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Economists Release Letter Opposing Clinton Gas Tax Plan

By Jonathan Weisman
Hillary Rodham Clinton said Sunday she'll have no truck with economists telling her where to put her gas-tax holiday.

Well, now she's got a truckload of them.

More than 230 economists -- Democrats, Republicans, advisers to past presidents and four Nobel laureates -- signed a letter today opposing proposals by Clinton and presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain to suspend the 18-cent federal gas tax for the summer driving season.

"First, research shows that waiving the gas tax would generate major profits for oil companies rather than significantly lowering prices for consumers," they wrote. "Second, it would encourage people to keep buying costly imported oil and do nothing to encourage conservation. Third, a tax holiday would provide very little relief to families feeling squeezed."

Signatories include four Nobel laureates: Joseph Stiglitz (a Clinton White House adviser), James Heckman, Daniel Kahneman and Roger Myerson. Also signing were: President-elect of the American Economic Association Angus Deaton; former AEA presidents Charles Schultze, Alice Rivlin and Peter Diamond; former Reagan administration economist Clyde Prestowitz and former Clinton economic adviser Jeffrey Frankel. Indeed, former president Bill Clinton's administration is well represented on the list, with the signatures of Jeffrey Liebman of Harvard University, Rebecca Blank of the University of Michigan and J. Bradford DeLong of the University of California at Berkeley.

Others are household names within the smaller household of the economics profession: John Shoven and Lawrence Goulder from Stanford, Alan Auerbach from Berkeley, David Cutler from Harvard, James Galbraith from the University of Texas and Frank Levy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

By Web Politics Editor  |  May 5, 2008; 5:04 PM ET
 
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Comments

JakeD mentioned:

"We're going to go right at OPEC," she said. "They can no longer be a cartel, a monopoly that get together once every couple of months" at a hotel in "some plush place in the world" to set prices, she told a crowd at a volunteer fire house in Merillville."

The President does not have the legal authority to tell any U.S. company what their profit margin can be. What makes her think she can dictate to any foreign group, company, or individual what they can do with a business not even located here?

Posted by: Pull your head out | May 8, 2008 12:55 AM | Report abuse

gmack | May 6, 2008 7:06 PM wrote,

"Clinton has stated that her gas-tax holiday is short-term. She is working with what she could possibly get through the Congress now, since she isn't President."

If for no other reason, the following should show anyone that she is lying, once again, and just pandering for votes.

As I pointed out above (May 5, 2008 9:24 PM posting), the President can not introduce legislation into either the House or the Senate, only a sitting member of Congress may do so. Therefor, the time for her to show she is doing something is to introduce the necessary bill NOW while she can do so herself without finding a go-between. Not doing so means she doesn't really care but is only flapping her lips, again.

gmack him/herself states the in quote above that "She is working with what she could possibly get through the Congress now".

Then why hasn't she introduced the bill? Passage of any legislation takes time and is never automatic. And what if the Bushman vetoes it as promised? Takes even more congressional votes to over ride a veto, meaning more time wasted rounding those votes up.

Another thing showing this to be a false campaign promise is that if she waits until she is President (not going to happen) the summer driving season will have been long over. Remember, the new President is not sworn in to office until January; WE DON'T EVEN VOTE UNTIL NOVEMBER!

Come on, people. Use your brains for more than holding your ears apart.

Posted by: Pull Your Head Out | May 8, 2008 12:42 AM | Report abuse

JakeD mentioned:

"We're going to go right at OPEC," she said. "They can no longer be a cartel, a monopoly that get together once every couple of months" at a hotel in "some plush place in the world" to set prices, she told a crowd at at volunteer fire house in Merillville.

My response:

Hmmmm...as a woman Clinton is not familiar with the term "they have us by the balls." OPEC is laughing all the way to the bank with this one. You see, any adjustment made to tax prices will be an effort made in vain. Gas companies will just raise their prices knowing that the American public now has a few more pennies in their pocket. And is saving $28 dollars over one quarter worth it? Did Hillary ever take even an intro introductory course in economics or history? The only way to destroy a monopoly is to create an alternative source of competition. In this case an different fuel source or type of fuel. You can not disguise this tax plan as an effort to take on OPEC. People who know anything about OPEC or how gas prices work or even a little bit about what drives the economy know that this plan is a joke. Furthermore people who vote for a President based upon this issue are sadly lost. The President does not have the power to singlehandedly effect economic change. Learn a little about the fourth branch of government...the lobbyists (special interest groups.)

Oh and for the record. Yes Clinton is pandering. That is what all politicians do to get votes(Obama and McCain included.)

Posted by: AaronM | May 7, 2008 11:51 PM | Report abuse

Clinton has stated that her gas-tax holiday is short-term. She is working with what she could possibly get through the Congress now, since she isn't President. Also, she is saying that oil companies will pay this tax during this summer and that will make up for the Federal revenue. Wouldn't you rather them pay for it?

Clinton also has very detailed policies for investing in alternative energy, creating new "green" jobs, and becoming less dependent on foreign sources of oil. Please stop reciting the Obama campaign word for word and why would you listen to an economist? They make more money than you do and don't need any break whatsoever. I make enough to pay for my own gas as it is, but anything cheaper is always better.

Posted by: gmack | May 6, 2008 7:06 PM | Report abuse

NEWSFLASH --

FROM PROFESSOR PAUL KRUGMAN'S BLOG --

May 6, 2008, 9:19 am

Gas tax hysterics

OK, this has gone overboard.
Hillary Clinton's proposed gas tax holiday is not, in my view, a good idea. But the furor over what is, when all is said and done, a small and temporary policy proposal is entirely disproportionate. What's going on?
Part of it, clearly, is the fact that many people in the media really, really want Obama to win and Clinton to lose -- read Kurt Andersen -- and have seized on the gas tax as their latest proof that she is ee-ee-vil.
But there's also something going on with economists, a phenomenon I recognize wearing my other hat: the tendency to place excessive weight on issues where professional judgment differs from lay opinion.
The classic example is free trade versus protectionism. Economists are justly proud of the close reasoning that produced the classical case for free trade, and love to skewer dumb protectionist arguments. I've done it myself.
But all too often, economists then become like the little boy with a hammer, to whom everything looks like a nail. Because protectionism is an issue on which they believe they have some special insight, they inflate its importance, and make free trade versus protectionism THE crucial issue in economic policy -- which it isn't. Trade barriers are a minor issue for the United States today; even small wrinkles in health care policy, like overpayment to Medicare Advantage plans, probably matter more to public welfare than all the trade restrictions now in place.
Yet economists talk much more about trade than they do about health care policy, because they think they know something about it in a way the laity don't.
The gas tax holiday is in this category. Economists really do know something about tax incidence that the laity don't. So when a presidential candidate says something that conflicts with economistic wisdom, it becomes THE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE EVER. Except, you know, it isn't.
There's a lot of troubling stuff in both Democrats' proposals. Mandates aside, Obama is seriously low-balling the cost of health care reform, and promising way too much in middle-class tax cuts. Clinton's numbers don't quite add up either, though she's probably closer to the mark -- and both Dems are towering figures of responsibility compared with McCain. Amid all this, the gas tax holiday is a real issue, but a small one; don't let economist's tendency to overemphasize their areas of expertise distort your view.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 6, 2008 6:45 PM | Report abuse

A family of 5 which has 5 cars (as JakeD multiplied $28x5) definitly is not a squeezed family.
Sesonal tax relief is not eve a short term solution, let alone long term soloution.

Posted by: SS | May 6, 2008 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Samantha:

It seems you have scared our good friend JakeD away, who by the way is not supporting Billary Clinton (if you can believe that)

Posted by: Yeah Right | May 6, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

STIGLITZ, JOSEPH
NEW YORK,NY 10025
COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY/PROFESSOR
3/31/2007
$2,300
Obama, Barack

so why are we surprised he is criticizing Hilary and it appeared the day of a primary? if we check the other economists will they be partisans as well?

Posted by: democraticeye | May 6, 2008 4:26 PM | Report abuse

While the rest of the America already knows that we are in a recession, the majority of the economists still refuse to say that we are in a recession. They made a big fuss before Clinton wants to give people some small relief and they did not make one peep when their investment and their bad prediction of the economy was bailed out by the fed (bear stern bailed out).

For some family, even one more week of gas saving is another week of groceries or a few more trips looking for a job!

Posted by: vote4thebest | May 6, 2008 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Jake D: You really need to stop. You are embarrassing yourself. I'm quite ashamed for you - perhaps you just don't see how silly and stupid you seem here, but judging from the comments, many do.

Posted by: lkbbm | May 6, 2008 4:07 PM | Report abuse


The big hike in gas prices is due to the cost of the crude, not a lack of refining capacity.

One way the US Govt can lower demand is to STOP filling up the Strategic Oil Reserve. Bush has been buying up "light, sweet crude" with TAXPAYER MONEY for YEARS and pumping it back in the ground in Texas.

Why? He can claim its for national security, but coincidentally it helps out the oil companies, now doesn't it?

Posted by: mikeinmidland | May 6, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

In Ronald Reagan's words "There you go again."

Hillary and her surrogates attack anyone with decency to set the record straight and disagree with her. They are now attacking nation's top and respected economists!

She does not care anyone but herself and would anything to attain the presidency even if she destroys the party!

Posted by: JBond III | May 6, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

JakeD: So by your logic, I've just "proven" that the earth is flat?

Seriously, don't beg the question; please tell us why the great preponderance of economists are wrong about this.

Thank you.

Posted by: Samantha | May 6, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Samantha:

I only had to "prove" there's one economist for it (see above).

thorn:

Sorry I missed your apology -- GO STANFORD!!!

Posted by: JakeD | May 6, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

By talking crazy like "obliterate Iran", Hillary is sending oil prices to the roof.

Posted by: tchanta | May 6, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

JakeD -- You can probably find three people who say the earth is flat (e.g., Sherri Shephard, host of The View: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/09/18/new-view-cohost-sherri_n_64864.html), but that doesn't make it true!

Rather than trying to dig up hacks who supposedly say the gas tax holiday will actually lower the gas price, why don't you tell us exactly why the 230+ economists are wrong?

Posted by: Samantha | May 6, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

A gas tax holiday would have the following effect:

1. Federal tax reduced by 18 cents.

2. Prices might dip a few cents, then return to right where they were the day before the tax holiday -- where the consumer is "comfortable."

3. The 18 cents goes to the futures traders and oil companies all summer.

4. When the holiday is over, gas prices rise 18 cents as the tax is re-instated.

5. The oil and futures industry has been handed an 18 cent jump in price that remains in place for the foreseeable future.


An earlier poster nailed it - these companies will not simply absorb the loss. It will be passed on.

The taxpayer WILL pay this 18 cents. The question is - do we pay it to ourselves for highway funding, or do we hand it over (permanently and indefinitely) to corporations and traders?

Of course this all will never pass, but the entire debate speaks volumes about the political approaches of the candidates.

Posted by: School Psych | May 6, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

IT'S $28/3MONTHS.

Posted by: Mike | May 6, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Jake D thats exatly what I am talking about you such a fake you have supported Hillary in your comments in the past and that makes you a fake, its old asinine people like you and old hags that support hillary , thats the reason this country is going down the tube, I am a senior myself and I am so sick and tired that you old people dont have any thrust in the younger generation , for you is going back to the past as business as usual, this younger generation wants change, if not God help this country

Posted by: Joe | May 6, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

JakeD:
YEAH RIGHT!!!! Need I say more...

Posted by: Yeah Right | May 6, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

JakieD wrote:

"Well, we'll see how well it worked in NC and Indiana tonight!!"

voila, the elite operative's raison d'etre

Posted by: Anonymous | May 6, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Dan Lauber:

I have cited to (at least) THREE economists above who concede the gas-tax cut will be passed on to the struggling Americans who need help NOW!! If 28 cents a day is not a lot to you, you can donate your 28 cents to someone more deserving.

Posted by: JakeD | May 6, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Yeah Right:

What part of "I don't 'support' Hillary Clinton -- I wouldn't vote for her in a million years" are you having trouble understanding?

Posted by: JakeD | May 6, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

After bragging about economists supporting one of her ideas last February, Senator Clinton now ignores their very accurate analysis of her gas tax suspension proposal as she and McCain pander to the selfishness and shortsightedness in all of us. So we'll save 28 cents a tank, maybe, if the gas companies don't just raise the price even more. What about all the Americans who will lose their jobs because the Clinton-McCain gas suspension will deplete the nation's infrastructure tax fund?

Senators Clinton and McCain remind me of the legendary Know-Nothing Party of the 1800s which never let the facts get in the way of its positions. Seems like Clinton and McCain don't want to be bothered with the facts either. Kind of sounds like that fellow currently occupying the White House today.

Posted by: Dan Lauber | May 6, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

On a more serious note

JakeD: Its fine that you support Senator Clinton, its a free country, you have your right.
But when common laws of Economics, Supply and Demand, or even real life examples show that this plan does not work, it just does not make any sense to support it.

Why do you think that 6 in 10 Americans find Senator Clinton to be untruthful or dishonest.

Go ahead and support Senator Clinton, but dont consider this issue an elitist view, because it is not a matter of who is saying it, its a matter of what are the facts.

Posted by: Yeah Right | May 6, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Plain old pandering by Clinton. Obamas plan of a second wave of rebates to offset costs until a permanent solution is much smarter.
Does anybody think Bush would allow the oil companies to take this hit ?

Posted by: eSPO | May 6, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Well, we'll see how well it worked in NC and Indiana tonight!!!

Posted by: JakeD | May 6, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

The problem is, those common folks in NC and Indiana aren't sophisticated enough to see through this economic folly. And Clinton knows it and that is why she is doing this to buy the votes, fooling those people.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 6, 2008 12:11 PM | Report abuse

I thought the estimate was a savings of $28 for the whole summer, not $28 a month.

In any event, it's the old Washington trick, as Obama calls it, a "shell game"

I felt Dubya did pretty much the same thing when he offered the tax cut (for the wealthy) while he was running for prez. A nice way to buy the presidency using the government's money. Turned out to be a net loss that year because state and local taxes went up. Most of the cut went to the wealthiest 1% anyway.

Thanks for the info, Weisman!

Posted by: Johnny | May 6, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Another example why the supers should now pick Obama and boot Clinton out of the race.

She should not be allowed anywhere near the national treasury or the nuke button in the White House. First she will sell out the country and then start the III World War by launching a nuclear attack on Iran.

She is a danger to herself, let alone the country.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 6, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

thorn:

I'm still waiting for YOUR apology for claiming I went to Harvard.

Posted by: JakeD | May 6, 2008 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Yeah Right:

Apology accepted.

Posted by: JakeD | May 6, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

JakieD philosophized:

"every journey start with one step"

yes, and every operative eventually get paid...one way or another

Posted by: thorn | May 6, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

See you around, Actual Economist. When you return, I hope to have some hard data on U.S. refineries currently operating UNDER capacity and whether 4.4. million barrels per day could even be processed.

Posted by: JakeD | May 6, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

I'm sorry, I have been a little insensitive in my posts, but I wanna make it up to you all who are not understanding what I'm trying to say, by simplifying all the crazy mumbo jumbo elitist economics with something you might be able to relate to:

Lets say there is a worldwide shortage of eggs, and some big bad companies own all the chickens! Everyone is complaining because the eggs for my ommelet are so expensive, oh my!! Then, there come McBillary to the rescue... Look, we will remove the government tax that is used to research how to reintroduce the population of chickens in the wild, and pass on the savings to you, the poor people, who cannot eat scrambled eggs anymore! This will certainly aleviate your troubles! Don't mind that hundreds of people who actually study this stuff are saying it wont work. But wait!!!!!!!!!! Oh no, the people go to the store to buy the eggs and the price is the same!!! How can that happen?? They took away the tax! Oh no, the big bad evil companies who own the chickens raised the price of eggs even more, how dare them!!! Just because everyone rushed to the store to buy eggs, this is terrible, what are we going to do now!!! All those people that were going to be employed reintroducing the chickens in the wild wont have a job!!! And oh my goodness, will you believe that the big bad chicken companies just had another quarter of record profits, that is just wrong!! Oh boy, I just hope they dont bring back those darn taxes or we are really going to be in trouble then!!!

I hope that kind of clears up things for you who didnt understand before. I'm just happy to help!

Posted by: Yeah Right | May 6, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Actual Economist:

I have asked those very same questions on the thread I linked you to (at least we agree on something now ; )

thorn:

Every journey starts with one step.

joe:

You will note that I do not resort to personal attacks in responding (fake or not).

Posted by: JakeD | May 6, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

There are so many factors that clearly indicate why this "holiday" is a farce.
1. If anybody in their right mind thinks the local gas station will drop their prices by 18 cents their nuts. Whenever any level of government (federal, state or local) has imposed a tax increase (like the Bill Clinton 5 cent increase), the gas stations take the opportunity to bump prices by MORE than 5 cents. Similarly, for this "holiday", they will probably only drop the price by 10-15 cents. As the gas prices are so volatile, nobody will notice.

2. If the gas prices actually go down, people will inherently drive more, increasing demand during the summer months when US refineries are always operating at capacity anyway. Hmmm... what happens when demand increases and supplies are limited...

3. If Hillary and McCain believe in the need to ween ourselves from the dependency of foreign oil and reduce carbon emissions, wouldn't you actually INCREASE the gas tax, pushing people to drive LESS and use LESS fuel?

3. Is the federal government doing so well that they can do without this significant revenue (estimates over $1B at least)? I thought we were operating at a deficit? I guess we can borrow more from the Chinese to fund the welfare payments for the lost construction jobs -- although if anyone has seen the construction projects in Houston (for example), most of the employees are foreigners anyway (potentially illegal -- another topic).

4. Hillary's proposal to tax the windfall profits of the gas company would require George Bush's approval. What is the likelihood that Bush would approve a new tax on the oil companies? This is why McCain hasn't proposed such a tax because he knows better. Oh by the way, isn't she planning to use this tax to fund her increased alternative fuel activity?

If this is such a grand idea, why not make the "holiday" permanent? Why not repeal all federal gas tax? If you truly wanted to save everyone money, don't just repeal the tax, cap the actual price so that it can't go up.

But if I can save between $28-70 (the debate over actual amount is actually quite stupid) I can then afford to take a real "holiday" and drive to grandma's house instead of staying home. Oh wait, this would cause me to use more gas -- shoot!

Posted by: ScottS | May 6, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

JakeD: Yes, I do need to get back to my work, so this will likely be my last post. On drilling, again it shouldn't matter too much where--increasing production will take time. If it were easy and profitable for Iran to increase production, they already would have. Any changes from the status quo will take time--maybe less in Iran than Anwar, but still time. This is the point I'm trying to make--additional drilling is not a short term panacea (especially, since I understand that much of the production bottleneck is not in drilling but in refining--and it takes TIME to build new refineries!).

Posted by: Actual Economist | May 6, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

jake d you are an idiot ,I cant tell what you are One day you are for Hillary , another day you for bush , You are nothing but a fake, why dont you just come out and say what you are , quit faking , or better yet go play golf with your rich friends

Posted by: joe | May 6, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

JakieD wrote "I've also provided at least THREE economists so far, not just one supply-sider."

wow "THREE" so that's over 230 economists to..........three. Do you also have a list of three scientists that don't believe in global-warming or, for that matter, evolution. sorry about the Harvard label...we all know how sensitive an issue that can be..
"Go Bears"

Posted by: thorn | May 6, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

JakeD:

First, just because a calculation comes from the government, doesn't mean that it's correct. Second, that link says that the average American uses 500 gallons of gas a year (something like 1.3 gallons a day). That sounds reasonable to me (but again, they don't say how they calculated it, so I'm always suspicious, as any dutiful academic would be). Second, how do you reasonably defend multiplying this figure by 4 for the average 4 person family? That is clearly misusing and misunderstanding these numbers. First, I'd argue that a family of two is unlikely to use twice as much gas as a family of one--all other things equal. That is, there is not a linear relationship between family size and fuel use. Second, are you suggesting that a family of two adults and two children is going to drive twice as much as a family with two adults? I didn't know that children drove that much (nor that they needed to be taxied nearly that much).

On Perloff, on a cursory check, I'm not sure what study they are referring to. Just like you misused the gas use numbers, it's highly plausible that an untrained journalist misinterpreted Perloff's results. However, I will agree that Perloff is an actual economist (unlike Kudlow).

Posted by: Actual Economist | May 6, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

I also have a correction:

The Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) is an emergency petroleum store maintained by the United States Department of Energy. The US SPR is the largest emergency supply in the world with the current capacity to hold up to 727 million barrels (115,600,000 m³) of crude oil ... However, the maximum total withdrawal capability from the SPR is only 4.4 million barrels (700,000 m³) per day.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strategic_Petroleum_Reserve#Limitations

Posted by: JakeD | May 6, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Don't you need to go to work?

The FULL implications would include not just "legal" drilling, but also arguably "illegal" drilling (e.g. in Iran ; )

Posted by: JakeD | May 6, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse


No problem. In addition to ANWR, you missed the full implications of "everywhere else we can" ...

Posted by: JakeD | May 6, 2008 11:31 AM
----
Indeed, I did and still do; can you explain?

Posted by: Actual Economist | May 6, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

thorn:

It was Stanford, not Harvard, and I am not compensated (in any way, directly or indirectly, with prepared text or otherwise assisted) by the Clinton campaign -- in fact, I've criticized her repeatedly and stated I wouldn't vote for her in a million years -- I've also provided at least THREE economists so far, not just one supply-sider. Next canard?

Actual Economist:

The 5.4 gallons per day is right from the U.S. government:
http://www.eia.doe.gov/kids/energyfacts/saving/efficiency/savingenergy.html

There's no link to the Perloff study, but it is cited here: http://blog.washingtonpost.com/fact-checker/2008/05/gas_tax_wars.html

Posted by: JakeD | May 6, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

"First, research shows that waiving the gas tax would generate major profits for oil companies rather than significantly lowering prices for consumers."

Read that sentence! It says two things.

1) Oil companies will increase their profits.

2) Consumers (THAT MEANS EVERYBODY WHO BUYS GASOLINE)will not save money.

This is not that complicated. A "holiday" is bad for every American. Especially, working, lower and midde-class Americans.

If this holiday was actually put into effect, prices would never even seem to drop. The price would go up 36 cents before anyone even noticed that it went down 18 cents.

There are so many better ways to fix the problem.

Posted by: Jon | May 6, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

No problem. In addition to ANWR, you missed the full implications of "everywhere else we can" ...

