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Hoyer Sides with Obama on Gas Tax

By Jonathan Weisman
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) waded into the contentious issue of a suspension of the federal gasoline tax this morning, saying categorically that the Democratic leadership of Congress has no intention of pursuing a policy that he said "would not be positive."

Both Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) have proposed suspending the 18-cent-per-gallon gas tax for the summer driving season.

McCain has proposed using general Treasury revenues to make up for the drain on the highway trust fund, which the gas tax finances. Clinton said the "tax holiday" would be funded by a tax on oil companies reaping the largest profits in their history.

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has opposed it, saying it would have little impact at the gasoline pump but could cost thousands of jobs by disrupting the source of funds for much-needed infrastructure construction. Obama's position has opened himself to brutal attacks from both McCain and Clinton, who has begun advertising on the issue in Indiana ahead of Tuesday's primary there.

Most economists side with Obama on the issue. Summer gasoline price spikes are driven by demand for fuel far more than supply issues. Suspending the federal gas tax might have a very temporary impact, but prices would rise back quickly to what's known as "the market-clearing rate." If they did not, the country would quickly face fuel shortages.

That would mean the 18-cent decrease in gas taxes would represent a temporary subsidy to the oil companies, says James Hamilton, an energy economist at the University of California - San Diego.

Hoyer agreed, as did other Democratic congressional leaders, who confirmed a "tax holiday" is unlikely to be part of either a gasoline price bill to be unveiled tomorrow in the Senate or gas-price legislation expected to be attached by the House next week to a war-funding bill.

"A suspension of the tax would not be positive," Hoyer said. "The oil companies would just raise their prices."

By Washington Post Editors  |  April 30, 2008; 11:56 AM ET
 
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The gas tax rebate or whatever is nothing but political pandering at its WORST!

Posted by: KYJurisDoctor | May 2, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Clinton and McCain are both senators. Instead of talking about how nice it would be to get this temporary suspension of the gas tax, why don't they actually pass it? If they can get it through Congress, it will be a good test for how effective either would be as president. If not, it would show that they are just full of hot air. So how about it?

Posted by: nazcalito | May 1, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone know how much gasoline costs in Saudi Arabia?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 1, 2008 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Steve(s):

If you are still around, let me know. Not sure which "transaction" one of you referred to.

Seriously, though, my initial point was no different than (OBAMA SUPPORTER!!!) AJ in IL made: "If you could immediately remove the federal gas tax today, it will cause the price at the pump to immediately drop by 18 cents per gallon." No one has disputed that fact. All the posts above complain about what would happen AFTER that.

Actually, if I were an American oil company CEO, I would start now, before Memorial Day, and slowly build in the 18 cent price increase -- then do everything, including cutting into profits to sustain the gas-tax 18 cent drop after Memorial Day -- maybe that's what is already happening.

I wonder if it would be ruled "discriminatory" for a publically-traded oil company to give all U.S. citizens a discount at the pump? There are "USA" brand gas stations out here in California -- bring your passport or birth certificate and get 50 cent/ gallon off -- that would be a great gimmick!!!

Posted by: JakeD | May 1, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Oh, Libbies-BTW:

The BIGGEST Reason President McCain probably wants to push the Tax Break, is so he can brag about ACTUALLY being one of the First candidates to Actually Reduce Taxes for the Poorer Half of the Country! :-)

See, unlike "Barry" Obasama, HE Realizes the Gas Tax is the ONLY ONE THEY PAY! ;~)

Posted by: RAT-The | May 1, 2008 1:01 AM | Report abuse

Awwww.

Did I miss out on all the Intellectual Discourse? :-(

Maybe President McCain will pass on some of what I passed on to HIS Camp, INSTEAD of the World Wide Web! :~)

This IS a very serious Subject. My Views are on a Need to Know Basis.

And at this particular time, Libbies did not need to know! ;~)

I will tell everyone this much though, You did not even come close to Stepping on MY Toes! ;~)

BUT, I am sure your Mothers tell you you are Smart! :-)

Posted by: RAT-The | May 1, 2008 12:53 AM | Report abuse

The deficit and rate cuts led to Dollar DROP of 50% which doubles the price of oil.

Its the Deficit STUPID

Cut Spending

TAX THE PRIVILEDGE AT THE SAME RATE AS THE POOR not 15% with no SS deduction for capital gains

Posted by: Bush is not that bright | April 30, 2008 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Jake,

I have found several oil and gas investors interested in your transaction. I have attached a consulting fee agreement which also lays out our fee for financing the transaction with the government. Please review the agreement and sign and return it to me. Via Fax at

Thank you for the opportunity to work with you on this transaction.

Sincerely

Steve

Posted by: Anonymous | April 30, 2008 7:23 PM | Report abuse

INDIANAPOLIS -- Hillary Clinton loves to tell the story about how the Chinese government bought a good American company in Indiana, laid off all its workers and moved its critical defense technology work to China.

It's a story with a dramatic, political ending. Republican President George W. Bush could have stopped it, but he didn't.

If she were president, Clinton says, she'd fight to protect those jobs. It's just the kind of talk that's helping her win support from working-class Democrats worried about their jobs and paychecks, not to mention their country's security.

I wonder if it is of any interest to Indy voters that Hillary was on the board of Wal-Mart for six years? The largest union busting company in the world. She sat through years of speeches with quotes like "Unions are the biggest blood sucking leeches in the world." Hillary is for working class folks? Ya right. Look it up. Also hypocritical is her admonishment of the Chinese. Wal-Mart is the largest importer of Chinese goods in the world. I find it odd that Hillary could on the one hand, serve on the board of Wal-Mart of six years, importing Chinese products, keeping unions out then turn around and garner support from Unions, working class folk and the ngive speeches on the evils of China. THAT is the height of hypocrisy.

Posted by: feastorafamine | April 30, 2008 6:23 PM | Report abuse

JakeD and any other supporters of the Gas Tax Holiday,

Please step back one moment. Ask yourself this question, "What is the most politically expediant and advantageous thing to do in this debate?"

In fact, please consider why any politician, especially one running for the highest office in the land, would go against such a easy vote-getter such as the Gas Tax Holiday?

Now, lets go back to the early years of President Clinton. Remember how much flak he took for raising taxes and cutting the military expenditures? Do you know how politically death-defying that decision was?

Obama is not out of touch with the working class, any more than Bill was in the early 90's. What they both saw is a faltering economy that needs far more restructuring and common sense change.

Now, I must admit as well that both sides of this political fight have become blinded by loyalty. JakeD is not the ONLY one here who is guilty of becoming hypnotized by their favorite choice.

The sad thing, in my opinion, is that there are plenty of very qualified intellectual minds on this forum. Some educated, some not so educated. I believe we would all be better served if the comments here reflected personal opinion instead of us all defending our choice for nominee.

I'll start. I'm an Obama supporter. I wonder why Obama didn't spend more time vocally against the war after his 2002 speech. It wasn't until the war became politically unpopular that he started to speak out publically against it. Why?

Posted by: Steve-O | April 30, 2008 5:23 PM | Report abuse

gas is still to cheap.there was no incentive to conserve fuel but maybe now americans will have to wake up and finally realize the price we have to pay for being so wasteful.europeans are paying$7.50 a gallon. still think its too expensive?

Posted by: jim | April 30, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse

The "STORY" is that your assertion that Hillary is somehow squeeky clean with regard to campaign finance is ABSURD. Why not look at it BEFORE both Obama and Hillary decided to run. Perhaps that would give a clear indication as to how they really feel.
PAC contributions for Hillary in US Senate (NY)

K Street Cash-$ 615,700

Acceptance of travel Expenses - $ 60,001 to $ 70,000

Contributions of out of state donars- $27,545,130

Percentage from small donars- 30.6 %

Total PAC contributions- $ 2,745,319
http://www.cleanupwashington.org/sii/sii_tables.cfm?State=NY&step=2


OBAMA
K Street cash- $ 35,600

Travel expenses- $ 0

Contributions from out of state- $ 6,037,451

percentage from small donars- 47.7 %

total PAC contributions- $ 1,170,609
http://www.cleanupwashington.org/sii/sii_tables.cfm?State=IL&step=2

No matter how and when you add it up this really isnt Hillary's strong point. Keep digging a deeper hole.

Average campaign contribution to Obama
$109

Average campaign donation to Hillary Clinton
$1,047

Obama has DOUBLE the amount of contributers.

Posted by: feastorafamine | April 30, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Chavex has really embaressed american oil companies by making sure Venizualan oil is discounted for its own people to 17cents/gallon. Unlike our oil companies which give no discount to US citizens.

