Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Tale of Two Plans

Two very stupid and useless plans. The political pandering on both sides of the street is just nauseating. As expected the MSM hasn't exactly been 'fair and balanced.' The LATimes is especially distortive with the headline, GOP Turns on a Dime, Decries Rebate.
Republicans denounced their own gas price rebate plan Tuesday, acknowledging that sending a $100 check to American taxpayers would do little to ease the pain of high prices or address their cause. The quick backtracking -— the Senate plan was announced with great fanfare just five days ago -— reflected the discord among GOP lawmakers as they confronted the political perils of $3-a-gallon gasoline.
Funny, from reading several different reports what I understand really happened was that the Senate leadership announced a plan and a lot of GOP Senators came out against it. I don't see back tracking from the GOP. I see discord. That nice mix of people pandering for the vote and those that don't need to this time.
"One of the things we worry about when we cut the tax on gasoline is that it basically stimulates additional use," Lazear said. "Over a longer period of time, it would be a significant problem -… because what it would do is it would encourage us to use more oil, not less, and that is the way we got to the situation right now."

Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, a member of the Republican leadership who is in a tough reelection fight, was one of the few who defended the proposal, describing it as "a way of trying to provide some help, some temporary help, at a time of gas price spikes this summer driving season."

"While it is not a solution -— and we never pitched it as a solution - we pitched it as part of an eight-point plan to increase supply, to decrease demand and to provide some temporary relief for consumers during this period of high prices," Santorum told a news conference.

With the reelection season heating up, anxiety over energy prices is reaching a fever pitch on Capitol Hill. House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) even met with the new chief executive of Exxon Mobil, Rex Tillerson -— an encounter one aide described as "not a friendly meeting."
That's right, more posing and stupid solutions. I love the report from Hastert's unnamed aide on how the meeting wasn't very friendly. Wink wink nudge nudge. If it wasn't friendly it's probably because the oil executives weren't willing to drop their rightfully earned profits for Rethugican election prospects.
Boehner said the House would vote today on two hastily assembled bills - one to make gas price gouging a federal crime and the other to streamline federal approval for building new refineries.

Democrats noted that they had introduced similar anti-gouging legislation last year and that the Republican leadership made no effort to hold hearings on the subject, much less schedule a vote.

"Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and nearly a year after Democrats introduced price-gouging legislation, we welcome Republicans finally joining our efforts to bring down gas prices," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco).
Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), author of the Democratic measure, expressed concern that the Republican version wouldn't do enough to define gouging, leaving the details to the Federal Trade Commission.
Pelosi makes another astounding statement. Another cliche with no real intelligence. Guess what? This plan as just as stupid as the one the Demosprats proposed last year. A rotten egg isn't now golden because another politician thinks he can get votes for it.

So let's ask these brilliant politicos who is going to decide on what gouging is. The FTC is the agency, but how are they going to make that decision and who in the agency gets to decide? No political bias in the FTC I'm sure. I'd also like to know when they will start the legislation against gouging in the pharmaceutical industry. How about Health-care systems? Chemicals? Computers? Or should we let the market actually take care of itself?
"Hastert said that's the problem, that we're too dependent on foreign oil," said the aide, who requested anonymity while discussing what occurred in a private meeting.

In coming weeks, Boehner said, House leaders are planning more energy legislation. He said a bill to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling would be introduced soon, reviving a proposal that over the years has been repeatedly passed by the House and repeatedly defeated by the Senate.
Hastert had a moment of clarity there. Though Boehner's thoughts are just not a solution. Drilling in ANWR will not have any affect for at least a decade and it does nothing to reduce the dependency that exists. Drilling off of Florida would be faster, but there are so many state road blocks that you'd have to nuke the "Not-In-My-Backyard" crowd there to get anywhere.
Boehner also said House members would begin drafting a "comprehensive" energy package that he hoped could be voted on in June.

Provisions would include support for developing alternative fuels, suspending rules for use of "boutique" fuels such as ethanol during periods of high prices, and incentives for developing and purchasing hybrid gas-electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles.
This may have some long term affect for relief, but the incentives programs are being skewered at local levels with added taxes on hybrid vehicles. Any place to put a tax is going to get one in the present entitlement culture.

Here's a plan.
Start by eliminating all oil company tax incentives and research funding from the federal government. They should survive on the capitalist system just like all the rest of the businesses. They also are doing very well at the moment.
Create major realistic incentives for hybrid vehicles or alternative fuel vehicles. This should be both for the development and use of such technology.
Create incentives for other fossil fuel alternative technologies in order to move that sector on the path away from addiction as well.
Reduce/eliminate the gas tax. And along with it, show some fiscal responsibility.
Citizens should suck it up and stop whining about the lowest gas prices in the industrial world. Don't like the cost of gas? Get an efficient car, car pool, do something other than demand lower prices.

Forget it. I'm betting on the status-quo. Bitching, pandering and obstructionism.


oldhats said...

Bravo. The political theater on both sides of the aisle is infuriating especially when the government "earns" more at the pump than the oil cos do.
I would add to your list of solitions: 1) open up ANWR, the Outer Continental Shelf and the Rockies. In doing so, increase supply and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. 2) Eliminate burdensome regulations that make it almost impossible to create and/or expand refining capacity. Thereby increasing supply some more.

Nylarthotep said...

You have a point. In order to support our present economy we really need to have more local sources. That should be doable considering technology has come along that helps keep the mining of oil much cleaner.

As for refining facilities, it's just the usual NIMBY issue. No Nuclear power plants of wind farms because they offend the rich man's view or those who could care less about getting clean energy.

oldhats said...

Yea, the more I read about nuclear, the more it sounds like it may be our long-term solution. Having said that, as you said, no one wants a reactor in thier backyard...