Posted by: JakeD | May 6, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Re: Jake D(uh)

Folks, not sure why you bother to respond to this sophomoric operative. He claims he is retired Harvard Law School Grad. Perhaps, but he is definitely a Clinton operative who posts with prepared text as soon as an article like this goes live.

If we take a step back, it is all laughable. On Sunday talk show, Hillary can't name an economist who supports her gas-tax proposal...then lackies like Jake D. dredge up one "elite" Reagan supply-sider to support her proposal. Hillary's referring to all economists as "elitist" is also a simplistic and transparent attempt to keep that "elite" tag stuck to Obama (as if Hillary herself travels in anything other than elite academic political circles) Robert Reich, who served as Bill's Secretary of Labor for two terms has basically disparaged all of Hillary's economic proposals...but I guess he is now just an "elitist" as well. Unless Obama loses North Carolina, I predict a huge surge in superdelegate announcements for him by the end of the week. At that point the press will start to regularly attach the word "desparate" in it's headlines regarding Hillary's antics.

Posted by: thorn | May 6, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

My apologies to JakeD and everyone else--the post above starting "Sure, drilling in Anwar" was written by me, not JakeD. I meant to address him in my response, but errantly put his name in the "name" box. Again, I apologize for any confusion.

Posted by: Actual Economist | May 6, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

JakeD: Sure, drilling in Anwar would reduce prices and I doubt anyone would seriously argue with that. Barring environmental concerns, this is not a short term solution--only a long to medium term solution. (See my analogy to rebuilding the bridge in Minneapolis.) So yes, agreed, it would lower gas prices, but my guess is that it'd take at least a year or more before you could see any of those benefits, don't you agree?

Posted by: Actual Economist | May 6, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Sure, drilling in Anwar would reduce prices and I doubt anyone would seriously argue with that. Barring environmental concerns, this is not a short term solution--only a long to medium term solution. (See my analogy to rebuilding the bridge in Minneapolis.) So yes, agreed, it would lower gas prices, but my guess is that it'd take at least a year or more before you could see any of those benefits, don't you agree?

Posted by: JakeD | May 6, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

JakeD: Can you work with me a little bit and provide documentation/links to these "base line facts" and Perloff's analysis? It's hard to comment without that.

For instance, the 5.4 gallons per day sounds high. My sense is that this may be a spurious calculation taking aggregate national gasoline consumption on a per capita basis (hence, over-estimating what an average family actually uses). But I could be wrong, which is why I'd want to see how these were calculated, as I don't have the time to do them myself.

Similarly, daily savings of 48 to 64 cents sound way out in left field. I think Obama's estimate of 30 cents per day is even much too high. More realistic savings may be in the 8-10 cent range per gallon for the first week or so (but plausibly less), dwindling down to 1-2 cents or less per gallon within a month. So you could call that "some" savings, but aggregated it will be such a small amount, with the rest going to the oil industry. This result is clearly not what the proponents of this policy are suggesting. Any savings will be tiny and only the result of market frictions from the tax suspension (that is, it may take a little time to reach a new steady-state).

Posted by: Actual Economist | May 6, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

P.S. to Actual Economist -- I would argue that the mere announcement that "the U.S. will commence drilling in ANWR and everywhere else we can" would decrease world oil prices far more than raiding the Strategic Reserves (especially since we can only take 1 million barrels out per day) and a better long-term solution.

Posted by: JakeD | May 6, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Yeah Right:

That Kudlow blog post is outdated. I saw his on TV over the weekend saying there was SOME short term benefit to the gas-tax cut.

Actual Economist:

Let me know when you have time to discuss then. Can we at least agree on baseline facts: the average American family of four consumes 2000 gallons of gasoline a year, or 5.4 gallons a day. According to the Perloff (Economist # 3) study, Clinton's proposal would save such a family between 48 and 64 cents a day. This figure is comparable with the estimate of 30 cents per day per driver that Obama used on the Tim Russert's "Meet the Press" show on NBC on Sunday.

BMR:

That's THREE economists (so far) who confirm the gas-tax cut will provide SOME short-term relief to struggling American families -- keep in mind that's just DIRECT savings -- food prices could come back down if big rigs save anywhere close to the $2 BILLION estimate by ATA (I'm checking if they had an "actual" economist put together that estimate ; )

Posted by: JakeD | May 6, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Ok "God Father"... Thats right, the letter was all politically charged, there is no proof behind it, and it does not make any sense!!! YEAH RIGHT!!! There are even Clinton backers and advisors who signed it!!! For someone who is a researcher, I don't even want to know what you are researching, because obviously you are as dumb as a brick!!! It is simple economics, research that!

Posted by: Yeah Right | May 6, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

JakeD: I did look at your link, but I don't believe his/her numbers and analysis. Now, I don't have the time to dig into this further (remember, I have a real job as an economist), but I'll share the two tells that suggests the contents should not be readily trusted.

1) The short-run price elasticity of gasoline is suggested to be -0.2 (actually, this is just the simple mean of estimates ranging from -0.1 to -0.4). I haven't looked at each of these studies, but my sense is that their "short-run" was longer than 3 months. Hence, the price elasticity is plausibly even more inelastic than this (which is the working assumption of most economists).

2) The blogger says that the gains of the tax cut will be evenly split between producers and consumers (suggesting the actual savings to the consumer will be 9 cents per gallon). This statement is highly dubious. To get this result, the price elasticity of demand would have to be exactly the same as the price elasticity of supply. No data is given to this end, but this is highly, highly unlikely. Most believe that consumers can more easily adjust their behavior and hence their demand will be more elastic, which is why would get little of the gain of suspending the gas tax in the short run (as that tax is essentially being paid by producers, since consumers are able to avoid it with behavioral/driving changes).

Finally, this blogger sounds to just be a graduate student (perhaps) studying economics. Again, this hardly compares to the illustrious list of PhD economists which have come out in force against the purported policy implications of this "gas tax holiday."

Beiruti: Honestly, read my posts which clarify this topic. The issue here is that THERE WILL NOT BE AN 18 CENT SAVINGS for drivers. Maybe a cent or two at the most, with the rest of that money going to the oil companies. The gas tax holiday is nothing more than a misguided short term subsidy to the gasoline industry. Honestly, I'm not sure how much more clear I can be.

No Idea: There is one other short term "solution" that I neglected to mention. We could get near instant price relief in gas prices if the government released the strategic oil reserves into the market. This would boost supply and lower the price--no one would argue with that. However, there are legitimate concerns over whether using the "strategic" reserves is a wise move. In truth, it opens us to some risk and many policy makers (and American voters) may not be willing to open ourselves up to that risk, even if it slightly depresses gas prices.

Posted by: Actual Economist | May 6, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Who said that Kudlow supports the Gas Tax Holiday? You are obviously disoriented!!! Read on his Blog yourselve if you want, IDIOTS:

"Voters are irate over the higher cost for gas and food. Truck drivers are preparing to march on Washington, D.C. in a strike against soaring prices for diesel fuel. Meanwhile, politicians on both sides of the aisle are making goofy policy proposals like instituting a windfall profits tax (Hill-Bama) or declaring a summer gas tax holiday (McCain). Yes, of course we need a good energy policy with a broad portfolio of all energy sources. No question about it. But let's be very clear: the Federal Reserve has played a lead role in creating this energy and food price debacle."
http://www.kudlowsmoneypolitics.blogspot.com/

Posted by: Yeah right | May 6, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

What everyone seems to miss is that Clinton is proposing this as a 90 relief measure, not as a long term energy policy. No significant damage can be done to the long term energy picture by giving people a 90 break and it may even help the economy out.

What usually happens is that Congress requests the PResident not to purchase oil for the strategic oil reserve, or to take oil out of the reserve as a means to effect the cost of gas at the pump.

Both of those short term measures are not as harmful as the tax holiday idea and Clinton is tying her tax holiday to the implementation of a surplus profits tax on the oil and gas industry.

Now there is a long term solution to impose that tax. If the industry will not use its vast profits to do research and development on an alternative fuel, then they have forfieted that duty to the government and that excess profits tax should be used for research and development of the hydrogen fuel cell or some other means to propel a motor vehicle.

And just what have the economists come up with to deal with $4.00/gal gas in the near term?

Do they not know what this is doing to the trucking industry? What it is doing to people who must commute to work? To the price of groceries?

The idea of ethenol, which I believe most economists signed off on has had the effect of taking 30% of the corn production out of the food market and putting it to fuel which has caused a shortage of corn and the bidding up of the price of alternate grains such as wheat, barley and oats and the high price of the basic grains is pushing up the cost of beef and chicken which depend on corn or grain based feed.

So I think the chicken-little economists need to just take a deep breath, this is only for 90 days in the summer time and then it will all be over and they won't have to be red in the face over it.

And what chance do you think that the proposal has to win passage in Congress and to escape the veto pen of Bush anyway. A surplus profits tax!! On the Oil Industry!! My goodness, half of congress and the entire administration is in the hip pocket of the industry.

Clinton's call is a David vs. Goliath thing at this point. A shot across the bow and an indication of things to come for that industry that has pretty much raped the country, raided the treasury and been in cahoots with OPEC to bleed this country dry transferring wealth to all points outside of the US and to Houston Texas while the rest of us wonder how to buy food AND gas.

That industry does not want to tangle with a President Clinton.

Posted by: Beiruti | May 6, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

It is hilarious to see Hillary Clinton and her backers bash economists as a group. Who does she plan on consulting if she were, as now seems increasingly unlikely, to become President? It seems she has more in common with John McCain, who admitted that he didn't really understand economics very well, than we realized. Clinton/McCain = War with Iran and economic pander band-aid plans. Obama = Talk to our enemies and real economics. Choose well.

Posted by: Chuck | May 6, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Ryan and Apostry:

Sorry I didn't make it back last night. I searched again for the HIV/AIDS policy statement, but I could not find it -- even if I did, legally, it would be hearsay too. So, I'm not sure how much more you two want -- I "get it" that nothing less than total loyalty to The One is required -- let me know if you are still around.

Actual Economist:

Did you see the link, above, to Economist #2? He made a point about elasticity.

No Idea AND Stop the madness:

Good points (as you can see, the "real" economist suggests $4-5 gas tax instead).

Dissent:

Yes: Obama admits to cocaine use too.

Thinking Mans Army and Aconcerneddemocrat:

Thanks for your concern -- if you would have read the thread, you would know I am retired with plenty of time to waste here -- I do have a tee time this afternoon though.

BNW:

Consider yourself LUCKY then that "Doctor" Stephen Colbert's FREE GAS idea hasn't caught on (yet -- there's always Puerto Rico).

Posted by: JakeD | May 6, 2008 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Typical Obama supporters. This economist letter comes off as so elitist its disgusting.

"it would encourage people to keep buying costly imported oil and do nothing to encourage conservation."???

-- This is really the bottom line. Obama's people, the extreme liberal wing of the party, are happy that gas prices are high and people are suffering. They want HIGHER gas prices. It feeds their need for schadenfreude.

it "would provide very little relief to families feeling squeezed."

-- Good God. Maybe we should just raise the tax by 18 cents then. It's only a few bucks, right?

The gas tax is a regressive tax. It hurts the poor and small businesses. I don't see any problem in the government giving up its share for a few months when demand will be up.

Posted by: John | May 6, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

An economist is someone who holds a Ph. D. in Economics from an accredited university. Someone who holds a lower degree simply has studied economics. I hold a B.A. in Economics.

Posted by: BNW | May 6, 2008 2:51 AM | Report abuse

God Father: Yeah..you are the one who needs "rescure" there Mr. professor.

Posted by: Mighty7 | May 6, 2008 12:59 AM | Report abuse

Who is JakeD and why does he constantly spam all the blogosphere with pro-Hillary, anti-rationality nonsense? Do you work for the Clinton campaign? You seem to do a lot of work for them..

Posted by: Aconcerneddemocrat | May 6, 2008 12:32 AM | Report abuse

Who is JakeD and whom does he work for? The guy does nothing else but blog. Does the name begin with H?

Posted by: Thinking Mans Army | May 6, 2008 12:25 AM | Report abuse

I think the economists' point is valid. For all of you blue collar workers, I want you to think about where that 18 cent gas tax goes. It goes to paying for the upkeep of our highways and mass transit systems. It goes to making sure that our bridges and the roads we drive on are safe. Keeping them safe and in good repair saves lives, reduces property damage (anyone had to have their car realigned lately?) and increased efficiency. It also provides good paying construction jobs where a worker can feel proud of what he does and the contribution that he makes to his country. Cutting out this 18 cent tax won't help keep our roads, bridges, and mass transit system in good repair, and it will hurt construction workers whose livelihoods depend on keeping us all safe.

What's more, it won't help us fix the problem that is a big part of our pain ... our insatiable need for oil. Big Oil is sucking the life out our economy. Just ask any trucker. It's oil that is causing him the most pain, not the 18 cent tax. And if that tax goes away, do you really think that Big Oil isn't going to skim some off the top? The economists sure do think so. We've got to get off of this stuff. Bush and McCain's Big Oil policies are just providing us with another hit of the poison. And now Clinton? It's like a drug dealer feeding crack to a wide-eyed junkie who needs to be in rehab all the while taking more and more of his dime. That's what our dependence on Big Oil has done. That's what Bush has done and that's what McCain will do if they get their greedy paws on it. And here Clinton is pandering to it!

It's about what's best for the country and its about character folks! Neither Clinton nor McCain have an iota on Obama in terms of character. Let's look at McCain. before he went off to Vietnam, he married a model from Philadelphia, Carol Shepp. When in Vietnam McCain was captured and held prisoner for five years. While he was being held prisoner, his model wife, Carol McCain was in a bad car wreck that left her partially disabled. So McCain gets let go in 1973 and he comes back to his partially disabled model wife where, and instead of loving and supporting his her in sickness and in health, according to the biography, he proceeds with seven years worth of affairs with numerous women culminating in the marriage of liquour 100 millionaire Cindy Hensley, just a month after divorcing Carol McCain in 1980! And Clinton? I don't have the time to write! I'll take Barak's Obama's 19 year marriage to Michele anyday if you want to talk about family values.

Republicans gave lip service to family values during the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal. Republican J.C. Watts went so far as saying that Republicans would never nominate an adulterer. And here we have admitted adulterer John McCain as the Republican nominee!

Policy-wise or Character-wise, McCain and Clinton are not it. I vote Obama.

Posted by: hesingswithfrogs | May 6, 2008 12:12 AM | Report abuse

Actually, God Father,

Joseph Stiglitz, the most prominent signer of that letter, has written a whole book about the cost of the Iraq war.

You wrote, "I never saw any of them write letters on the cost of war and economy. Shame on these people!"

If you are a "research professor" then I am the Pope!

Posted by: :-) | May 6, 2008 12:06 AM | Report abuse

Gas has gone up almost 18 cents in the past 2 weeks alone and the summer driving season isn't even really here yet. That 28 buck savings is looking smaller and smaller.

To those that say Obama isn't doing anything while Hillary is doing something (albeit badly):

A simple solution that Obama is proposing is to end the tax cuts for the extremely wealthy and close tax loopholes that the oil companies use to take our oil from our public land at rock bottom prices. That hits companies and their greedy executives where they live, not in a place where they can easily pass the hurt along to us, which is what Clinton's plan does.

Don't even get me started on McCain's plan to fund the cut from the general revenue...

That's worse than idiotic, it's brain dead.


Posted by: KdubbG | May 5, 2008 11:36 PM | Report abuse


"People cannot stand too much reality" - Carl Gustav Jung

Posted by: dldbug | May 5, 2008 11:24 PM | Report abuse

This is the most moronic idea ever conceived. Suspend the gas tax and pay for it by issuing a "windfall profit" tax on the oil companies? What do you think the oil companies are going to do? Do you think they're just going to suck that up or will they just raise prices to cover the tax?

Hey Hillary, why don't you propose suspending sales tax over the holiday shopping season and impose a "windfall profit" tax on retailers? What an idiot. I can't believe this person actually is trying to run our country.

Posted by: Strkout | May 5, 2008 11:13 PM | Report abuse

How much you can save depends on how long is your commute. Those who live in small town and sub-urban will save a lot more than the ones in the city. For those who drive for living like truck drivers, of course, they will save much, much more.

Posted by: asf | May 5, 2008 11:12 PM | Report abuse

Adjusted gross irrelevant. 1 kid at war for 4th tour. 2 kids in college full-time. Job in jeopardy for 3rd time in 10 years this time due to devaluation of dollar and my new co hq'd in japan. Temporary gas tax relief is nonsense when the real issues are in fact corporations buying off our political process. We no longer have the voice we all seem to be screaming for on this list or anywhwere else in a public forum. We've lost and have failed to realize it. This is not about republicans or democrats, it's about the money thrown at the feet of ALL politicians in Washington by corporations and lobbyists. Set a maximum years of service for House and Senate, eliminate the money and perhaps we can regain our voice, re-install our ideals and end the severe corruption that drives our lives in the U.S. Who's running that has the ability to get this done in a 4 year term? Why are we so unwilling to admit we have lost control of our government? We have and have had Halliburton's, Black Waters, Exxon's, Enron's, MCI WorldCom's and greedy bankers running our country. Let's agree to take it back. Who is offering this in the current Presidential election?

Posted by: Richard S. | May 5, 2008 11:03 PM | Report abuse

Let me reiterate without the explanation as to why. Temporarily suspending the federal tax on gasoline WILL NOT save drivers money as its proponents purport. Gas prices will almost immediately rise to nearly exactly the same price before the tax was suspended. This IS NOT about not wanting to give drivers (especially the hard working ones, who are increasingly being forced to pinch their pennies or worse). All the economists are saying is that the plan WILL NOT WORK. It sounds good and no one is trying to be elitist here. It just won't work.

(Think of it this way. You're moving into a new home and your buddies are helping you move your massive couch. One is an architectural engineer. He's measured the couch and the doorway and he says there's no way it will fit. Your other buddy, smart bloke, is a surgeon and he says, "no if we tilt it this way and push hard, it'll go through." Who do you listen to? Let me tell you, if you listen to the wrong one, you're liable to have a couch stuck in the doorway and a headache. Both meant well, but trust the friend who's an expert first.)

Posted by: Actual Economist | May 5, 2008 11:01 PM | Report abuse

Hillary is the Republican Choice candidate to go up against, they know they can beat her, her closet hasent even been cracked yet.If she had the last say on healthcare most middle class would pay more for the same coverage because of the balance of those who cant afford any.
Do we need something more universal? hell yes!!! we get so caught up by the cost of gas, see the politicians waving on a stage, slamming about the middle east and the cartel to the south etc.etc.etc. They all exist because we , here in America, Allowed it to happen,we allowed big buisness to take control of our country, and they sold us out to the highest bidder, but where has all that greatness gotten us?? We the people do the fighting, the starving, the praying or crying, while corporate America eats a Bagel, Gets his shoes shined, buys another 3000 dollar suit, why not , They earned it , Right!!!

Posted by: billy boy | May 5, 2008 11:00 PM | Report abuse

230 economists against a plan from a presidential candidate? Wow, Hillary must be very honored. This is just a gas tax relief for the summer, and most people agree the plan is unlikely to pass in Congress. So why are these economists so worry about this plan? What are their motives to issue this letter? Try to knock her out of this race?

Posted by: No Idea | May 5, 2008 10:57 PM | Report abuse

No Idea: I'll field this one for you. The reason we aren't suggesting other ideas is because there just aren't a lot of things that can be done--at least in the short term. It's a little like the bridge that fell in Minneapolis. What do you do with all that traffic that crossed that major bridge on a daily basis? You can add a lane here or there on other roadways, maybe encourage public transportation, but you can't substantively fix the problem overnight--you're a victim of circumstances. That's much the case that we are in with oil, we are victim to a multitude of circumstances that just cannot be ameliorated overnight.

This is why economists make such a big deal over the difference between short and long term. Just about anything is possible in the long term--you can build a new bridge, in the Minneapolis example or you can drill for new oil or develop alternative energy sources in the case of oil. Now smart policy, as is being pursued with the Minneapolis bridge reconstruction can speed that transition, and to their credit, nearly all the candidates--Republican or Democrat--have ideas on how achieve that "better future" faster.

So it may sound as though I'm ducking your question, but I just want to first tell you that there really aren't any good short term solutions (and long term solutions are tenuous as well). If you want instant relief in the hands of consumers, the most effective thing would probably be a lump sum payment from the government, independent of driving behavior (that is not a gas rebate, but something more like the "stimulus checks" we are currently getting). You can't tie the payment to driving behavior, as the markets could just respond and make the price of gas higher (which is why the tax holiday won't work). Another option would be to permanently drop the tax on gasoline. In the short term, that would have little or no effect. Over a year or so, you would see some of that savings, but it would still be less than 18 cents per gallon.

Just about everything else I can think of would be fraught with problems. For instance, why don't we just set a price ceiling on gas, or something like that? That would return the chaos of the 1970's--long lines at the pump and gas shortages. No one wants that. It may sound good, but it just won't work.

Mind you, I'm not an energy economist, so I'm just thinking off the top of my head. As for long term solutions, my slant is on creating incentives or subsidization of alternative energy R&D. A Manhattan project type effort to develop, say, fuel cells might work. It might not too, so that's a risky proposition. In truth, the likely most efficient way to find a new fuel source would be deeply unpopular--a steep tax on gasoline. This may sound counterintuitive from what I've said so far, but implementing a steep tax on gasoline, say slowly ramped up to $4 or maybe $5 a gallon would create massive incentives for the market to innovate--and innovate fast. This has been the European approach and while it hasn't produced a panacea, their vehicles are the most energy efficient in the world. There you go, these sorts of ideas is why policy makers hate to listen to economists!

Posted by: Actual Economist | May 5, 2008 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone really understand the battle here?? It sounds great to give back to the "wee folk" who really need the break,, give a tax holiday, a tax rebate, tax free this and tax free that,,,, Thats whats been happening since G while we see the smoke , the mirrors are clouding whats really happening here. This country is supported by our tax dollars, our taxable income, our sales tax, etc,, when the officials or politicians tell us they dont need our tax dollars, that we need a rebate, or a tax break, what are they really pulling over our eyes?? would 28 bucks a month really help?? i have 6 people in my family, does that mean the Barbie Jeep ( the nations first electric vehicle) qualifies for a tax break.
My wife and i spend about the same each month in fuel, travel similar roads, and they are allready in need of serious repair!! when the money shortens up even more for the budgets, road repair and infrastructure will be last on the list.
A tax cut for someone who drive 30 miles to and fro work will be significantly different for someone who drive 90 miles there, so how do we balance that??
I live in a city with a idiotic strong mayor system in place, who just spent 20,000 dollars to put rocks around a fountain, but wants to charge a surcharge for street repairs that dont fit into the budget for the year??? 20000 was just for the rocks, im sure the labor wasnt cheap, but gee, im sure 20 G's plus woulda filled in a few potholes, filled a few gas tanks, but with all the economic advisers out there, im sure the rocks were totally justifiable, necessary and responsible

Posted by: Billy boy | May 5, 2008 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Economy is not a science because it is based on beliefs, not on empirical knowledge or axioms!
Imagine, if there are undecidables in mathematics, what could one expect from economists syllogisms!
You can't take these guys seriously and they know it. They are just a bunch of pretenders!

