Hillary joins McCain in pandering on gas tax; Obama stands up to them both

This has been a busy day and I’m just getting around to some basic things now. But I couldn’t let the day pass without noting how right Obama is about this:

Obama says rivals Clinton, McCain pandering on gas tax
Associated Press Writers
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Democrat Barack Obama dismissed his rivals’ calls for national gas tax holiday as a political ploy that won’t help struggling consumers. Hillary Rodham Clinton said his stance shows he’s out of touch with the economic realities faced by ordinary citizens.
    Clinton and certain Republican presidential nominee John McCain are calling for a holiday on collecting the federal gas tax "to get them through an election," Obama said at a campaign rally before more than 2,000 cheering backers a week before crucial primaries in Indiana and North Carolina. "The easiest thing in the world for a politician to do is tell you exactly what you want to hear."
    Clinton, who toured the Miller Veneers wood manufacturing company in Indianapolis, said "there are a lot of people in Indiana who would really benefit from a gas tax holiday.
    "That might not mean much to my opponent, but I think it means a lot to people who are struggling here, people who commute a long way to work, farmers and truckers," Clinton said. She has called for a windfall tax on oil companies to pay for a gas tax holiday.
    "Senator Obama won’t provide relief, while Senator McCain won’t pay for it," Clinton said. "I’m the only candidate who will provide immediate relief at the pump, with a plan."
    With his comments, Obama continued a running dispute over whether ending collection of the gas tax is the quickest and best way to help consumers. Leading in delegates and the popular vote, Obama in recent days has focused on McCain, but he broadened that criticism Tuesday to include Democrat Clinton.
    "Now the two Washington candidates in the race have decided to do something different," said Obama. "John McCain started it, he made the proposal, and then Hillary Clinton said ‘me too.’"
    The plan would suspend collecting the 18.4 cent federal gas tax 24.4 cent diesel tax for the summer.
    He said drying up gas tax collections would batter highway construction, costing North Carolina up to 7,000 jobs, while saving consumers little.
    "We’re arguing over a gimmick that would save you half a tank of gas over the course of the entire summer so that everyone in Washington can pat themselves on the back and say they did something," said Obama.
    "Well, let me tell you, this isn’t an idea designed to get you through the summer, it’s designed to get them through an election," said Obama. He said his call for middle-class tax cuts would be far more beneficial than suspending gas tax collections.
    Obama took a different view on the issue when he was an Illinois legislator, voting at least three times in favor of temporarily lifting the state’s 5 percent sales tax on gasoline.
    The tax holiday was finally approved during a special session in June of 2000, when Illinois motorists were furious that gas prices had just topped $2 a gallon in Chicago.
    During one debate, he joked that he wanted signs on gas pumps in his district to say, "Senator Obama reduced your gasoline prices."
    But the impact of the tax holiday was never clear. A government study could not determine how much of the savings was passed on to motorists. Many lawmakers said their constituents didn’t seem to have benefited. They also worried the tax break was pushing the state budget out of balance.
    When legislation was introduced to eliminate the tax permanently, Obama voted "no." The effort failed, and the sales tax was allowed to take effect again.
    Responding to Obama’s criticism, McCain campaign spokesman Tucker Bounds said the Illinois senator "does not understand the effect of gas prices on the economy. Senator Obama voted for a gas tax reduction before he opposed it."
    Bounds was deliberately echoing one of Democrat John Kerry’s most troublesome missteps of the 2004 presidential campaign. Kerry said of funding for the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, "I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it."
    Obama and Clinton both opened their campaign day in North Carolina. Clinton toured a research facility and collected the prized endorsement of Gov. Mike Easley.
    "It’s time for somebody to be in the White House who understands the challenges we face in this country," said Easley, in announcing his backing of Clinton. She then promptly headed for a string of events in Indiana.
    "The governor and I have something in common – we think results matter," said Clinton.
    Easley is popular with white, working-class voters that have formed the base for Clinton’s success in recent primaries.
    Clinton also collected an endorsement from Democratic Rep. Ike Skelton of Missouri, who praised "her support in rural America, her commitment to national security and her dedication to our men and women in uniform."
    Skelton, a conservative Democrat who chairs the House Armed Services Committee, was among a half-dozen Democratic House members called to meet with Clinton after she won the Pennsylvania primary last week.
    While Obama is favored in North Carolina, the race in Indiana is very tight, and Obama was heading there Wednesday.
    Obama collected endorsements of his own during the day: In Kentucky, Rep. Ben Chandler, son of former Gov. A.B. "Happy" Chandler, gave Obama his backing ahead of that state’s May 20 primary, and in Iowa, Democratic National Committee member Richard Machacek – a supporter of former Sen. John Edwards before he dropped out of the presidential race – switched his support to Obama.
    Interest in the two primaries next week has been high. Officials in Indiana said nearly 90,000 people have cast early ballots, far outpacing absentee turnout in 2004.
    At stake Tuesday are 115 delegates in North Carolina, and 72 in Indiana.
Beth Fouhy reported from Indianapolis. Associated Press writers Christopher Wills in Springfield, Ill., and Sam Hananel in Washington contributed to this report.

