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.I could go off in a direction that attacks Obama and point out how ludicrous it is for the "agent of change" who has voted for the Iraq invasion each and every time he's had the chance to vote on it,and "unifier" who has spent all campaign smearing arguably the most qualified candidate for President to talk about pandering, but that's not what I want to focus on.
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."
No. Substance. Normally, I'm all for the gas tax, and indeed, have often thought it should be raised to cover infrastructure repairs and to encourage folks to buy smaller cars.
But here's a gas that impacts directly poorer Americans. Any increase that I've ever proposed has always included measures to try to get a rebate of the increase to those Americans who can afford it the least: the rural working class, who absolutely need their cars and can't afford an immediate purchase to trade up in mileage.
The idea behind progressive taxation is to shift the burden of taxes onto those who can best afford them. Taxes like the gaas tax are regressive: rich people don't drive anymore or less than poor people do.
And it's not like a sin tax, which while regressive, is avoidable with minimal expense to the person it impacts.
Too, Clinton attempts to balance the tax cut with a windfall profits tax, and you'll note the distinct silence from Congress as gas prices have skyrocketed and oil company profits have broken through the ceiling.
And this is the Democratic Congress we're talking about!
Obama is wrong here in that this is not pandering, but a recognition of reality: it's going to be hard enough to get farm workers to their jobs in the field, but this tax suspension will also help keep a lid on food prices, and how is that hurting America?
Once we've gotten past this summer, when sticker shock will have settled in and we can clear-eyed talk about what to do long term, then Senator Obama can introduce legislation to provide both environmental and economic relief to the American people.
In the meantime, he should let the lady speak.