WASHINGTON (AP)- Senate Republicans advocate sending $100 rebate checks to millions of taxpayers, and a Democrat is leading the campaign for a 60-day gasoline tax holiday. Either way, it seems no one in Congress wants to be without a plan, however symbolic, to attack the election-year spike in gasoline prices.
OK, it’s official; all pretense has now been removed from the proceeding. The GOP is so desperate that they’re now willing to buy votes. It was only a matter of time, I suppose, before Republicans dropped all pretense of being above the fray and resorted to the naked, uncamouflaged purchasing of votes. What’s shocking is that they think the American sheeple can be bought at such a steep discount.
All this example really demonstrates is that, while Republicans are not above doing whatever it takes to win, they clearly do not understand the true market value of a vote? $100? Most Americans won’t get off the potty for $100, much less go to the polls. For a popular populated with so many intelligent people, you’d think they’d have a better handle on these things.
Of course, you could be forgiven for expecting Republicans not to be doing the equivalent of running in circles proclaiming that the sky is falling….
A vote is possible as early as this week on the Senate GOP approach, which calls for $100 rebate checks for taxpayers to cushion the impact of higher gasoline prices. The measure seems unlikely to prevail, at least initially, since it includes a highly controversial proposal to open a portion of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.
Jeez, take about a good news/bad news scenario, eh? Sure, we’ll give you a humdred bucks, but we going to authorize destroying a pristine wilderness so we can try and drill our way out of a problem we can’t figure out how to fix.
Even to my cynical way of thinking, this is just about the most obvious, craven example of vote-buying I’ve seen in quite some time. Of course, on one level it’s merely election-year politicking and pandering at it’s most egregious, but do Republicans really think that Americans will go along with opening ANWR to drilling for $100 in blood money. Do they REALLY think that we’re that stupid and easily purchased? Apparently so.
Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., has proposed a 60-day suspension in the federal tax on gasoline and diesel, a holiday that he says would cut the cost of gasoline by more than 18 cents a gallon and reduce the price of diesel fuel by more than 24 cents a gallon.
The Senate Finance Committee provided additional evidence of the lawmakers’ scramble to respond. In a rare move, the panel requested tax returns from the country’s major oil and gas companies as part of an investigation into industry profits and soaring gasoline costs.
Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, the committee’s chairman, said senators were concerned about the “record profits and significant executive compensation in the oil and gas industry.”
“I want to make sure the oil companies aren’t taking a speed pass by the tax man,” Grassley said in a statement.
Republicans, who clearly have no clue as to how to respond to the problem of escalating gasoline prices, but yet desperately need to appear to be doing SOMETHING in this election year, are now grasping at straws. Of course, it would be too easy to point out that leadership is not reactionary, and they certainly don’t want to bite the hand that feeds them. Consider the oil indiustry money that flows into the campaign war chests of Republicans, why would anyone think that a Republican-controlled Congress is going to get behind a serious smackdown of the industry that helps keep them in power?
If Republicans in Congress (and the White House) understood anything about leadership, they’d realize that the time to start bailing is before the boat capsizes. When the boats flips over, it’s too late to effect any meaningful change, and you’d best begin looking for a life boat.
Republicans recognized that, if the price of gasoline continues its upward climb, they are going to get hosed in November…and they’d richly deserve it.
With gasoline prices soaring and oil companies announcing record profits, “it’s relevant to know what the real financial picture is for this industry,” added Montana Sen. Max Baucus, the panel’s ranking Democrat.
Meanwhile, Exxon Mobil Corp., the world’s largest oil company, said today that higher oil prices drove first-quarter profit up 7 percent from the prior year. Net income rose to $8.4 billion, or $1.37 per share, in the January-March period from $7.86 billion, or $1.22 per share, a year ago. Oil prices actually fell Thursday after U.S. government data showed motor fuel demand weakening, apparently in response to higher pump prices.
It’s highly unusual for the Senate committee to seek corporate tax records. The last time it made such a request to the IRS it involved the tax records of the bankrupt Enron Corp.
The committee announcement came as Washington scrambled to respond to public anger over soaring gasoline prices ‚Äö√Ñ√Æ $3 a gallon or more in many parts of the country - and try to contain the political fallout.
Politically speaking, it appears the sky is falling, and no one, least of all Congressional Republicans have ANY idea of what to do. Of course, Democrats aren’t exactly racing to the forefront with a plan of their own, but Republicans are the party in power, and it’s their responsibility to assume a primary role in a crisis situation. That’s what being the majority party means. Instead of running in circles and acting as if they’re in control of the situation, perhaps they might take a step back and THINK about what might actually have an impact instead of what might make the biggest political splash back in their districts.
Nah…that’s not going to happen….
WE DESERVE BETTER.