Posted by: Caronte | May 5, 2008 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Lawrence Kudlow... Bear Stearns, Enron Corporation... Severe drug addiction; alcoholism... Hmmm, sounds like a trustworthy guy.

"Say, Larry, how'd you like to be Secretary of the Treasury? Great! --Just take a shower before you come, you smell like pot and booze!"

Is there anything JakeD says that isn't embarrassingly idiotic?

Posted by: Dissent | May 5, 2008 10:41 PM | Report abuse

If Hillary thinks that dropping the tax for the summer is so great, why isn't she pushing legislation through Congress to abolish it completely?

Why is everyone silent about "The Coming Tax Bomb" (WSJ article) and it's automatic 50 percent increase in 2010.

All the politicians have to do is sit back and be silent. Nope I didn't do it! Don't blame me!

Posted by: cyberbian | May 5, 2008 10:40 PM | Report abuse

Simple Example:

Hillary knows how to help the Working Class.

Ask any truck-driver, transportation operator, airliner, or even any working class person that commutes (30+ miles to work one way because they can't afford a house in the city) whether they approve the gas-tax suspension and I can assure you they will say YES!!

Also, Hillary is the only candidate that has the GUTS to stand up and FIGHT for UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE!! The U.S. is the only wealthy, industrialized nation in the WORLD that doesn't have a Universal Healthcare Program - talk about snubbing the working class!!

What does Obama have to offer? More skeletons coming out of his closet? Pastor Wright's deepest sentiments coming out of him?

Vote to take care of America, Vote Hillary Clinton for President!

Posted by: Hillary For the WorkingClass | May 5, 2008 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Why does this sound so familiar?

A politician ignores the extperts and lays out a raft of phony rationales to justify pandering to the hunger for easy answers -- and then tries to indimidate those who urge caution and a sensible course of action.

And, gee, Clinton was on board for that disasterous con job, too...

Posted by: KS2 Problema | May 5, 2008 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Obama is a cunning and terrifyingly dangerous politician who lacks the character needed to be our president.

Barack says he won't throw his pastor under the bus like he did his grandmother, and then he did.

Barack says he's against the war but NEVER ACTUALLY VOTED AGAINST IT because he wasn't in office then. And then he VOTED YES TO FUND THE WAR.

Barack says he won't wear "that pin" on his clothing but then he is trying to say that he stands for it (when really he wants to switch it to something else).

Barack says he wants to be the #1 patriot in America and yet when the National Anthem is played, he doesn't put his hand on his heart(as if the song doesn't apply to him) - must be because it is the song of the "old ways" of America(which he wishes to destroy), the ways that hundreds of thousands have died for along the way.

Barack boils up some cursing and completely politically-reactive racial speech, tries to make us all feel deficient, says Don Imus should be burned at the stake and flushed in a toilet, and then turns around and says "Race is not a problem in America"(because that would trick people into thinking he doesn't hate).

Barack says he's a uniter but then devotes 20 years of his life to his "Mentor" and "Role Model" that has burned the very hate of America into his heart - see this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lI77cU3jsFs ( also see more great stuff at: thatsmeontheleft.blogspot.com )

Barack says all people should count and "yes we can" but then he purposely, and cold-bloodedly stone-walls any chance of allowing 2+ MILLION voters in Florida and Michigan have their vote count.

Barack says he's about "helping the working class live better lives" and then he turns around and slanders us not only by calling us "bitter" and "clinging to guns and religion", but also forgoes offering a Universal Healthcare Plan(which is a core democratic value) - this is only so he can play both sides of the poor/rich fence, but in the end he leans more towards the former(with his ridiculous idea to raise capital gains taxes).

Barack says he has all these ideas for how he's going to throw our government out of their offices onto the street but there's no detailed information available for people to weigh his intentions with common sense.

Everything is about timing for Mr. Barack Obama, he plays "old style" politics better than a symphonic orchestra, he'll switch from one major idea and then to the reverse like a windsock in an open field.

How long will it be before Barack throws the "American People"(as if we're somebody else) under the bus, and then back up for another go.

Think long and hard, this man is playing the emotion card on America, and he intends to rip our heart out with it to pay back for his Pastor's pain and conspiracy theories of yesteryear.

How does Barack Obama spend 20 years in a church with a Pastor whom married him and his wife, baptized his young, was named as "mentor" for his books(that made the Obamas millions), and is "unashamedly BLAMING AMERICANS like you and me" for every major problem that ever existed(without giving ANY credit to 200+ years of progress as a prosperous nation of all kinds of people) without coming out HATING America the same way? Barack Obama's trashing of Pastor Wright doesn't say anything good about his character, rather it shows just how far Barack is willing to go to play the "same old politics" and claw his way into the candidacy. Barack's actions towards his Pastor of 20 years show just how shallow and irresponsible he is.

If you vote for Barack Obama, you will experience change alright, and it will hurt, like a dull blade being forced into your back.
If you vote for Barack Obama, you will experience the Apocalypse of America.

Posted by: Tyrone | May 5, 2008 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Talk about destroying the Democratic party....

The DNC is destroying the party, by alienating the 2+ MILLION voters in Florida and Michigan, AND THEN giving North Carolin MORE delegates!!

The contest is nearly neck-and-neck with Obama having the upper hand, which would probably not true if the DNC were to INCLUDE THE TWO ENTIRE STATES THEY HAVE BEEN WORKING TO ALIENATE!!!

Now the DNC has awarded North Carolina with MORE DELEGATES!!!

This is totally RIGGING the selection process to make it easier for a particular candidate!!!

Pelosi and the DNC are working against Hillary!! This is not Democracy, this is the "righteous few" trying to fool over half of the voter base!!

DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!! STOP THE MADNESS!!!

If you're like me, you'll vote for McCain if the Democratic party becomes "undemocratic" by rigging the contest!!

Email Howard Dean Immediately and tell him to give Florida and Michigan their rightful votes!!

http://www.democrats.org/page/petition/chairman

Posted by: Stop the madness | May 5, 2008 10:32 PM | Report abuse

For those who oppose Clinton's plan, can someone please provide a better plan? I know the candidates have their long term plan to reduce dependence on foreign oil, but it takes time, and people want relief immediately. The economists said this is bad, and you can't do this or that. However, none of these economists offer any plan. They are the experts and they should be smart enough to come up with something. Maybe it's easier to criticize than provide a concrete plan.

Posted by: No Idea | May 5, 2008 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Americans need to get real about petroleum. It is a finite resource and the consensus of most geologists who have studied this field is that the end is in sight for those reserves that are of good quality and easy to drill. Another undisputed fact is that Americans for decades have been consuming a percentage of the world's supply that is way out of proportion to it's population. Now countries with populations in the billions are enjoying economic success for the first time and are now wanting a bigger piece of that petroleum pie. This trend is clearly not sustainable.

Think about the world that are children will inherit if we can't control our greed and overcome our blindness to new reality. We are up against real limits and this clearly is another inconvenient truth.

Posted by: dldbug | May 5, 2008 10:30 PM | Report abuse

JakeD: I don't know much about Larry Kudlow, but from what you said in one of the first posts and the cursory skimming I've done on him, I'd say no. My sense is that he self-describes himself as an economist but no actual economist would describe him as such. I admit I may be biased on this point, but I don't see working at a bank (Federal Reserve, apparently in the 1970s) or an investment firm (Bear Stearns, apparently in the 1990s) as qualifying someone as an economist. A PhD, more or less, does that. Don't get me wrong, you certainly don't need a PhD to understand this issue, though. Even if he advocates for the tax holiday, it'd be hard for me to believe that he'd deny the predictions of economic theory--they don't get much more tighter than this (hence, the overwhelming response from economists). My sense is that he is advocating this on political terms, rather than actual economic terms. The only argument I can see that even if the tax holiday doesn't ceteris paribus affect the price of gasoline, people may "think" the price has lowered--and that may have some value, even if it's premise is spurious.

Annette Keller: Seriously? I don't even know where to begin. It's true that economists are often miserable predictors of the future. But then again, how good are the weathermen/women? Both face highly complex and unpredictable worlds. In my capacity as an economist, I try to stay away from the crystal ball game all-together; we're just not very good at it. However, that's not to say that we aren't good at what we do in practice. For instance, ask your mechanic when your car is going to break down next and you'll likely get a blank look. As your mechanic what will happen if you pour whisky into your gas tank and he or she will have an answer. That's what this situation is--pouring whisky in your gas tank and we're pretty darn sure what's going to happen. Now, if you can trust your mechanic on such a question, why can't you trust some of the world's most renowned economists? This isn't political; this is what we know and know well.

BZ: If only people actually listened to us economists! This example is a case in point; politicians largely ignore us! In truth, this country is largely run by lawyers (do a roll call on the number of J.D.s in congress) and other bureaucratic types. Seriously, we feel your same pain. We are just regular folks who spent way too much time in school and make way too little money for all that effort (again, the lawyers and MBAs will mop the floor on our salaries--but we're not scraping by either, to be fair). That's the constant fight of our profession--to get policy makers to think of us and to counter the pseudo economists like Larry Kudlow.

Garagestudio: Well said!

Posted by: Actual Economist | May 5, 2008 10:29 PM | Report abuse

"Economists Release Letter Opposing Clinton Gas Tax Plan"
Hillary should be thankful for this, because economists are the only professionals that add and substract percentage rates, regardless of their basis, and don't understand the implications! Morons!

Posted by: Caronte | May 5, 2008 10:27 PM | Report abuse

By the same logic that says reducing the task will not save consumers any money, wouldn't increasing the tax not cost consumers any extra, but just decrease oil company profits?

Posted by: Peter | May 5, 2008 10:21 PM | Report abuse

First of this is as crazy as when she broke out Internation Law: Chapter I,Article II of the United Nation Charter signed by 50 countries! She broke that law when she threaten to obliverate and wipe out a whole country! Leaveing it up in the air that she may use a nuke todo that! No matter she should be faceing charges from the United Nation and The Demacrate party should be stepping out to kick her Out of the Presidential Elections! Look people, this is no laughing matter, or some thing you can surger coat she litterly broke out international laws an must pay for it. www.Thedailybanter.com

Posted by: alberta treaddway | May 5, 2008 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Get it?

You won't save a cent, and will probably end up paying more.

Posted by: Gallery90 | May 5, 2008 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Populus vult decipi, decipiatur

Posted by: dldbug | May 5, 2008 10:06 PM | Report abuse

when did gettting an education and developing knowledge make you an elitist? do we want ignorant people making the decisions that affect our lives? Right - have your working class next door neighbor do your surgery next time - an education does not make one an elitist nor does it put you out of touch with the working class - I would bet many of those economists came from middle and working class families and know exactly what it means to struggle to get ahead - clinton and mccain are asusming american working class people are so stupid they will buy s blatant pandering - neither mccain nor clnton can lower the price of gas this summer - nor will they lower it if they get into the white house - wake up - gas prices are not going down - unless the demand for gas goes down -

Posted by: cate | May 5, 2008 10:06 PM | Report abuse

There will be no savings. Hillary "wants" to lay the tax on the oil companies. If they pay 18.4 cents at their end, rather than at the pump, how much do you think the consumer will be paying at the pump? 20 cents? 25 cents?

And then what about that 18.4 cent hike that will occur at 12:01 am, September 2?

The important thing to remember is that Hillary KNOWS this will never get through Congress...So she'll never get caught. She can tout the "tax holiday" all summer long, safe in the knowledge that it will never happen to prove her wrong.

Remember...This is a Clinton. Anything to get elected!!

Posted by: Gallery90 | May 5, 2008 10:04 PM | Report abuse

The dirty little secret is that the government makes more money off a gallon of gas than the oil companies. Unlike the oil companies, the government does not work for this money. It simply takes it by force. None of these economists gave an economic reason why this tax should not be lifted, only political reasons (global warming, foreign oil, etc.). This means that these economists are nothing more than political hacks. I also note that most of these economists have Jewish last names. Not that that means anything, but many Jews just so happen to be big city rich socialite socialist types.

Posted by: David | May 5, 2008 10:02 PM | Report abuse

JakeD where do you get $28 a month? also where do you get $28 a month = $140 per month for a family of 5? The average driving people really do they wouldn't save $28 for the whole summer most drive less than 50 miles per week!! - yes, their whole family. (kids can't drive cars legally JakeD) Learn2Mathematics!

Posted by: Jim M | May 5, 2008 9:55 PM | Report abuse

I am amazed that more than 200 economists say, "this is not a good idea," and we are debating it! If three doctors say you are sick, you are sick!

Just like Bush's tax rebate, the gas tax holiday is intended to appease an unhappy public...nothing more. The fundamental structural issue of our over-use of oil and dependence on foreign sources of energy is not being addressed.

I was very upset to read that Mrs. Clinton will not be bothered to consider what the economists have to say--sounds quite Bush-like, ignoring reality because she does not like it.

I am also concerned that Mrs. Clinton is starting to "act dumb," anything but appearing to be intelligent, educated and rich, all of which she is. Pretending she is average is a bad joke. But it does let us know that she is street smart, dumb like a fox as my grandma used to say.

I prefer Obama--I think he is a visionary and inspiring--but I am afraid that much of the opposition he faces is veiled racism--at least she hasn't called him, "uppity." I think Hillary would be a great President, but I believe Obama would be even better.

Posted by: garagestudio | May 5, 2008 9:45 PM | Report abuse

if the choice is between the well-being of you and your family, and 28/summer...why don't you get rid of your internet connection and save 150-200/summer?

Posted by: bliss | May 5, 2008 9:40 PM | Report abuse

It's NOT $28/month. It's $28 for the WHOLE SUMMER. Will you idiotic, uneducated people please leave this country before you drain it's prosperity with your stupidity and welfare checks? Thank you.

Posted by: Educated Voter | May 5, 2008 9:34 PM | Report abuse

What the economists don't say is that $28 is the most that will come from this tax relief. Previous experience indicate that the actual relief will be more like $3-$5. The rest will be going to the oil companies.

The real issue is which candidate do you trust, Clinton who with Kudlow support the tax, and Kudlow only cares about the oil companies: or Obama who states the truth and acts on it. Who do you want in charge?

Posted by: Ron M | May 5, 2008 9:33 PM | Report abuse

FJ Stratford

Your use of the term "elite ivory towers" show your slant.....

If you want to participate in "operation chaos"......I would avoid using such terms so you don't look like a tool.....

Clintons chances of getting her "gas tax holiday" passed in Conress for the summer are even less than her chances of getting the nod.

Pandering to the max!!

Posted by: ApostasyUSA | May 5, 2008 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Kudlow is an economist of the growth at any cost type. He is one of the economists who thinks that stimulating earnings of corporations is all that is important in the economy. That is why earnings at the low end of the earnings scale are not increasing while CEO earnings skyrocket. Clinton will do or say anything to win including stimulating oil company earnings while advertising she his helping the little guy.

She can't be trusted to tell a story about Boznia or to be the chief executive of the executive brach of the US. She only does what's good for Hillary. Mendacity you can count on.

Obama's objective is to improve the country. That is why he trusts us with the truth. He knows we will do what's best for the country. Transparency you can count on.

Posted by: Ron M | May 5, 2008 9:25 PM | Report abuse

For those asking why political advertisements are not covered by the Truth In Advertising laws follow this link.

http://www.factcheck.org/specialreports188.html

Besides what you learn there think about it. Why would any politician pass a law making them subject to telling the truth when lies have been shown to consistently gain the most votes? Passing such a law would also actually make them accountable for the promises they make regarding things they will do, not to mention they could no longer make false claims concerning things they have done or experience(s) they have - do you think they really want that?

For those believing that the gas holiday will be enacted by either of these two politicians think about this.

The President has no power to introduce legislation into either the House or the Senate; only a sitting member of Congress may do so. Therefor, why aren't either of these candidates introducing the needed legislation now, while they are in a position to do so? Now THAT would make it appear they are trying to do something, whether you believe it will help or not.

Are they going to suspend a legally passed tax through the use of an Executive Order, by-passing Congress? Not sure they can legally do so. (Anyone know?) Besides, the new President won't take office until next year and could not issue such an order until then, much to late for any such Executive Order to give a supposed benefit for anyone this summer.

One last thought.

Isn't the reason we, as a nation, are in such financial trouble right now due to the short-term gains so many people and businesses have taken the last few years?

Look at the various free trade agreements. Who benefited, the working class or the top of the food chain? How many executives took outrageous pay hikes, bonuses, and 'golden parachutes' by sending jobs out of the country, laying hundreds-of-thousands (millions?) of people off, and then claiming they saved the company millions of dollars and deserved the money? (Hint; the government unemployment figures do not give the real story of how many people are out-of-work right now. You have to include those considered "Not In The Work Force" for the truth on that. These are people not in the work force for six months or more and, therefor, dropped from the unemployment figures.)

Real result?

Short-term gain for them and long-term horror for the economy. People out of work - they can't pay bills. Can't pay bills - they buy less. They buy less - the economy suffers. And adding 300,00 more to the ranks of the unemployed is only going to make that situation worse.

This also has an effect on the housing trouble we are having. Certainly the lending fiasco was a factor. But people out of work don't have any chance of making the payments. And who benefited from that lending fiasco? Again, the top executives, most of whom 'took the money and ran'.

Posted by: Pull Your Head Out | May 5, 2008 9:24 PM | Report abuse

walk...ride a bike...carpool. these options will drive demand/consumption down, soon to be followed by prices at the pump.

Posted by: bliss | May 5, 2008 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Nuffsaid- I get it...

I know the issues are complicated, not easy answers, but I am just trying to keep my family healthy and have a leader who listens to my needs. And then has a plan to help us. Its not perfect, but believe me there are a lot of us who are having a tough time, and this would help. Maybe you can help give us some other options?

I'd listen.

Posted by: bz | May 5, 2008 9:16 PM | Report abuse

These economists are starting with the wrong assumption - that the markets are eficient in the short term.

No they are not. And the market is not free either - it is being manipulated.

Give the people the help that they need. Get down from your elite ivory towers! Your assumptions are wrong!!!

There's a reason why people call you dismal scientists... their arguments rest on premises that can be questioned and can be proven wrong!

And who said $28 dollars is not a lot of money? Latte Democrats! Yuck!

Posted by: FJ Stratford | May 5, 2008 9:14 PM | Report abuse

JakeD:

Since you also asked me:

"what if the legislation made CEOs "personally" liable for collusion if they raise the price of gasoline this summer?"

and, since, when GoJumbo replied you chose to focus on whether it would happen versus, more importantly, whether it would even work:

It does not matter whether we somehow all band together and hold CEOs from colluding. The reason gas prices will go back up as soon as you remove the tax is not from collusion but from normal market forces already mentioned here. The only way to address these forces is to seek alternatives and/or to reduce consumption.

If you sincerely want to provide tax relief to those hurting you would either seek it elsewhere or, if not, be honest (and more effective) about your pandering, and simply send them a check for $28.

Posted by: tr | May 5, 2008 9:13 PM | Report abuse

while you all are bickering about this issue, i'll be walking to work. can't save much more than that.

Posted by: bliss, rural ny state | May 5, 2008 9:09 PM | Report abuse

BZ,

Elitists, i.e. "the experts", didn't get us here. Our dear president did because he refused to listen to the experts (those pesky elitists who just offer up their expertise). Recall:
-The Iraq war -- experts going in to look for WMDs, well, why listen to them.

-NIE report (Intelligence experts) telling Bush that OBL wanted to hijack planes. Clearly, it would be a mistake to listen to those experts.

-Global warming -- Even McCain agrees with the scientific experts. This current administration ignored them and rather than doing something sooner, they waited.

Shall I go on?

I can understand that $30 might help you, but the argument offered by McSame hinges on too many contingencies for you to actually bank on ever seeing those $30. If anything, lower prices will increase oil consumption, thereby raising the price of oil so that come fall, you'll be in a whole world of hurt at the pump.

Posted by: Nuffsaid | May 5, 2008 9:09 PM | Report abuse

"How convenient you can't find a single posting that backs up your claim."

jaked = republican propagandist tool

Posted by: ApostasyUSA | May 5, 2008 9:07 PM | Report abuse

"I'll be back later tonight."

Getting hungry?

You've been here for four hours......bout time you leave.....

Posted by: ApostasyUSA | May 5, 2008 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Show me one (just 1 will do) comment online where you've come out in support or aggreed with of one of Obama's policy points? Hearsay won't cut it.

How convenient you can't find a single posting that backs up your claim.

Posted by: Ryan | May 5, 2008 9:04 PM | Report abuse

What most seem to miss is that this tax will remove about $9 BILLION from the Highway Trust Fund. States will lose money for road and bridge repair, and the related jobs will be lost. If my choice is between 30 cents per day and $300 worth of tire and rim damage due to unrepaired potholes - my choice is clear!

Posted by: Ron G. | May 5, 2008 9:04 PM | Report abuse

I'll be back later tonight.

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 9:04 PM | Report abuse

I don't drink alcohol.

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 9:03 PM | Report abuse

ApostasyUSA:

Take your best shot.

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 9:01 PM | Report abuse

yes $28 over THREE months.....

IF Clinton can convince the entire Congress to go along.....which they already said NO to.....

Clintons chances of getting her "gas tax holiday" are even less than her chances of getting the nod.

Posted by: ApostasyUSA | May 5, 2008 9:01 PM | Report abuse

JakeD wrote;
"Didn't OBAMA Himself admit that we would get $28?! I know that's not a lot of money for some of you, but it is for the rest of us."

How much does that get you at the country club where you golf? One more martini down the hatch before you hit the course?

Posted by: Ryan | May 5, 2008 9:01 PM | Report abuse

No. I gave you one policy (HIV/AIDS testing) that I agreed with. I voted for him in the primary. I contributed to his campaign, for God's sake. I simply have changed my mind now. What more do you want? My first born child?!

