Make It All Stop

Via Memeorandum, more idiocy:

Policy differences between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have been far and few, but a new one emerged on Monday over a proposed gas tax holiday. Obama says he’s against while Clinton says she’s in favor, putting her on the same side as John McCain, who proposed such a holiday last week.

Gas prices could hit $4 this summer, raising the ire of voters and putting pressure on presidential candidates to promise immediate action.

Speaking on Larry King Live on Monday night, Clinton outlined a series of steps to address the issue at the beginning of the show, reflecting the growing importance of pocketbook concerns among voters. “I would also consider a gas tax holiday, if we could make up the lost revenues from the Highway Trust Fund,” she said, without specifying how to make up those lost revenues.

Earlier Monday at a community college in the Philadelphia suburbs, Obama rejected a tax holiday as bad economic policy. “I’ve said I think John McCain’s proposal for a three-month tax holiday is a bad idea,” Obama said, warning consumers that any price cut would be short lived before costs spike back.

“We’re talking about 5 percent of your total cost of gas that you suspend for three months, which might save you a few hundred bucks that then will spike right up,” Obama said. “Now keep in mind that it will save you that if Exxon Mobil doesn’t decide, ‘We’ll just tack on another 5 percent on the current cost.’”

The cause of our current gas price problem is not the gas tax, and a tax holiday makes no sense. If you think the gas tax is the problem, permanently revoke it. Otherwise, quit pandering.

Seriously- there are so many things out there that have a real impact on gas prices- the weak dollar, increased demand in developing economies (think China and India), refining limitation, tensions in the Middle East, peak oil, and so on. A gas tax holiday solves no problems. Period. I guess this pandering from Clinton and McCain should not surprise me- I remember being livid when Bush, Harry Reid and Kerry were spewing nonsense about the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

Our energy problems are long-term, and they are big. Cosmetic bullshit like a brief pause in the gas tax will do nothing other than to continue to erode my faith in our elected officials. This being an election year, I can see some sort of bipartisan stupidity pushed through both houses in no time.






135 replies
  1. 1
    4tehlulz says:

    protip: the gas tax pays for highway construction

    no gas tax, no road construction. That money you saved will be spend on a suspension and ball joint work.

  2. 2
    Pooh says:

    Plus how much of the tax “relief” will go to consumers vs. how much the producers/retailers just pocket?

  3. 3
    zzyzx says:

    I guess this pandering from Clinton and McCain should not surprise me- I remember being livid when Bush, Harry Reid and Kerry were spewing nonsense about the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

    Clinton suggested that on Countdown too.

  4. 4
    Studly Pantload says:

    no gas tax, no road construction. That money you saved will be spend on a suspension and ball joint work.

    Or on hospital bills and replacing your car after it plunges into a river, somewhere.

  5. 5
    BlueMonkey says:

    That’s it – she’s gone completely off the rails.

    But, then, we won’t need to use as much gasoline after all the bridges have fallen down, and the potholes are big enough to swallow my Mini, and the only thing that can traverse a road is an ATV.

    I’m trying not to curse so much. I feel bad when it happens in front of my kids. BUT GODDAMMITALLTOHELL!!!!!

    Please, sweet Jesus, make it all go away.

  6. 6
    cmorenc says:

    The “bitter” irony here is that a prerequisite for energy independence and the move toward valuing energy efficiency…is higher petroleum and gasoline prices. This both will move prices into the range that make recovering a larger volume of domestic deposits profitable, and it will finally push people into making the connection between their pocketbook, their taste for Hummers and other giant SUVs to go to the grocery store in, unfriendly regimes in the middle east and south america, and making Iraq important enough to go to war over twice, but not Zimbabwe or Rwanda.

  7. 7
    peach flavored shampoo says:

    “Now keep in mind that it will save you that if Exxon Mobil doesn’t decide, ‘We’ll just tack on another 5 percent on the current cost.’”

    Os/bama is exactly correct. The government will drop the tax, saving….lets say, 8%. Exxon and such will then raise their price by 3%. Thus, everyone wins! The oil companies make even more money, consumers “save”, and politicians look like they’re resposnsible for making everyone happy.

    Nobody dares to ask why the consumer is seeing an 5% savings instead of 8%. And if they do, Big Oil just spews something like “refinery issues in Chile” or “regulatory issues in Diego Garcia” and the media, of course, buys such bullshit. And blames the Dems.

  8. 8
    cmorenc says:

    Bottom line:
    – Radical Muslims own a vastly larger share of known recoverable petroleum reserves left in the world than do friendly Christian nations, at least at prices south of $4.00 per gallon.

  9. 9
    cleek says:

    just invest in Exxon-Mobil . the increase int eh price of gas will be offset by dividends returned thanks to their unending string of record profits.

  10. 10
    Scott H says:

    Is Obama the only adult out there running?

    We went through this crap in the ’70’s (when there was no gas to be had), formed the Department of Energy money pit to solve all our energy dependency problems (to go with the flying cars and hotels on the moon), and here we are, again.

    Keeping gas cheap is what makes the situation worse.

    I am beginning to believe Clinton is the Republican stealth candidate. McCain is just the distraction.

  11. 11
    Gus says:

    Cue myiq telling us what a sensible proposal this is in three, two, one…

  12. 12
    Josh E. says:

    Just more pandering from PanderPants the Pandering Panda. I’m surprised she didn’t add a little story about that one summer when Pa Rodham piled Hillary and 5 of her siblings into the ’55 Oldsmobile to drive to the Grand Canyon.

  13. 13
    Billy K says:

    I hereby declare “The Hiatus” a failure.

  14. 14
    liberal says:

    Pooh wrote, Plus how much of the tax “relief” will go to consumers vs. how much the producers/retailers just pocket?

    Good question; depends on the elasticity of supply and demand. Dean Baker argues that the sellers would pocket most of it.

  15. 15
    Davebo says:

    Remember when Dick Cheney reminded us all in 2000 that there hasn’t been a new oil refinery built in the past 20 years?

    Well, now it’s 28 years. And there’s a very good reason why. They don’t want to build new refineries! (Except in Iraq)

  16. 16
    Cain says:

    John got roped in by teh stupid. He’s taking me with him! AARRGH!!!

    cain

  17. 17
    teak111 says:

    I like the fact that Obama takes a swipe at Exxon, saying that the 5% savings from a gas holiday would undoubtedly be taken up by Exxon by raising prices 5%. No secret energy talks when (if) this guy is president.

