John McCain’s Bad Idea

Update: Seems other critics quickly emerged:

McCain’s gas tax cut draws fire

Analysts criticized the proposal for doing little to either stimulate the economy or lower gas prices, and say it could potentially leave roads in disrepair.

“It’s a quick fix for people who believe cheap gas is their birthright,” said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service, a research firm. “It’s not a prudent thing to do.”

He also said reducing demand is one of the best ways of lowering gas prices, and suspending the gas tax may encourage motorists to drive more – a move that would certainly benefit the oil companies.

“Look, somewhere down the road you have to use less,” said Kloza. “As painful as it might be, higher prices do sway behavior toward a more energy disciplined America.”

Amen, brother.


Apparently, John McCain thinks gasoline demand needs a boost:

McCain: Suspend gas tax, freeze spending

In a proposal sure to get the most attention in the near-term given record-setting oil prices, McCain proposed a suspension of the federal gas tax from Memorial Day to Labor Day – traditionally the heaviest season for driving. At just over 18 cents per gallon, that would save the average driver about $2.35 every time he fills up his tank.

I know, I just picked out that one item from the story. There are lots of other economic issues covered. But higher gas prices are starting to impact consumer behavior in a positive way. It is not the right message to send to people that when gas prices get high, Big Daddy will step in and make things right. (Don’t get me started on the mortgage mess; I am getting one now and I am paying for the irresposibility of others).

The message McCain should be sending is just the opposite: Structure your life as if high gas prices are here to stay. Lower your energy usage. Of course that’s why I couldn’t be president. People don’t vote for candidates who ask them to sacrifice.

10 thoughts on “John McCain’s Bad Idea”

  1. RR-
    I had exactly the same reaction. If anything, we should have long ago switched the federal gas tax to a percentage tax, one that slowly rises over time, so consumers have time to adjust.
    We can tax ourselves and send the money to the US Treasury, or send our money to Oil Thug states.
    McCain says let’s send more to Oil Thug States.

  2. Pandering. They all do it. Mccain couldn’t get elected when he didn’t do it, so the Straight Talk Express got detoured.

  3. McCain is usually one of the most pragmatic senators we have. He normally rails against pork barrel spending. I’ve got to agree with anonymous’ comment. No pandering = no election victory.

  4. I had the same reaction when I heard about this at lunch. Makes about as much as the stimulus package that I don’t qualify for.

    No McCain fan here but he did stand up to the ethanol lobby in Iowa . . . for a while.

    John McCain’s flip flop on ethanol

    Pandering is par for the course in an election year.

  5. Basic supply side economics.

    Good to see Johnny Mac still gets it.

    Note, not much different than what Russia announced today. A supply side tax cut to spur domestic supply.

    As a matter of fact, Russia has been on the supply side tax tip since 2001.

    Nice to see, they both still get it.

  6. Los alamos Lab says they can make gasoline from air,at about $4.60 per gallon. It’s the most exciting innovation I’ve ever heard of,assuming it pans out. Another buck or so tax on regular gas should make it competitive.

  7. “Analysts criticized the proposal for doing little to either stimulate the economy or lower gas prices, and say it could potentially leave roads in disrepair.”

    You don’t say. Since the gas tax lapsed here in Japan, people have been topping up their tanks and hoarding gas in portable tanks (a potentially dangerous situation) in anticipation of the tax’s reinstatement. But the real eye-catcher here is that shortly after the tax lapsed, the Ministry of Transport put a freeze on about 90% of road construction and maintenance projects. The money is just not there. Some people here will recall that I pointed out the Catch-22 relationship between fuel taxes and road maintenance. So the tax WILL be revived. In the meantime, local governments find themselves increasingly pressed to gut social programs or otherwise divert funds in order to keep roads in repair.

  8. John McCain believes high gas prices are a burden on the lowest-income Americans, so he proposes cutting the tax on gasoline.

    Economic response of consumers aside (cheaper gas, so let’s buy more), it doesn’t quite seem to fit with his other passion:

    Global Warming legislation, which is sure to lead to higher energy prices…

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