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 9:01 PM | Report abuse

"elitists to rip you a new one"

"elitists"

Now I know you are a tool.....

but...I am ready to rip you a new one......

Posted by: ApostasyUSA | May 5, 2008 8:59 PM | Report abuse

JakeD,

No, your instinct was to support Obama when he was at the back of the pack only to play a part in sabotaging Clinton's (who was the front runner at that point) chances of getting the nomination.

Now that Obama is the front runner, you are doing the opposite.

I think it's pretty crystal clear, no?

Posted by: Ryan | May 5, 2008 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Mick Gee:

Didn't OBAMA Himself admit that we would get $28?! I know that's not a lot of money for some of you, but it is for the rest of us.

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 8:58 PM | Report abuse

It's amazing that some voters have been doubly bamboozled by the Clinton campaign: 1) believing anyone with an above average IQ is "elitist" 2) believing the highest office in the nation should not be occupied by an above-average thinker possibly construed as "elite" and 3) actually believing the gas tax will help them and that these economists are too "elite" to understand the lives of ordinary, working class Americans.

If you are one of those Clinton supporters described above, are you feeling bamboozled? If the answer is no, then you've REALLY been hoodwinked. Sad.

Posted by: Mick Gee | May 5, 2008 8:57 PM | Report abuse

Yes....I don't think republicans stand up against any Dem candidate.....

I WILL vote for the Democrat....

Posted by: ApostasyUSA | May 5, 2008 8:56 PM | Report abuse

BZ:

Welcome to the thread (get ready for some elitists to rip you a new one though ; )

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Who cares what 250 Ivory Tower elites think. Look where their big ideas have gotten us...

Our families need all the help we can get. Even if its $30. It will help pay part of my credit card debt.
Come on, we need a break.

We are all sick of the crap that comes out of these bozos.

Posted by: BZ | May 5, 2008 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Richard S.:

I take it your Adjusted Gross Income was too high to qualify for the Economic Stimulus package?

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 8:54 PM | Report abuse

ApostasyUSA:

You'd better go with the safe bet, then, and "offer up a broccoli fart in a jar" : )

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Well heck I just paid $79.00 for 21 gallons of gas 5 minutes ago. Now with Clinton's plan I'd a saved $3.89 so the fill up would only have been $75.11. That's about what I'd have paid 10 days ago before the prices went up yet again. So, how is this going to work, will prices rise in the next 10 days so I'll pay more for less again? Oh right, all this talk is to get us to forget the real problems we face. Just focus on the 18 1/2 cents for every gallon you pump and this way the economy, your heating bill, your electric bill, your food bill, and your tax bill will just feel less painful to manage. Let's see, take all the corn and put it in your car, then pay more for the food you eat cause there is not enough feed stock (your burning it in your gas tank), use more land for growing fuel and just keep paying more for food, pay more for trucking the food and just pay more for that next meal you plan. It's okay because the oil companies with tax breaks from the US Congress will save us all from global warming by finding more ways to find fuel so we can burn more in our SUV's. And heck GM and Ford have done just a fantastic job of making SUVs with better gas mileage. Wonder who regulates their decisions, the US Government? I need another Hummer, Esplanade or Expedition, please as I need the personal tax break. With Bush and then Clinton, every day living may cost more but, who cares you just saved 18.5 cents! At least we're not in North Korea where the family meal is clay and tree bark. Man, 18.5 cents that's what I've been hoping for. That will save me from any more pain for sure. Did anyone say War, Afghanistan, Iraq...What US men and women fighting and dying for what...OIL? Give me my 18.5 cents that's what I'm talking about. Even if gas reaches $5 a gallon, I love politicians that offer me a break. Give me a break. 18.5 cents saved for a gallon of gas...whew I can surely retire on that if mother earth would just ignore the politicians and cool off, I mean.

Posted by: Richard S. | May 5, 2008 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Even if it made any economic sense (which it does not), a "tax holiday" for this summer is an impossibility.

The Democratic House and Senate leadership is against it, and Bush would NEVER sign a windfall profits tax, even if it WERE passed.

So where does that leave us? With snake oil, a fairy tale that Clinton is telling those who desperately want to believe it.

An honest person can never compete with a liar and a phony, so Obama is getting hurt. As H.L. Mencken said,

"Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public."

Posted by: hmpierson | May 5, 2008 8:49 PM | Report abuse

GoJumbos:

If there was enough voter pressure (see my comment re: "revolution" above), I'm sure something could get passed that would satisfy your concern.

Ryan:

You are wrong -- that post also noted that I was considering REALLY supporting Obama and that I contributed CASH to his campaign -- I searched for my post supporting his stance on HIV/AIDS testing, but could not find it quickly. There are plenty of other policy items I agree with Obama on. My instinct after the first of the year, however, has been proven correct.

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 8:49 PM | Report abuse

"Well, which one is it? A) "I doubt Hillary could get elected at all", or B) "I think either way.....dems take the cake"?"

BOTH........

Clintons chances of getting her "gas tax holiday" are even less than her chances of getting the nod.

Posted by: ApostasyUSA | May 5, 2008 8:48 PM | Report abuse

I feel bad for the people who are falling for this, who are mostly the poor and ill-informed. I wish they were able to think better. :/

Posted by: Chris | May 5, 2008 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Amazed:

I provided some evidence, above, re: Economist # 2 (I am still looking for more BMR ; )

Nuffsaid:

I could care less what you guys do here on-line (However, I have contacted the Obama campaign SEVERAL times now, since I contributed, asking them to take me off their contact list ; )

ApostasyUSA:

Well, which one is it? A) "I doubt Hillary could get elected at all", or B) "I think either way.....dems take the cake"?

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 8:45 PM | Report abuse

JakeD,

You still haven't provided anything that shows you have supported Obama on ANY point.

Am I wrong?

Simply stating you were gonna vote for Obama to block Hillary getting the nomination definetley says something about your character.

In fact, Rush Limbaugh is encouraging republicans to vote for Hillary now to block Obama getting the nomination, how is what you did any different?

http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/home/daily/site_022608/content/01125110.guest.html

Posted by: Ryan | May 5, 2008 8:44 PM | Report abuse

JakeD,

Although that proposal sounds like a good idea, I think it has some flaws. First off, I think the chances that such legislation would be passed before the summer, especially considering the control that oil companies have in Washington, are very small.

Also, if oil companies raised their prices to pre-"holiday" levels, that wouldn't necessarily be an example of collusion. Collusion is when companies agree to intentionally limit their supply in order to jack up prices. In the summer in the United States, oil refineries are running at full capacity. As long as the companies don't all agree to intentionally bring down their refining capacity, they can raise their prices to the "market clearing price" (the price at which all of the oil they produce is bought up) without being guilty of collusion.

Posted by: GoJumbos | May 5, 2008 8:41 PM | Report abuse

I am beginning to see how uninformed the American electorate is. For those that think these economists are wrong, please provide evidence as such. Hillary is sounding an awful lot like Bush with her gut instinct talk rather than listening to actual professional opinion. Wow, just wow.

Posted by: Amazed | May 5, 2008 8:37 PM | Report abuse

I doubt Hillary could get elected at all....

Senator Clinton needs over 77% of the remaining votes and super delegates to win.

The chances are slim for Clinton....but I think either way.....dems take the cake....

Posted by: ApostasyUSA | May 5, 2008 8:37 PM | Report abuse

JakeD,

You assume too much. As if this were some coordinated effort on the part of Obama supporters to hurl offensive remarks your way. They're not my attack dogs and thus not for me to call them off. Surely you appreciate the fact that we don't speak for the campaign and therefore do not represent Obama, per se. If certain people have converged in calling you nasty names, perhaps it's because they're all offended by your remarks. Perhaps you need look no further than yourself to find out why we're not "actively courting you."

Posted by: Nuffsaid | May 5, 2008 8:35 PM | Report abuse

ApostasyUSA:

I doubt that Hillary could get elected if 96% of the African-American vote either stays home, or worse yet, votes FOR McCain ...

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Looking back at the last 7 years of the Bush Administration, Republican scandals, both s.e.x. and outright corruption, outing CIA agents, illegal wiretaps, torture, the 2006 election to end the Iraq War which resulted in a surge of 30,000 additional troops!(take that voters!), over 4000 U.S. dead in Iraq, a national debt over $9 trillion, a deficit budget submitted for over $239 billion, $3.50 gas prices at the pump, 80,000 jobs lost in march, Mortgage sub prime crisis, Bank failures, multiple tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, fighting the wrong war on terror in the wrong nation, Osama bin Laden still loose making audio and video! and on and on folks, and so how can Sen. Obama or almost anyone else be worst than this disaster performance of the Bush Administration the last 7 years and its not over yet!!

Couple that with 8 years of failure by conservatives and you have a cocktail for a beatdown. How is John McCain going to inspire twice the voter turnout for his party? His great speeches? Conservative talk radio? His flip-flop talk express bus overstuffed with Lobbyists? We all love to engage in punditry but the facts are the facts. Repubs do not have the votes to win. Outside of a total collapse (And I mean TOTAL colapse, not merely a split of the electorate)the Dem party they can offer up a broccoli fart in a jar and still gain the White House. What planet are you conservatives living on? Your Reagan Democrat pink cloud from 20+ years ago?

Posted by: ApostasyUSA | May 5, 2008 8:33 PM | Report abuse

GoJumbos:

Thanks for your post. What if the legislation also made CEOs "personally" liable for collusion if they raise the price of gasoline during the gas tax holiday?

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 8:33 PM | Report abuse

All this arguing about exactly how much the "tax holiday" would "save" people is stupid. It all depends on how much gas you use.

Currently the federal gas tax is 18.4 cents per gallon. To figure out how much you'd "save" for the summer, just take the number of miles you plan on driving this summer, divide it by the average mpg of your car, and multiply that by 0.184

This number, however, represents the decreased federal tax revenue from your gasoline purchases. This will not necessarily be equal to how much money you'd actually save. Say, for example, gas costs $4.18 before the "holiday". If the "holiday" is implemented, prices will immediately fall to $4.00. However, all of the oil companies know that Americans are willing to buy gas at $4.18, since they had been doing that before the "holiday" started. Since they know this, there is nothing to stop them from simply raising the prices they charge for gas up 18 cents so that the prices are back at $4.18, exactly where they were before the "holiday". Now, a larger portion of that $4.18 goes to oil companies (who already make hundreds of billions of dollars of profit per year) and no money goes to the federal government to maintain roads and bridges (thus endangering thousands of jobs for working class Americans who build and maintain the streets of our nation). As a matter of fact, since people will immediately buy more gasoline after the "holiday" begins, they may actually raise the price above $4.18 in the short run.

The only way to truly lower gas prices is to stop buying gas. If people cut down their consumption of gas, then the oil companies will have to lower their prices if they want all of their supply to be sold on the market. Simple supply and demand, Economics 101.

Posted by: GoJumbos | May 5, 2008 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Nuffsaid:

Care to call off your attack dog first?

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 8:28 PM | Report abuse

"Obama campaign spokesperson would have made those same comments to such an Independent voter as myself."

You assume to much...

As if I give a flying F...what you say you are...I think you are a tool....and I am a spokesperson for no one but me....

"In most area's of the nation, outside the south, the Republican Party could hold a convention in a Phone Booth."

Posted by: ApostasyUSA | May 5, 2008 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Ryan:

"lylepink:

You caught me (although I am registered Independent, not Republican), I am voting for Obama specifically to prevent Hillary from getting the nomination -- at first, I was actually considering REALLY supporting Obama for the general election too (I did make a campaign contribution last year) -- until I was banned at his campaign website blog ..."

Posted by: JakeD | January 17, 2008 6:06 PM

http://blog.washingtonpost.com/the-trail/2008/01/16/welcome_to_hil_force_one_1.html

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 8:25 PM | Report abuse

JakeD,

If I may jump in here. Obama supporters care very much about independent voters. It's just that we don't care much for you in particular. That said, we would love to have you jump on board, but I don't think you much care for Barrack HUSSEIN Obama.

:-)

Posted by: Nuffsaid | May 5, 2008 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Why is the American Trucking Association against the "gas tax holiday" shell game?

Posted by: ApostasyUSA | May 5, 2008 8:23 PM | Report abuse

ApostasyUSA:

Just imagine (if you can) that I am actually a registered Independent -- someone whom the Obama campaign is actively targeting for the Fall campaign -- now, re-read your posts to me in this thread and ask yourself if an official Obama campaign spokesperson would have made those same comments to such an Independent voter as myself.

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 8:21 PM | Report abuse

GOP/Clinton....the lines are pretty fuzzy at this point, no?

For the record, i think you are a closet republican.

And you say that you are NOT against everything Barak is for....well convince me otherwise.

Can you post a link to a comment you've made in the past that shows that you have agreed with him on certain points?

Posted by: Ryan | May 5, 2008 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Obama supporters really don't care about those Independent votes much...


Uhhh...OK....what does that mean....?

and yes...I still think you are a tool...

Posted by: ApostasyUSA | May 5, 2008 8:17 PM | Report abuse

I would gladly pay $28 for the summer for a no-more-cheap-tricks guarantee from Hillary and McCain. I'm not saying I don't like the two of them. I do. And I think they both would make good presidents. But please, no more the goofy sideshows.

John Johnson

Posted by: John Johnson | May 5, 2008 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Regardless of whether you "trust me" or not, you never answered my question: "you Obama supporters really don't care about those Independent votes much, huh?"

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 8:15 PM | Report abuse

OK! Jake D says we should do it...so we should all be on board...forget the smart people.....

Hillary supported NAFTA, the war in Iraq, and now she wants to cut gas tax for a few months even after economist say it won't help most Americans.

"Expert Support For Gas Tax Holiday Appears Nonexistent"
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/04/30/expert-support-for-gas-ta_n_99474.html

Hillary might talk a good game but she makes the wrong decisions....I want a really, really smart person in the White House......so Obama is who I support.

I hope Obama wins in Indy and in NC, then we can put this mess to rest and get on with what matters like the war in Iraq and our energy problems.....also I like Obama's deportment...and I think that it is important for bringing people together....which is what America needs right now....

My hopes and dreams of a united country are with Barack Obama.

Posted by: ApostasyUSA | May 5, 2008 8:14 PM | Report abuse

ApostasyUSA and Ryan:

You've got even ME confused now -- are you still accusing me of being a Hillary supporter? Or, just a GOP tool?

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 8:13 PM | Report abuse

nic:

I continue to post because (obviously) I dispute your contention that my logic is faulty -- I honestly think the tax cut is a good idea -- at least I am not posting ad hominem attacks against my fellow posters.

tr:

Apology accepted. Also, what if the legislation made CEOs "personally" liable for collusion if they raise the price of gasoline this summer?

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Hillary/McCain pay attention to the small things- like proposing a trick which will convince the un-educated, why-can't-we-bring-back-the-good-'ol-days American to give them their vote. And you know what? It might work. "Nobody ever got rich overestimating the intelligence of the American people" -Mark Twain. It's time to stop living in an angry fairy tale, and assume a little personal responsibility for your actions. You bought that pick-up truck/SUV. It's just as stylish as it was when gas was cheap, yes? And it's your own fault you didn't pay enough attention in class; something comes with being educated- the economists can probably clue you in.

There is a limited amount of oil. It's the best business around; OPEC is laughing that we have no choices. Gas isn't ever going to go down, there is more than enough world-wide demand to keep it right where it's at. Even if we cut back, India and China will fill that void. You think 3.60 is bad? Wait 5 years. Truckers, I'm sorry. Guess what the future holds? (Hint: Look at Europe. See many truckers?) Cheap modes of mass-transit. AKA- Trains. So the real question is whether we figure it out, or if we just want to close our eyes, cover our ears and hum.

I'd like actually having a comprehensive multi-year energy policy that doesn't include bandaids and a kiss to make it feel better. And a 1000 tax rebate to those who need it most. Keep your fingers crossed that the next generation doesn't get distracted and manipulated like this one has.

Posted by: James | May 5, 2008 8:09 PM | Report abuse

JakeD,

Your claims of being an independent while endorsing and supporting the GOP cause remind me of a certain someone that takes that stance on FOX.......

whats his name.....hmmmmmmmm.....

Oh yeah, Bill O'Reilly

I'm sure your a big fan of the guy. Both you two need to come out of the closet and state your preference for the GOP....C'mon, don't be ashamed....sing it from the rooftops!

Posted by: Ryan | May 5, 2008 8:07 PM | Report abuse

JakeD

You are joke of a Clinton supporter.....

What you are based on your posts...is not a supporter of Clinton....but a hater of all those who support Obama...

When are you GOP/Republican tool going to realize that I don't trust you? Plain and simple.

You tools spread propaganda and have for years.....

You're not convincing anyone of anything except that the Republican Party is made of a bunch of loud mouth racist that wouldn't dare talk about the failures of the party they hold so dear.....neo-cons? NO

ConDumbians......


Posted by: ApostasyUSA | May 5, 2008 8:07 PM | Report abuse

tdl62, if you think economists are rich, you must not know any. The one who is rich here, is Hillary Clinton, who has more money than all those rich economists combined. When was the last time she bought gas? Yes, I'm sure she 'feels your pain'. And even if it were to pass (how could it before she becomes president) you'll never get the money, the oil companies will. But 300,000 people will lose their jobs, and who knows how many more bridges will fail.

Posted by: Xtina | May 5, 2008 8:06 PM | Report abuse

Nuffsaid:

Fine by me -- I can keep typing until the Good Lord takes me home -- also, I said that I "grew up" in a small town in CA (technically, we don't live in the City of San Diego though ; )

tom:

I hope you are a different person than "Tom" ot "TomB".

Ryan:

I am not against everything Obama is for, and I have enough "guts" to stand up to all of you posting here at least ; )

TomB:

No, I don't believe that we should take that $2 billion away from the truckers and "invest" it -- we have plenty of investment in those alternatives already -- as for my hypothetical, I was simply asking IF the price of gasoline was going to increase to $4.18 / gallon over the summer but it stayed at $4.00 because of the gas tax cut (that's the hypothetical part), can't we all agree that's a good thing (well, O.K., maybe the Earth First wackos would not agree, but the rest of us)?

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 8:05 PM | Report abuse

JakeD -

re. "only three of us posting here" are pro-gas tax holiday. Therefore, why am I saying "so many people".

OK - you are correct. Let me be more clear: I have been reading/hearing this on other forums and, in any case, more than 1 is too many on this issue.

re. "Are you disputing the $28, or you have some other problem with Americans receiving tax relief?

I have no issue with people receiving tax relief - especially those who can really use it. Actually, THIS is one of the main reasons why I am against the $28 plan.

Since oil is not a fixed commodity and depends on many factors global and beyond our control (other than seeking alternatives and lowering our own consumption) a removal of an 18c tax will not have any affect - you will never see that $28 and, because of the impact on demand during a high-driving season, this will likely cost you even more.

So, JakeD, this not even true tax relief to begin with. If anything - it is anti-tax relief in the worst way: pretending to be but not. In other words - a lie.


Posted by: tr | May 5, 2008 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Uh... the real issue with the prices of gasoline. Do you know how much it costs in China? Venezuela? Iran? Russia? This is a reverse pressure tactic by this bloc of countries. It is economic warfare in response to the sanctions we have placed on Iran.

The real question is why has no one admitted this yet?

Posted by: twocents | May 5, 2008 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Jake D.

I've been a proponent of Nuclear (or is it "Nucuelar"?) powerplants since HS. That was he seventies, and this was a lonely position. Remember the "No Nukes" concerts? It was about then I gained an appreciation for how someone blessed with musical talent might be a complete moron in (most) other fields.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 5, 2008 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Our oil problem is:

1) We have no alternatives. Transportation burns oil...period.

2) We are reliant on the world market, our domestic supply decreases, as our demand increases and we are subject to market prices that will continue to increase over time.

If anything, we need to implement higher gas taxes over time to entice Americans to invent and utilize alternative methods of energy. A temporary tax cut only exacerbates and pro-longs the problem... and for what, a few extra dollars this summer.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 5, 2008 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Jake,

You've already lost all your dignity...why do you continue to post? Your logic, while nobly stubborn, is faulty. It is based upon your own TV hallucinations and Washingtong Post articles from 2005...hardly a sound defense here.

Give this one up and go back to slamming Reverand Wright. At least you'll have a few allies in that echo chamber.

Posted by: nic | May 5, 2008 8:03 PM | Report abuse

With all the arguing over whether the "tax-holiday" will help, I think the actual plan of action for the government is to find someway to get the cost of oil per barrel back down. As long as it goes up, gas prices will too.

I am all for conserving gas, as most people are, but for those of us who commute to our jobs, there is a need for some break in the actual price. Not a tax-break, but a break in the price per gallon. I think I have had the same feeling since the former CEO of Exxon retired with something around $100 million retirement package, or it may have been higher.

I realize that everyone wants to make a profit, and make money, but the gas companies, I think, are getting a little bit out of hand with how prices get set.

Posted by: Matt | May 5, 2008 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Stupid Elitists, trying to tell me how to make my words. I don't need you comin round here telling ME how to spell college boy. I'll spell yall any damn way I want and it'll be the the reight way cause I say it is.

AND DAMNIT I WANT MY 30 DOLLARS!!!

I WANT IT! I WANT IT! I WANT IT!

Posted by: Rural White Voter | May 5, 2008 7:59 PM | Report abuse

"Might be symbolic...but it is a start. And a windfall profit tax sounds like a good start to me. Go Hillary."

She already said this windfall profit tax was going to be used to invest in clean, renewable energy. Now she says it will pay the gas tax. Which is it??? Please use your head Hillary supporters. I know for whatever reasons you don't like Obama and are in love with Hillary. But he is right side of this...he has been on the right side of a lot of issues from the beginning (Iraq and NAFTA) You don't need to be an economist to realize this is wrong. Hillary even knows it will not pass and is a bad idea, but she's trying to score political points by offering "solutions".

Posted by: Bob | May 5, 2008 7:59 PM | Report abuse

SonicJones:

Economist #2 http://starving-economist.blogspot.com/2008/05/gas-tax-huff.html

"The FTC reports that the short-term elasticity of demand for gasoline has been estimated to be approximatley -0.2, which is fairly inelastic in itself. If the short-term elasticity of gasoline supply is also 0.2 (as it has been estimated by some economists), then the gains of the tax cut will be split evenly between producers and consumers (for a good intro to the analysis of tax incidence see here)!

Now, I'm not saying that the gas tax cut is a good idea. In fact, I think it's horrible pandering that wont help anyone in the long-run. But let's not pretend it's 'evil' either."