  18. 18
    liberal says:

    4tehlulz wrote, no gas tax, no road construction.

    Ah, come on. We’re expecting to charge it to the credit card (holding bank = China).

  19. 19
    Fwiffo says:

    Even stupider still, last night on Olberman, I’m fairly certain Hillary Clinton argued that she would have a gas tax holiday and replace the lost revenue with a windfall profits tax on the oil companies.

    I won’t bother trying to explain that one; I assume y’all are smart enough to figure out the math for yourself. Mrs. Clinton is clearly making the opposite assumption.

  20. 20
    Dug Jay says:

    Personally, I would like to see the gasoline tax increased by several fold as a means of reducing demand, as well as raising money in order to help preserve the Bush tax cuts.

  21. 21
    Z says:

    You can’t stop, can you, John? Teh stoopid is like teh crack! That’s why we have the media we do.

  22. 22
    Martin says:

    I’m fairly certain Hillary Clinton argued that she would have a gas tax holiday and replace the lost revenue with a windfall profits tax on the oil companies.

    She did exactly that and repeated it on Larry King. Wife and kids hadn’t gotten home yet so it left me free to bellow freely at the TV. Scared the shit out of the dog.

    Good question; depends on the elasticity of supply and demand. Dean Baker argues that the sellers would pocket most of it.

    There is no elasticity on supply. Certainly not in California. And it’s not due to oil supply – it’s due to refining capacity. Diesel just tipped over $4.50 here because they’ve shoved the formulation to extract more gasoline to keep prices down. Of course the truckers are pissed, but most of them are buying with the boss’s credit card. The indies are getting raped something awful though.

    Because of this, opening the strategic reserves does little because more oil doesn’t help. All it does is temporarily lower the cost of oil which will expand profits for the refiners if demand for gasoline stays high.

    Also keep in mind that gasoline is a traded commodity. There’s good money to be made by traders to lock up that gasoline from time to time, further constraining supply. Remember, it’s not just the demand of people putting it in their cars, but also the people interested in stuffing it in a storage tank for a rainy day. As the price has gotten more volatile, the incentive to do this keeps going up because the cost of storage is fairly fixed.

    So if there is an artificial lowering of the price of gas due to opening the strategic reserves, the traders will take advantage of that, buy up the cheap gas, store it, wait for the strategic reserve deal to end and the price to go up, and then sell it again. The added artificial demand by the traders will simply stabilize prices to what they would have been if the strat reserves hadn’t been opened and they’ll level prices out again afterward by dumping added supply on the market. The reason the plan fails is because everyone knows opening the reserves is a temporary move and everyone knows the effect it will have. The people with the resources to exploit that information will do exactly that.

    But somewhere down the line the Gov will have to start buying oil again to replenish the reserves and drive up prices.

    The only solutions here are to expand refining capacity which everyone is loathe to do because it is a bad investment. Everyone knows that oil has peaked so why invest into a declining market. Alternatively (and the only realistic solution) is we need to lower demand which none of these proposals do.

  23. 23
    Halteclere says:

    protip: the gas tax pays for highway construction

    no gas tax, no road construction.

    All those in favor of temporarily suspending the gas tax may never complain about a toll road again.

    Money for infrastructure will come from somewhere regardless. And when funding from the gas tax is interrupted state highway agencies will jump even quicker into a guaranteed source of revenue that is not affected by the whims of pandering politicians.

    State highway agencies are already having to build toll roads to cover the infrastructure costs that are far beyond any gas tax revenue received. So temporarily suspending a gas tax will only quicken the pace of toll road construction.

  24. 24
    Svensker says:

    Gas prices could hit $4 this summer, raising the ire of voters and putting pressure on presidential candidates to promise immediate action.

    They could talk about the danged falling dollar and how they plan to shore that sucker up. Which would impress the heck out of me, cuz my danged upcoming European vacation is giving me a pit in the wallet. It might also point out to the rubes who think John McBush is a great guy just how we’re paying for their stupid Iraq war.

    And Dug Jay would like the gas tax increased severalfold in order to keep the Bush tax cuts. The brilliancy just doesn’t stop.

  25. 25

    […] Update: John Cole can’t stand the idiocy any more either.  Shorter and funnier than me. […]

  26. 26
    DougJ says:

    It’s a great idea and the only reason you can’t admit it is that you’re so anxious to have a cool black friend like Obama that you all spend all your time trashing Hillary.

    It’s really pretty sad.

  27. 27
    Rick Taylor says:

    I have to admit, this one surprises me. She has such a reputation for being strong on the economy and a policy wonk I didn’t think she’d pander this blatantly on a domestic policy issue. They might as well just write a big check to the oil companies. Oh well.

  28. 28
    A.Political says:

    Didn’t Clinton also put forth her idea of a reverse umbrella of deterrence on gas stations and refineries? This collective deterrent however will only be available to states that matter though*.

    When questioned on how this would be implemented she explained that since she knows no one is actually bitter in the US, but that oddly bitterness does exist and is almost tangible that we should harness this unattributed bitter energy which permeates the US and use this to power the entire operation.

    Joe Scarborough when asked about this nodded approvingly, yes Hillary knows whats up with middle America, she’s almost as in tune with them as Republicans. Clinton concluded her proposal with the statement that “John McCain is a good man and great friend”, much to the puzzlement of all in attendance, she then followed that up by saying “but I never actually said this, it’s Obama that likes him”. Later that day Clinton was said to be seen by some leaving a local hardware store carrying to kitchen sinks. Presumably for after PA some pontificated.

    *Florida and Michigan will have their umbrellas repossessed after the primaries

  29. 29
    chopper says:

    i love it. gas is 3.60 a gallon down the street. clinton says drop the gas tax. pay for roads by taxing exxon over ‘windfall profits’. exxon makes up for that loss by jacking up the cost of gas. gas ends up right back at 3.60 a gallon.

    and this does what for the consumer?

  30. 30
    cleek says:

    They might as well just write a big check to the oil companies.

    they already do.

    they get tens of billions every year in subsidies from the US taxpayer – on top of their record-setting profits.

    we pay them for the honor of paying them.

  31. 31
    Dennis - SGMM says:

    It’s a great idea and the only reason you can’t admit it is that you’re so anxious to have a cool black friend like Obama that you all spend all your time trashing Hillary.