Posted by: geo6mm | April 30, 2008 4:49 PM | Report abuse

feastofflies,

You, Tard, Hsu bundled money for Obama too! How stupid of you! Both campaigns returned or donated the money and Hsu is in prison. There's no story there.

Posted by: The Truth | April 30, 2008 4:39 PM | Report abuse

It takes 20.00/barrel for processing of US oil. US oil makes up 8/13 of all our oil used daily. on this oil american companies make 2.75/gallon pure profit. No wonder they wan't alaskan wilderness oil.

Posted by: geo6mm | April 30, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Obammy, bought and paid for. Wonder if they'll be wanting their money back now?

The Washington Post -- April 11,2008 -- Obama gets plenty of money from big donors too: "Sen. Barack Obama credits his presidential campaign with creating a 'parallel public financing system' built on a wave of modest donations from homemakers and high school teachers. ... But those with wealth and power also have played a critical role in creating Obama's record-breaking fundraising machine, and their generosity has earned them a prominent voice in shaping his campaign. Seventy-nine 'bundlers,' five of them billionaires, have tapped their personal networks to raise at least $200,000 each. ... Donors who have given more than $200 account for about half of Obama's total haul, which stands at nearly $240 million. ... The bundler list also sheds light on those who might seek to influence an Obama White House. They have helped the campaign recruit more than 27,000 donors to write checks for $2,300, the maximum allowed. Donors who have given more than $200 account for about half of Obama's total haul, which stands at nearly $240 million. The use of bundlers was perfected by George W. Bush, who in 2000 and 2004 set some fundraising records that Obama has shattered.

Posted by: The Truth | April 30, 2008 4:36 PM | Report abuse

mitrebox:
Are you seriously taking Obama to task for the war in Iraq? Do you honestly believe that one senator can stop the war. Do you honestly believe the "do nothing democrats" have the ability with their one seat advantage to stop the GOP's war?

TheTruth....
How absolutely astounding that you would have the nerve to quote a fox news poll on the worthiness of Democratic candidates. I should be able to contain my laughter at some point in November, after the election of Mr. Obama.

Posted by: Tim S | April 30, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

You mean bundlers like the 850,000 raised by bundler and convicted crook Norman Hsu for Hillary?

100,000 by Mr. Danielczyk

Howard Wolfson, a spokesman for Mrs. Clinton, said: "These allegations are troubling and we will again ask each of the individuals solicited by Mr. Danielczyk to affirm that their contributions were given with their own funds." Mr. Wolfson said the campaign will return any contributions that didn't come from the donor's own money.

"We strongly support this Van Hollen-Meehan bill and its companion provision in the Senate-passed championed by Senators Barak Obama (D-IL) and Russ Feingold (D-WI). We urge the House to ensure these provisions are included in the lobbying disclosure reform measure expected this spring and to ensure that the bundling disclosure provisions are not quietly smothered behind closed doors of the conference committee."

The amount of money Obama had recieved through bundling is surprisingly equal to Hillary, which is rather shocking considering He has out raised her considerably.

As ABC News reported, "Two of Clinton's top moneymen, John Merrigan and Matthew 'Mac' Bernstein, are part of a lobbying team hired by the rulers of Dubai to defend against a U.S.-based lawsuit alleging that the rulers had enslaved young boys to race camels."

Merrigan and Bernstein have since pledged to raise at least $250,000 for Clinton's presidential campaign, and DLA Piper employees now represent the largest bloc of contributors to Clinton's presidential campaign, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

In a letter to Clinton, Public Citizen said her campaign "fails to disclose bundlers' cities and states of residence, how much money they raised other than to note that they have raised at least $100,000, or who they raised their money from."

Her disclosure "not only fails to set an exemplary standard," it doesn't even "live up to the standard of George Bush and Dick Cheney," the watchdog group said.

OOPS! I am not even factoring in the VAST conflicts of interest with Bill accepting money from Lobbysists OPPSED to Hillary's own policies. I could go on and on....and i LIKE Hillary.

Posted by: feastorafamine | April 30, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

If Washington removes the tax on gasoline what economic force will stop the oil companies from raising the price an equivalent amount. It does not make sense for them not to do it. They can raise their profit without potentially lowering their demand. It is government support of the oil companies.

JakeD knows that he is just too "smart" to admit it.

Posted by: Gator-ron | April 30, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Is honesty and good economics becoming the standard for the house. That is not politics as usual. Does this say that the House favors a change in Washington politics.

Not having Hillary's screeching voice is the first change we need then it is getting Obama elected to lead those willing followers in the House of Representatives is the second.


Posted by: Gator-ron | April 30, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

factcheck2, unfortunately speculation isn't "criminal" at all, and "what you've heard" isn't accurate--nobody sensible is saying the price would be any lower than the mid-80s without the effect of speculation.

And greater fuel efficiency really is the only long-term way out of it; since US demand is so price-inelastic right now, it will always be just as easy to speculate as it is now.

Posted by: wgreenhouse | April 30, 2008 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: factcheck2 | April 30, 2008 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Let's be clear - the price of oil is now being determined by speculators on Wall Street who have gotten out of stocks and into commodities and oil futures. That's raised the price $40-$50 per barrel, from what I've heard. This is criminal, and Clinton has again and again called for an investigation of, unlike her opponent, who's still delivering the same generic "I'm going to fight the special interests" speech at every stop. If he's such a hot-shot with the facts, why is that the only idea he's come with regarding the price-gouging is that Detroit should make more fuel-efficient cars? Face it, Obama is the trojan horse being driven into the Democratic convention by Karl Rove, the neoconservatives who managed the crossover voting drive of Republicans at the caucuses, and the now corporate-controlled Democratic leadership. For more on this swindle, see the following:

http://www.thecityedition.com/Pages/Arch ive/Winter08/2008Election.html

Posted by: factcheck2 | April 30, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

The Truth: Last I checked, it was Ms. Clinton's bundlers who had the habit of turning out to be gangsters. What proof do you have of any of this, since all the data is against you?

Posted by: wgreenhouse | April 30, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

No goal posts moved. Obama tasks Millions from special interests. He just uses bundlers instead of PACsw. It's a clever way of covering it up and fooling idiots like you.

I prefer a candidate who admits taking money from them and is still willing to butt heads with them.

What kind of "change will your phoney Bama bring? None, from what I can see. He's already too bought and paid for!

Posted by: The Truth | April 30, 2008 4:08 PM | Report abuse

I suggest that we have a holiday from driving not the ridiculous holiday from the gas tax. Let's not rely on Hillary ( i promise you anything for your vote) and MCGeorge (who doesn't know much about anything) 's hit the oil companies where it hurts...in their botton lines. Stay home one day on the weekend, reconnect with your families, lump your errands together and don't run all over the country side. USe public transportation..not just for poor folks who don't own cars, insist that the government get into the public transportation business,

It is about time that we took a proactive stance instead of waiting to be saved by politicians!
How about a consumer freeze energy use and driving - now that would be novel!

Posted by: mrs ct | April 30, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Remove the gas tax and the Gas companies will just raises the prices anyways. Think about it. As well, I think Obama has the consensus of the American people here after reading these blog comments, etc.

Posted by: Factory Worker, Akron Ohio | April 30, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

You'd rather have 300,00 people lose their construction jobs so you can save $25 to $30 over 3 months. The problem with gas prices is in the commodity markets. Hedge funds and pension managers are distorting the actual price of supply and demand by moving huge sums of money into the commodity markets (grain, cotton, oil). They don't even buy a bushel of grain. The democratic congress tried to pass legislation to block the loophole but Bush vetoed it. Check out the webcast at:
U.S. Commodity futures Trading Commission
Agricultural Forum
April 22, 2008

webcast: http://www.cftc.gov/index.htm

Posted by: Thagan | April 30, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

to JakeD: I like democracy just fine. We should try it some time.

Posted by: Caroler | April 30, 2008 3:56 PM | Report abuse

@The Truth: Oh yes Obama hates accountability for money in politics which is why he helped create http://www.usaspending.gov/

A fine legislative achievement for openness in government, I think.

and mitrebox, to be quite honest with you, I have very little respect for any Senate or House Democrat who's been office in the last 7 years. Obama is simply one of the least damaged people left, along with Russ Feingold and a few anti-war Republicans like Chuck Hagel. My preferred Dem nominee would've been Richardson. ;-)

Posted by: wgreenhouse | April 30, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Lie about it?
You mean when he says he doesnt take money from Oil companies? Ummm its true. So if i work at Shell pumping gas i am not allowed to contribute money to a campaign? REALLY American of you.
Hillary's PAC contributions...
Business
$435,158
56%

Labor
$88,538
11%

Ideological/Single Issue
$250,284
32%

Obama's PAC contributions....
Business
$1,000
8%

Labor
$0
0%

Ideological/Single Issue
$12,137
92%

OOPS!
Obama doesnt have to lie. We have NUMBERS and actual data to look at.
http://www.opensecrets.org/pres08/summary.asp?id=N00009638
http://www.opensecrets.org/pres08/summary.asp?id=N00000019

Posted by: feastorafamine | April 30, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

The Truth, did I just hear the sound of your goalposts moving?