228 to go -- hopefully I can get better than "let's not pretend it's 'evil' either -- although, there may be a reason he / she is a "starving" economist ; )

ApostasyUSA:

I'm actually registered Independent -- but, I guess that "Republican propagandist tool" is better than "Hillary supporter" -- you Obama supporters really don't care about those Independent vote much, huh?

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Jake:

To answer your question:
"What if, instead of prices going to $4.18 / gallon (which would happen without the tax cut), they stay at $4.00 throughout the summer? That would be worth it, right?"

No it would not. What makes you think that prices will stay the same? A drop in prices will spur demand thus increasing prices. But this is basic economics. Oh no! I'm an elitist now. :)

You state:
"truckers would save $2 billion if the gas tax were suspended for the summer"

If anything, I think that taking this money and investing in in alternative energy solutions would have far greater long term benefits. Wouldn't you agree?

The key is to reduce our dependence on oil.

Sounds simple but unfortunately this message gets lost when oil companies have billions in profits that can pay for lobbyist.

Posted by: TomB | May 5, 2008 7:57 PM | Report abuse

God Father,

Actually, there have been an unprecedented scale of such petitions sent to the Bush administration. Do a little research before posting something in public, or you just wind up looking like an ass. Also, get over your ego trip and realise there are smarter people than you in the world...and there's nothing wrong with that. We all shine in our own way.

Here's just one: 10,600 Scientists Condemn Political Interference in Science

http://www.ucsusa.org/news/press_release/10600-scientists-condemn.html


Posted by: nic | May 5, 2008 7:56 PM | Report abuse

JakeD,

Basically, anything Barak Obama is AGAINST, you are FOR.

I know you think you're a pretty smart chap, but doesn't ever bother you that your talking points are the GOP's talking points, and nothing else?

Don't you have any guts to speak counter to the panderings of your party of choice.

It's like Orwells 1984 novel;

"How many fingers, Winston?"

"Four. I suppose there are four.... I am trying to see five."

"Which do you wish: to persuade me that you see five, or really to see them?"

"Really to see them."

"...How many fingers am I holding up, Winston?"

"I don't know....Four, live, six--in all honesty I don't know."

"Better," said O'Brien.

Posted by: Ryan | May 5, 2008 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Amazing, isn't it? That Obama, a one-term Senator with no National name recognition is in position to take the Nomination away from H. Clinton...
In truth, no reasonable analysis could possibly show it's anything but a reactionary vote.

Obama might just as well have been named "None of the Above".

Posted by: erp | May 5, 2008 7:53 PM | Report abuse

there are a lot of really stupid people..and Clinton saying we should give a gas tax break..will have people vote for her just for that reason..to think someone would sell their vote.. for 28 dollars makes them no better then the politications we have in office now ..getting money from lobbyists..but.. a whole lot cheaper.

Posted by: tom | May 5, 2008 7:51 PM | Report abuse

JakeD,

Aren't you a greedy little thing. You must be proud.

Don't hold your breadth for that check. It wasn't an open offer. Just a snarky attempt to have people who use the "yall" contraction (and not even spelled correctly) stop posting.

ps. I thought you posted some time ago that you lived in a small town in CA. I don't think San Diego counts as small.

Posted by: Nuffsaid | May 5, 2008 7:51 PM | Report abuse

"More Than 200 Economists Denounce Clinton, McCain Gas-Tax Plans"
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aTzCmqCNyLho&refer=home

"Columbia University economist Joseph Stiglitz, former Congressional Budget Office Director Alice Rivlin and 2007 Nobel winner Roger Myerson are among those who signed the letter calling proposals to temporarily lift the tax a bad idea."

Meanwhile........Barack Obama superdelegates keep rolling in.

The chairman and vice-chairman of the Maryland Democratic Party are throwing their support behind Sen. Barack Obama on the eve of Tuesday's primaries in Indiana and North Carolina, giving the Illinois senator at least two additional superdelegates.

Kalyn Free, an at-large member of the Democratic National Committee, today announced that she supports Illinois Senator Barack Obama for the party's presidential nomination. As a DNC member, Free will serve as a superdelegate to the Democratic National Convention. Free is also founder and President of INDN's List, an organization dedicated to recruiting and training American Indian candidates.

Senator Clinton needs over 77% of the remaining votes and super delegates to win.

Game over, the fat lady has sung, it's time to unite behind the winner and fight together against the Republican nominee.

hey JakeD....why are you such a Republican propagandist tool?

Posted by: ApostasyUSA | May 5, 2008 7:46 PM | Report abuse

SonicJones:

Offering one possible solution is not a "promise" -- I agree if Obama, Reid, and Pelosi are dead-set against it, this won't get anywhere -- once one of them are President, however, don't misunderestimate the power of the Executive Office ; )

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Chris L.:

It can't hurt ; )

Gerald Shields:

What if the legislation made CEOs "personally" liable for collusion to raise the price of gasoline this summer?

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 7:43 PM | Report abuse

JakeD,

I personally only have a problem with Americans getting tax relief when the benefit ($28 spread over three months) is so massively disproportionate to the cost (9 billion dollar short fall for the highway fund).

Also, I am offended when politicians think I'm too stupid to recognize a co job when I see one. Hillary and McCain are making promises they don't have the power to keep.

Posted by: SonicJones | May 5, 2008 7:43 PM | Report abuse

ian:

What if the legislation specifically prohibits oil companies from raising the price?

Tom:

What if, instead of prices going to $4.18 / gallon (which would happen without the tax cut), they stay at $4.00 throughout the summer? That would be worth it, right? Also, I think the diesel tax is $0.24 / gallon (although don't quote me) which is why the American Trucking Association estimates that truckers would save $2 billion if the gas tax were suspended for the summer -- that's not "chump change".

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Should the people who cannot understand simple arithmetic logic, no money saved with the tax holiday, job losses, deteriorating infrastructure, demagogy shoved in their face; should they be allowed to vote?
Maybe we need an aptitude to logic test before being allowed to vote.
That is elitist of course, much better to let this democracy flounder.

Posted by: Dan | May 5, 2008 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Remember: Big Oil will just take away that tax cut. Why wouldn't they?!

Posted by: Gerald Shields | May 5, 2008 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Chris L

I agree. It isn't simple. It is highly complex and when Nobel Lauretes tell us it won't work, we can listen to them or JakeD.

Take your pick.

Posted by: DM | May 5, 2008 7:41 PM | Report abuse

I love all this talk like "at least the GOP (and Hillary) are TRYING to do something to help the economy!"

An analogy would be like your friend "trying" to perform surgery on you because those darn elitist doctors recommended against it. And after the surgery fails and you are dead your friend is in court trying to explain to a judge that "I was just trying to help" I am sure the judge will reply... "Oh that's OK you were just 'trying'"

It is sad that some American will throw all those workers who will lose jobs because of this "tax relief" under a bus for $30 bucks. Look in the mirror folks and see you for what you are. Selfish.

Posted by: TomB | May 5, 2008 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Jake D. has an enterprising idea, spam till you get dough!

Posted by: Chris L. | May 5, 2008 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Oh come on. Truckers won't save much money by voting for this. More B.S. from the Clinton/McCain crowd.

Posted by: Gerald Shields | May 5, 2008 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Lionel:

I'll support an Constitutional amendment to allow Bush to have a third term rather than another Clinton drama too.

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 7:39 PM | Report abuse

The whole point is that the supply of gasoline during the summer is at the maximum it can possibly be in the short term (they can't produce any more even if they wanted to because the refineries are all at their maximum capacity) and the only way to allow it to be sold such that there are not shortages is to have it be sold at the market price that causes supply and demand to be equal. Getting rid of the tax will not lower the price, it will only cause the price to rise the amount of the tax decrease and will thus go to the oil refineries and not as a discount to the people buying the gasoline (the tax decrease will not cause people's demand for gasoline to decrease). That is why these economists are speaking out about it, because it makes no sense and rewards the oil companies. Please understand the concepts of supply and demand before making stupid posts.

Posted by: Tom | May 5, 2008 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Any poor person who would support this gas tax holiday is only poor because they fail to understand basic economics. If you cut the .18 tax on gas, the oil companies will simply increase the cost of gas by .18 cents because they already know you are willing to pay it. Then when the so called "holiday" ends, if you think they'll cut back on the price by .18 cents to make it a wash you are completely out of your mind. You will end up with a net .36 cent increas in the cost of gas at the end of summer. Only morons would subscribe to this patently obvious example of pandering to poor voters by exploiting their ignornace in finances. If you really believe this nonsense will work I have some lovely real estate in the Florida swamps I'd like to sell you.

Posted by: ian | May 5, 2008 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Nuffsaid:

I will stop posting for $28:

James Dort
5181 San Aquario Dr
San Diego, CA, 92109

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 7:37 PM | Report abuse

and to this guy who wants to quote larry kudlow of all people..he was saying for months that the dollar did not matter..well my friend kudlow has finally changed his tune..he was too stupid to realize..oil is pegged to the dollar..our dollar is just about worthless..3 trillion in new debt..70 billion more ..and lower intrest rates weak'n the dollar..oil was at 22 a barrel 7 years ago..now 120 a barrel..you can watch the fall of our dollar to the rise of oil..

Posted by: tom | May 5, 2008 7:37 PM | Report abuse

And oh yeah, hey rual voter, if ya want 28 bucks, you don't have to vote for Hillary or McCain, I would've gave it to ya! (Hahahahahah)

Posted by: Gerald Shields | May 5, 2008 7:37 PM | Report abuse

I'm making money off the fact that these same economists were predicting that mid-Spring crude oil prices would fall in the $70-$80 range.

They predicted $70-$80 early Spring crude up to early this year, and only changed their predictions when early Spring literally arrived and it was too late for them to be right. These are also the same economists who couldn't predict what happened to the stability of food prices once Bush announced the corn-based ethanol biofuels initiatives.

The fact is, there is no area of the economy in which "the economists" have been the most ignorant, wrong and foolish than commodity prices in the past couple of years. Well, I guess they have been more wrong about mortgage-backed derivatives and the stability of the finance and banking systems of the U.S.

If, as they claim, the gas tax holiday is such a trivial non-issue, then why are they all jumping on it, sending letters, etc. as if it were the push to prove global warming or that stem cell research funding is needed? The fact that hundreds of these pro-Obama academics are jumping on this non-issue is self-evident proof that they are politicizing a debate for partisan reasons!

The most incompetent thing an economist can possibly do right now is predict commodity prices and the systematic effect of demand-side market manipulations like taxes at the pump and windfall profits taxes. If it were that easy to make deterministic conclusions about the price of oil, the problem of spiraling oil prices would have been contained two years ago. The fact is, with globalization and new financial systems arising in the global environment in which new commodities competitions are arising, the old economic models and trite truisms no longer apply. Many economists have no clue what is happening and what will happen in the next month, much less this Summer.

The only reason these economists are engaging in this incompetent activism over what they say is a non-issue about commodity prices that they've failed to predict accurately for years now, is that pro-Obama media outlets like the Washington Post is bending over backward to publish the incompetent political activism of academics over what they themselves claim is a non-issue.

As Krauthammer pointed out, this all plays into Clinton's campaign strategy to contrast her pragmatic, results-oriented presentation of her candidacy versus the clueless, academic talking heads. In this case, I'd say she's spot on and the clueless, academic talking heads look like the chattering, pointless elites that they are.

Posted by: Annette Keller | May 5, 2008 7:37 PM | Report abuse

The gas tas suspension is a joke designed to get Hillary sympathy vote. She will never become president of the USA. I would rather vote for an amendment to allow Bush to have a third term that having another Clinton drama for the next 4 year. There are questions that the Clinton need to answer: Vince Foster, Monica Lewinsky, Travelgate, and more corruption crisis.

Posted by: Lionel | May 5, 2008 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Evidently none of you are independent truckers. Too bad. Maybe then you would understand what this means to many on the road. Might be symbolic...but it is a start. And a windfall profit tax sounds like a good start to me. Go Hillary.

The composers of this letter failed to factor in WE that appreciate Senator Clinton's effort CAN"T afford a vacation or to travel EXTRA miles. Maybe we can save a little more to give the next Stearns buy out, or how about the airline subsidies.

Maybe we should start flying all our truck freight.

But then they are among the Obama Elite. Maybe you best be thinking about how you are going to get your milk for your Latte.


Take you letter and stuff it!

Posted by: Linda | May 5, 2008 7:36 PM | Report abuse

This is funny. Only one candidate opposes this and most folks won't care. They will TAKE THAT $20.00-$30.00 savings . . . If Big Oil will LET THEM!

Posted by: Gerald Shields | May 5, 2008 7:34 PM | Report abuse

tr:

As far as I can tell, there are only three of us posting here who "allow[ed ourselves] to fall for this condescending and, therefore, truly elitist gas tax scam/plan". Are you disputing the $28, or you have some other problem with Americans receiving tax relief?

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Rural White Voter,

Send me your address so I can send you your $28. Just as long as you stop posting. Please, please stop writing English. You are killing the language.

Posted by: Nuffsaid | May 5, 2008 7:31 PM | Report abuse

"What's a little troubling is that Clinton would try to sell this program in the first place and then lie with a straight face to voters who have trouble telling the difference."

Yes, I've noticed she has a tendency to exploit ignorance instead of making any attempt to enlighten people.

Posted by: DoTheMath | May 5, 2008 7:30 PM | Report abuse

"At least Hillary is the Democratic candidate proposing solutions and not empty rhetoric."

Yup, free gas for everyone and free nukes for Iran. Now there is a winning combination.

Hillary, what do you drive? A white
pickup? Do me a favor and quit irritating the guys with all the oil. Maybe you and Bill can afford $200 a barrel oil. But I, for one, cannot!!

Posted by: Patrick | May 5, 2008 7:30 PM | Report abuse

who is this idiot stating 140 a month..its 28 dollars for the 3 months..there are a lot of really stupid people..and Clinton saying we should give a gas tax break..will have people vote for her just for that reason..to think someone would sell their vote.. for 28 dollars makes them no better then the politications we have in office now ..getting money from lobbyists..but.. a whole lot cheaper.

Posted by: tom | May 5, 2008 7:29 PM | Report abuse

DrainBamage:

Why don't you think the oil companies would simply pass that along to consumers?

Gene and Soregon:

Good points.

Actual Economist:

If Larry Kudlow supports this tax cut (I saw it over the weekend but just haven't been able to find the "link"), does that mean he's NOT an economist?

Joe:

Perhaps -- but any little bit would help -- and, there are SOME families with four drivers ...

SonicJones:

As I said, above, I don't have a "List" of 230 economists, but I will be back shortly with Economist #2 (again, that wasn't my purpose, but what red-blooded American MALE can turn down a double-dare like that?

After that, I will leave it to you to contact all 230 to ask them whether they will band together in solidarity against the Chosen One (who has the all-mighty lead in Delegate Count, but not total popular vote ; )

BPC:

For the record (although I suppose you are just going to "ignore" this comment), I'm retired, so I have plenty of time to waste on this blog -- I don't get paid to blog -- although I wouldn't mind getting paid to blog ; )

DM:

I am an American citizen. Who are you?

Joe:

Did you want me answer that?

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Wow - amazing that so many people would allow themselves to fall for this condescending and, therefore, truly elitist gas tax scam/plan that won't even work to begin with.

The only way to really save $30 on gas this summer is to either force China and India to stop using oil or for McClinton to just be honest and buy you off with a check.

C'mon people - wake up, just this one time, and stop voting for this crap.

Posted by: tr | May 5, 2008 7:28 PM | Report abuse

DM - Economists study more than supply and demand and though these two concepts are popular, the economy, goods, and services are influenced by many factors. So DUH! it isn't that simple as drive less when OPEC can fix pricing by shutting down fields (additional factors)

DUH!

Chris L

Posted by: Chris L. | May 5, 2008 7:28 PM | Report abuse

This gas "holiday" illustrates and interesting difference between Obama supporters and Hillary supporters.

Over 1.5 million individuals have sent Obama their hard earned dollars, average-under $100. And they are willing to forego a tax "holiday" because it is bad policy.

Hillary supporters are in a frenzy trying to get their $28 even though Democrats and Republicans say it will never end up in their pocket. But they don't donate to Hillary's campaign, hence she has no money.

Obama supporters are thinkers and givers.

Hillary supporters are takers and stupid.

Posted by: DM | May 5, 2008 7:27 PM | Report abuse

The gas taxt cut isn't going to happen!!! It's a dumb idea to pander votes and Clinton will not president this summer to actually enforce it people!!! Do you understand this???

When all the people who vote for Clinton find out they have been taken on this issue next month, will you switch your vote?

Posted by: DS | May 5, 2008 7:26 PM | Report abuse

DM:
How does lower demand equate to lower cost?

It might drive lower prices (it might not), but lower cost? Even if we assume some elasticity, if volume demanded drops, fixed costs are absorbed over a smaller base, increasing the total cost-per-unit.

Duh yourself!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 5, 2008 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Tax Holidays, Tax Cuts, Tax Breaks...Why does everybody think that $28 or even $1000 dollars a year is going to help anybody. Taxes are the price we pay for living in a civilized society. Clinton is a political opportunist just trying to capitalize at the right moment. I believe 250 economists rather than someone saying anything to get a few more votes.

Anyway, nobody is mentioning how much of our tax money is going to a McCain/Clinton war in Iraq that both supported! I bet you it's costing a lot more than $28???

Obama's the real deal! They don't come around that often, let's not be so stupid and ignorant that we can't recognize that! It's okay to get behind him, don't be afraid.

Posted by: Bob | May 5, 2008 7:24 PM | Report abuse

OBLITERATE this.... I am an Obama supporter, but I kind of liked Hillary too.

After her shenanigans this week, she will NEVER EVER EVER get my vote.

It's a bad McCain idea that she jumped on. Worst idea I have ever heard.

Posted by: Chris | May 5, 2008 7:24 PM | Report abuse

For each indiviudal suspending the FEDERAL tax of 18/cents a gallon is shrugable - roughly $6 a month for those who average 1000 miles a month in their car. I latte at coffee shop.
To the US Highway trust fund - a BIG deal since they deal in pay as you go - thus all road projects are stopped - no money (they have NEVER managed finances well).

If the tax was 18 cents per dollar of retail - then it would be different - that would be 72 cents a gallon.

If you REALLY want to conserve fuel then the tax should be changed to 64 cents per gallon up front, and all licensed truckers, cities, and commercial registered tranportations would get refunded 75% of what they paid in back on income tax filing - like it was in the 1960s taxe laws when you got refunds or deductions for gas taxes. Thus only the TRUE recreational home drivers and commuters would pay - and those that deliver the goods would pay some (but they pay in other fees and licenses to states and Federals already) and then the Social Engineers would rejoice since the high price would help their goal of forcing people into wasting their time taking public transportation vs convenience of using private vehicles.

The same social people would rejoice more since now only the "rich" would be driving cars and paying taxes to siphon off on pet mass transit projects from the Trust Fund and not feel guilty about it (Wait! they don't feel guity now taking money from it to do that now.)

Would I hate having to pay 60 cents a gallon in Federal tax? Yes, would I pay to have the convience of a car? Yes. Would all the people who do cannot take the extra $16 a month in fuel costs drive less due to lack of money? Yes. Would the social engineers and enviromentalists be
happy? Yes!

Want to stop the growth of 8 lane highways - price all but the affulent out of cars by raising taxes till it hurts the masses and say to them that the rich are now supporting them in mass transit - and that if you want to drive cars then get an education to find a career that pays you enough to afford a car.

Would this hurt people in the far west where a 50 mile drive to a hospital is considered a local drive? YES. Then you give all those who live in a rural census track the same tax breaks as businesses - refund 75% of fuel taxes they paid in.
And index the tax to the CPI.

Hillary and McCain as pandering to a populist crowd - no basis in reality. Obama is right, meaningless gesture to people - big impact to the roads.

Now if they only spent the money collected in road taxes on roads . . .

Tom Philo
http://www.taphilo.com

Posted by: Tom Philo | May 5, 2008 7:23 PM | Report abuse

I am sure none of these economists live in small towns or have lost jobs. They are rich folks that do not relate to poor Americans. I would like to know what type vehicles these rich economists drive because one can bet, they do not feel our pain."


Good point. When I needed surgery last summer I found the rattiest car in the hospital parking lot and inquired which doctor drove it. I don't care what he knew about pancreatic surgery. I wanted to feel comfortable he could relate to what it was like living my horrible, wretched life.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 5, 2008 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Yall, just keepon runnin your mouths. Yall think your get between me and my MONEY?! I haven't been clinging to my guns all these years for NOTHING!!!


AND I WANT MY 30 DOLLARS!!!

Posted by: Rural White Voter | May 5, 2008 7:21 PM | Report abuse

> Good points -- I don't even recognize most of their names

Yes. This is clearly why we should allow uneducated folks like JakeD to solve complex matters of policy.

I mean, having a dumb guy like Bush in office didn't hurt us any, right? Just because we went from a major tech boom into a recession. That's no big deal, right?

Posted by: Joe | May 5, 2008 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Some of the greatest pandering I see is here!

Posted by: Chris L. | May 5, 2008 7:20 PM | Report abuse

I have seen so many idiotic statements from you for months now you represent the most repugnant qualities a human can posses, ignorance, paranoia, hate, racism etc.

so ad-hominen this "Your an idiot" please stay out of the gene-pool.

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 7:20 PM | Report abuse

to td162, I am not in favor of giving anyone a tax break on fuel; not truckers,not lawn mower operators,not hummer drivers,no one! I am old enough to remember when the teamsters union lobbied congress to stop building and inproving the U S rail system.They wanted their members to get the lion share of the transportation business.Well, as usual, they got their way.What we are seeing is why lobbyist driven policies are not good for the country.Political leadership at the time argued against putting rail service on the back burner to appease the teamsters.There might be something to what the democractic candidate, with the funny name, is saying about lobbyist setting the agenda.One train can do the work of thousands of trucks, and do it much more efficiently.

Posted by: zeke49 | May 5, 2008 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Why do the rest of the Democrats WANT gas consumption to go down?

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 5:47 PM

__________________________________________

Jake - who are you?

We want gas consumption (demand) to go down because then cost goes down. This is called supply and demand. This is what economists study. duh

Posted by: DM | May 5, 2008 7:18 PM | Report abuse

John From CA: In defense of Hillary's "Obliterate Iran" remark- Don't you know she was just lying?

Oh now the great and powerful Hillary is going to upend OPEC?

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAA

Boy she really take us for idiots, wow.