    Free food and having robots to do all the work are also great ideas. Has Hillary promised those yet or is she saving those great ideas for SC?

  32. 32
    Jeff says:

    #3.60!! We cannot even get below $3.65 at Costco or ARCO.

    I stopped at a gas station this weekend that was charging over $4. All, I can say is it’s about time. I loved the news last month that Toyota Yaris sales are through the roof, while they cannot give away trucks and SUVs.

    Easiest way to save money on gas. Drive the speed limit.

  33. 33
    shera says:

    Free food and having robots to do all the work are also great ideas. Has Hillary promised those yet or is she saving those great ideas for SC?

    Followed by near-annihilation of the human race? I’ll take the cool black friend, please.

  34. 34
    The Other Steve says:

    Another reason Obama get’s my vote.

    My major problem isn’t the price of gas, it’s that I have to spend an hour in traffic to drive 5 miles.

    You cut the gas tax, and you cut the transit funding and make the problem worse. Or worse, as we learned in minnesota, you cut the funding and sometimes bridges fall down.

    Besides, a gas tax holiday would reduce it like 18 cents a galloon. It’s gone up 40 cents in just the past two weeks. I suspect the gas companies would use it as an excuse to keep the price high, because nobody would notice.

  35. 35
    Dennis - SGMM says:

    Easiest way to save money on gas. Drive the speed limit.

    And keep your tires properly inflated. You can increase your mileage by up to 3.3% by maintaining your tires at the correct pressure.

  36. 36
    Ed Drone says:

    The only solutions here are to expand refining capacity which everyone is loathe to do because it is a bad investment.

    Now there is where government subsidies could have an effect. Even though it’s counter-productive, building another group of modern refineries (especially ones that could handle creating bio-fuel mixtures, though this is not so difficult an operation as to be the main reason for the refinery. It is counter-productive to do this, of course, but as a stop-gap measure, it would be far better than many other equally stop-gap measures.

    Since we would be subsidizing private industry*, Republicans would be in favor, and since we’d be helping stretch our gasoline dollars, the public would go for it. I think the latter fact could convince enough Democrats to get it passed. And it would give us a leg-up in convincing the public that the government does, indeed, have a role to play, paving the way (bad pun — sorry) for future governmental actions that might normally meet more resistance.

    It’s an idea, anyway. A better one than cutting off our (road construction) noses to spite our (cheap gasoline) faces.

    Ed

    * Of course — no ‘socialized’ government-owned fuel refinery proposal would ever pass muster, even if half the Republicans in Congress were replaced by Democrats. Not even then would something as sane as that get passed.

  37. 37
    Phineus says:

    Being the child of a (now retired) oil company executive I was raised with the chanting of the “Supply and Demand!” liturgy on a daily basis followed with the sermon about how the workings of the market necessarily kept U.S. oil companies from engaging in collusion – and even if they didn’t the Feds watched very closely to assure there were no gasoline prix fixes.

    Then, as he was approaching the end of his career (within the last five years) he started telling me that his company, and the other oil majors, had decided to significantly and artificially reduce their supply by cutting their refining. I suggested to him that this moved belied the purity of the market he had once preached to me. Happily, he concurred with that assessment.
    Now, even though he lives off of his oil-stocks, he complains bitterly about the shameless laissez-faire attitude of his former industry…

    Not a shocking revelation to anyone here, I’m sure. But a first (second?) hand account verifying what we all know.

  38. 38
    Martin says:

    Gas prices could hit $4 this summer week

    Heh. $3.89 is the norm where I live for regular. Premium has been >$4 for weeks now. I’m sure SF is already $4 across the board.

  39. 39
    The Other Steve says:

    I stopped at a gas station this weekend that was charging over $4. All, I can say is it’s about time. I loved the news last month that Toyota Yaris sales are through the roof, while they cannot give away trucks and SUVs.

    Don’t know about the Yaris, but I’m enjoying my Scarabeo 150. I get 70 mpg, and some fresh air.

    you’re all just cagers to me now.

  40. 40
    leinie says:

    Hey, I’m paying $4.65 for diesel to put in my little Jetta. Good thing the little bugger gets around 35MPG.

    This is a big fat handout to oil companies, with the added benefit of hurting construction employment when there isn’t any money to fix roads (those jobs don’t get outsourced very easily.)

    Obama has the right answer here, and I agree with Martin – is MUP the only adult in this thing?

  41. 41
    4tehlulz says:

    >>is MUP the only adult in this thing?

    Yes. SA2SQ

  42. 42
    DougJ says:

    Free food and having robots to do all the work are also great ideas.

    I’d like to see one of them have the guts to talk about robot prostitutes.

  43. 43
    p.lukasiak says:

    no gas tax, no road construction. That money you saved will be spend on a suspension and ball joint work.

    as expected, the Obots condemn a Clinton plan without understanding it.

    Clinton’s ‘gas tax holiday’ plan includes imposition of windfall profits taxes on oil companies to replace the revenue lost by the highway trust fund — in fact, her plan is contingent upon finding ways to make up the revenue lost to the trust fund.

    Furthermore, because of the ‘high speed’ nature of the roadways funded by the trust (basically, interstate and “federal” highways) the first priority for the fund is, and always has been, road maintenance. A pothole on a highway could lead to major accidents and deaths. Its locally controlled road where you find the kind of potholes that screw up your car.

    The most recent estimates I can find are that the trust will earn about 36 billion this year, and have a balance of about 10 billion at years end.

    In other words, there is no reason to suspect that necessary repairs would go unmade if Clinton’s plan were to be implemented — since her plan is contingent upon continuing to fund the Trust, and even without making up the revenue, there is more than enough money in the fund to do necessary repairs.

  44. 44
    John S. says:

    is MUP the only adult in this thing?

    Yes.

    That’s why all the other children are busy with Wafflegate, Fingergate, Pastorgate and whatever other juvenile bullshit they can come up with.

  45. 45

    “Oil prices, there is a common understanding that has nothing to do with supply and demand,” al-Badri said on the sidelines of an energy conference in Rome.

    Hmmm. So much for Free Market Capitalism.

  46. 46
    Martin says:

    VW diesel engines are awesome. I’d stuff one in my Element if I could.

    And keep your tires properly inflated. You can increase your mileage by up to 3.3% by maintaining your tires at the correct pressure.

