May 5 (Bloomberg) -- More than 200 economists, including four Nobel prize winners, signed a letter rejecting proposals by presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and John McCain to offer a summertime gas-tax holiday. Columbia University economist Joseph Stiglitz, former Congressional Budget Office Director Alice Rivlin and 2007 Nobel winner Roger Myerson are among those who signed the letter calling proposals to temporarily lift the tax a bad idea. Another is Richard Schmalensee of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who was member of President George H.W. Bush's Council of Economic Advisers. The moratorium would mostly benefit oil companies while increasing the federal budget deficit and reducing funding for the government highway maintenance trust fund, the economists said.... "Suspending the federal tax on gasoline this summer is a bad idea, and we oppose it,'' the letter says. Economist Henry Aaron of the Brookings Institution is among those circulating the letter. Aaron said that while he supports Obama, the list includes Republicans and Clinton supporters.
Well, it's no wonder that Clintonus Maximus isn't going to throw her lot in with economists. They apparently think that the Clinton-McCain gas tax holiday is the worst idea since hemlock as an aperitif. Never mind that the idea of a gas tax holiday is so much sturm und drang ultimately signifying nothing and meaning even less.
Then again, it's so much easier to find an emotional hook and hammer that than it is to reasonably and rationally discuss some of the legitimate issues our country faces today. Sure, paying 18 cents less per gallon is a good thing...until you begin to look at who will ultimately benefit. For a time, consumers will be paying less, but what's to stay oil companies from making up the difference and simply pocketing it as pure profit? Then, since the word "holiday" implies an end to the festivities, imagine the shock consumers will be dealing with when the price of a gallon of gas goes up 18 cents. Overnight.
The reality is that the major beneficiaries won't be consumers, as Clintonus Maximus claims. No, it will be the oil companies, who hardly need another handout...not that they'd turn it down.Meanwhile, HRC and John McCain would be claiming victory where none in fact exists. Despite their attempts to paint themselves as friends of the working class, neither really gives a tinker's damn for anything but their chances of finding themselves in the Oval Office on 1.20.09,
Time was when I harbored what seemed a not unreasonable hope that we'd actually be able to have a debate about things that matter. Now here we are, six months out from the general election, and my hope seems more incredibly naive with each passing day
Why debate when you can react? Why lead when you can pander?