Posted by: wgreenhouse | April 30, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

To: JakeD. You are what we call a troll. You create a negative atmosphere trolling for people to respond. Do you have a real life?

yes, by the way, if the supply curve is veritical, i.e., perfectly inelastic, in cut in gas tax will go straight into the pocket of oil companies. In fact, a better idea would be to increase it by a dollar, and then use the revenue providing income tax credits inorder to buy new cars that get more than 35 MPG for those who make less than 75k. This would allow them to purchase new cars that use far less gas.

Posted by: Econ Teacher | April 30, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse

LW,

The hitch is in your giddee up. $27,000,000,000 / 65,000,000 tax returns = $415.38/return.

~john

Posted by: johnrdupree | April 30, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Feastofflycrap:

From fact check.org

OOPS!

Obama has, however, accepted more than $213,000 in contributions from individuals who work for, or whose spouses work for, companies in the oil and gas industry, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. That's not as much as Sen. Hillary Clinton, who has received more than $306,000 in donations from people tied to the industry.
_________________

The difference being, she doesn't lie about it. He's the one who tries to cover it up with disingenuous BS!

Posted by: The Truth | April 30, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

mitrebox, I expect plenty of them, and the entire government bears collective responsibility for the war, but the fact is that the moment to show responsibility was before this war even started, and both Clinton and McCain failed to see its immorality and false pretenses.

There's very little that Obama or anyone else in the Senate can do about an administration that can count on consistent passage of Bush's budgets by the House of Representatives and an executive branch that loves to say "So what?"

Posted by: wgreenhouse | April 30, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

From fact check.org

OOPS!

Obama has, however, accepted more than $213,000 in contributions from individuals who work for, or whose spouses work for, companies in the oil and gas industry, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. That's not as much as Sen. Hillary Clinton, who has received more than $306,000 in donations from people tied to the industry.

TRY the actual data
http://www.opensecrets.org/pres08/summary.asp?id=N00009638

http://www.opensecrets.org/pres08/summary.asp?id=N00000019

Posted by: feastorafamine | April 30, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Now, let me make sure I post this Wright:

FOX News Poll: Nearly half of Democrats (48 percent) think Hillary Clinton has a better chance of beating McCain in November -- 10 percentage points higher than the 38 percent who think Barack Obama can win

Posted by: The Truth | April 30, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

from factcheck.org

When the Clinton campaign criticized Obama's ad, calling it "false advertising," Obama's campaign quickly noted that he didn't take money from political action committees or lobbyists.

We'd say the Obama campaign is trying to create a distinction without very much of a practical difference. Political action committee funds are pooled contributions from a company's or an organization's individual employees or members; corporate lobbyists often have a big say as to where a PAC's donations go. But a PAC can give no more than $5,000 per candidate, per election. We're not sure how a $5,000 contribution from, say, Chevron's PAC would have more influence on a candidate than, for example, the $9,500 Obama has received from Chevron employees giving money individually.

In addition, two oil industry executives are bundling money for Obama - drumming up contributions from individuals and turning them over to the campaign. George Kaiser, the chairman of Oklahoma-based Kaiser-Francis Oil Co., ranks 68th on the Forbes list of world billionaires. He's listed on Obama's Web site as raising between $50,000 and $100,000 for the candidate. Robert Cavnar is president and CEO of Milagro Exploration LLC, an oil exploration and production company. He's named as a bundler in the same category as Kaiser.

We're not making any judgments about whether Obama is influenced by campaign contributions. In fact, we'd note that he singles out ExxonMobil in this ad, even though he's received more than $30,850 from individuals who work for the company. But we do think that in theory, contributions that come in volume from oil industry executives, or are bundled by them, can be every bit as influential as PAC contributions, if not more so.


Lobbyist Loopholes?


We've noted before that Obama's policy of not taking money from lobbyists is a bit of hair-splitting. It's true that he doesn't accept contributions from individuals who are registered to lobby the federal government. But he does take money from their spouses and from other individuals at firms where lobbyists work. And some of his bigger fundraisers were registered lobbyists until they signed on with the Obama campaign.

Even the campaign has acknowledged that this policy is flawed. "It isn't a perfect solution to the problem and it isn't even a perfect symbol," Obama spokesman Bill Burton has said.

.....No it's not perfect. It's downright misleading and dishonest.

Posted by: The Truth | April 30, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Rasmussen Poll Same date for NC...
51 Obama - 37 Hillary
What if she loses?
Especially because she needs to win ALL remaining contests by a margin of 15-17%

Posted by: feastorafamine | April 30, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

@wgreenhouse
in belittling or even questioning the power of a US Senator you are engaging in the politics of destruction and divison, your comments may even be racist provided you aren't one of CNN's 'Black Friends'.

I encourge you to expect more from your senators with the audacity of hope.

Posted by: mitrebox | April 30, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

What is most ridiculous in this whole debate is the fact that most respondents in this debate have their attention focused on the oil companies, and the politicians who are, I believe, trying their best to come up with solutions to the problem, whether folks feel that the solutions are viable, or not.

It seems that nobody wants ta face the real reason that we are faced with this problem to begin with: the irresponsible consumption of fuel, and the reckless driving habits of the American public at large.

We will stop having the problems that we are faced with presently, when the American drivers start acting responsible with their consumption of the fuel products that they have available to them. When the demand of the product becomes conservative in nature, and therefore responsible on the part of drivers in this country, then, and only then, prices will come down. There is your simple Econ101.

Get with it people. Stop complaining, and blaming the oil companies. The only reason that they are making their so-called, "windfall profits," is because Americans refuse to change their driving habits.

Stop justifying these ridiculous prices by responsibly, and conservatively, using the product. There is no one to blame but the people consuming the product.

Try this: Instead of driving across the country this summer to some great vacation destination, stay at home in your own state, and avail yourself of the gems of your locale, which I'm sure you have. The result is two-fold: you conserve gas and you help to grow the economy in your own state.

Stop blaming everyone else and take some responsibility.

kevino

Posted by: kevino | April 30, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Obama is the only providing meaningful leadership on this. Ditto for his last months economics speech; it was excellent.

Posted by: Bootsey | April 30, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

NC-Pres (D)
Apr 29 SurveyUSA Obama 49%, Clinton 44%

What if she wins?

Posted by: The Truth | April 30, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

mitrebox, what sort of power to end a war do you think a junior Senator actually has?

Thanks, but I'll go with the presidential candidate who hasn't already pledged to "obliterate Iran..." and that is not Ms. Clinton.

Posted by: wgreenhouse | April 30, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

The Truth: price fixing is never going to work, and its effects on the environment--and Clinton's own darned energy policy, which has very high gas mileage targets--are ridiculous. What kind of sense does it make to be pushing for higher standards during your presidency, and then undermine that push with a "tax holiday" that will spike demand and make people think about buying fuel-inefficient cars this summer?

Posted by: wgreenhouse | April 30, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

It is ILLEGAL to take moeny from Oil companies. At least be factual "The Truth."

The Clinton mailer further charges that Obama "voted for Dick Cheney's energy bill that gives huge tax breaks to oil companies." Obama did vote for the 2005 energy bill to which Clinton refers. But as we've said more than once before, her claim that the legislation resulted in large tax breaks for the oil industry is misleading.
http://www.factcheck.org/elections-2008/youve_got_mailers.html

Posted by: feastorafamine | April 30, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse


theaz --
3.62 dollars for a US gallon of gas. You don't know when you've got it so good.
American Gallon is 3.8 litres
[British Gallon 4.5 litres]
Across the water here now in Portugal I'm paying +/_ 1.30 EUROS PER LITRE FOR DIESEL . Gas I would guess is around 1.48 euros per litre.
So your "American gallon" is 3.8 x 1.30
Thats 4.94 EUROS per US gallon
Present exhange rate is 1 euro gets 1.56 dollars
That rounds up to more or less 7.5.--- 7 DOLLARS 50 CENTS PER U.S. GALLON FOR DIESEL.
That makes gas about 8.30 dollars per gallon.

