Gas Tax Holiday = Idiocy
The whole concept of a gas tax holiday sounds like a terrible plan. I am saying this as a person who just bought a rather fuel-hungry vehicle and plan on putting somewhere between 3,000 and 4,000 miles on it right when the proposed tax holidays would be in effect. Clearly it is in my best interest in the short term for the gas tax holiday to happen however I think the negative long term effect of the holiday will FAR out weigh any positives (which I think would be minimal anyways.)
The biggest problem I see with the gas tax holiday is that by lowering prices you are going to increase demand of an already scarce resource. I believe the current high in oil prices are due to several factors including increased demand from developing nations such as China and India, a weakening dollar, and the fact we operate in a very narrow margin of consumption versus refining capacity. (While there may be some douchebaggery in the prices charged by the companies I believe this is a smaller percentage of the recent price increases than these fundamental supply versus demand issues.) This narrow margin is what concerns me. There is already an increase in demand during the summer along with a commensurate increase in prices. What the proposed holiday will do is decrease the price without bringing any more supply to the market. The decrease in prices will most likely lead to an additional increase in demand which will then lead to an increase in the base price. It is not out of the realm of possibility for the entire difference made in dropping the gas tax will be figured into the price by the end of the holiday therefore making gas more expensive in the long run.
Another down side to the tax holiday is that we will be tacking on an additional God only knows how much to the national debt. We have spent the last eight years under an administration who, rather than tax and spend, has cut taxes and increased spending. This has led us to the current issues we have with the weak dollar which contributes to the high gas prices we are currently seeing. We do not need to incur additional national debt at this point. The other option would be to cut back on programs which the gas tax funds, however as I understand it these are mostly programs which fix up things like the road on which you damn Earth-hating suburbanites feel the need to drive. Seems like increasing the usage of these resources while cutting their funding, while a very conservative move, is not a good plan.
I won't even go in to some of the issues mentioned in this New York Times article, such as hording and the tax break not actually figuring in to the final price at the pump (I typed pimp).
I guess I want your take away* from this to be that the idea of a gas tax holiday is political pandering in the short term and a recipe for even more problems in the future. I would much rather see politicians discussing long term solutions to this issue as well as more consumers making better decisions regarding energy consumption.**
Another Shot at Hillary
I have a HUGE amount of respect for Wil Wheaton and find myself nodding my head at many of his points, however now I feel the need to pick on him a little due to this post, which I think illustrates a larger problem in today's Democratic Party. I agree that the race for the Democratic nomination is over and, in the interest of full disclosure and all that, I have been backing Obama from the start. (Hell when I saw Obama speak at the Democratic National Convention back in 2004(?) I knew I would be voting for him as soon as he was in a race where I had a vote.) I even agree with the people who are calling for Hillary to bow out at this point, what I cannot agree with is the tone with which some of the calls are being made.
Whether she is staying in, and there by prolonging, the race due to her ego or because she truly believes she is the better candidate is immaterial. I happen to think she honestly believes she is the better candidate and, again with the full disclosure, I admit to having an irrational dislike of Hillary. Something about her just bugs me and thus I am prone to think of her actions in the worst possible light. This line of thinking seems to run contrary to the majority of Obamites I am reading online who are ascribing Hillary's endurance to her, apparently Holmesian***, ego.
What I mean to address is the tone of the comments coming from the Obama side of things. Rather than being magnanimous and gracious they have become just as full of venom and as destructive as the attacks which we Obamites claim to hate. Wheaton's recent post contains a more restrained species of this vitriol however the post he links to, "Hillary Clinton: The Psycho Ex-Girlfriend of the Democratic Party" is just the sort of thing I am talking about. While I may agree with the sentiment expressed, wish Hillary would get out of the race so we can start to heal as a party, and think the post is funny as hell, I am concerned that all these sorts of things are doing is making it more difficult for us to come back together as a party. Some posts go even further and leave me wondering if somehow the right wing blogosphere has switched sides, just as
Hillary will get out of the race when she is ready to get out of the race. What us Obamites need to concentrate on is being gracious in victory, and not in a condescending way, either. In some ways I am surprised at how divisive this primary has turned out. While there are differences between the two platforms, I suspect many of these differences will be washed out by the construction of a national party platform over the coming months and then further washed out over the ensuing four years as the President works with Congress to enact this platform.
Oh well, I have wandered off my original point which was I do not like the tone of the Obama side of things right now. I think this tone is representative of the worst face of politics today and I expected better from us. At least when talking about other Democrats. If you want to bag on that wishy-washy douchebag John McCain then have it. (But not his service. Regardless of whether I think he is right or wrong, his record of service to this nation is an example to which we ALL should aspire.)
(As a WAY tangential aside I wonder why I refer to Obama by his last name and Hillary by her first name. The first justification was that there are two Clintons in the public eye and thus I have to use her personal name to identify her. That is just hogwash as contextual clues, such as feminine pronouns, should almost immediately clue the reader in and if you can not pick up on those then I am surprised you have stayed at this particular party for ANY length of time.)
* Fuck yes I just used a buzz word. Bite me.
** And before you try and pull my card on the sort of car I drive you better remember the following: I have used public transportation to get to and from work every day for the past year and plan to continue to do so for at least the next twelve months. For the last five months I have not owned a car AT ALL and only rented one when my list of chores got to be large enough that I could justify having a car for the weekend. I walk to the grocery store, book store, comic book store, and some bars these days so I am doing my part.
*** This is, in fact, a penis joke and not a Sherlock joke.