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:
“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?