If the US of A was only a little closer and the water was not in the way, I'd come over and fill up with a full tank!

Posted by: acrossthewater | April 30, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

@wgreehouse
With these do nothing democrats it seems like the nation is going to have to get used to both the high price of oil and the war.

Frankly, I'm all for pandering I'm just against lying. If you're going to pander, deliver on your promise before making it twice, otherwise its a lie.

If Clinton or McCain is lying about the gas tax I'm out 18cents.
But since Obama took office under his war ending pledge 1000 more soldiers have died. But I guess he isn't lying about ending the war as long as he does it while we still have some living soldiers, right?

Posted by: mitrebox | April 30, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

There are a number of reasons I could cite. He has promoted smart policies to address our nation's greatest challenges. He was right on Iraq when so many were wrong. He speaks with an eloquence that most public officials can only dream of and is inspiring millions of Americans to reconnect with politics or connect for the first time. And he can win in November.
These are all true and good reasons, but I also believe Barack Obama is the better choice because of something larger and perhaps more important. Simply put, he has made a call to the better angels of our nature. He is challenging us to lift ourselves out of the ugliness that increasingly consumes Washington, where the heat of your argument counts for more than the light it should bring. He is asking us to stand together as Americans and transcend the traditional lines that have so often divided us by party affiliation, economic status, gender, or race. He is calling on us to rethink our approach to problem solving in the face of the enormous challenges facing our country, like Iraq, economic recession, global warming, record energy prices, and 47 million Americans without health insurance, to name just a few. I believe in his effort to put our country on a new path and want to help him make that happen.

Posted by: ApostasyUSA | April 30, 2008 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Obama does not support this because he is taking enormous amounts of money from the oil companies. He took in $46,000, just last month. He also voted for Cheney's energy bill which gave the oil companies huge subsidies.

I agree with Clinton. The oil companies should have to pay for the tax holiday and should be prohibited from raising prices over the summer season. They are making record profits!

Hoyer, Pelosi and Reid are all in the bag for Obama, but the people can speak up and make this happen if they want it.

Posted by: The Truth | April 30, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

So, let's regulate the oil companies?

Posted by: Gaias Child | April 30, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

"So one must ask Mr Obama which is worse; Pandering to voters telling them your going to reduce their pain at the pump, or Pandering to voters, getting elected to the Senate by telling them you're going to end an illegal, ill-concieved, immoral, and unjust war, then go on to hold out for four years doing nothing, and then giving the same promise in an attempt to new-politic a path to the Presidency?"

The former, clearly. "Pain at the pump" is something the country is going to have to get used to permanently if it doesn't act, but you can always count on a populist to outright ignore reality because it's convenient to do so.

Posted by: wgreenhouse | April 30, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Simply a bad idea that SOUNDS really good to us because of our pain at the pumps. Find ONE economist who says its a good idea. You will be hard pressed.
http://www.taxfoundation.org/research/show/1689.html

Posted by: feastorafamine | April 30, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

> We can all agree that one "benefit" would be that 18.4 cents per gallon would immediately come off the price, right?

No! Hell no! Demand is INFLEXIBLE. We CAN'T just not fill up our cars. They have us by the balls. It's literally ECON 101 here.

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special:Cite&page=Supply_and_demand&id=208650175

But who ever wants to let facts get in the GOP's way? This kind of crap is EXACTLY why I'm an ex-Republican independent who thinks we can't trust the GOP with the economy any more.

If you REALLY want to lower gas prices, invest in conservation measures and alternative energy (including nuclear) and more refinery capacity.

Posted by: Joe | April 30, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Good point Tim; it's hard to imagine Big Oil feeling threatened by much of anything while they still receive enormous federal subsidies. Since they're not threatening to take those away, Clinton and McCain have no real leverage to get them to change their behavior. At all.

Posted by: wgreenhouse | April 30, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Very interesting comments and very intelligent for the most part. (Jake D being the obvious exception) I find it humorous that any individual would actually think that big oil would fear any type of response from our elected officials after they readjust prices to compensate for the increased demand of gas.
Oil companies are notoriously adept at biting their thumbs at government and consumers as is evidenced by their refusal to build the additional refineries that the government gave them $14 BILLION for just a couple of years ago. BIG OIL seems to apply the same type of hollywood accounting that would lead you to believe that The Simpsons movie didn't actually make a profit. BOO!! Hoo!!! for big oil and their tiny $11 billion profit for the first quarter. How will they ever be able to feed their children?

Posted by: Tim S | April 30, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse

So one must ask Mr Obama which is worse; Pandering to voters telling them your going to reduce their pain at the pump, or Pandering to voters, getting elected to the Senate by telling them you're going to end an illegal, ill-concieved, immoral, and unjust war, then go on to hold out for four years doing nothing, and then giving the same promise in an attempt to new-politic a path to the Presidency?

Posted by: mitrebox | April 30, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse


When I read yesterday's account of the debate over what to do about rising gasoline prices, I really was astounded by the pandering-though I sometimes wonder why one would be astounded in this era where getting elected is far more important than taking a principled position. On this issue, the scorecard is clear: Sens. Clinton and McCain failed miserably and Sen. Obama took the right stand.

http://www.youpolls.com/details.asp?pid=2312


.

Posted by: Frank, Austin TX | April 30, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Core Democrat, the trouble is high worldwide consumption, so those eggs and milk are just going to get more expensive out of all proportion to the tax "relief" as U.S. fuel demand heads even higher and it becomes absurdly expensive to truck food anywhere.

Hiding from the problem as Clinton and McCain want to do leads to dead babies in Africa and malnutrition here.

Posted by: wgreenhouse | April 30, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Why does it make sense? Because I will drive down the block to save 1 cent! Does it matter in my pocketbook? NO! But I do not want to pay 1 cent more than I have too! It is just principle! This is Obama being OUT OF TOUCH WITH AMERICA AGAIN! Does he not get it? And 18 cents a gallon and "$26.00 to $30.00" he considers nothing also helps on the cost of eggs, bread and milk, because that is about how much higher it is. Every little bit helps! I REFUSE to pay this 4 bucks they are saying Gas is going to cost this Summer! But, in reality, I have NO choice. Give us the tax break! And the states that can afford it, like Texas, my own state, can also suspend their State Tax on Gas this Summer, too! Between the two, it will start adding up! Obama, this is grocery money for some families!! And MAYBE we can make these oil companies, who are getting richer by the hour, pay their share of TAXES like Americans (the voters) have to do! Obama voted FOR these tax breaks for big oil companies! FEDERAL AND STATES SUSPEND THE TAX ON GAS! AMERICA IS SCREAMING FOR RELIEF! DO SOMETHING! AND DO IT NOW!!!!

Posted by: Core Democrat | April 30, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

JakeD wrote: So, even if the cost of crude oil, refineries, etc. stayed constant -- and the tax was suspended -- Hoyer thinks "The oil companies would just raise their prices" to make up the difference?! That doesn't even make sense.

So, you're saying that the oil companies WON'T screw us for money? You're saying that I can just choose not to fill up my car when it's empty (i.e. that the demand isn't very flexible)?

No wonder you support McCain and his misunderstanding of basic economics.

Posted by: Joe | April 30, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Dropping the gas tax will only lead to speculation of higher demand in the oil futures, which will raise the price of gasoline. Most of the 'tax holiday' money will fund larger profit margins for oil companies, not go to the American people.

Posted by: David | April 30, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

"Yeah, you go girl!! Kill all the little people!"

Heh.

What I'm saying is an economic fact, though, however you slice it. We still have some of the cheapest gasoline in the world. Many countries deal with much more seriously punitive gas taxes, and the result, combined with tighter regulations on car manufacturers, is better fleet fuel economy.

That's what we should be thinking about, not short-sighted, retail politics-style populism that sells the future for approval ratings.

But that's Clinton-style politics, after all. Guess Hillary is as much of a worthless poll-watcher as Bill, though.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 30, 2008 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Our energy policy needs a complete overhaul and the tax holiday is merely political pandering from Clinton and McCain Senator Obama prefers to tackle the issue long term and solve it for the future. Having Richardson the former Energy Secretary firmly on his team give him good counsel on this one. As usual Obama takes the high road and prefers to present the truth rather than a bad bandaid. A half a tank of gas break will hurt many more Americans than it will help.

Vote for Barack he has this and most other issues right.

Posted by: JOE BENTO | April 30, 2008 2:34 PM | Report abuse

wgreenhouse:

Yeah, you go girl!! Kill all the little people!

