More on the ‘gas tax holiday’

Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez — chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee and the Democratic Policy Committee, as well as former chairman of the Natural Resources Committee — says this about the idea of suspending the federal gas tax for three months this summer a solution to high gas prices:

miller.jpg“The call by Sens. Clinton and McCain to temporarily suspend the federal tax on gasoline is a short-sighted stunt that will hurt consumers and do nothing to reduce the price of gas.

“American consumers and our economy need a real solution to the energy crisis, not an empty trick. You can run cars on a lot of different fuels, but snake oil isn’t one of them.

“In the hopes of winning votes, the Senators are preying on consumers’ justified anxiety about the economy without offering a solution to their real problems. There’s nothing in our history to indicate that oil companies will pass on any savings to the consumer. So despite the McCain and Clinton gas tax holiday, the price at the pump will continue to rise and oil companies will take even more of the profit.

“My constituents are reeling from the highest gas prices in the country. But they understand that we can only break the oil chokehold and bring prices down by investing in highways and mass transit, new technology, renewable energy, and energy efficiency.

“Siphoning off the political energy from these necessary steps to focus instead on a plan that some political consultants favor is cynical politics. Taking a break from the federal gas tax and the hundreds of thousands of jobs it produces is harmful to the long-term economic well-being of our country.

“Sen. Clinton knows it is not easy to pass a windfall profits tax on oil companies. We have been trying to rein in record oil profits for years, and the House has repeatedly passed legislation to roll unjustified federal oil subsidies and invest instead in renewable energy – but President Bush and Senate Republicans have blocked us. Some of the subsidies we are trying to eliminate started under President Bill Clinton’s administration.

“Sen. Clinton is trying to intimidate members of Congress into validating her bad policy prescriptions. Congress should reject her and Sen. McCain’s idea. Relief from soaring gas prices will only come from smart investments and real change in our energy policy.”

Also, as I’d noted last week, it could cost the country hundreds of thousands of jobs. Today, I see the American Road and Transportation Builders Association estimates that number at 310,750 — including 23,107 jobs right here in California.

And for what? Check out this calculator to see how much you would save. It ain’t much… and that’s assuming most prominent economists are dead wrong when they say demand and prices would simply rise to about the same levels they’re at now.

But, hey, what do those economists know, anyway?

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • S R Vaughns

    Gas tax holiday only benefits oils companies and hurts the consumer as stated. Oil companies are recording record profits while the consumer continues to pay higher at pump; the tax goes to the state/community to improve roads, not to oil companies!!! And as the calculator will show, you don’t save anything; but jobs maybe lost!!