by Bob Barr
Except in the months preceding a crucial midterm election, today’s Democrats would argue that high gas prices are a good thing. They see gas prices as a Pigouvian tax on fossil fuels that accelerate the shift to renewable “green” energy. Regulatory and legislative actions such as killing the Keystone Pipeline early last year, and closing off federal lands for oil drilling, were made by the Biden Administration and its congressional cohorts knowing full well such decisions would raise gas prices for consumers.
Democrats were okay with that, until their polling numbers began dipping into the frigid zone. It appears now to have dawned on them that higher gas pump prices are a ballot box killer; this year in particular with Joe Biden’s poll numbers deeper underground than oil shale.
This has left Democrats scrambling to find a way to explain to voters how paying more at the pump is a positive part of their environment masterplan, resulting in one of the dumbest proposals to come out of Congress in decades – which is saying something.
Democrat Brainiacs have concluded that a “gas tax holiday” in this election year is the perfect solution!
Don’t get me wrong. I love tax cuts, especially when permanent and when combined with offsetting cuts in spending. This latest goofball idea of a “gas tax holiday,” however, is neither. Not only is it temporary, but there are no concurrent spending cuts to counter the drop in revenue. In fact, Biden’s enormously expensive infrastructure plan relies heavily on federal gas tax revenue, and the drop in funding for however long Democrats consider “temporary” (the day after the midterms, perhaps?), would simply result in more debt.
The truth is, Democrats want consumers to feel the pain at the pump as an incentive for them to buy expensive electric vehicles. This is a key component of their environmental agenda that Biden has openly and enthusiastically embraced.
Beyond the additional debt a gas tax holiday would create, and while having no impact on gas prices in the future, the proposal is ripe with the intellectual dishonesty that has become par for the course with Democrats. In what way does it make sense to kill the Keystone XL Pipeline, and only months later beg OPEC to produce more oil to help with gas prices, as Biden did last November? Similarly, how does halting permits for drilling oil on federal lands square with panicking now about oil prices?
Democrats want the proverbial cake and be able to eat it, too; but in this instance it just will not work. They want to stop U.S. oil production in order to meet their green political agenda, but at the same time, they want consumers to be able to purchase cheaper gas at the pumps so they will be less likely to vote against them at the polls in November – hence the gas tax holiday farce.
Democrats likely will claim that “nobody could have seen” the Ukraine situation coming (with its negative effect already being felt on the world oil market), which is a bald-faced lie. If America’s energy resources were used responsibly rather than locked away as Democrats have done, America could easily weather disruptions to international oil production, rather than suffering through them with the rest of Europe.
Instead, thanks to Democrats’ radical agenda and inability to process the consequences of their own decision-making, we find ourselves with both of our hands tied behind our back and expecting other countries to bail us out (including Russia, a gas-producing nation from which we still import oil). All Democrats have to offer for their blundering leadership is a cheap gimmick for which voters are supposed to thank them at the polls in November.
If congressional Democrats actually move forward with their federal gas tax holiday proposal, Republicans at a minimum should insist on amendments that would restart the Keystone XL Pipeline, and that would allow federal drilling leases to again be approved (and at the standard cost).
The GOP should at least force Democrats to vote against such commonsense measures and make them earn their election-year gimmick the hard way.
Bob Barr represented Georgia’s Seventh District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003. He served as the United States Attorney in Atlanta from 1986 to 1990 and was an official with the CIA in the 1970s. He now practices law in Atlanta, Georgia and serves as head of Liberty Guard.