P.S. to everyone else -- there's a new thread about Clinton carpooling but still pushing for the gas-tax holiday -- even Bill Clinton's getting in on the act:

"There's a difference between the two candidates here," former President Bill Clinton told a crowd in Apex, North Carolina in one of his seven events in the state today, according to ABC News. "Her opponent says, 'Well, she's just pandering to voters.' That's not true. Look, folks, there are people out here who are choosing every week now between driving to work and having enough food for their kids, between driving to work and paying their medicine bills."

"She just disagrees with her opponent on this," he added. "Hillary has got a long record as an environmentalist. But to say that giving people a little slack on these gas prices is going to discourage us from switching to higher mileage cars is just factually wrong. We're dealing with people here that cannot pay their bills. And it's going to be a tremendous drag on the economy if we let this situation continue. So she believes that we should suspend [the federal gas tax], get people through the summertime, the high driving months."

Posted by: JakeD | April 30, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Gas is too cheap at its current price to account for the externalities it produces. Cutting gas taxes is seriously bad public policy that we'd be paying for for decades in terms not only of lost revenue, but more worthless people buying gas guzzlers.

Posted by: wgreenhouse | April 30, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

How about you all, as individuals, doing something real about the price of gas? You could for instance choose to drive a car that gets decent fuel economy? The price of gas doesn't bother me, because I've been driving a 70 mpg Honda Insight for the last 5 years (when I don't ride a bike). And I'm waiting impatiently for the time I'll be able to buy an Aptera (120 mpg or better) to replace my current "guzzler" :-)

Then consider what you'll be doing this summer: packing up the RV, heading out to the lake with the ski boat, or the hills with your ATV? Why not ry something different: camp in a tent, paddle a kayak, or ride a mountain bike? You won't be burning that by-then-maybe-$5/gallon gas, and you'll get some exercise too.

Posted by: jamesqf | April 30, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

"If they REALLY want to make a difference, the proposal should be to implement the windfall profits tax on the oil companies, and use those tax funds to issue another round of rebate checks to the people so they can afford to buy gas."

Great idea!

Posted by: ninja | April 30, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone notice that the Google ads, at the top of this thread, are all about fuel costs and "Oil Shale Discovery"? Talk about targeting your audience.

Posted by: JakeD | April 30, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

We need to get more oil from USA, see interview on CNN with Shell Oil CEO:

CNN) -- Gasoline prices set a record for the 16th consecutive day Wednesday. A gallon of gas cost an average of $3.62, according to AAA, and much more in some markets.
hell Oil Co. President John Hofmeister says a boost in U.S. production would startle the world market.

All three presidential candidates have weighed in on the issue, and President Bush on Tuesday addressed it during a news conference.
John Hofmeister, president of Shell Oil Co., the U.S. division of Royal Dutch Shell, addressed rising gasoline prices during an interview Wednesday with John Roberts on CNN's "American Morning."
ROBERTS: What do you say to people who are in this budget crunch of trying to fill up the family car?
HOFMEISTER: I say we need more gas to be produced in this country. I've been saying that for three years, ever since I took this position [as president of Shell].
If the U.S. set a goal to produce 2 to 3 million barrels more a day in this country, we would send a shock around the world that would immediately say to the speculators, hey, U.S. is serious. President [Bush] said something yesterday about this. I didn't hear him, but I think that's good news. But we should set a specific target.
The presidential candidates should be out there on the postings saying let's increase domestic production by 2 to 3 million barrels a day. That would be something that would put money back into this country, jobs back into this country, and it would bring more supply toward the Americans who need it.
Don't Miss
Candidates clash on gas-tax holiday
Report: Iraq windfall soars with oil prices
$100 fill-ups have arrived
Administration offers new fuel economy rules
ROBERTS: The president is advocating more drilling on U.S. territory. Isn't it true that globally we're starting to reach a peak in production and that within maybe a decade or two oil production will begin to decrease?
HOFMEISTER: Well, I think there is some argument [that] with convenient, easy oil we will peak sometime in the next decade. I think Shell sees that coming, but in terms of total oil supply to the world, we're a long way from reaching peak oil because it doesn't take into account unconventional oil.
I think the president brings up a good point in that we could, we have the available domestic supplies off the coast of Alaska as well as [the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge]. Shell has won $2 billion worth of high bids for the Chukchi Sea -- that's a few years off before we could begin production.
But let's remember there's more than 100 billion barrels of untouched oil and gas in this country that is subject to a 30-year moratorium. Now, there's only one body in this country that can set a 30-year moratorium, and that's the U.S. government.
ROBERTS: Sen. Hillary Clinton wants to slap you with a 50 percent tax on what she calls windfall profit, profit above a certain level. Is that a good idea?
HOFMEISTER: Look at our revenues and our income for the last quarter. If we had made $7.8 million on $114 million of revenue, nobody would call that excessive, because that's 7½ percent. We made $7.8 billion profit on $114 billion revenue -- same 7½ percent. So to me that is not an excessive number when banks and pharmaceuticals and IT companies earn a whole lot more.
ROBERTS: Would it hurt you if she put in place this tax on the windfall profits?
HOFMEISTER: Sure it would. It would slow down investment. Taxing the oil companies was tried in the '80s. It drove us to do imports, which is exactly the problem we have today.
ROBERTS: Where is the top of all this? How high can the price of a barrel of oil go? How high will the cost of a gallon of gasoline go?
HOFMEISTER: I heard somebody say the other day it's as long as a piece of string. We don't know.
ROBERTS: The president of OPEC said $200 a barrel.
HOFMEISTER: Yeah, well, there are some countries out there subsidizing the cost of their energy to their consumers and industries to compete with America -- or against America -- because they think America won't solve the problem.
ROBERTS: You're saying you have no idea where the top is.
HOFMEISTER: We don't know. But we should produce more oil in this country.

Posted by: theaz | April 30, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Caroler:

My "point" to your 1:22 PM post was that "We don't need TAX relief ... We need PROFIT relief. This is our money to take back from shareholders ... We don't get anything out of the profit they make on us ... The only way toward a sane energy policy is to assert public control over what is a vital national security resource (so we're told) and to nationalize the oil companies. If it's such an important resource, why are we allowing profiteering? Why are we protecting corporations with our military - a double subsidy? Nationalization would allow the government to charge prices that would cover production costs ..." sounds like Socialism / Communism. If you don't like our current form of government, may I suggest you move?

Posted by: JakeD | April 30, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

christian:

"hahaha.. i love it. who knew that actual logic and facts can make [you] shut up. if only we knew long ago..."

MM:

So much for me being "uniquely right" huh?

Posted by: JakeD | April 30, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Jake D: What's your point?

Posted by: Caroler | April 30, 2008 2:11 PM | Report abuse

The holiday is temporary. How much would anyone really save in the long run? And Hoyer is right: The oil companies would raise prices to keep total sales at a comparable level. Plus our roads go to hell. Not a sound plan.

http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: matt | April 30, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

christian:

Where did you go?

Posted by: JakeD | April 30, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Who is joking? You said there is "no way" and I simply gave you one example (of course, I would never condone an un-just war) to prove you are wrong.

Posted by: JakeD | April 30, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

See what you mean, JakeD. Nice spin on the article. Use 2004 taxes to compare w/2007 taxes paid by EXXON. And the price of gas in 2004 was what?

Posted by: LW | April 30, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Oilman

No supply problem. The price oil went up because the unique situation of supply. 1) There could be 1000 to 10 years of oil left. 2) China, India, and other countries are industrializing. Industrializing usually entails and increase in demand for oil. 3) Wasteful use of oil will only lead to higher gas prices which is efficiency is important. 4) Are you guys lobbyist for oil companies.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 30, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

@Clemmie

Welcome to navel gazing America.

We dont care if the rest of the world pays more - we wanna pay less and we will not pay attention to you. :)

(All in a satirical sense - for those who will miss it by a mile)

Posted by: AP | April 30, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

JakeD

You are as crazy as Hillary when she said she would "obliterate" Iran. I'll say this extractionist policies always lead to pain and suffering. If we invade Iran for oil we will have such a backlash that the U.S. might not be #1 in the world anymore. Historical references include Spain, England, and France (well France always sucked). It is moral dilemma that is wrong and should even be joked about.

Posted by: MM | April 30, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, oilman.

MM: As I said, there are other "ways". For instance, when we take over Iran ; )

Posted by: JakeD | April 30, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Jim S: How about you read the opinion of your candidate's major supporter Paul Krugman of the New York Times.

