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Thoughts on Gas Prices May 4, 2006

Posted by papundit in Uncategorized.
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It's a shame I can't run my car on politician-powered hot air. I'm not happy with gas prices, but I'm even more annoyed with how politicians are trying to manipulate and simplify the issue.  Some are more effective at it than others.

For example, the DSCC issued the following press release, "Democrats Go After GOP on Gas Prices." Here's what it said on PA:

"PENNSYLVANIA DEMS:As gas prices hit record highs, PA Democrats hit Santorum for being one of the top recipients of money from the oil and gas industry. [PA Democrats Release, 4/20/06]"

The PA Dem strategy was apparent when Casey supporters crashed a press conference held by Rick Santorum. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review covered the story:

"The protesters continued to stand behind the senator during his conference to explain the Gas Price Relief and Rebate Act of 2006, which was introduced Thursday by Senate Republicans. The act calls for a $100 rebate check to taxpayers and is tied to the opening of a portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil exploration.

Here's a hint to the Casey campaign: if you're going to be a political opportunist on the gas price issue, you should offer a plan instead of disrupting those who are at least trying to present a solution. 

I suspect the reason PA Democrats haven't provided a plan is that they understand there's no silver bullet to fix gas prices. But admitting that would hurt their efforts to bludgeon the GOP on the issue. Pandering is more politically advantageous than planning. Why waste time discussing the complexity of supply/demand, annual reports by oil companies, ANWR drilling and other issues the electorate might find boring when you can crow about price gouging and greedy corporate executives?

It will take more than finger pointing and band-aid solutions to lower gas prices. One way to fix the problem is electing politicians who are intellectually honest and courageous enough to communicate the complexity of the issue and to propose long-term solutions. 

While I wouldn't mind receiving a $100 tax rebate, that's only a band-aid solution.  Unfortunately, this aspect of the plan has received the majority of press attention. I'd like to hear more serious debate on the other ideas in the proposal, which addresses price gouging protections, refinery capacity, ANWR and more. If Casey disagrees with the proposed solution, he should offer more than criticism if he truly wants Pennsylvanians to pay less for gas.  

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