    Thank you Mario Andretti. You get residuals for that?

  47. 47
    Dennis - SGMM says:

    Clinton’s ‘gas tax holiday’ plan includes imposition of windfall profits taxes on oil companies to replace the revenue lost by the highway trust fund—in fact, her plan is contingent upon finding ways to make up the revenue lost to the trust fund.

    The same courageous Congress that was unwilling to repeal oil company tax subsidies is going to impose a windfall profits tax on them? Bwahahahaha!

  48. 48
    Martin says:

    p.luk misses the point again.

    In other words, there is no reason to suspect that necessary repairs would go unmade if Clinton’s plan were to be implemented—since her plan is contingent upon continuing to fund the Trust, and even without making up the revenue, there is more than enough money in the fund to do necessary repairs.

    True, her plan doesn’t undermine road funds. It also doesn’t change the price of gas or the profits that the oil companies earn. All she does is change the collection mechanism.

  49. 49
    leinie says:

    Martin Says:

    VW diesel engines are awesome. I’d stuff one in my Element if I could.

    VW is supposed to be working on a hybrid-diesel.

    I love my Jetta.

  50. 50

    In other words, Clinton’s gas holiday is pretty much hot air.

  51. 51
    chopper says:

    Don’t know about the Yaris, but I’m enjoying my Scarabeo 150. I get 70 mpg, and some fresh air.

    you’re all just cagers to me now.

    hah. my old vespa smallframe gets like 100+mpg. if you’re trying to impress me, you’ve failed.

  52. 52
    chopper says:

    Clinton’s ‘gas tax holiday’ plan includes imposition of windfall profits taxes on oil companies to replace the revenue lost by the highway trust fund—in fact, her plan is contingent upon finding ways to make up the revenue lost to the trust fund.

    and exxon wouldn’t make up for that tax by raising it’s prices, would it? no, never.

  53. 53
    p.lukasiak says:

    I’m gonna barrack your world boiz…pant-suit style!!!!

  54. 54
    Billy K says:

    I loved the news last month that Toyota Yaris sales are through the roof, while they cannot give away trucks and SUVs.

    The only joy I get out of putting $45 in my (small 4 cylinder) car every week is laughing at the SUV-driving morons on the road every day, who have made my daily commute so awful the last several years. I say suck their wallets dry.

    is MUP the only adult in this thing?

    I’m glad to say, people are finally realizing this is, indeed the case.

  55. 55
    Andrew says:

    as expected, the Obots condemn a Clinton plan without understanding it.

    Clinton’s ‘gas tax holiday’ plan includes imposition of windfall profits taxes on oil companies to replace the revenue lost by the highway trust fund—in fact, her plan is contingent upon finding ways to make up the revenue lost to the trust fund.

    lukasiak, anyone who understands basic economics knows this plan is particularly stupid.

    If you want to adopt painfully stupid McCain-o-nomics, you’d be better off supporting McCain, and not your McCain-wannabe candidate.

  56. 56
    Billy K says:

    as expected, the Obots…

    Are you too freakin’ lazy to type out “Obamabots” now? “Obots” sucks, and is below even your snake-belly level.

    TROLL HARDER, DAMMIT.

  57. 57
    Billy K says:

    hah. my old vespa smallframe gets like 100+mpg. if you’re trying to impress me, you’ve failed.

    Wish I still have my Sprint 150. I moved up to “real” bikes. Better MPG than a car, but nowhere near Scoot-level.

  58. 58
    Dennis - SGMM says:

    The only joy I get out of putting $45 in my (small 4 cylinder) car every week is laughing at the SUV-driving morons on the road every day, who have made my daily commute so awful the last several years.

    I drive a sixteen year old four-cylinder car. It does give me a touch of shadenfreude to pull in to the gas station, pump ten gallons and then pull out while the SUV drivers are still standing there with the gas pump ticking away.

  59. 59
    pessullivan says:

    I calculated that I’ll save a whopping $33.00 for the entire tax holiday! I’ll try not to spend it all in one place!

  60. 60
    b. hussein canuckistani says:

    My bicycle gets infinity miles per gallon, and runs on pizza, Guinness and Tim Horton’s old fashioned donuts.

  61. 61
    Billy K says:

    My bicycle gets infinity miles per gallon, and runs on pizza, Guinness and Tim Horton’s old fashioned donuts.

    I bet they love to sit next to you in meetings.

  62. 62
    nightjar says:

    True, her plan doesn’t undermine road funds. It also doesn’t change the price of gas or the profits that the oil companies earn. All she does is change the collection mechanism.

    And nothing to stop Big Oil from saying they’ve discovered their pipes are extra clogged right now (or some other bullshit lie) and need cleaning so we’ll have to raise our price back to where it was with the gas tax.

  63. 63
    lutton says:

    A gas tax holiday – like the economic stimulus gift – is nothing more than an band-aid on a compound fracture.

  64. 64
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    A.Political Says:

    Didn’t Clinton also put forth her idea of a reverse umbrella of deterrence on gas stations and refineries? This collective deterrent however will only be available to states that matter though*.

    When questioned on how this would be implemented she explained that since she knows no one is actually bitter in the US, but that oddly bitterness does exist and is almost tangible that we should harness this unattributed bitter energy which permeates the US and use this to power the entire operation.

    Joe Scarborough when asked about this nodded approvingly, yes Hillary knows whats up with middle America, she’s almost as in tune with them as Republicans. Clinton concluded her proposal with the statement that “John McCain is a good man and great friend”, much to the puzzlement of all in attendance, she then followed that up by saying “but I never actually said this, it’s Obama that likes him”. Later that day Clinton was said to be seen by some leaving a local hardware store carrying to kitchen sinks. Presumably for after PA some pontificated.

    *Florida and Michigan will have their umbrellas repossessed after the primaries

    POTD

    Bravo and well done sir (or madam)!
    Please collect your winning prize (6+ weeks of more of the same, donated by courtesy of our sponsors teh MSM) on the way out.

  65. 65
    Zifnab says:

    Are you too freakin’ lazy to type out “Obamabots” now? “Obots” sucks, and is below even your snake-belly level.

    Maybe he was going for GoBots and typoed?

    I calculated that I’ll save a whopping $33.00 for the entire tax holiday! I’ll try not to spend it all in one place!

