So you thought plummeting gas prices were going to free you up to get better health care, more education, a little home improvement, or maybe some nicer clothes for your kids?
Not if Barack Obama has his way. Watching oil prices fall as American ingenuity floods the market, the president figures he can’t let you get too much of a good thing.
So he wants to slap a $10 per barrel “fee” on oil, which, with West Texas crude (the benchmark) trading at $21 per barrel on the world market, would make the fee roughly a third of the total price consumers will pay for oil.
They won’t pay it directly, of course. That wouldn’t be politically popular. The best tax is always a hidden one. So Obama wants the fee to be paid by the oil companies, who of course will simply take a bullet for the rest of us by letting their profits slump.
No, of course they’ll pass the price on to consumers. It’ll be about 25 cents per gallon of gas at the pump, $32 billion nationally, or $290 per household, per year.
The president means well, of course. He assures us that about $20 billion of that will go into infrastructure improvements—for high-speed rail and other collectivist dreams. It would make far too much sense to let infrastructure be paid for by its users when and where they use it. That would deprive members of Congress of the opportunity to use the fund for pork-barrel projects that get them reelected.
What about the other $12 billion? Obama wants to spend it on projects to mitigate global warming.
The benefit of that? Well, let’s just say that when eliminating the entire United States population and all its greenhouse gas emissions would reduce global average temperature at the end of this century by less than seven-hundredths of a degree Celsius (which is within the margin of measurement error), implementing those programs would have only a tiny fraction of even that already undetectable and inconsequential amount.
And that’s calculated on the falsified alarmist assumptions of high warming from added carbon dioxide. On average, computer climate models predict two to three times the warming actually observed. Over 95 percent predict more warming than observed, implying that the errors aren’t random (in which case they’d be as frequently low as high) but driven by bias—honest or otherwise. And, depending on which datasets one prefers, there’s been no statistically significant global warming for about the last 18 to 20 years. Those facts entail that the warming effect of added CO2 is much smaller than the alarmists thought, so the cooling effect of Obama’s policies would likewise be much smaller.
And even that non-benefit of no detectable reduction in global average temperature assumes the politicians will do what President Obama (says he) wants to do with the revenues. Not likely. If you think a promise to use a new tax for a specific purpose has any credibility, you need to remind yourself of our $19 trillion national debt. It didn’t get that way by politicians’ fiscal or budgetary prudence and honesty.