goes to the larger issue of our energy policy. We need real leadership in Washington from our next president, whether its Sen. Clinton or Sen. Obama to promote a sound energy policy that will encourage development of alternative energy sources and discourage the continued exploitation of fossil fuels. It's a win (better environment), win (less dependency on foreign oil, win (less borrowing money from China, etc.) situation.