    So, between my Bush Tax Cuts, my Economic Stimulus, and my Gas Tax Rebate, I’ll still manage to break even when the price of bread doubles and my health insurance premium triples. Horray Republican Economics!

  66. 66
    Martin says:

    Now there is where government subsidies could have an effect. Even though it’s counter-productive, building another group of modern refineries (especially ones that could handle creating bio-fuel mixtures, though this is not so difficult an operation as to be the main reason for the refinery. It is counter-productive to do this, of course, but as a stop-gap measure, it would be far better than many other equally stop-gap measures.

    The problem with all of this is that for gasoline, there are two commodity markets before the consumer gets to play. We have two sets of supply/demand issues:

    Oil supply which can be artificially constrained, but which is long-term on the decline
    Oil demand on the commodity market which can be artificially influenced by traders and governments (stockpiling).

    Gasoline refining capacity which is limited by facilities, demand for other oil products (you can trade off one product for another) and some policies (different fuel formulations in different markets).
    Gasoline demand on the commodity market which can also be artificially influenced by traders and which reflects consumer demand as well.

    The oil supply/demand has some local control but is essentially a global market. As such, reducing our demand has the likely effect of slightly lowering prices which will have the likely effect of getting someone else to use more. That is, what we save, China will probably use and prices aren’t going to shift much. That the whole mess is tied to currencies adds that complication to the mix as well.

    I think at the two ends of the spectrum we have two choices to make – the local good and the global good.

    The local good is probably what Cheney dreams about at night. Basically, encourage the near total consumption of oil on the planet. Oil is a cheap and easy way for 3rd world nations to expand economically and play on the global stage because it’s a good portable energy source, and is technologically primitive to work with. The US is best positioned to absorb high oil cost and is technologically and geographically best positioned to offer alternatives. If oil went away, we’d probably win big by providing much of the replacement technology and the oil nations would be removed from the world stage. 3rd world nations would remain 3rd world nations. Expanding refining capacity moves us down this direction faster because it increases oil consumption.

    The global good is to do this sooner – to use our advantage to get the US off of oil for the betterment of poorer, less technological nations. The US, rather than blowing money trying to consume oil instead blows money on alternative energy, lowers its cost, allows other nations to ride on cheaper oil that is essentially subsidized by us not consuming it. As we lower the cost of alternative energy, that can move into other markets as well.

    The end state is already known – we use all the oil. That’s a given. We don’t know how long – 50 years, 100 years, but the day will come. When we do it, who we position to be winners and losers in this game, etc. that’s really what we are talking about here. That’s the big game being played and we’re somewhere in the middle of that spectrum.

    The gasoline situation and the impact on consumers I don’t think plays in any strategic way. It’s purely a domestic issue with economic consequences, but will automatically sort itself out one way or another. Either the cost of gas gets high enough for alternatives to become cost effective or the pubic decides to suck it up and keep driving their F-150s. The government currently couldn’t give a shit what happens here – they’re just playing the game above and mostly letting the free market operate down here. Unfortunately the solutions needed here are broader than people seem willing to talk about. Squishing corn into our tanks won’t work. We’re going to have to, at some point, probably accept broader societal changes. That means changing our expectations for home ownership, suburban/urban living, mass transit, and so on. But so far voters are just yelling for the problem to get solved without any investment in that solution. We’re going nowhere. The public needs to speak up on what kind of pain they prefer, but we don’t get out of this without some kind of pain.

  67. 67
    Calouste says:

    hah. my old vespa smallframe gets like 100+mpg. if you’re trying to impress me, you’ve failed.

    My Cannondale uses a teaspoon or two to oil the chain every few hundred miles, so I’m doing at least 10,000mpg. Beat you there ;)

  68. 68
    dricey says:

    Clinton is McCain’s running mate. What did you expect her to say?

  69. 69
    dbrown says:

    As a moron that drives 122 miles every day (not my choice really but that would be a long post) I am happy I get 47 mpg wet or cold days and 50 mpg on hot days. Hate the fucking japs but they do build good cars.

  70. 70
    flyerhawk says:

    So Hillary’s plan to cut gas taxes starting next month is to come up with a way to pay for the tax cut that she hasn’t done yet.

    In other words her idea has basically zero chance of going anywhere.

    In other words she was simply doing some me too pandering with McCain on how they feel the voters pain when it comes to gas prices.

    Oddly enough no mention of this pander over at TalkLeft. Apparently this isn’t quite teh awesome enough for TL to talk about.

  71. 71
    b. hussein canuckistani says:

    A gas tax holiday – like the economic stimulus gift – is nothing more than an band-aid on a compound fracture.

    More like a tourniquet on a neck fracture.

  72. 72
    nightjar says:

    The reason why gas prices have continued climbing even when adequate supplies are present have to do with GWB creating a pervasive permissive atmosphere for business to do any damn thing they want to maximize profit. With the veto and filibuster happy goopers in the senate, they know there will be no repercussions for all greed all the time.

  73. 73
    chopper says:

    Wish I still have my Sprint 150. I moved up to “real” bikes. Better MPG than a car, but nowhere near Scoot-level.

    i’ve been through a bunch of old scooters and i gotta say the smallie is the most fun to ride in the city.

    My Cannondale uses a teaspoon or two to oil the chain every few hundred miles, so I’m doing at least 10,000mpg. Beat you there

    the ladies don’t drool over a cannondale though, do they?

  74. 74
    Z says:

    I take my bike to work in good weather, too. I love it when there is a whole series of red lights and I keep passing by the SUV’s. But then, again, I’m evil.

  75. 75
    dbrown says:

    The reason why gas prices have continued climbing even when adequate supplies are present have to do with GWB creating a pervasive permissive atmosphere for business to do any damn thing they want

    Wingnut alert, will roberson, wing nut alert!

  76. 76
    Cain says:

    My bicycle gets infinity miles per gallon, and runs on pizza, Guinness and Tim Horton’s old fashioned donuts.

    What about all that gas you’re generating from all that stuff being digested? Pfft. You’re no greener than the rest of us! Cut down on that pizza and donuts, motherfucker, then we’ll talk!

    cain

  77. 77
    Billy K says:

    i’ve been through a bunch of old scooters and i gotta say the smallie is the most fun to ride in the city.