See what he has to say on this issue

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/04/29/gas-tax-follies/

Posted by: Eliah | April 30, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

LW:

I was simply quoting from the linked article -- if you have different tax figures, please post your link.

Tim:

Read my post about re: prosecution of oil company CEOs for said logic.

In other news, what's up with Paula Abdul?!

Posted by: JakeD | April 30, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

JakeD

Yes there is a way to decrease the price of oil. Increase the supply or decrease Demand. By decreasing the demand oil companies would have to lower prices because people will not buy it. We can lower the price by adding alternatives, right now there are no good alternatives to oil. Take coal for example. Coal was expensive until oil came around and is technological more efficient then coal. So the only ways to reduce prices is to A) have a good alternative (competition), B)Improve efficiency.

Posted by: MM | April 30, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

its not a solution. one of the problems is that in the 90's regulations were passed that prevented new refineries from being constructed- thats our bottleneck. Shell has to send diesel to south america on a ship to have it refined and sent back to the US on a ship b/c they wont let them buid another deisel plant that lets them refine it to the 2006 emission standards. THe standards change again in 2010 and 2012.

Even so, the demand for gasoline is down and inventories are up... The speculators on wall street do not check this they merely guess. So no demand problem.. or Supply.. Actual demand for oil is down 4% this year as opposed to last year and we are paying $0.80 higher for gas...hmmmm. sounds like gouging to me. The gov should step in and cap gas prices and step in and adjust the currenncy just like China does and the way the reagan administration took out high interest on mortages. Anyone remeber that? 20%+ for a house note? It happened. After Reagan is was around 8%.

That is our quickest way out of the mess. there is no supply and demand problem from the crude perspective. You can attempt to argue it all day long, but im in the industry and I know better. Another large deposit was found just last week off of the south american continet estimated to be the 3rd LARGEST in the world. No shortage of supply in crude; its refining it and the market speculatoirs that make millions per year and have expense accounts (so prices at the pump mean nothing to them), that make this ball roll. They are forcasting $300/barrel oil now! Sachs is predicting $90 by the end of the year with a possible $50 deviation.. I like their prediction better! WHen oil companies are making record profits and they are not allowed to build new processing plants its the govt responsibility to lift that ban. 4% down yet 30% up...

Posted by: oilman | April 30, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

It won't be $28 dollars as the market will readjust within days!!! you think that your going to get a whole summer of gas remaining 18.4 cense cheaper and they wont increase the price as demand goes up??? I don't understand that logic.

ps very generous of you to feed that tribe I'm sure their grateful for you doing it in these hard times.

Posted by: Tim | April 30, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

JakeD - Are you saying that bottom 50% of taxpayers (65,000,000 people) only pay an average of $41.54 of tax per year? Me thinks there's a hitch in your giddee up.

Posted by: LW | April 30, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Chicago1

I am neither a yuppie, don't even smoke cigarettes, nor elitist, I went school in the projects. Where I come from money is a huge problem, but $24 will only last a week compared to 12 weeks that people have to bear through.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 30, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse

It's a sad state of affairs when the general public doesn't understand the basic laws of supply and demand. Remove the tax and the oil companys will collect a larger profit. If the price were to be held low by passing a law then we would simple have fuel shortages.
I don't like Obama but he's right on, on this topic at least. Want lower fuel prices? Buy less of it!!!!

Posted by: California Lib | April 30, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse

MM:

There are "ways" to decrease the price of oil, but I suspect you and I would disagree on the definition of "reasonably".

Tim:

$28 may not be a lot to you, but I feed an African tribe for that much a month ; )

Posted by: JakeD | April 30, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

JakeD

I'm confused are you saying that oil companies are over taxed. LOMAO!!!!!!!!!!. OPEC decides the price of oil. Oil and refinery companies will go through market paces to make a profit. You remove the taxes, demand will shoot up, supply will remain constant, leading to a market solution to raise the price. It is like rolling a ball up an incline plane, it'll come back to the same price level as before.

Posted by: MM | April 30, 2008 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Chicago1:

Good point.

Victor Shaw:

Assuming you paid taxes and don't earn too much, the $1,800 economic stimulus rebate ($600 for each of you, plus $300 per child) you are getting was not enough for you?

Posted by: JakeD | April 30, 2008 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Chicago1: that is such BS if you really believe that Hillary or McCain's plan will help you and they are against the "yuppies" you deserve to be fooled and disappointed by the inevitable crapness of it.

Posted by: Tim | April 30, 2008 1:32 PM | Report abuse

JakeD

You are uniquely right. No matter what we do it will cost money. Making things fuel efficient will cost money, controlling emissions will cost money. At this point in time there is no way to decrease the price of oil reasonably except importing more, leading to funding more terrorist. We have to pay a price now before we ruin the planet. Energy is both a security issue, and a health issue.

Posted by: MM | April 30, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

MM:

Let's use some hard numbers -- what profit do you think is "fair"? For 2006, Exxon's EBT (earnings before tax) was $67.4 billion, and it paid $27.9 billion in taxes (41.4% tax rate), and its NIAT (net income after tax), or profit, was $39.5 billion. 41.4% in taxes was not "enough" for you? What percentage would be "fair"?

Keep in mind, as I pointed out above, just one corporation (Exxon Mobil) pays as much in taxes ($27 billion) annually as the entire bottom 50% of individual taxpayers, which is 65,000,000 people!

Posted by: JakeD | April 30, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

I don't know how others feel about this, but the gas tax holiday strikes me as a jerk-a-round by Washington types.

I fill up about once every 10 days.

Over the course of the 90 or so days of summer, that amounts to about 9 fill ups. Let's say 10 to be conservative.

My car has a 15 gallon gas tank.

The federal gas tax is 18.4 cents per gallon.

15 x $0.184 = $2.76

$2.76 x 10 = $27.60

$27.60 for the whole summer. Wow. I can take my wife and ONE of my TWO kids to the movies. Great.

This gas tax holiday is such a frickin, pandering gimmick, it makes me sick.

Actually, it makes me ANGRY. The gas tax holiday and those Washington politicos that would support such an insult to our collective intelligence should be thrown out of office post-haste.

Posted by: Victor Shaw | April 30, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Yuppies who support Obama don't need tax breaks on their gas: what's 18 cents a gallon to them? Out of touch sprout eater.

Posted by: Chicago1 | April 30, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Ultimately the price of gas is out of your hands. You have no control over OPEC so get used to high prices and start developing energy independence and possibly caring about global warming.

Posted by: Clemmie | April 30, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Caroler:

It sounds more like you want to get Socialist and solve this problem as if we really were Communist.

Posted by: JakeD | April 30, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

I personally things that we should cap Oil companies profits, by an adjustible tax. That way they will optimize and lower prices because there just be paying more taxes. But I think is way to regulatory to be pass.

On the issue: Obama is right, the gas holiday is only 3 months, saves you 25 dollars (half a tank), takes money out of infrastructure (removing thousands of summer jobs), does nothing to address supply so oil companies will raise the price. Technically the only way to lower the price is to use less oil, which is what Obama has been saying since last year.

Posted by: MM | April 30, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

JakeD:

I fully expect them to screw us over by passing the costs of the windfall profits tax to the consumer.

But driving the price up higher will only spur more calls for alternative energy and help us to kick this black crack habit we've all got.

Posted by: observer | April 30, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Mr. Hoyer, for being realistic and honest. Now, would you please endorse Senator Obama since the people of Maryland have made it very clear who they support?

Posted by: Kay | April 30, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

tone and Econ101:

If the tax-holiday legislation provided specific language for personal liability, increasing criminal penalties for de-facto collusion and price gouging, I think those CEOs will think twice ; )

Posted by: JakeD | April 30, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

We don't need TAX relief. Taxes are our money to invest in the ways we need, such as roads and bridges and other infrastructure. We need PROFIT relief. This is our money to take back from shareholders, so we can invest in conservation and renewable energy, instead of CEO salaries and yachts and private islands. We don't get anything out of the profit they make on us. They don't even invest in new refineries and other bottlenecks that have unnecessarily raised gasoline prices. The only way toward a sane energy policy is to assert public control over what is a vital national security resource (so we're told) and to nationalize the oil companies. If it's such an important resource, why are we allowing profiteering? Why are we protecting corporations with our military - a double subsidy? Nationalization would allow the government to charge prices that would cover production costs, as well as investment in infrastructure and renewable energy sources, while saving money for the consumer. Drilling for new oil and gas is not the answer. The only remaining places to drill for new oil and gas are in extremely environmentally sensitive areas and in areas that deprive indigenous people of their livelihoods. This is not acceptable and we should not be spending money on "defense" to take this oil out of the ground. Obviously, Republican solutions like "tax relief" can only make matters worse (Does Clinton remember what party she's in?). We have a diminishing inventory of fossil fuels (mostly in the Middle East), and very little left elsewhere that can't be taken out of the ground except at great environmental and human cost. We need to use this resource judiciously to transition to renewable energy at the earliest possible date. We don't need to raise taxes provided we can use existing money spent at the gas pump for the real work of building a sustainable economy. Let's get real and solve this problem as if we really were a real democracy (oh...we're not?).