Posted by: JR | May 5, 2008 7:17 PM | Report abuse

JakeD is paid to sit on the blogs and cause trouble. Learn to pay his comments no attention as i have in the past few months and you will find yourself a much happier person.

Posted by: BPC | May 5, 2008 7:16 PM | Report abuse

BMR:

Just because Hillary hasn't mentioned Kudlow's name, doesn't mean he didn't say it. For instance, if a tree falls in the forest with no one around, does it still make a noise?

Chris L.:

Thanks.

John:

Hopefully.

someone:

"Rich" people can afford whatever the tax is -- please, keep making this type of argument as it is not helping Obama's "elitist" problem any -- "poorer" people, who have to commute long distances to work, can't.

jr:

You will notice that I respond to posts here without the ad hominem attacks.

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 7:15 PM | Report abuse

JakeD,

I'm calling your bluff.

List your 230 economists who think this is a good idea.

And not just think it's a good idea, but think its such a great idea that they have banded together to defend it.

Posted by: SonicJones | May 5, 2008 7:15 PM | Report abuse

JakeD: to save $128/month for a family of four, you need all four people driving everyday. So really the savings are a lot less then $128. Sorry man, Hillary is just trying to buy votes by these dirty games.

Posted by: Joe | May 5, 2008 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Many of you are completely missing the point (and I admit, the article does not spell it out clearly). Given what we know about the industry for gasoline in the short term, supply is essentially fixed. For those who have taken Econ 101, that means a vertical supply curve. Under this scenario, the gas industry bears the full burden of the tax, as there is little they can do to avoid it (whereas, we can easily drive less to avoid the tax).

Consequently, this means that in the SHORT RUN, removing the tax will only serve to increase the price EXACTLY back to the price with the tax. So for consumers, there is no change in price--the $28 is a pipe-dream representing only the best case scenario. For the government, they lose the tax revenue. Where does the money go? To the gasoline industry as added profits. It is for these set of reasons that essentially all economists (and anyone who understands Econ 101) are against this idea--based on the normative judgment that there's no good reason to give that money in the short run to the oil industry. The LONG RUN implications of removing the tax are totally different (and these could benefit consumers), but that's not what we are talking about here. Finally, the position that we shouldn't have a tax holiday that benefits the oil industry at the cost of the government (no change to consumers) is hardly elitist! Nearly every American (bar those in the oil industry) would agree with this!!

Posted by: Actual Economist | May 5, 2008 7:13 PM | Report abuse

It's a first step! The next step would be to reverse government spending on non-Defense items and then allow and encourage the private sector to build several thousand nuclear generators to convert urban area travel to electric cars -- I'll drive the damned things around town at 30 mph if it'll do the job.

Posted by: Soregon | May 5, 2008 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Most of those opposed to relief gaz tax have invested directly or indirectly in oil. There is a conflict of interest in their opinion.
Thanks,
Gene

Posted by: Gene | May 5, 2008 7:11 PM | Report abuse

We should be slapping the oil companies with a special tax on their profits.

Posted by: DrainBamage | May 5, 2008 7:10 PM | Report abuse

damnit, just the government taking all my money, to fix roads and stuff. cause i like broken infrastructure. its more 'aesthetic'

Posted by: damnit | May 5, 2008 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Njeddie the figures for ANWR are shaky at best. The energy department back in 2004 concluded doing so would have savings of less than 50 cents a barrel and our dependence would continue. So your criticisms for a holiday tax can also transfer to ANWR which has huge environmental impacts.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4542853/

chris l

Posted by: Chris L. | May 5, 2008 7:09 PM | Report abuse

P.S. -- I don't "support" Hillary Clinton -- I wouldn't vote for her in a million years -- sorry I was not quick enough in responding though.

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Ambaza:

I am talking about a solution in deed (H.R. for instance) as well as words. I think you are seriously misunderestimating the number of cars being used in the U.S. if you think $9 billion over three months only equals $28. I got the "number" from the media / economists saying the AVERAGE AMERICAN (not limited to each car).

Joe:

No; if you keep reading after that first post, I explain that I could keep going. Is that what you want?

dcwsano:

That was the first day McCain proposed the idea (and first hit I could find for BMR using Google), so I guess by this weekend, Kudlow was able to look into the proposal(s) and conclude he could support it. Again, I could keep posting more economists, all the way up to 230, if you'd like -- that was not my purpose though -- I also have said that I'd take another round of the Economic Stimulous package since the vast majority of Democrats voted for the first one.

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Awwwww,heck folks,how about all the money lost to the IRS from workers layed off.
How about the fact they tried this in Illinois,what happened,the retailers uped the price of the money that was cut so they could make more.
Politicians all love gimicks and pandering,this just does not make sense..

Posted by: Lance Newell | May 5, 2008 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Newt T,

Yes, let's ignore the experts. I mean, what do they know right. We have opinions and they should matter more than those who have studied these topics for years and write policy papers that inform our politicians on what economic platforms to enact. They're just a bunch of elitists and I certainly don't listen to any of them. In fact, my accountant told me I should invest in a certain company and I said: Who do you think you are? Some expert? I'll do things my way, thanks! I certainly let him have it and I know my money will be just fine :-)


ps. Do you smell something? . . . oh yea, that would be my SARCASM.

Posted by: Nuffsaid | May 5, 2008 7:06 PM | Report abuse

JakeD- are you still here? You hijacked this thread with the phony claim that Kudlow supported the gasoline tax holiday and then couldn't prove it.

But what else can we expect from a Hillary supporter? Just mis-spoke?

Posted by: dcwsano | May 5, 2008 7:06 PM | Report abuse

JakeD you idiot, first, how many "family's of five" drive five vehicles? and second, do you know how many jobs will be lost by taking money out of the hwy fund? and third, the oil companies will make out like bandits!

If you are for big oil then pass this measure

oh, yeah Jake (you idiot) anybody who would endorse Bush's economic policies doesn't get my confidence. To reiterate, you're an idiot, still.

Posted by: jr | May 5, 2008 7:05 PM | Report abuse

I think everyone in this forum recognizes that if we want a real solution to the high fuel problem, we need to increase our oil production (ie. drilling; you know, offshore/ANWAR, etc.) and we need to add to our refining capacity.
Everything else is window dressing. If the gas-tax "holiday" is such a good idea, why isn't eliminating this tax an even better idea????

Gas demand may be highest in the summer, but fuel becomes a necessity in the WINTER. Nobody dies from lack of a vacation (it just feels that way). What's going to happen when the temperature drops in December? With no election looming on the horizon, does anyone believe a tax-break will be forthcoming?

Posted by: njeddie | May 5, 2008 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Forgetting about economists for a second, using common sense... The rich are the ones who drive around in the hummer limousines, and other gas guzzlers. Those who use more gas will benefit more from the tax, so, this is really a tax break for the rich, right?

Posted by: someone | May 5, 2008 7:03 PM | Report abuse

JakeD said "Today, Hillary blasted her message right to the Middle Eastern oil sheiks. 'We're going to go right at OPEC,' she said. 'They can no longer be a cartel, a monopoly that get to gether once every couple of months' at a hotel in 'some plush place in the world' to set prices, she told a crowd at at volunteer fire house in Merillville."

Really??? Is she planning to "totaly obliterate" them?

Posted by: John from CA | May 5, 2008 7:02 PM | Report abuse

First and foremost I like to commend Jake D. for holding up with heavy opposition and to the vast majority of people that have kept this forum civil.

Do I think this will solve our current dependency issues on oil? No, nor does anyone else touting such a holiday break believe it will do it. Whether you think it is simple parlor tricks or short yet needed relief...know this - it is 'action.' Now we know actions can hit or miss (Iraq etc) but look at what Hillary is doing. She is connecting with Americans that are hit the hardest, no matter how small the gain maybe. As this race moves forward Obama is looking more out of touch with a distinct demographic.

I see him growing more out of touch and these 200 + Economists will still drive this out of touch elitist Americana divide between middle / lower class Americans further.

I want this primary to be decided soon, if it is Obama I'll gladly align because the stakes are too High to let McCain win. Hell, Gore 08 would be a more unifying candidate than either Hillary or Obama seeing, what is it? a third of each of there supporters refuse to support the other candidate if they win. There is a reason why Reps have won 5 of the 7 last presidencies (they stick together).

BA Public Admin
- Chris L

Posted by: Chris L. | May 5, 2008 7:01 PM | Report abuse

> Why do the rest of the Democrats WANT gas consumption to go down?

Because lower demand == lower price for the same supply. You DO know the law of supply and demand, right? Econ 101?

Not to mention less pollution. The problem with your implication (that what they really want is for us to go back to the stone ages or something and not use gas at all) is that they want renewable replacement fuels. But that requires science, which is probably not your forte.

But don't mind me. It's not like I took economics in college, or like I have a degree in mathematics or something. That would mean that I'm one of those stupid egghead elitists, right?

Personally, though, I can't figure out how McCain can stand having supporters like you? His own adopted daughter was smeared as a half-black child born out of wedlock when he ran against President Bush.

How can he allow those people to help his campaign now? Does he care more about an election than his daughter?

Posted by: Joe | May 5, 2008 7:01 PM | Report abuse

JakeD:

It's not that I don't believe you about Kudlow - except that I don't believe you. :) Seriously, though, if he supported it, Clinton would've talked about it long since. She doesn't talk about it, I think, because Kudlow's support is non-existent.

Why would McCain and Clinton co-sponsor this bill? Aside from the political embarrassment both would suffer as it went up in flames on the Hill, neither will want to do bi-partisan work right now anyway - especially with each other.

By the way...that revolution you're asking for...would only occur IF the holiday passes. (Fortunately for those of us who would rather not see that, the holiday will never get to a floor vote.)

What does my state voting in a primary have to do with the price of gas?

And note - Clinton didn't try that nonsense here. Probably because it was poll-tested and approved for her demographics in IN/NC, where she needs at least one win.

Finally, even the ATA says they have concerns about the highway trust fund and the savings getting to the pump for diesel.

Posted by: BMR, Pittsburgh PA | May 5, 2008 7:00 PM | Report abuse

YOU AINT TALKING ME OUT A THIS

I WANT MY 30 DOLLARS!!!

Posted by: Rural White Voter | May 5, 2008 6:59 PM | Report abuse

NJEddie:

I'm fine with finally building some new refineries -- how about you throw in a couple nuclear power plants too?

Anonymous (so much for "Standing Up for Truth) at 6:46 PM:

The "experiments" in Illinois and elsewhere actually showed that gasoline tax breaks DO produce a change in price, just not as much as anticipated, especially when there's a nation-wide decline in gas prices already happening -- do you think gas prices are otherwise going to decline this summer?

SonicJones:

You are right; if somebody comes foreward with a really bad idea, "Well at least it's something" is not an appropriate response. Since we don't agree the gas-tax cut is a really bad idea, "Well at least it's something" IS an appropriate response. There, does that help?

As for $30 not being a lot of money for you, can you at least admit it is for some (I currently feed a family in Africa for that amount)?

Che:

I'm fine with another round of Economic Stimulus instead -- the vast of the Democrats voted for the first one.

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 6:59 PM | Report abuse

JakeD, you are an idiot

Posted by: JakeL | May 5, 2008 6:59 PM | Report abuse

From "Head of State"
http://headofstate.blogspot.com/2008/05/clinton-calls-for-bad-weather-holiday.html

"Monday, May 05, 2008
Clinton Calls for "Bad Weather Holiday"

"When asked this morning by ABC News' George Stephanopoulos if she could name a single economist who backs her call for a gas tax holiday this summer, HRC said "I'm not going to put my lot in with economists."

The gas tax holiday is...so economically stupid (it would increase demand for gas and cause prices to rise, eliminating any benefit to consumers while costing the Treasury more than $9 billion, and generate more pollution) and silly (even if she won, HRC won't be president this summer) as to be worrisome. That HRC now says she doesn't care that what economists think is even more troubling."
-Robert Reich, May 4, 2008

I know we've got those "intellectual", high-falutin', elitist meteorologists, those "forecasters" with their complicated charts and their mumbo-jumbo, their high fronts and their low fronts, their arrows and their Doppler radars. But I've come to say that we're going to put an end to all of that.

When my daddy and I went out in the morning in (Scranton, Indianapolis, Durham, Hagåtña, Charlotte Amalie, San Juan), and he said "It's going to be a sunny day today", well, that was good enough for me.

And that's why, if you vote for me on (May 6, May 13, June 3), I will put into effect a "Bad Weather Holiday" running from the years 2009-2012--and potentially extendable.

That's right. We shouldn't have to eat our (hot dogs, barbecue, tamales, Chicken Estufao, Stewed Oxtail) under rainy skies. We've had enough of going off to work in the (streets, sands, seas) of this most beautiful (state, territory) only to face a cold, cloudy day. We know what it's like to rest our weary bones after a hard day of labor in the nearest (local watering hole, locale taberna, berlina) only to step out into a stiff, tiring wind.

The Weather issue is very real to me, as I've been meeting people across this nation who (walk, drive, sail, ride ox before stewing tail) to work, and would save precious sums if they did not have to spend their hard earned money on "umbrellas" and "rain coats" and other high priced, high class items of the upper crust. In my daddy's day, a newspaper held over the head by a worn, calloused hand was just fine.

So I say: Let the 'Umbrella Lobby' take the brunt--not our hard working citizens. Oh, sure. I know elite opinion and so called "academic experts" say that my plan would cause 12 straight years of hail, swarms of ravenous locusts, and a vortex of hurricanes ranging from the Mideast to the West Coast.

But I don't put stock in experts. And neither should you. And that's why you should vote for me on (May 6, May 13, June 3).

NOTE: North Carolina version: Drop final "'g"s.

Cite:
Head of State
http://headofstate.blogspot.com/2008/05/clinton-calls-for-bad-weather-holiday.html

Posted by: Robert Hewson | May 5, 2008 6:59 PM | Report abuse

I keep hearing these people talking about the truckers. Why exactly should truckers not have to pay a gas tax? After all, they are putting more wear and tear on the roads than the average user and they are using a public resource for the operation their private business. If anyone should be paying a fuel tax is truckers, who should be passing that burden on to their customers. The taxes have to be paid, otherwise we won't have any roads or bridges, we'll all be paying more than the gas tax in order to replace tires and repair our cars from the pot holes, etc. Our infrastructure is already underfunded. IN reality we need to INCREASE the gas tax, not reduce it. If we had paid higher fuel taxes all along, like the Europeans, then maybe we would have better public transportation and fuel efficiency now and we wouldn't be in this mess in the first place. The savings from this "holiday" for "middle class families" would be nominal, the boost for the oil companies would be billions, and the savings for large corporations like Wal-Mart and UPS, etc. would be millions. To add to that, thousands of jobs of government contract infrastructure work would be lost, hurting more low-income and middle income families, and contributing to the on-going deterioration of our infrastructure. Plus the additional government administrative cost trying to manage this tax nonsense of stopping a tax and then adding the "excess profits" tax, which would probably cost millions of dollars just to administer.

This proposal is a joke, and anyone who is seriously considering it is a fool. Then again, Hillary's supposed core voters are "uneducated whites". Big surprise....

Posted by: SecularVoters.org | May 5, 2008 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Here's why I don't give a cr@p about the gas tax holiday:

Savings = 5,000 miles / 20MPG * $0.18/gallon = $45.00

That's for my "family of 4" which includes 2 drivers.

What can I buy for $45? Well, I paid about $58 for breakfast for my "family of 4" last Saturday so I can almost go out to breakfast once with the savings. Big deal.

Now, what if I ride my bike to work 2 days/week between Memorial Day and Labor Day? How much would I save just on gas alone (not including vehicle maintenance, etc.)? Let's see:

Savings = 30 Days * 25 miles/day / 20MPG * $4/gallon = $150.

More than three times the savings I would get from the 'gas tax holiday' gimmick.

So, do you think I should pray for the 'gas tax holiday' or just get off my lazy, fat a$$ and ride to work? I'll ride.

Posted by: Steve | May 5, 2008 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Economists are not leaders. They are elite and we sure do need them. But now,it is a hard time and we do need relieve however small it is. It's comfortable to know that leaders and aspiring leaders care. Again Obama fails to connect with small people. The gaz price has jumped more than 200% and so does the Government tax revenue. Losing three month or 33% still makes the government's gain at 67%.
With these economists including Obama, there is no interest on reducing gaz price to $1.5 or $2.5 because the Government will lose revenue?
I am not an economist but I have common sense. Hillary and McCain did the right thing: they listen and they care. It's not the $28 that I care,but how much attention they pay to small things.
Obama is out of touch. He cares only for his family and himself.Selfish!

Posted by: Newt T | May 5, 2008 6:55 PM | Report abuse

JakeD- that last link to Kudlow supporting the gasoline tax holidya ywas an interview with McCain. He published it in National Review and Says...

KUDLOW: Come back to this summer gas tax holiday that you unveiled in your speech today. It's a pretty interesting point. I don't think anybody's talked about anything like that. Let me just ask you, though, you've been very tough on the issue of carbon emissions, for example. Now, if you waive the gas tax...

McCAIN: Yeah.

KUDLOW: ...for motorists, isn't that going to actually spur gasoline consumption and increase carbon emissions?

McCAIN: Look, I'd love to tell you that would happen. We're talking about 18 cents a gallon for regular fuel and 24 percent--24 cents for diesel. I'm not sure that it stimulates it. I think it eases the burden. The people that drive the furthest in America are the lowest income people. You spent enough time in Washington, DC, to know that the wealthiest live in Georgetown and can almost walk to work; the least wealthy live the furthest away and drive many, many miles. I think that there--that it is a disproportionate burden on low income Americans that don't have access to mass transportation, that have to go a long way to work. But I'd like to see Americans get some relief this summer and maybe feel a little better. That's--and I think it'd be a nice thing to do, a good thing to do, including suspending further purchases of oil--of gas and oil for--of oil for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

KUDLOW: Well, some people have looked at this proposal this morning, which I said is a novel proposal, and they said, 'Well, OK, but...'

McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

KUDLOW: '...isn't this going to provide, ultimately, more revenues for Saudi Arabia and OPEC, which is the reverse of what you have argued for in the past?'

Sounds like Kudlow is saying the same thing as all the other economist, this is a really dumb idea.

Posted by: dcwsano | May 5, 2008 6:55 PM | Report abuse

> Well, what's "very little relief"? $28 per month = $140 per month for a family of five.

You want to check your math, JakeD? Or does your family of five have all of them driving their own car?

Anyhow, it's a false premise. You wouldn't GET the $28, the oil companies would. Why you want to send THEM more money I cannot fathom. Don't we pay them enough already?

Or do you really think that the oil companies are so generous they'll share the profit they can make with you? Let's see, we're already having record gas prices and they have record profits.

Wouldn't we have lower gas bills if they gave up some of those record profits? And haven't the Republicans fought, tooth and nail, against any tax on their windfall?

So yeah, you have ONE economist to counter 230. Thank you for illustrating how this is an election gimmick so eloquently.

I mean, it's not like you're a partisan hack who first posts every single political story, all night and every weekend. Right?

Posted by: Joe | May 5, 2008 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Jake D: $28 X 5(a family of five) ????
Where did these figures come from? This is the same voodoo economics that Hillary is preaching, pulling magic numbers out of magic hats. The savings will be $28 per vehicle for three months, NO MULTIPLICATIONS HERE!!

And guess what during that time highway maintenance crews will be faced with layoff + come september gas prices will be right where they were. Talk of a solution in deed!!

Posted by: Ambaza | May 5, 2008 6:54 PM | Report abuse

'These comments just demonstrate HOW IGNORANT americans are. You really deserved BUSH and I think you deserve HILLARY! - after all leaders come from within a society."

Eli

And children are products within their environment. Congradulations.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 5, 2008 6:52 PM | Report abuse

"Dear "E F"
Technically, suspending the tax (lowering the cost/price) doesn't "increase" the demand. It merely moves the equilibrium point along the demand curve (to a point with a higher volume). Lowering the demand is a re-positioning of the entire curve. If you're going to cop an attitude, you'd better be careful to fully check your statements."

DUDE YOU MAY BE RIGHT...BUT AT LEAST I KNOW MORE ECONOMICS THAN HILLARY. WHY DON'T YOU EDUCATE HER? IT'S STILL A BAD ID

Posted by: E.F. | May 5, 2008 6:52 PM | Report abuse

BMR, Pittsburgh PA:

Actually, for starters, your State already weighed in on Clinton vs. Obama ; )

Seriously, though, I would assume that a single McCain-Clinton bill would have to be a compromise between their two positions -- I doubt it would have any provision to tax the oil companies separately -- no one has PROVED that Americans won't actually *save* anything. The ATA estimates $2 BILLION savings just to truckers. Aren't they "constituents" too? I looked, but I couldn't find a "link" on Kudlow, so you will just have to just trust me that he supports it. You can simply dismiss Kudlow out of hand as a Bush lackey, though, as NM Moderate and edwcorey did.

Third (and something that I agree doesn't get discussed much): I hope the day after Labor Day, when prices go up by 18.4 cents per gallon as the tax is reinstated, there is a revolution in this country like we haven't seen for 232 years ...

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Many here are missing the point. If the goal is to help people having trouble making ends meet as the result of high gas prices, a plan that costs the government many billions of dollars, but gives most of its benefits to oil companies is a waste of money. According to the economists who have studied the impact of such tax cuts, this would give billions to oil producers and refiners and give much less to consumers and even less to poor consumers. That is a waste of money. Since it would also somewhat increase oil consumption, it would making the long-term problem of oil dependence worse. If you want to help the poor, give them money. Don't reduce a tax that will mostly increase oil company profits and will give its small relief to consumers primarily to better off consumers and businesses and very little to the poor and lower middle class. Next to this tax holiday, the $600 rebate looks like a well-considered policy.

Posted by: Che | May 5, 2008 6:50 PM | Report abuse

These comments just demonstrate HOW IGNORANT americans are. You really deserved BUSH and I think you deserve HILLARY! - after all leaders come from within a society. OBAMA just happens to be drawn from a more superior distribution

Posted by: Eli | May 5, 2008 6:49 PM | Report abuse

cool...that's what the election is about. vote for the candidate who saves you some 100 bucks and leaves you with potholes....ass holes these clinton supporters are

Posted by: chinky | May 5, 2008 6:48 PM | Report abuse

JakeD,
You responded to the hyperbole in my post without actually responding to the point I was making. If somebody comes foreward with a really bad idea, "Well at least its something" is not an appropriate response.