    Do you like in SF, by chance? I’ve ridden through San Francisco streets on a Vespa at breakneck speeds, up and down the hills, dodging cars, and a smallframe would definitely squeeze through better. (I assume you’re talking about a 90cc with that kind of mileage. Me personally, I could never ride a Primavera with less than 125cc. Just not enough “go”.)

  78. 78
    Davebo says:

    A few years ago I bought two old classic Vespas (1963 and 1966) because I thought they’d be fun to tool around the neighborhood on weekends.

    They could become my daily drivers!

  79. 79
    Cain says:

    As a moron that drives 122 miles every day (not my choice really but that would be a long post) I am happy I get 47 mpg wet or cold days and 50 mpg on hot days. Hate the fucking japs but they do build good car

    Damning with faint praise?
    cain

  80. 80
    Notorious P.A.T. says:

    You all are forgetting: taxes bad!!!

    Whether or not this “holiday” is a good plan (it probably isn’t) why in the world does Hillary feel like she should echo a McCain proposal?

  81. 81
    dbrown says:

    As a moron that drives 122 miles every day (not my choice really but that would be a long post) I am happy I get 47 mpg wet or cold days and 50 mpg on hot days. Hate the fucking japs but they do build good car

    Damning with faint praise?
    cain

    more than you can ever know

  82. 82
    Billy K says:

    A few years ago I bought two old classic Vespas (1963 and 1966) because I thought they’d be fun to tool around the neighborhood on weekends.

    They could become my daily drivers!

    Assuming they’re not basket cases, they’re worth too much to be daily drivers. Get a nice P-range for that and save the 60s Vespas. They’re getting scanty in the states.

  83. 83
    p.lukasiak says:

    lukasiak, anyone who understands basic economics knows this plan is particularly stupid.

    there is nothing particularly stupid about the Clinton plan.

    I mean, it wouldn’t have much impact one way or another — at worst, its merely pointless, at best its a way to save people a little bit of money at a time when lots of them will be forced to cut back on their spending because gas is so high.

    In other words, the only reason for Cole and the rest of the Obots to be freaking out about it is Hillary-hate. Its a knee-jerk reaction for these people. Doesn’t matter what she says or does, its not merely wrong, its an outrage.

  84. 84
    Martin says:

    Hate the fucking japs but they do build good cars.

    My Honda Element was proudly built in Ohio. You need to work harder to keep up with the players.

  85. 85
    capnmike says:

    OK, so we have built an entire CIVILIZATION based on the supposedly limitless availability of a resource that, we now know, is limited. We fish the seas but do not farm them. We filthy the rivers and atmosphere. We continue to recklessly multiply like a mold fungus overwhelming a piece of fruit until both are ultimately destroyed. What you see here is more than simply higher prices for gasoline which the short-sighted bitch and moan about. It is more than just a few isolated food riots in places like Haiti. It is the beginning of the end of “civilization as we know it”…and if we do not take steps to control our population, which we will not do until we realize that it is NOT everybody’s “right” to have as many children as they feel like having with no thought to the consequences, it means the eventual extinction of the human race. “Not with a bang, but a whimper”

  86. 86
    Billy K says:

    In other words, the only reason for Cole and the rest of the Obots to be freaking out about it is Hillary-hate.

    Except that most of us called bullshit on it when McCain proposed it…well before Hillary borrowed it from him.

    I, personally, think Hillary should keep co-opting GOP plans and tactics in the name of splitting the Democratic party. It can only help he in the long run.

    P.S. You’re an idiot.

  87. 87
    leinie says:

    Yeah, Billy, but he’s gonna ignore that most of us called McCain’s stupid. Cuz it doesn’t fit with his “all opposition is irrational Hillary hatred” storyline.

  88. 88
    dbrown says:

    Hate the fucking japs but they do build good cars.

    My Honda Element was proudly built in Ohio. You need to work harder to keep up with the players.

    My bad – I was referring to Hybrids but didn’t bother to add that to the post.

    The japs know that dumbass americans can’t be trusted to built such a complex car as a hybrid … blunt fingers and all that rot we barbarians have these problems compared to the divine race of the rising racist.
    P.S. I like the Chinese and most other Asian races/cultures but since the fucking japs still won’t admit the truth of WW II and their sole responsibility for the deaths of over twenty million innocent people (a few million of children too), and a host of war crimes and … well, I call a spade a spade.

  89. 89
    A.Political says:

    You will submit to your pant-suit overlord!!!

    Resistance is futile, your subjugation inevitable…

  90. 90
    chopper says:

    Do you like in SF, by chance?

    brooklyn. my bike is an old primmy (allstate bluebadge) 125 but the mileage is great cause i never have to get it up that fast. NY streets and all…

  91. 91
    Jamey says:

    Great. A “tax holiday” will put, what, an extra $12/month into consumers’ pockets?

    Please, McCain, retire already.

  92. 92
    chopper says:

    I mean, it wouldn’t have much impact one way or another—at worst, its merely pointless, at best its a way to save people a little bit of money at a time when lots of them will be forced to cut back on their spending because gas is so high.

    at worst, it’s pointless, and at best it’s pointless because the oil companies will just jack up prices to compensate. either way we pay the same out of pocket.

    that’s what makes it stupid.

  93. 93
    chopper says:

    My Honda Element was proudly built in Ohio.

    i love my element. i can fit two old scooters in it, too.

  94. 94
    Billy K says:

    brooklyn. my bike is an old primmy (allstate bluebadge) 125 but the mileage is great cause i never have to get it up that fast. NY streets and all…

    Right on. The only smallframe I ever owned (I’ve had about a dozen Vespas over the years) was a 66 Allstate 125. Supposedly the Allstate smallframes were really rare. Only made them two years or something like that.

  95. 95
    PaulB says:

    there is nothing particularly stupid about the Clinton plan.

    Other than the fact that it won’t do what it’s intended to do and that it will take away badly needed infrastructure funds? Ah, I see … this is opposite day.

    In other words, the only reason for Cole and the rest of the Obots to be freaking out about it is Hillary-hate.

    ROFLMAO…. You don’t get out much, do you? People have been griping about this since McCain” first proposed it. The fact that Clinton climbed aboard this idiotic policy, even after the progressive blogosphere poked huge gaping holes in it, shows that she richly deserves the ridicule she’s receiving.

    Its a knee-jerk reaction for these people.

    Speaking of knee-jerk reactions…. Maybe next time you should turn your brain on before you post?