Posted by: Caroler | April 30, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

JakeD:

One more thing. Don't think for one second that the oil companies would not raise prices because they're scared of public backlash or government investigation. They have us over the proverbial barrel. Even if you drive a Prius, you still use gas. Everyone, everywhere, uses oil; there's no way to avoid it because our government has been too complacent in developing alternate energy technologies, especially over the last 7+ years.

So no, there would be no investigation. There may be public outrage, but the result will be the same every time gas passes some imaginary price barrier: there will be "investigations" into price gouging, nothing will be found, and people will cut back as much as they can on driving, while wishing there was a way to live closer to work (which they can't because they can't sell their homes and move).

Posted by: observer | April 30, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

That's all great but I thought this was about the price of gas? yes they pay tax and that does go to the government I "misspoke", but that wasn't my meaning the oil companies will benefit from this situation and while that may mean more money in taxes, they still benefit more from an increase in demand resulting from the abolition of the tax far more than any consumer will. Count on it.

Posted by: peter | April 30, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

observer:

After that lecture you just gave, are you going to turn right around and claim that a "windfall profits tax" would NOT simply be passed on to the consumers?

christian:

Please re-read my posts, and quote specifically was you don't understand about my points, so I can try to help you understand.

Posted by: JakeD | April 30, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Even with all the arguments about supply and demand, markets will always adjust. And when it comes to oil, we are not dealing with the same sort of supply because ultimately we are dealing with an oligopoly under OPEC, and they can basically price oil wherever they want based on whatever mumbo jumbo.

So gas tax or not -- they'll make money. And they know demand isn't going to change, so bringing gas prices up by 18.4% citing some other reason would be no problem for them.

Lastly, who cares about PR when the group of oil companies are the only suppliers?

Posted by: Econ101 | April 30, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

I agree its stupid to think that the oil companies would not take advantage of this by making up the difference

Posted by: tone | April 30, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

I'm pretty sure that Exxon's tax payment in 2007 of $30 billion (that's $30,000,000,000) is a record, exceeding the $28 billion it paid last year.

By the way, Exxon pays taxes at a rate of 41% on its taxable income!

[Update: The $40.6 billion and $39.5 billion figures are after-tax profits. For 2006, Exxon's EBT (earnings before tax) was $67.4 billion, it paid $27.9 billion in taxes (41.4% tax rate), and its NIAT (net income after tax), or profit, was $39.5 billion.]

...

Conclusion: In other words, just one corporation (Exxon Mobil) pays as much in taxes ($27 billion) annually as the entire bottom 50% of individual taxpayers, which is 65,000,000 people!

http://seekingalpha.com/article/63131-exxon-s-2007-tax-bill-30-billion

Posted by: JakeD | April 30, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

oil companies do NOT raise the price, the marketplace adjusts (almost immediately). you are not understanding the concept. there is no "benefit" from the "price drop" except that the oil companies would receive even more profit because they would be receiving that additional 18.4 cents per gallon instead of the government. i don't understand what point you are trying to make, that this is a good thing? or that hoyer "misspoke" or what? that people may receive a slightly lower gas price for the period of a day (if that)??

Posted by: christian | April 30, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

JakeD:

Yes, the price would drop immediately. Yes, the next day, the price would start back up. By the end of the same week, not only will the price be back to where it was, it will probably be past that price. The point is, if you lower price without increasing supply, the demand will go up, and price will have two pressures to rise: increased demand, and lower supply.

Add to that the fact that the treasury would lose revenue, infrastructure would suffer, and jobs would no doubt be lost (slowing the economy even more). Personally, I don't think $30 over the summer is worth the number of lives that would be lost in the next bridge or overpass collapse.

It's a bad idea. It is simply a gift for oil companies who will reap all the (even bigger) profits from the price going back up, while the masses, who are too busy working 2 or 3 jobs to pay attention, will THINK that it's the greatest thing anyone could do for them.

If they REALLY want to make a difference, the proposal should be to implement the windfall profits tax on the oil companies, and use those tax funds to issue another round of rebate checks to the people so they can afford to buy gas.

Posted by: observer | April 30, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

peter:

Oil company profits don't get taxed at all?

Posted by: JakeD | April 30, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Straight talk from Obama. Pandering and flim flam from Clinton and McCain. They want to "send a message" that they (unlike Bush) are aware of $4/gal gasoline. It's like drilling for a tiny amount of oil in Alaska that won't be available for 10 years and even then will provide a few days worth of gasoline. It doesn't make sense but it "sends a message".

I'd like to send them a message.....

Posted by: thebob.bob | April 30, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

have you no perspective? yes fine 18.4 cents would come off for as long as it took the market to readjust but BELIEVE me it wouldn't be long, the price would drop people would fill up their cars once if that and then the market would raise the price even more EXCEPT this time none of it goes to the American government its all about the oil companies.

Posted by: peter | April 30, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

christian:

If the 18-cent reduction went away the very next day, every oil company CEO would probably get socked with criminal prosecutions and, finally, enough incentive in D.C. for that "windfall tax" to pass over any threatened Presidential veto. They know that. I would fully expect collusion IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION to keep prices 18 cents lower for at least the summer ; )

Posted by: JakeD | April 30, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Rich (and christian):

Whether it is likely that roads crumble or oil companies EVENTUALLY raise prices are definitely among the "costs" in the cost-benefit analysis. We can all agree that one "benefit" would be that 18.4 cents per gallon would immediately come off the price, right?

Posted by: JakeD | April 30, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

....and by "very quickly" i mean almost instantaneously because we have a very responsive and fluid marketplace in the USA that is very efficient when it comes to matters likes these.

Posted by: christian | April 30, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

I'm European and therefore realize that none of this directly affects me but your elections are simply fascinating! I kind of can't believe people complain about the price of gas I've been to America many times and I know everything is relative, but can I just say that the rest of the world outside the Middle East pays vastly more money for petrol than you do and I mean VASTLY more. And of course it should be taxed it's a pollutant, cancelling that would just deprive money form the American government, which is not something I can imagine people supporting. Especially as everyone on here is right the rising gas prices has nothing to do with taxes its all the oil companies and demand/supply so why abolish the tax so they can have more? Which they inevitable would after they raise the price again due to an increase in demand after it got slightly cheaper.

I appreciate that this might be totally unwanted commentary but I just thought I would throw in another perspective.

Posted by: Clemmie | April 30, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

i will post one more time for you. this is from Krugman who is a Clinton supporter:

"Why doesn't cutting the gas tax this summer make sense? It's Econ 101 tax incidence theory: if the supply of a good is more or less unresponsive to the price, the price to consumers will always rise until the quantity demanded falls to match the quantity supplied. Cut taxes, and all that happens is that the pretax price rises by the same amount. The McCain gas tax plan is a giveaway to oil companies, disguised as a gift to consumers.

Is the supply of gasoline really fixed? For this coming summer, it is. Refineries normally run flat out in the summer, the season of peak driving. Any elasticity in the supply comes earlier in the year, when refiners decide how much to put in inventories. The McCain/Clinton gas tax proposal comes too late for that. So it's Econ 101: the tax cut really goes to the oil companies.

The Clinton twist is that she proposes paying for the revenue loss with an excess profits tax on oil companies. In one pocket, out the other. So it's pointless, not evil. But it is pointless, and disappointing."

eliminate the tax and the price will go down temporarily (maybe a day? the same day the tax is cut) but the marketplace would adjust very quickly and the price would go up due to increased demand of a fixed-supply product.

Posted by: christian | April 30, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Its just supply-demand. Taking away the gas tax will increase demand. Supply may not comply with demand and prices will go up.

Posted by: Observer | April 30, 2008 1:01 PM | Report abuse

l3iodeez:

I completely agree that the oil companies have no obligation to pass on the savings to consumers. It would be a public relations DISASTER for them if they didn't though. They would probably get socked with criminal prosecutions and, finally, enough incentive in D.C. for that "windfall tax" to pass over any threatened Presidential veto. Again, I thought it was pretty simple (disregarding all the belittling and doomsday scenario -- chicken-little predictions of highways crumbling, it's only $28 dollars for each American, etc.) that 18.4 cents per gallon would immediately come off the price -- do you at least agree with that?