Obama’s the only one acting like a responsible grownup here. He’s also the only one speaking up for Energy Party values.

What McCain and Clinton are both doing on this is appalling. They’re treating us like two-year-olds, and proposing to act in direct opposition to the nation’s interests.

18 thoughts on “Hillary joins McCain in pandering on gas tax; Obama stands up to them both

  1. Lee Muller

    Any idiot can raise taxes.
    Of course, Hillary and McCain are pandering to those hurt by high fuel costs.
    Just like Obama is pandering to those who can’t ever see cutting spending as a solution.
    Just like Obama is pandering to blacks through his surrogates whispering about “reparations”.
    Just like Obama and Hillary are pandering to the irresponsible people who don’t want to pay for their own medical care.
    Just like every politician who tells the rabble that they will, “make the rich pay more!”

  2. Brad Warthen

    If any idiot could raise taxes, we’d be rolling in tax increases at the state and federal level, because we’d have an abundance of qualified lawmakers…
    But instead we get duelling tax CUTS, year after year. And most of them constitute pandering in one way or another. This one is just SO naked and awful, and exploitative of real pain folks are feeling at the pumps.

  3. just saying

    “Any idiot can raise taxes.” – Apparently not, both parties are far more into irresponsibly raising the debt than they are for raising taxes or cutting spending. (Unless you are redefining the English language and saying that letting temporary tax reductions expire is the same as a permanent increase).
    What any idiot can do, however, is scream about big government, cut taxes, and then act surprised when they can’t even get agreement in their own party about what programs to cut. Anyone who wants to raise/cut taxes/spending who isn’t explicit about exactly how it all balances out, and putting the balancing part in the same bill as the cut is a pandering sack of excrement.
    Haven’t seen _anything_ about whispers of reparations from Obama camp proxies… do I need to listen to Coulter instead of CNN and the BBC to get that?
    As far as “irresponsible people” and health care. What about those who can’t qualify for any reasonably priced insurance due to pre-existing conditions (or the children of the irresponsible)? Are you arguing for the current system (we subsidize them for more at the emergency room than it would have cost helping them get something that provides preventative and routine care), for letting them die on the street corners, or is there another solution I’m overlooking?

  4. Lee Muller

    There aren’t that many people “who don’t qualify” for medical insurance.
    But insurance has to be somewhat selective, or it will go broke on those who abuse it. That is why drunk drivers and reckless drivers pay more – shouldn’t they? That’s why you can’t insure a house that is on fire, or a person who already has AIDS.
    The ER argument is bogus, because it is mandated by the same socialists who use to justify nationalizing the medical industry. Just remove the ER mandate and “the poor” will have to walk across the street to the free clinics, where they should be for non-emergencies.
    Repeal the anchor baby instant citizenship, outlaw treatment of illegal aliens, and charge countries of origin for those we do treat, and that liberal-contrived problem would also disappear overnight.

  5. Lee Muller

    Brad, FYI, we ARE rolling in tax increases at the state and local level. Not as many as you and your fellow acolytes for bad government seem to call for, but too many for those of us who make this country run, while you folks watch.
    * Of the 29 counties which added a local option sales tax to reduce property taxes, 28 already have raised property taxes higher than they were before the LOST.
    * State, county and local government tax collections continue to grow faster than the economy or taxpayer incomes. That can’t last much longer… probably 2009.
    * State income taxes have not been adjusted for inflation for over 25 of the last 30 years.

  6. penultimo mcfarland

    Does the worship of taxes violate the separation of church and state, just as surely as the love of money is the root of all evil?
    Well, no, probably not, but for someone outside government, it does seem at least a trifle odd.
    When 50 years ago we paid three cents on the dollar in sales tax, why now must we seven or eight or nine?
    To feed the ravenous government monster that believes bricks teach children and this statement from the supposedly “grownup” Obama is true:
    “Now the two Washington candidates in the race have decided to do something different.”
    Isn’t the Senate in which Obama serves — in Washington — the same one in which McCain and Clinton hold seats?
    Day by day Obama continues to demonstrate he has the Wright stuff, not the right stuff.
    Like the master of this blog, he never met a tax he didn’t like, and he wants more.
    That’s so Washington it hurts.