Also, I would hardly call $30 dollars over three months "pouring the money into my pocket"

Posted by: SonicJones | May 5, 2008 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who has taken Economics 101 can quickly figure out that the tax holiday won't produce any savings (very inelastic supply & demand), and this has been proven in the past by experiments in Illinois and elsewhere showing that gasoline tax breaks don't produce a change in price.

As for this being a trivial issue, perhaps it seems like that at the surface. Certainly, none of these proposals will ever become a reality. But this goes to the very core of Obama's mission in this election. He represents a step towards more honesty in politics. I believe we should be an informed populace who makes decisions based on the best research, the best information out there. If we allow ourselves to be seduced by false promises, then our will can be subverted to the purposes of the few (hint hint.. last 8 years..). This has already been happening, and it's getting more and more dangerous.

If you suspect the academics have a selfish agenda in supporting Obama, then I suggest you take it upon yourself to learn a little bit about supply and demand, and figure out for yourself who's right.

Why why is so much of America suspicious of education, information, knowledge, wisdom? These have been the foundations of civilization since the ancient greeks. Reject those and you risk everything.

Stand up for the truth.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 5, 2008 6:46 PM | Report abuse

"I think the last U.S. President to do that was Jimmy Carter in 1979 -- if you aren't old enough to remember that,"

Great point! I am old enough to remember waiting in gas lines for hours and watching people have to push their cars to the pump only to find out the station was out of gas. Carter really blew it and it was his incompetence that cost the Democrats the White House.

Posted by: tdl62 | May 5, 2008 6:45 PM | Report abuse

If we want cheaper fuel, we're going to have to build a new refinery.
The current system is operating at something over 100% of its theoretical capacity. Fuel costs are soaring because of the MC/MP equation. Price equals marginal cost, and right now, the marginal cost is the cost of building a new facility.
No one knows what that cost is, because nobody's been able to build a new refinery in what, something like 30 years?
At least that's what I've heard - anyone out there in the refining business got the facts?

Posted by: NJEddie | May 5, 2008 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Unseelie:

What if, instead of prices going to $4.18 / gallon (without the tax cut), they stay at $4.00 throughout the summer? Also, I think the diesel tax is $0.24 / gallon (although don't quote me) which is why the American Trucking Association estimates that truckers would save $2 billion if the gas tax were suspended for the summer -- that's not "chump change".

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 6:44 PM | Report abuse

There are some seriously handicapped people posting here when it comes to having a clue about finance or the economy.

As for Hillary she's borrowing from the Karl Rove play book. Give the public the idea they are getting money and it will make them happy. To hell with the economic ramifications.

Remember when the GOP called the Clinton's Elitists?

Posted by: Sparky | May 5, 2008 6:43 PM | Report abuse

I kinda wrote "uneducated rural white voters??????" as a bad crude joke since there's a lot of it here and i'm bored at work. Sorry, didn't mean to offend. They say Obama is having trouble with this group, as the media has named it, "uneducated rural white voters", but your point is very well taken. sorry for the smoke but its hard to see you from across the room with JakeD in here.

Posted by: Ted, KS | May 5, 2008 6:43 PM | Report abuse

JakeD:

I think it would not get much support.

For starters, it is different from McCain's plan, and if GOP senators/reps vote in favor of Clinton's plan, it is a political embarrassment to McCain.

Second, many of them know that they'd have to answer to their constituents when they don't actually *save* anything.

Third (and something that doesn't get discussed much): What happens the day after Labor Day, when prices go up by 18.4 cents per gallon as the tax is reinstated? If there's been no savings (as every economist I've seen or heard says there won't be), I sure wouldn't want to be the politician who has to explain what happened to the price of gas.

Posted by: BMR, Pittsburgh PA | May 5, 2008 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Purples the Clown, R.I.:

I think the last U.S. President to do that was Jimmy Carter in 1979 -- if you aren't old enough to remember that, try Google -- bottom line: it didn't work out so good for him either ; )

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 6:40 PM | Report abuse

"The reason gas prices are high is because demand is high, but supply is low, which causes prices to rise.'

Demand is high because there are more drivers in 2008 than in the 1970's, the last year refinery's were built. We also need to take advantage of technology that allows us to safely drill for oil in this country. Until this happens, demand will continue to stay high while supply remains low. Until Congress is ready to offer sound solutions, we might as well get used to continued higher prices.

Posted by: tdl62 | May 5, 2008 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Love how the headline for this article.

"Economists Release Letter Opposing Clinton Gas Tax Plan"

This is McSame's Gas Tax plan that Clinton jumped on.

Why does the Washington Post have to be a bunch of Right Wing tools? I used to like you guys.

Posted by: Spudge_Boy | May 5, 2008 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Gas prices go up in the summer because of demand. A gas tax holiday won't discourage people from driving (and likely would encourage them to drive more). Since gas refining runs at full capacity during the summer than means that:

a) Demand increases
b) Supply does not

That reduction of 18¢ off the price at the pumps will disappear as the oil companies then raise their prices because of increased demand.

It's a bad idea, plain and simple.

Posted by: Unseelie | May 5, 2008 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Selva:

You look for "a plan for the current sufferings". THERE IS NO EASY SOLUTION. Obama's telling the 100% truth on this issue.

Gas prices are dependent on oil prices. Oil prices are dependent on demand - WORLDWIDE demand.

This wasn't a huge problem until a few years ago, when the world's two largest countries by population started using more fuel at a dizzying rate. Where and why is that happening, you may ask?

India and China, combined, have well over 2 BILLION PEOPLE. That's about one-third of the world's population. These two countries are basically developing economies. As companies like Tata develop ultra-cheap cars (they've got a new subcompact selling for $2500), they're getting snapped up in both countries by auto-hungry consumers. Basically, they're going through the same spurt we went through in the early 1900s as Ford became the dominant automaker.

This means they need gas - and their gas demands will only increase as more and more residents decide they want to drive instead of bike or walk.

The bottom line is, the only way for us to fight higher gas prices is to USE LESS FOREIGN OIL. This means greater fuel efficiency, alternative fuels research, using some of the strategic petroleum reserve, and maybe even drilling in known oil traps in the US (which environmentalists are wholly against, but may be needed nonetheless).

People need help - but as discussed extensively in this thread and elsewhere, the gas tax "holiday" isn't the answer at all, as has been proven by previous experience. Obama knows this, and is being honest about it. Clinton knows this, and is pushing her idea solely to gain traction with voters - even though she knows it's a canard.

Posted by: BMR, Pittsburgh PA | May 5, 2008 6:37 PM | Report abuse

OMG! Stop driving so much! Imagine if a presidential canidate came out and said that! oh he/she would be tarred and feathered! Americans driving less! Ha, ha, ha! Oh that's a good one!

Posted by: Purples the Clown, R.I. | May 5, 2008 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Dear "E F"
Technically, suspending the tax (lowering the cost/price) doesn't "increase" the demand. It merely moves the equilibrium point along the demand curve (to a point with a higher volume). Lowering the demand is a re-positioning of the entire curve. If you're going to cop an attitude, you'd better be careful to fully check your statements.

Posted by: NJEddie | May 5, 2008 6:37 PM | Report abuse

SonicJones:

I doubt any rational person would say that pouring gasoline would be reasonable in your hypothetical scenario -- nice try though -- pouring more money into our wallets, however, is always going to get applause.

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 6:36 PM | Report abuse

The oil compaies will profit no matter what!!! The supply and demand are the factors that help control the issue, but the biggest factor that as until now never been a factor is "speculation." There is no real supply issue. America has over run it's credit with the organization that we borrow from. Our lack of proper management has destroyed the value of the dollar therefore since the dollar is worth less it takes more of the dollar to purchase something. Soon wel will be like Mexico and need wheel barrles of money to buy bread. This is result of not keeping checks and balances operating properly.

Posted by: Steve S | May 5, 2008 6:36 PM | Report abuse

BMR:

You don't think a McCain-Clinton tax-cut bill would get any votes from the GOP? I posted a link to the White House press conference in the comments to that thread.

NJEddie:

Hopefully.

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 6:33 PM | Report abuse

To continue with the logic used here the better solution would be a tax increase holiday.

Posted by: IWM | May 5, 2008 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Ok, I really don't understand the "at least she's doing SOMETHING" arguement. A BAD idea is not an improvement over no idea.

Example: If I was on fire and I was running around screaming "help me", and Hillary's all like "here let me throw this gasoline on you, that will help!!" Are you going to say

A:"NO, don't do that thats stupid!"
or
B:"Well, at least she's donig something."

Posted by: SonicJones | May 5, 2008 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Ted wrote, "uneducated rural white voters??????"

So, you think that only white rural voters want government help. Illinois has been called a welfare state for years giving out taxpayers money to white, black and brown voters.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 5, 2008 6:33 PM | Report abuse

wut do dees eecomermists no anyways? day ever haf ta by gasolin?

Posted by: richard | May 5, 2008 6:32 PM | Report abuse

dcwsano:

I can keep going -- I just picked the one economist I saw that has more name-recognition than any of those listed (in the letter) against it -- besides, I was simply proving that NOT ALL economists are against this tax cut. You want me to keep going?

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 6:31 PM | Report abuse

This just in for everyone that reallllly wants those poor old truck drivers to save a few extra dollars. Their gas bills aren't coming out of their own pockets.

Stop driving so much. Follow simple economic rules and realize this is a terrible idea and is nothing more than pandering.

This coming from one of those silly religious God lovers. Seriously, this has nothing to do with God.. I have no idea why there are comments on here in relation to that.

Posted by: BrianS | May 5, 2008 6:31 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if Kudlow's support hinges on the hope that, once suspended, the fuel tax would be hard to re-raise?

Posted by: NJEddie | May 5, 2008 6:31 PM | Report abuse

JakeD:

LOL...what "ways to deal with them"?

Oh, and another problem with your position is that Republicans are HIGHLY unlikely to go along with any Clinton proposal at all. (Of course, NO Democratic senators have spoken in favor of the proposal either, while several have come out against - not even counting Obama and Reid.)

BTW...that link you give is to a video of Indianapolis drivers talking about gas prices. That doesn't document ANYTHING about Bush being open to the idea. Come on, man...

Posted by: BMR, Pittsburgh PA | May 5, 2008 6:29 PM | Report abuse

The reason gas prices are high is because demand is high, but supply is low, which causes prices to rise. Remember the Demand Curve in Econ 101? I'm probably going waaay over the heads of Hillary supporters with my elite math voodo...well, let me break it down for you: No gas tax = increased demand while supply stays the same which causes a rise in prices. Definitions: "Increased demand" means people buy more. "Supply" means the amount of gas available. "Rise in prices" means people creaming themselves to save $28 for this entire summer and will end up paying way over $5 in years to come. The Oil companies makes more profits, while Hillary pats herself on her back for making you feel like she did something. What we need are REAL solutions, not something to help her get to the November election.

Posted by: E.F. | May 5, 2008 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Come on JakeD, give up on this one. 230 economist to one. This is a phony, political stunt by Hillary/McCain. You can find a better issue to support your candidate on, this one is an embarassment. Even if it actually fools some voters, Hillary should be ashamed.

Posted by: dcwsano | May 5, 2008 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 6:27 PM | Report abuse

don;t you understand? there will no savings at the pump after the tax is lowered! the supply and demand of the situation will make the gas prices go up eating any savings! what don;t you understand about this:

The moratorium would mostly benefit oil companies while increasing the federal budget deficit and reducing funding for the government highway maintenance trust fund, the economists said.

uneducated rural white voters??????

Posted by: Ted, KS | May 5, 2008 6:26 PM | Report abuse

I realize the majority of these comments are probaly by democrats, but I am still surprised at bitterness towards a tax suspension. A suspension or removal of any tax seems like a good thing to me. Also an .18 per gallon decrease in price would save me 1.80 to 2.30 per day.

Posted by: lWM | May 5, 2008 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Obama's calculation is very correct. Somebody who drives a lot with even a gas guzzler will put close to 100 gallons per month. That is a gas tax of $18. If there are two cars the second car may put close to 50 to 60 gallons. That adds to another $10 in gas tax. Now the family spends close to $1 a day on gas tax. By repelling that gas tax, people will spent another $1 a day on gas. That money will actually go to the gas company. The average Joe has not saved a penny out of it, but the tax money goes into the oil company's bank account.

For McCain, a gas tax holiday is a clear winner. His wife runs the brewing company that has 1000s of trucks crisscrossing the country. Those trucks will save a lot of money on gas tax. So the winner is McCains wife.

For Hillary, she is used to taking the side of the republicans whenever possible. She went with Bush on the Iraq war, McCain wanted to bomb away Iran, and Hillary wants to 'obliterate' Iran. McCain wanted a gas tax holiday, Hillary tags along shamelessly. Hillary's healthcare proposal was dead on arrival during the Clinton administration, Hillary's gas tax holiday will help Shell oil sell more oil at the expense of the government collecting less revenue. Not only that the gas tax actually goes to the local governments. That means they can not move moneyy from some other federal fund to make up for the shortfall in tax.

Posted by: Ken Turman | May 5, 2008 6:25 PM | Report abuse

The "gas" tax applies to diesel fuel as well -- Hillary DIANE Clinton cited an American Trucking Association estimate that truckers would save $2 billion if the gas tax were suspended for the summer -- she says that savings would lower grocery costs too: http://www.wibc.com/News/Story.aspx?ID=90236

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 6:24 PM | Report abuse

JakeD: Most every news show nowadays has clips available on the web - either through the network, or through places like YouTube.

The reason I find this suspicious is that the Clinton campaign has been looking high and low for any economist, anywhere, with any credentials, who supports the plan. They've turned up nothing. Kudlow would get press coverage for that stance, if for no other reason than its oddity.

Posted by: BMR, Pittsburgh PA | May 5, 2008 6:24 PM | Report abuse

The argument over Hillary's gas tax holiday has given Congress cover to do nothing. While her solution will not see the light of day in the Congress, I hope this dialogue will put pressure on our elected officials to stop talking and start solving our rising gas problems. What solutions has the Congress or others proposed to solve this issue?

Posted by: tdl62 | May 5, 2008 6:23 PM | Report abuse

OK. What is plan from economists for the current sufferings? A Gas tax holiday will help if there are controls to give the benefit to the consumer not only at the pump but also at food prices by reducing the transportation cost. I will be more happy to see $3.32 at the pump than $3.50. You don't know how much relief it'd be for people who budget their lives.
Let the economists give an alternate and then comment...

Posted by: Selva | May 5, 2008 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, BMR, I meant to post a link to the other thread, at least, which documents President Bush being open to the idea of a gas-tax cut: http://blog.washingtonpost.com/the-trail/2008/05/05/gas_prices_squeeze_indiana_vot.html#comments

If Pelosi and Reid won't let the vote go forward, there are ways to deal with them too ...

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 6:21 PM | Report abuse


Democracy in action sure is ugly. And (I'm hitting my forehead as I say this) stupid, stupid, stupid.

I'm with Obama on this issue. I noticed no one asked Rev. Wright what he thought of the oil companies? Per chance we might actually agree with the ol' angry codger?

What's that? You say Rev. Wright is not running for office and who cares? Correct!

Posted by: tony the pitiful copywriter | May 5, 2008 6:20 PM | Report abuse

The gas holiday is still an idea. Obama'a little stimuls pacage is comming from where? It is just an idea haven't seen it even brought to the floor. I don't want to hear we need change I am well aware of this just like everyone else. Use your education folks. What type of changes are you goin to make and how are they going to be introduced? I have heard McCains and Clintons, but not Obamas, all he says is we need change

Posted by: Steve Scott | May 5, 2008 6:20 PM | Report abuse

BMR, Pittsburgh PA:

I saw him, myself, say it on TV. Not sure how you "link" to that. Also,

Alex:

We don't use as much as the average IRANIAN family ; )

SonicJones:

I can keep going -- I just picked the one economist that has more name-recognition than any of those listed against it -- besides, I was simply proving that NOT ALL economists are against this tax cut.

Alvin and jindi:

If you are concerned about oil companies not passing on the tax cut, there are ways to write the legislation to get their attention ...

Martijn Vels:

Unless you want to pay my "green fees" (I was golfing yesterday), I'm here all day today ; )

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Hillary Clinton: wrong on Iraq, wrong on the gas tax holiday.

Posted by: gbooksdc | May 5, 2008 6:18 PM | Report abuse

If you're a Mac user and having trouble with this page, send an email to the Post via this link:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/admin/help/popup/frame_page.html

Every time my cursor hovers over the text of this or any other post on The Trail, it becomes a live link to today's Howard Kurtz column. This has been going on all day and the Post Web gurus are apparently all out to lunch right now.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 5, 2008 6:18 PM | Report abuse

I WANT MY 30 DOLLARS!!!

And you elitist bastards in your studid "Ivory Towers" better not get in my way. Talking your complicated mumbo-jumbo that I don't understand.

I WANT MY 30 DOLLARS!!!

Posted by: Rural White Voter | May 5, 2008 6:17 PM | Report abuse

HERE'S THE TRUTH: WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN THE FIRST DAY THE TAX BREAK COMES INTO EFFECT? A RUN ON GASOLINE > LONG LINES AT THE PUMP > AND IN TURN, SINCE SUPPLY/DEMAND DICTATE PRICE, THE PRICE OF GASOLINE WILL GO UP AND ALL BUT MAKE UP FOR ANY PROPOSED SAVINGS. THAT'S WHY THESE ECONOMISTS ARE SAYING THIS. VOTE YOUR CONSCIENCE IN THE PRIMARY BUT THIS GAS TAX CUT IS MERELY A "SHELL GAME" LIKE OBAMA HAS SAID ANS WILL ONLY BUT $ IN THE POCKETS OF THE OIL COMPANIES.

Posted by: Factory Worker, Fort Wayne, Indiana | May 5, 2008 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Bringing up the truckers is a good point. More specific: Why did Clinton not propose a DIESEL tax holiday then? We know that diesel is used mostly by a) Truckers b) Self employed / small companies / construction workers, etc.
The latter would still not make much sense, but at least more sense than this Santa-Claus pandering party.
Oh blyme, everybody loves Santa Claus (despite everyone knowing full well he's as fake as Clinton and her panderings)

Posted by: Martijn Vels | May 5, 2008 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Obama's proposal to raid social security fund can only do what these economists were saying, increase deficit and accelerate inflation. The stimulus plan is stupid election year pandering and totally irresponsible.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 5, 2008 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for this article on the truckload of respected economists who disagree with McClinton and McCain. What will happen to our country when we have a president who does not rely on expert advise or seek expert advise but relies instead on gut feelings. President Bush did not heed the advice of experts on WMDs in Iraq or the advice of world leaders around the globe, and look at the Iraq mess we find ourselves in.

There is no bill in Congress to pass a gas-tax relief measure for this summer, so the issue is moot. Even if McClinton or McCain sponsor a gas-tax relief bill, it is unlikely that it will pass since these two jokers are alone on this issue.

Posted by: elitist | May 5, 2008 6:15 PM | Report abuse

For those supporting a gas tax holiday, I have two questions. Not being rude or unreasonable - but I think these are legit questions.

The gas tax holiday proposal calls for a windfall tax on Big Oil to take a $9 billion loss to cover the shortfall to the federal highway trust fund. If they accept the loss, and don't raise prices, their share prices will drop dramatically due to the lost revenue.

QUESTION: Do you believe these companies will allow themselves to write off multi-billion-dollar losses for one quarter, or simply raise prices to cover the expected loss of revenue?

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The gas tax holiday proposal has already been declared DOA by the Speaker of the House and the Senate Majority Leader. Now, assuming that Clinton can get it past Pelosi and Reid, she has to get enough support to get a vote on it in both chambers. She'll then need to get it passed through both chambers.

Assuming she can do this, President Bush is highly likely to veto it. Which means that it goes back to Congress...where it has to pass with a two-thirds vote to override the veto.

QUESTION: Why would Clinton propose this gas-tax holiday, days before the IN and NC primaries, knowing that the odds of doing all of the above are effectively zero?

Posted by: BMR, Pittsburgh PA | May 5, 2008 6:14 PM | Report abuse

God Father

Let me ge this stright. It's not just the biased media and the vast right wing conspiracy but, now, the dredded University Faculty Cabalt that is out to get the Clintons.

By the way there were an enormous number of experts who tried to speak up about the war in Iraq BUT they were dismissed as "out of touch elitist" who would rather do "nothing" than "something"

Sound familiar?

Posted by: swalker3 | May 5, 2008 6:13 PM | Report abuse

The benefit from a middle class tax cut doesn't rely on market forces -- only political ones. The gas tax holiday on the other hand is a consumption tax on a product with a price that can change (it goes up or down).

Obama's tax cut for the middle class may not pass, but it is a good idea -- smart economic policy.

Clinton's gas tax holiday not only won't pass -- it is not very smart legislation.

If the goal is simply to give a handout to the oil companies during the summer months then she should be honest about it. Ordinary consumers would see no benefit.

It's stupid policy -- and Clinton and her people know it. They are doing this simply because they think some voters will be too stupid to see the plan for exactly what it is.

Posted by: JP2 | May 5, 2008 6:13 PM | Report abuse

THE ECONOMISTS ARE IGNORANT!!!

They fail to realize that in our antiquated version of democracy that the vote of the incompetent counts the same as that of the competent, and with the lunatic fringe around 30 percent in this country, its but a skip and a jump to the White House via the second lowest ('populist') quad.

Posted by: theantibush | May 5, 2008 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Dani girl

The ATA is not "officially" against the tax-cut, and truckers stand to save over $2 billion.

Mark (and Clay):

Is $2 BILLION enough money to make it worth it?

BG:

I would have no problem with a bigger Economic Stimulus package instead ...

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 6:12 PM | Report abuse

This Obama guy. Right on the war and now right on this issue. hmmmmmmm

Posted by: peripeteia2 | May 5, 2008 6:09 PM | Report abuse

"And thanks for the "sweetheart"

Dani girl, You are welcome. It does not matter who holds Congress anymore. They all make promises that never become law. All politicians are filled with empty rhetoric. I do get a laugh from those(not u) that spend their time attacking others thoughts on these blogs instead of offering intelligent debate.

Posted by: tdl62 | May 5, 2008 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone noticed that Hillary has not take any action to suspend the gas tax? Not that one senator would be able to any how.

Posted by: gene | May 5, 2008 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Does this JakeD guy sit behind his computer hitting F5 every 10 seconds to spew his bile on the WP? Amazing.
Jake: get a hobby.

Posted by: Martijn Vels | May 5, 2008 6:08 PM | Report abuse

The overblown response to a campaign idea floated but not vetted by the voters is
beyond comedy.