  96. 96
    Jamey says:

    Chopper: No Vespa gets 100 mpg. Esp. a 70s-vintage smallframe, no matter how carefully driven. I’m all for wishful thinking, but even a et/lx 50 4t doesn’t get 100 mpg.

  97. 97
    peach flavored shampoo says:

    In other words, the only reason for Cole and the rest of the Obots to be freaking out about it is Hillary-hate. Its a knee-jerk reaction for these people. Doesn’t matter what she says or does, its not merely wrong, its an outrage.

    No. It’s not hating on Hillary. It’s hating the plan itself. However, you’ve wrapped any criticism of the plan into a defacto “S/he hates hillary!” reflex.

    I dont have an answer, but I do know that saving ~$50 bucks in one summer will not help me one bit. Unless I use it to win the Lottery….

  98. 98
    Zifnab says:

    So, just a hypothetical, but if we were to raise the gas tax would that lower the price of oil (as companies lower the price to make up for lower sales)?

    I’m not saying that Exxon, et al wouldn’t raise the cost of oil 18.4 cents just in time for the rate cut, but does that ship sail both directions?

  99. 99
    Calouste says:

    the ladies don’t drool over a cannondale though, do they?

    It’s not the bike, it’s the body ;)

    I can’t ride a Vespa anyway, being somewhat too tall for that, I made a friend’s Harley look like a Vespa when I sat on it.

  100. 100
    ThymeZone says:

    A little something to print out and put in your wallet for when you are at the gas station.

    To feel really good, read the top of the list.

    To feel like crap, read the bottom.

    Enjoy.

  101. 101
    The Moar You Know says:

    $4.00 per gallon this summer?

    Carlsbad, CA (Palomar Airport Road), fifteen miles north of the San Diego city limit, gas was $4.05 per gallon this weekend.

    For regular.

    I’m just hoping it doesn’t hit $5.00 per gallon by this summer, but in all honesty I can’t see any reason it wouldn’t.

    Cursing my luck every day that I blew my back out in 2000. Before that I was a 20-30 mile/day rider on my ultralight steel-framed Specialized. Now I can’t ride more than a mile or two, but I count myself lucky; after much physical therapy and some medication, I can walk again. That wasn’t a given for a while.

    No oil needed if you use White Lightning, my friends, and it’s a lot kinder to your riding tights than oil.

    And by the way, if you can find a lady that WILL drool over a Cannondale, she’s likely a rider herself, and most bike riders look pretty damn good. I’m just sayin’

  102. 102
    dbrown says:

    Russia Moscow $2.10
    Saudi Arabia Riyadh $0.91
    Kuwait Kuwait City $0.78
    Egypt Cairo $0.65
    Nigeria Lagos $0.38
    Venezuela Caracas $0.12

    You’d live in one of these fucking 3rd world rat holes where bushwhack would be a human rights hero just for cheap fuel?

  103. 103
    Mary says:

    the ladies don’t drool over a cannondale though, do they?

    chopper, this lady drools over the typical Cannondale (Trek, Raleigh, Canadian Tire lead-plated special, etc.) rider’s ass, legs, back, and arms. (If you’re lucky, you get to find out that the abs are pretty damn fine, too.)

    Not that I’m objectifying anybody. #cough#

  104. 104
    dbrown says:

    oops, shrike russia – with bush love putin it is a hell hole but not 3rd world in the true sense of the word

  105. 105
    Davebo says:

    Assuming they’re not basket cases, they’re worth too much to be daily drivers. Get a nice P-range for that and save the 60s Vespas. They’re getting scanty in the states.

    Oh they are in like new condition. And I can’t seriously get on Interstate 10 on one so it’s not all that realistic except for runs to the store, park, etc.

    But, much like boats and airplanes, the worst thing you can do to an old Vespa is not ride them.

  106. 106
    chopper says:

    Chopper: No Vespa gets 100 mpg. Esp. a 70s-vintage smallframe, no matter how carefully driven. I’m all for wishful thinking, but even a et/lx 50 4t doesn’t get 100 mpg.

    tell that to my gas tank.

  107. 107
    ThymeZone says:

    Are comparing mileages here? My Civic gets an honest (measured) 40 mpg on the highway, and that’s in the summer with the AC on and my lead foot on the gas.

    I get only about 25 mpg in town, but I don’t drive much so it doesn’t matter a lot to me.

    What really hurts about energy prices is the effect on all the other prices.

    My next car is very likely to be the 2009 Honda Fit or something similar.

    1.5 liters of displacement, energy fans!

  108. 108
    Martin says:

    Carlsbad, CA (Palomar Airport Road)

    Soon Legoland admission will be cheaper than the drive there.

  109. 109
    Cain says:

    So.. no open thread for the PA primary?

    cain

  110. 110
    ThymeZone says:

    Do they still have that Pea Soup Andersen’s place up there at Palomar Road?

  111. 111
    tBone says:

    P.S. I like the Chinese and most other Asian races/cultures but since the fucking japs still won’t admit the truth of WW II and their sole responsibility for the deaths of over twenty million innocent people (a few million of children too), and a host of war crimes and … well, I call a spade a spade.

    It’s that time again . . . who’s ready to play “Spoof or Asshole”?

  112. 112
    Martin says:

    Are comparing mileages here?

    My Element gets ~22 around town and ~28 on the highway. Not as good as I’d like, but not bad for an SUV. Fortunately, most of the miles are on trips. It was almost $10K cheaper than the Toyota that got a bit better mileage. I figured out that that in 100K miles, I’d probably break even at best. I went with the vehicle I liked better.

  113. 113
    PeterJ says:

    So.. no open thread for the PA primary?

    There’s this one.

  114. 114
    dbrown says:

    It’s that time again . . . who’s ready to play “Spoof or Asshole”?

    OK tBone, I’ll spoof the asshole – your it.

  115. 115
    dbrown says:

    It’s that time again . . . who’s ready to play “Spoof or Asshole”?

    OK tBone, I’ll spoof the asshole – your it.

    SHIT! That was stupid!
    Sorry, too quick on typing.
    Let me try that again.
    OK

    OK tBone, I’ll play spoof or asshole – your it (NOT as in asshole – sorry for that post.)

  116. 116
    Cain says:

    now now, I don’t want anybody spoofing their assholes. It’s just not right and it might be painful.