  7. bud

    I’m glad you raised the fact that Obama supported the gas tax holiday in Illinois as a state senator. He learned a valuable lesson from that incident. He now knows how insignificant that was to motorists while costing the state treasury, and ultimately the state DOT, a valuable source of revenue badly needed for road repair. His willingness to learn a valuable lesson from that experience shows how intelligent this man is. He’s a man willing to learn from mistakes. His two opponents are merely pandering to fears and short-term expediancy.
    McCain for his part is building his entire campaign around the “fear-factor”. Fear of gas prices. Fear of terrorists, etc.
    Conversely Obama is a pragmatist. He understands the issue of energy far better than his opponents. This is a man we can trust to try and do the right thing. And when he does make a mistake he will learn from it.
    Remember the Bay of Pigs fiasco? John Kennedy learned from that and it served him well a year later during the Cuban missile crisis. Barack Obama has that same kind of grit and ability to learn. Barack Obama will make a great president.

  8. Lee Muller

    Most dishonest people like to thing of themselves as “pragmatists”, rather than “lying, conniving, greedy..”

  9. Lee Muller

    Economic News!
    Latest economic reports show the rate of growth is the same as it was in 2007… no drop, still positive though low… no recession, no trend downwards.
    POOF! Another Democrat issue gone, despite the best efforts of their media agents.

  10. bud

    Latest economic reports show the rate of growth is the same as it was in 2007.
    Lee’s version of “new math”
    First Quarter 2008 growth – 0.6%
    Average Growth 2007 – 2.4%
    Yup, looks the same to me.

  11. Lee Muller

    Yep, looks the same as last year – no recession, no contraction, just low like some of the Clinton years, better than some other Clinton years.

  12. Steve Gordy

    Per the Wall Street Journal (that notoriously Socialist – or is it Fascist? pub) today, the nominal growth was purely due to inventory build-up. Without it, the rate would have been -0.2% for the quarter. IOW, we got nominal growth in the 1st quarter at the probable cost of subtracting it from upcoming quarters.

  13. Lee Muller

    And why would manufacturers be building up inventory, if they did not expect a market for their goods? Often, the reason is that they expect future high demand, and competition for raw materials, and don’t want to be caught without products to sell in the future.
    No matter if the GDP was due to agriculture (it was), “inventory build ups”, or whatever – it was just as good as 2007, better than several of the Clinton years.
    No recession.
    No downturn.
    No real issue for the Democrats.

  14. just saying

    “Yep, looks the same as last year – no recession, no contraction, just low like some of the Clinton years, better than some other Clinton years.”
    Why focus on GDP instead of on real income growth?

  15. Steve Gordy

    Lee inadvertently underlines the main point I was making – that we are borrowing economic growth from upcoming quarters with the inventory build-up. In the face of stagnant consumer and business demand, building up inventories is probably because manufacturers anticipate later supply bottlenecks and/or price increases, hence are acting to protect themselves now. Unless demand picks up, higher production and buying in the 1st quarter will undercut production and buying in later quarters.

  16. Lee Muller

    Steve, I don’t know what you do for a living, but you don’t understand manufacturing. You just can’t accept the fact that manufacturing output continues to increase, and the the Democrat media was lying to you about a recession.
    As a manufacturing consultant, I just listed my informed guess as to the likely motivations of manufacturers building up inventory. None of those reasons point to the expectation of a recession.
    Many investors, however, are hedging against a sure recession if Obama or Hillary are elected and go on the promised tax-and-spend sprees. Democrats have already passed a huge increase on working families, set to take effect after the election, in Jan 2009.

  17. Steve Gordy

    Lee, I wasn’t addressing you personally, rather the readers of this blog. However, since you have opted (as is your custom) to cast aspersions on people you don’t know, let me say that I have over 20 years of experience in direct support to manufacturing; as to inventory levels, I was citing what the WSJ said. Why don’t you go take care of your customers instead of blogging? That’s what I spend most of my time doing.

  18. Lee Muller

    Steve, if you don’t think I am right about the reasons for manufacturers continuing to produce into inventory, please give us your hypothesis. There is always room for another expert.
    And when I posted that this morning at 5:28 AM PST, my customer was not yet open for business.

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