Posted by: JakeD | April 30, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse

ummm... my second post answered your question. it is simple supply and demand. supply is fixed in this case. decrease tax would increase demand due to lower prices (in an enviornment where there is fixed supply) therefore the price would go up to compensate for this increased demand. the oil companies don't have to raise the price the price goes up automatically via the dynamics of supply and demand (basic economic principals).

understand?

Posted by: christian | April 30, 2008 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Any temporary suspension in the federal tax on gasoline will only result in the loss of funds earmarked for building of the roadway infrastructure.

Posted by: Rich | April 30, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, christian (I guess). I was reading your linked article. Regardless of whether it is a good idea, will cause highways to crumble, whether higher gas prices will spur conservation, or even if it will "ultimately" benefit to the economy, nothing in that article answered my question -- here it is again:

"So, even if the cost of crude oil, refineries, etc. stayed constant -- and the tax was suspended -- Hoyer thinks "The oil companies would just raise their prices" to make up the difference?!"

AJ in IL:

Thank you for agreeing with me: "If you could immediately remove the federal gas tax today, it will cause the price at the pump to immediately drop by 18 cents per gallon." Rep. Hoyer (D-MD) seems to think the gas companies would just as immediately raise the price 18 cents per gallon.

Anonymous at 12:39 PM:

I am, obviously, not done with this thread ; )

Posted by: JakeD | April 30, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

HRC is only interested in soundbites. She'll probably offer free healthcare and tuition next week. So much for facing our problems and solving them.

Posted by: cpindc | April 30, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse


Check out these hot chicks-the Russert/Obama relationship gets a mention.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDU9xKNo-zo

Posted by: greenfun | April 30, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Please try to understand the issue before taking a position. JakeD - YES oil companies will raise prices to the market-clearing rate. Take an econ class if you don't understand. Yes, costs remain the same, and the profit margin increases for the oil companies. This is really a tax holiday for oil companies who have no obligation to pass on the savings to consumers. Obama is right on target with this, Clinton and McCain are pandering to those who do not understand the fuel market. Ask any unbiased person who knows what they are talking about and they will agree with Obama.

Posted by: l3iodeez | April 30, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

HRC won't stop saying this because most voters don't care what economists think or what the realities are. HRC wins the perceptions game once again at the expense of principle. It appears Obama has decided that nomination or no, he's going to stick to his principles.

Posted by: stan | April 30, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Factcheck2, you are clearly a hillary troll. just see my posts above. this gas tax holiday is nothing but B.S. and if you can't understand that then go read up on your economics. you are speaking to intelligent people here (except for a few: JakeD, rat-the and others)..

Posted by: christian | April 30, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

The fact that Democratic Party leaders continue to side with and support Obama only underscores the fact that he is the establishment candidate and Hillary Clinton the real agent of change in this election. Any suggestion to lower gas prices quickly should be taken up in earnest, not boo-hooed. Clinton has proposed a whole series of actions, many which Sen. Chuck Schumer (also from New York) is already putting into a bill. Obama says he takes no contributions from the oil companies but picked up over $45,000 just last month from executives and other employees, according to factcheck.org. And he supported the Cheney energy bill in 2005, which Clinton opposed. In short, his candidacy is a ploy to cancel out the only person with a good shot of capturing the White House in November. The old-school dems don't want a woman in the West Wing, isn't it sort of obvious by now? For more on this, check out an article at thecityedition.com which looks at how the election is being manipulated and Obama's connections to political fixer Tony Rezko.

Posted by: Factcheck2 | April 30, 2008 12:42 PM | Report abuse

JakeD is officially done w/ this thread, as you can tell, because he doesn't understand economics so there is nothing he can distort or spin to agitate other people. poor guy!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 30, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

hahaha.. i love it. who knew that actual logic and facts can make JakeD shut up. if only we knew long ago...

Posted by: christian | April 30, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

For Hillary and her supporters to state that Hillary is ready to lead on Day 1, based on Hillary's support of a "Gas Tax Holiday", Hillary wants to lead us like the Republican John McCain. He stated that he doesn't know much about the economy.

What's Hillary's excuse?!?!

Posted by: AJ in IL | April 30, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

JakeD...Obama is correct. Lowering state fuel taxes was tried in the state of Illinois back in 2000 when Obama was a state senator. I can tell you from personal experience it didn't do much of anything for consumers. It did however cause a $150 million shortfall in the Illinois state budget for transportation fund.

The problem is with demand in the America more so than supply. If you could immediately remove the federal gas tax today, it will cause the price at the pump to immediately drop by 18 cents per gallon. More people would buy gasoline driving up the need to process more crude oil. With the value of the dollar so low, American oil companies (in competition with other world oil companies) would bid up the price of oil. The oil companies want to maintain there margins so they will raise prices back up. Now the only difference is that with no fuel tax, the Federal Transportation Fund would lose revenue.

Obama in 2008!

Posted by: AJ in IL | April 30, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: votenic | April 30, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

No response JakeD?? you ALWAYS have a smart ass response to everything. i bet you hate to be made to look dumb (which probably happens way more than you'd like by they way your mind works).

Posted by: christian | April 30, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

You want to bet next week Hillary will swear she never said it or mis-spoke.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 30, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

"Why doesn't cutting the gas tax this summer make sense? It's Econ 101 tax incidence theory: if the supply of a good is more or less unresponsive to the price, the price to consumers will always rise until the quantity demanded falls to match the quantity supplied. Cut taxes, and all that happens is that the pretax price rises by the same amount. The McCain gas tax plan is a giveaway to oil companies, disguised as a gift to consumers.

Is the supply of gasoline really fixed? For this coming summer, it is. Refineries normally run flat out in the summer, the season of peak driving. Any elasticity in the supply comes earlier in the year, when refiners decide how much to put in inventories. The McCain/Clinton gas tax proposal comes too late for that. So it's Econ 101: the tax cut really goes to the oil companies.

The Clinton twist is that she proposes paying for the revenue loss with an excess profits tax on oil companies. In one pocket, out the other. So it's pointless, not evil. But it is pointless, and disappointing."

Posted by: christian | April 30, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

This will disappear from Clintons stump speech like she never said it. It is so stupid I can't imagine who gave her the idea and she was so stupid to actually repeat it in public looking like an uninformed idiot. I would expect it from Mccain, he is a moron but even though I don't like Clinton I thought she was at least smarter then to say something this goofy.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 30, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

JakeD,

I know you are not very bright, so why don't you go read this. It is very basic economics, which maybe they didn't teach if and when you went to school:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/04/29/gas-tax-holiday-splits-cl_n_99296.html

Posted by: christian | April 30, 2008 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Dear Fellow Americans,

Our Great-grand Nation, the United States of America
is and will face very critical "Challenges" in coming
years and decades.

The Problems will be tough and solutions would not
easy.

The key will the cool, calm, and collectedness of our
next President[ What I call Presidential Temperament'
The one remaining candidate who has consistently that
Presidential Temperament is Senator Obama.

His message of change makes sense. We have to stop
doing business in Washington old ways. The new ways of
lifting each other up and stopping tearing each other
down will not held our Great grand Nation. The
Terrorists around the world[real] and inadvertently
assisted by some shortsighted media [Who are party to
this perpetuation of psychological terrorism of
mis-information, dis-information, and duplicity], that
is what we do not need.

In order to send the message around the world that
America is get Senator Obama our next president. At
least on thing he has shown consistently is the
presidential Temperament. The Temperament of our next
president is very critical address internal and
internal challenges. Let us defeat real external
terrorists snd internal psychological terrorists once
for all.

God Bless out Great grand Nation, its diverse people,
and Senator Obama. He is the ans her to our future
stability, security, safety, and regain our status in
the world.

Yours truly,

COL.[retd] A.M.Khajawall
Disables American Veteran.
Las Vegas Nevada.


Posted by: COL.[retd]A.M.Khajawall | April 30, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

"Most economists side with Obama on the issue."

Come on... is there any economist (who is not a political advisor to a candidate) who does not side with Obama? If so, please report back.

Posted by: Jim S. | April 30, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

So, even if the cost of crude oil, refineries, etc. stayed constant -- and the tax was suspended -- Hoyer thinks "The oil companies would just raise their prices" to make up the difference?! That doesn't even make sense.

Posted by: JakeD | April 30, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

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