    That other election thread is ruined, all that thread is about is, Jews. I don’t want to talk about the Jews, well unless it’s about bagels and cream cheese or some other nice Jewish snack.

    Wait, I hope that doesn’t make me anti-semitic…

    cain

  117. 117
    dbrown says:

    So, can this one be on japs?

  118. 118
    Soylent Green says:

    My Cannondale uses a teaspoon or two to oil the chain every few hundred miles, so I’m doing at least 10,000mpg.

    Yeah I forgot about those 4 ounces a year of chain oil.

    My Moots bicycle gets 300 miles per pound of body fat.

    P.S. I like the Chinese and most other Asian races/cultures but since the fucking japs still won’t admit the truth of WW II and their sole responsibility for the deaths of over twenty million innocent people (a few million of children too), and a host of war crimes and … well, I call a spade a spade.

    Oh great another one.

    Are the Chinese planning an Olympic opening festivities interpretive dance to celebrate the 40 to 70 million souls who perished under Mao’s Great Leap Forward?

    Would your spades include countries that killed one to two million Vietnamese for no actual defensive reason?

  119. 119
    tBone says:

    OK tBone, I’ll play spoof or asshole – your it (NOT as in asshole – sorry for that post.)

    If nothing else you’ve succeeded in thoroughly confusing me. Not that that’s very difficult to do, mind you.

  120. 120
    Cain says:

    Naw, we’re talking about cars and mileage on this one. Then again we are talking about cars, so it’s hard not to bring the japanese into this one. I rather we rip on Detroit. Not only do they make sucky cars; they’re defranchised voters, or I hear.

    cain

  121. 121
    dbrown says:

    OK tBone, I’ll play spoof or asshole – your it (NOT as in asshole – sorry for that post.)

    If nothing else you’ve succeeded in thoroughly confusing me. Not that that’s very difficult to do, mind you.

    Sorry, but I’m only good at confusing myself but I’m getting better at confusing others.
    Still, I want to add some wingnuttery here, it is too boring reading about everyone agreeing … need some fighting words.

  122. 122
    The Other Steve says:

    Chopper: No Vespa gets 100 mpg. Esp. a 70s-vintage smallframe, no matter how carefully driven. I’m all for wishful thinking, but even a et/lx 50 4t doesn’t get 100 mpg.

    A 50cc ought to get around 100 mpg. My 150 does 70 mpg… it’ll also go 65 mph easily(I topped out at 78 mph… 10 more and I’d be back in the 1950s!)

    Anyway, it’s scoot season now!

  123. 123
    Martin says:

    Would your spades include countries that killed one to two million Vietnamese for no actual defensive reason?

    Yeah, but what kind of mileage did they get? I understand Vietnamese have better than average energy density than other persecuted people assuming equivalent refining technology.

    Of course p.luc won’t be at all offended by any of these statements because he doesn’t give a shit about anything but his girl. Oh, wait. I know the answer…

    Would your spades include countries NY junior senators that killed one to two million Vietnamese Iranians for no actual defensive reason?

    Too bad she isn’t black. I could have gotten a two-fer off of ‘spade’ and probably induced a coronary.

  124. 124
    dbrown says:

    Killed Iranians? Are we talking Eisenhower? or was that Truman? and in the 50’s, American cars were getting gallons per mile in the heavy tank models

  125. 125
    Martin says:

    Here’s a worthless statistic:

    Americans average 6.1 million miles per death. That means with an average of 12,000 miles driving per year the typical motorist is likely to kill themselves in 508 years.

  126. 126
    chopper says:

    A 50cc ought to get around 100 mpg. My 150 does 70 mpg… it’ll also go 65 mph easily(I topped out at 78 mph… 10 more and I’d be back in the 1950s!)

    well like i said, i live in brooklyn. i’m lucky if i get outta second gear.

  127. 127
    L. Ron Obama says:

    When Hillary launches her 200 megaton salvo against Iran (remember, we are talking about “obliterated”), and fallout severely contaminates Russia, Pakistan, India, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Turkey — does she think the leaders and the civilians in those countries will forgive and forget? Oops, sorry about the collateral damage, these things happen?

  128. 128
    reid says:

    We bought a slightly used 2007 Fit last year, since there was suddenly a 70-mile round trip commute in the family. It’s been great for out-of-town trips. With an automatic, we get low 30s to about 40 mpg. I swear that on a few trips to Colorado we’ve gotten in the 50s, and not just measuring on the downhills. I can be an anal prick when I choose to be, and it pays off. (My other car is an older M3, so I can be the other kind of prick as well. 16-17 around town in that, ugh.)

  129. 129
    Cain says:

    2007 fit? What is that?

    cain

  130. 130
    Cain says:

    Oh, never mind, Honda Fit. I get ya. Cool.
    cain

  131. 131
    reid says:

    2007 fit = Honda Fit, as TZ mentioned above. Small but fun, and practical design.

  132. 132
    p.lukasiak says:

    Geez, no PA results thread?

    Its not going to be a blowout. You can all celebrate the fact that Obama is only gonna lose by 160,000 votes!

  133. 133
    ScottF says:

    I don’t want to talk about the Jews, well unless it’s about bagels and cream cheese or some other nice Jewish snack.

    Wait, I hope that doesn’t make me anti-semitic…

    Hey Cain, you anti-semite, didn’t you know it was Pesach? We can’t eat bagels now. :-)

    Seriously, after all these years of trying to convince people that ticket prices are not caused by player salaries, we get this. Lukasiak, what do you think, the oil companies say, “Hmmm, our cost is $3 a gallon and we want to make a 33% profit, so we’ll set the price at $4”? Have you ever heard the term “what the market will bear”?

  134. 134

    The new looks like the old.

    I have a lingering internal question over whether my mistrust of government is still a healthy skepticism or is now in mired in the depths of cynicism. I don’t think the difference matters significantly because I still reach the same…

  135. 135
    angie says:

    Please. There’s only ever one reason for a tax holiday, and it’s not “to ease the burden on the taxpayer.” It’s to get people to spend money — and to that end, it’s a hell of a lot more effective than a stimulus check.

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    I have a lingering internal question over whether my mistrust of government is still a healthy skepticism or is now in mired in the depths of cynicism. I don’t think the difference matters significantly because I still reach the same…

  2. […] Update: John Cole can’t stand the idiocy any more either.  Shorter and funnier than me. […]

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