Count 'em 230 economists who did not have the b*lls to speak up when the subprime ship left the Wharton dock and ended is the biggest shipwreck since 1929.

These guys ( and alice) have all the courage of the irresponsibles.

A stunning 230 economists got together to oppose an idea that no one cares about.
It is a good thing they don't matter anymore.

Posted by: JohnAdams1 | May 5, 2008 6:08 PM | Report abuse

good to see the clinton campaigner smear machine exists to online comments as well!

$28 does NOT equal $104 for a family of five; good thing to see you've mastered multiplication but the logic is a little more complex.

THE LAST TIME this cockamamie plan was tried the gas companies increased their prices to make up the difference. NOW - when they're making record profits while consumer suffer: why would they do anything differently?

that means 0 savings for consumers and more profits for oil and gas.

and YES, obama voted for this last time. and guess what? when it didn't work he voted to repeal it.

A POLITICIAN WHO ADMITS TO BEING WRONG - AND ACTUALLY LEARNS FROM HIS MISTAKES!

WHEN COMPARED TO CLINTON, WHO CAN'T EVEN MUSTER TO ADMIT SHE WAS WRONG ABOUT HER INITIAL VOTE FOR WAR - THE CHOICE IS CLEAR.

OBAMA = FUTURE

CLINTON = PAST

Posted by: jindi | May 5, 2008 6:08 PM | Report abuse

The gas tax is lowered, then oil companies raise the price of gas so it's where it was anyway - you don't think they see this as a way to make more money? Two weeks ago I loathed Obama, this issue is making me turn his way.

Posted by: Alvin | May 5, 2008 6:07 PM | Report abuse

by: Jack:"I like Hillary ... who cares about other cultures - to care is "un-American"

I do hope you are kidding.

Posted by: Michele J | May 5, 2008 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Come on people, sometimes you need to pick yor battles. 230 of the most prominent economists in the world think this is a stupid idea. JakeD finds the ONE guy who disagrees (mind you this guy also thinks Bush's economic policies are working just fine), and thinks that balances the scales some how.
You don't have to change your vote or any thing. Just admit that this "gas tax holiday" is nothing more than useless pandering.

Posted by: SonicJones | May 5, 2008 6:07 PM | Report abuse

$28 a month? Assuming of the 18ct generously 14ct are passed on the the actual customers... is the regular US family really using 200 gallons of gas a month!?

Posted by: Alex | May 5, 2008 6:06 PM | Report abuse

JakeD:

First, please post any sort of link that shows ANY economist - Kudlow, or anyone else - supporting the CURRENT gas tax holiday proposal. The reference you posted up in this thread had NOTHING to do with this.

Second, the gas tax holiday has been tried numerous times at state and county levels.

Exhibit A: Illinois, in 2000, voted for a gas tax holiday. Six months later, they found NO decrease in prices at all. Why not? Because gas stations just raised their prices and sucked up the savings. It never got to the customers. (Obama voted for this plan. His opposition to Clinton's plan is based in large part on finding that the savings would never get to the pump.)

Exhibit B: Indiana, in 2000, had a gas tax holiday in June for 60 days declared by then-Gov. Frank O'Bannon. The state lost millions in revenue, but polls showed that customers loved the holiday. O'Bannon extended it for 60 more days, until October 26. Curiously enough, there was a gubernatorial election in the first week of November, when O'Bannon swept into another term. Early in that next term, he promptly signed a 3% gas tax INCREASE into law. (Maybe because Indiana lost $22 MILLION in revenues during the 120-day holiday?) Bottom line for Hoosiers: Prices went up sharply after O'Bannon reaped the temporary political benefits of the holiday.

Exhibit C: Onandaga County, in New York. (Yep, HRC's home state!) They had a gas tax repeal a few years ago. Two years after the repeal, gas prices are higher in Onandaga County than anywhere in all of western NY! The savings that they were supposed to get went straight to oil companies and gas station owners.

So, you see, it HAS been proven that you won't save a cent. You'll either pay now, or pay a LOT more later, with a gas tax "holiday".

Posted by: BMR, Pittsburgh PA | May 5, 2008 6:06 PM | Report abuse

$28/month ... good, I can pay my phone bill! Thanks, at last we're doing something. And, best of all, if the oil business/gas business raise the price after the tax is suspended, we'll all know where they stand. "Obama has given his options and some people are just not hearing them." Well, who does he think he is? The Wizard of Oz?

Posted by: Mandelay | May 5, 2008 6:05 PM | Report abuse

I like Obamas proposal better. 1000 cash back and no oil company to raise the price of gas after the stupid tax relief proposal. Which of course has not even been introduced as a bill, does not have any support and will not happen. Hillary is lying and she finally got caught red handed.

Posted by: Des | May 5, 2008 6:05 PM | Report abuse

The gas tax is for fixing roads. You know, pot holes and stuff. So, I guess you can take that 28 dollars and fix your broken axles. Or to help pay for your cousin's burial. You know, the cousin who drowned when the bridge collapsed and he and his truck fell into the river.

Posted by: what is the gas tax for? | May 5, 2008 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Dani girl and Ed30041:

Why not $28 AND the $1,000 tax cut?

TDL63:

I would gladly give up my $28 tax relief to help out just big rig drivers.

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 6:02 PM | Report abuse

"Ignorant posts like this one illustrate exactly why Americans aren't considered very bright by the rest of the world.'

Futureproof,

Ignorance is bliss and I want to thank you for attacking me. It shows your inability to have an intelligent conversation without name calling. Obviously, your egocentric personality does not allow for opinion different from your self-diagnosed superiority to others. While I digress into gutter communications with your brightness, I will close by saying come back when you growup little man.

Posted by: tdl62 | May 5, 2008 6:01 PM | Report abuse

I have never seen a political move taken by so many scholars for such an almost trivial issue. By doing so, all of them have lost their credibility as independent researchers. The reason it is trivial is that the proposal has very little impact on the fedral bugget compared to Bush's war. I never saw any of them write letters on the cost of war and economy. Shame on these people! On the other hand, the gas tax relief can provide quick help to the poor with the least effort from the government and create a even larger psychological impact.

We know almost all the university faculty support Obama for some reason. Some of them believe Obama can bring huge funding and enployment opportunity in certain field of research. Most of them do not like Clinton because of her husbands' policy which marginalized the progressive wing of the dem party. They found Clinton's gas tax proposal threatening to Obama's lead in NC and come to his rescure.

The letter are all empty charges that I cannot believe these are from people who have advanced degrees. As a research professor myself, I found it dispicable that so many of my rank sold their soul for this crook.

Posted by: God Father | May 5, 2008 6:01 PM | Report abuse

First comes the "shield" then comes the monster "smash".

I like Hillary ... who cares about other cultures - to care is "un-American"

Posted by: Jack | May 5, 2008 6:00 PM | Report abuse

First comes the "shield" then comes the monster "smash".

I like Hillary ... who cares about other cultures - to care is "un-American"

Posted by: Jack | May 5, 2008 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Will she be "smashing OPEC" before or after she installs her "Nuclear Shield" around the Middle East?

Posted by: swalker3 | May 5, 2008 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Are they any fake reporters working for the Pentagon this Blog?

Posted by: Jack | May 5, 2008 5:57 PM | Report abuse

With all due respect, I would rather have my America cleaned up by the CORE (ROOTS), not by the outside layer (band-aid). Call me an Elitist too!
HRC make me very nervous with her "strong" and careless talk when it comes to Iran. Firstly, to make any leeway in another country, you first have to respect, understand, and learn the culture. Everyone knows that a woman is not considered a first-class citizen in these cultures, and they will not repect her! I'm beginning to think she (HRC) is more of a loose cannon then Bush! And that is unnerving.

Posted by: Michele J | May 5, 2008 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Sorry td - just tired of the "empty rhetoric" comment regarding this gas tax holiday. Obama has given his options and some people are just not hearing them.

I agree - it's all rhetoric until it is law INCLUDING the gas tax holiday.

And thanks for the "sweetheart"

Posted by: Dani girl | May 5, 2008 5:53 PM | Report abuse

I am sure none of these economists live in small towns or have lost jobs. They are rich folks that do not relate to poor Americans. I would like to know what type vehicles these rich economists drive because one can bet, they do not feel our pain.

Posted by: tdl62 | May 5, 2008 5:19 PM

Ignorant posts like this one illustrate exactly why Americans aren't considered very bright by the rest of the world.

Posted by: Futureproof | May 5, 2008 5:53 PM | Report abuse

JakeD- The savings are $28 for the entire summer or $7 per month (assuming summer is June through September).

Posted by: Clay | May 5, 2008 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Hmm - "I suppose a middle class tax cut to help ease the burden (I believe the amount was $1,000) is simply empty rhetoric??"

Sweetheart, it is all empty rhetoric until it becomes law, so don't hold your breath if you expect a middle-class tax cut.

Posted by: tdl62 | May 5, 2008 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Anyone with basic math skills can see that this is not a serious solution.

You don't have to be an economist either to realize that the oil companies will just pocket the difference under this purely political gas tax holiday.

What's a little troubling is that Clinton would try to sell this program in the first place and then lie with a straight face to voters who have trouble telling the difference.

Posted by: JP2 | May 5, 2008 5:51 PM | Report abuse

In days of old ... it was give me the bottle of liquor and I will vote for you ... now it is $30 savings on one tank of gas ... Vote Hillary!!

Posted by: Tony | May 5, 2008 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Hillary ("Obliterate Iran") Clinton says we could obliterate Iran to show she is one of the tough guys like Bush/Cheny & McCain.

Hillary ('Let ME give you some money & vote for me") Clinton says we can have a suspension of belief there is an oil supply and pricing crisis.

Hillary ("Obliterate OPEC") just made a jingoistic, demagogic, ME the MIGHTY ONE statement about forcing OPEC's hand to stop meeting and setting oil output quotas.

Clinton continues to show very poor judgement in her decision making and is NOT Commander in Chief qualified AT ALL.

Posted by: cbday | May 5, 2008 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Jake:

It has to do with the law of supply and demand. If the supply is low and the demand is high, gas goes up. If the supply is high and the demand is low, hocus pocus, gas goes down.

Economics 101

Posted by: Dani girl | May 5, 2008 5:50 PM | Report abuse

JakeD...so in a family of five, you suppose that all 5 drive? If they can all afford to have a car--including, I suppose, those below the legal driving age--wouldn't that put them into the category of the "rich folks" to whom tdl62 refers?

I take your point, however, that if, say, two people in a household drive, then over the course of the summer months, their combined benefit might well reach $60 or a bit more. I'm not sure where you derived the figure of $28/month, but it seems not to be the within the range of figures that most economists have announced. All things considered, $20/month might very well make a difference for some households, but let me suggest that there are other ways to offset the high costs of gasoline.

For instance, there seems to be talk of another round of "tax rebates"...wouldn't another $600 be preferable to $60? Wouldn't that do more to address the pain...maybe even pay for all the gas consumption for that household we're discussing?

Posted by: BG | May 5, 2008 5:49 PM | Report abuse

JakeD: It is not $28 per month. It is $28 total, for the entire tax "holiday."

Posted by: Mark | May 5, 2008 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Actually, the ATA (American Truckers (or is it Trucking) Association doesn't want it either.

I live in a state, Illinois as a matter of fact, where this was tried. Yes - Obama voted for it and then voted against it continuing. It did not do what it sought to do.

For those of you looking for experience, he has experience on this issue.

Posted by: Dani girl | May 5, 2008 5:49 PM | Report abuse

NM Moderate:

She is almost over on the Dark Side already ; )

carrie:

I thought this thread was about NOT READING A BOOK but simply how many "economists" each side can get to sign a letter?

Anonymous at 5:38 PM:

See the following thread re: Pelosi and Bush: http://blog.washingtonpost.com/the-trail/2008/05/05/gas_prices_squeeze_indiana_vot.html#comments

Megaduck (and edwcorey):

First of all, no one has PROVED it will not save me money. Second, at least the GOP (and Hillary) are TRYING to do something to help the economy! Why do the rest of the Democrats WANT gas consumption to go down?

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 5:47 PM | Report abuse

JakeD - I agree with the $.30/day not the $1.50. What really bugs me is the thought that people will buy into a $28 carrot and think they are getting a free lunch. Personally, I think the fallout of 300,000 lost jobs to give out a glass of Kool-Aid is pretty absurb.

Posted by: LW | May 5, 2008 5:46 PM | Report abuse

I personally don't hate the Clintons - just their pandering.

Posted by: Dani girl | May 5, 2008 5:46 PM | Report abuse

I think it is more important for truckers to be given tax relief on their gas bill. They drive hundreds of miles a week delivering your food and high tech toys. Would anyone here support giving the 24 cents a gallon tax relief to our nations truckers.

Posted by: tdl62 | May 5, 2008 5:45 PM | Report abuse

So - where's the letter? I'd like to read it for myself.

Posted by: iraarthur | May 5, 2008 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Each day brings more and more of the wealthy establishment out of hiding in a desperate attempt to salvage the failing campaign of their favored candidate. Interestingly tilted argument they have there. If the amount is so immaterial, why is the impact on driving habits worthy of note? Oh, that's right, because they all hate the Clintons.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 5, 2008 5:44 PM | Report abuse

I don't think it is $28 per monnth, but a total/average of $28 for the *entire* gas-tax holiday. We all should be looking at ways to reduce our consumption of oil: let your children go to school on the bus rather than drive and pick them up in your car (waiting while the engine is idling), look into car-pooling, reduce the number of trips for errands. Yes, some of this might be impossible for those living in the rural areas, but if there's a will, there's a way.

Posted by: Ed30041 - Cumming, GA | May 5, 2008 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Hmm - I suppose a middle class tax cut to help ease the burden (I believe the amount was $1,000) is simply empty rhetoric??

$28 over 3 months. I actually figured it out based on driving to my to 2 jobs four days a week. I go through 1 tank of gas. That 1 tank will save me $2.405. Over 3 months, the savings would be $28.86 which is about the equivalence of filling my tank back up 60%.

I'll take the $1,000 tax cut, thank you. The "empty rhetoric" comment only applies when it is truly "empty rhetoric" which pretty much surmises the gas tax holiday.

Posted by: Dani girl | May 5, 2008 5:43 PM | Report abuse

tdl62:

John SIDNEY McCain is trying as well ; )

Consider This08:

I can get you a coupon for "Buy 1 Big Mac, Get 1 Free" -- seriously, though, I think 30 cents per day is far too low an estimate if the "loss" would be $9 billion -- or, as tdl62 points out, most of the benefit would go to middle and high-end users like big rigs and other transport carriers.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 5, 2008 5:40 PM | Report abuse

JakeD - ""We're going to go right at OPEC," she said. "They can no longer be a cartel, a monopoly that get to gether once every couple of months" at a hotel in "some plush place in the world" to set prices, she told a crowd at at volunteer fire house in Merillville."

Jeez - She's going to obliterate Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Indonesia, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela, too? I didn't mention Iran because she already had them in her sights. I suppose she will use that same windfall profit tax money that she's already used twice to support those wars. You gotta admit...she's got brass.

Posted by: LW | May 5, 2008 5:39 PM | Report abuse

"Kudlow was one of 250 economic experts to sign an open letter dated February 12, 2003 endorsing George W. Bush's policies on economic growth and jobs. In April 2005, New York governor George Pataki included Kudlow in a six-members state tax commission."

Posted by: JakeD

And since then, as we know, the dollar has lost significant buying power and is losing credibility--which is a large part of the rise in gas (as well as other) prices; Bush's economic policies have brought the country to recession; and New York state has lost 240,000 jobs since Clinton became its junior senator. So Kudlow should probably shut up before he causes more economic devastation.

Posted by: edwcorey | May 5, 2008 5:39 PM | Report abuse

"I would rather save $28/month"

Well you won't. First, because the gas companies are simply going to pocket the money. And secondly, even if they didn't,

It is per SUMMER.

So I have to wonder JakeD, why are you supporting a program that will save you no money and mean the roads won't be repaired?

Posted by: Megaduck | May 5, 2008 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Isn't this rhetoric the same thing we heard in "74"? and that there was going to be a comprehensive oil policy to fix the problem back then, gee where is it now? I don't like being pandered to. Obama said that he was going to tell us what we need, not what we want. So people get over it. I'm from the mid west, and I am not offended one iota. Unless Hillary/McCain can get congress to vote, and the president to sign, "ain't" nuttin going to happen. Clean you gun and go to church.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 5, 2008 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Jake - I know you are not one to let the facts get in the way of your opinions but a) it is $28 FOR THE ENTIRE 3 MONTH PERIOD and b) last time I checked, a typical family includes children under 16. Are we having toddlers drive now too?

This of course all assumes that the increased demand doesn't drive prices up which of course is what will really happen.
Read a book, stop being ignorant.

Posted by: carrie | May 5, 2008 5:37 PM | Report abuse

JakeD, everyone knows kudlow is an unrepentant supply-sider - he has never met a tax-cut he didn't like. It will be interesting if Hillary throws in her lot with the supply-siders, therby completing her transformation into the Republican candidate.

Posted by: NM Moderate | May 5, 2008 5:35 PM | Report abuse

tony:

I was simply emphasizing that Kudlow is an "economist" since everyone was saying last week that NO economist would support this idea.

LW:

Well, what is YOUR figure for what the federal "gas tax holiday" (maybe States would join up too) savings could be for the average American? I had heard $0.30 per day.

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 5:35 PM | Report abuse

To Jake D: Your math is a little off. The average driver would save just under 30 cents per day x 97 days = $28 TOTAL, NOT per month. The $9 billion dollars lost to pay for infrastructure improvements would go right to the oil companies in higher prices at the pump. $28 doesn't even buy a meal for a family of 4 at McDonalds.

Posted by: Consider This08 | May 5, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Thanks JakeD,

I am more concerned that the truckers getting a tax break than myself. They are the backbone of our distribution system and continued rising prices will force many to quit. I am hoping Hillary's continued pursuit of a tax holiday will finally force Congress to stop playing politics and find solutions. At least Hillary is the Democratic candidate proposing solutions and not empty rhetoric.

Posted by: tdl62 | May 5, 2008 5:33 PM | Report abuse

ManUnitdFan, Bob, and Kenneth:

I would rather save $28/month -- I'm still arguing on the other thread how much (if anything) the average American would save -- once we can agree on that, then we can argue the rest.

RollaMO:

Unfortunately, direct vote buying is still illegal.

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 5:31 PM | Report abuse

$140/mo for a family of 5...yup, if you have 5 drivers. Now there's a typical family, Jake. How do you think the more than 300,000 people, nationwide, that will lose their jobs will feel about that $28. I'm sure it will come in handy to help furnish their cars to live in because they lost their home. And, you're right... Kudlow has credentials... well, sort of. Yes, siree, bob, he stacks right up there with the Nobel laureates. With Hillary's penchant to go out and obliterate something, you have to admire her guts to take a peashooter to a tank battle.

Posted by: LW | May 5, 2008 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I thought you meant THE ECONOMIST magazine. I like that magazine. Very smart.

Did you know that being smart is un-American and places you in an elite? We should let our important decisions be made by angry rural folk.

Posted by: tony the pitiful copywriter | May 5, 2008 5:29 PM | Report abuse

tdl62:

Good points -- I don't even recognize most of their names -- you may know Kudlow, though, with his partner Jim Cramer on TV. Today, Hillary blasted her message right to the Middle Eastern oil sheiks.

"We're going to go right at OPEC," she said. "They can no longer be a cartel, a monopoly that get to gether once every couple of months" at a hotel in "some plush place in the world" to set prices, she told a crowd at at volunteer fire house in Merillville.

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 5:26 PM | Report abuse

If you're trying to buy my vote, just send me the $30 bucks directly.

Posted by: RollaMO | May 5, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Hillary is too much of a politician for me. She, like Republican McCain, support the suspension of the Gas tax which is completely a gimmick to get more votes to her side.

An educated voter would know that the suspension of the tax does not mean it will be eliminated...just suspended. All the while, our roads and other government projects will suffer because money is being pulled away from those important projects.

The real solution is to conserve gas, enforce higher MPG standards in vehicles, look for alternative energy sources, and so forth. Saving $28/year on gas from this tax break is not going to make a real difference except hurt our roads and make them less safe to drive on.

Would you rather save $28/month only to have the oil companies jack up the price of gasoline later anyways...or have safer roads on the highways?

Posted by: Kenneth | May 5, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

The point is not necessarily that the savings is low (which it is) but rather that it will only further worsen the problem in the future by increasing demand and not providing any future solution to this problem. This "solution" does nothing more, if anything, than push the problem out a little further. Finally, Obama advocates to give a tax cut directly to the middle class rather than $25 bucks in this indirect manner.

Posted by: Bob | May 5, 2008 5:24 PM | Report abuse

You guys are completely missing one of the main points of the gas tax criticisms. It's not that $28 wouldn't help working-class Americans, it's that they'd never even SEE most of those savings.

"'First, research shows that waiving the gas tax would generate major profits for oil companies rather than significantly lowering prices for consumers,' they wrote."

Posted by: ManUnitdFan | May 5, 2008 5:22 PM | Report abuse

I am sure none of these economists live in small towns or have lost jobs. They are rich folks that do not relate to poor Americans. I would like to know what type vehicles these rich economists drive because one can bet, they do not feel our pain.

Posted by: tdl62 | May 5, 2008 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Lawrence Kudlow was educated at the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York and was graduated in 1969 with a degree in history and Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs in Princeton in central New Jersey, where he studied politics and economics but left before earning his degree. Kudlow began his career as a Staff Economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. He worked in a division of that bank that handled open market operations, which involve buying and selling bonds to help control inflation and interest rates.

During the first term of the Reagan administration (1981-1985), Kudlow served as Associate Director for Economics and Planning in the Office of Management and Budget.

More recently, on June 26, 2002, in a commentary by Kudlow in NRO titled "Taking Back the Market -- By Force", Kudlow called for the US to attack Iraq because "a lack of decisive follow-through in the global war on terrorism is the single biggest problem facing the stock market and the nation today." Kudlow was one of 250 economic experts to sign an open letter dated February 12, 2003 endorsing George W. Bush's policies on economic growth and jobs. In April 2005, New York governor George Pataki included Kudlow in a six-members state tax commission.

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Well, what's "very little relief"? $28 per month = $140 per month for a family of five. ECONOMIST, Lawrence Kudlow, is on the record supporting the idea.

Posted by: JakeD | May 5, 2008 5:11 PM | Report abuse

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