The watchdog group factcheck.org wrote in response to a Clinton gas-tax ad, "We and other journalists have tried unsuccessfully to find any economists who think Clinton's holiday will actually give drivers relief." When ABC's George Stephanopoulos asked Clinton to name an economist who supported her idea, Clinton replied that she was "not going to put my lot in with economists."
President Bush also opposes the gas-tax holiday. "If there was a magic wand to wave, I'd be waving it, of course," Bush told reporters last week. Reports have faulted Bush's suggested remedies -- drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, expanding nuclear power -- as old ideas.
True, expanding supply and reducing demand are old ideas. That work. Of course, the most irritating element of the McCain/Clinton pandering is that both candidates support a spate of laws designed to curb greenhouse gases. Ergo, they should love high gas prices, which prompt Americans to drive less and buy more fuel-efficient cars.
Except this is an election year. I should note that while an Obama ad hit Clinton's "political pandering," the same ad touted his pledge to "take on price gouging by oil companies," tax their windfall profits, and give "working families" a $1,000 tax cut.
On the one hand, Obama showed political courage in not jumping on the gas-tax holiday bandwagon. On the other hand, his version of not pandering is to promise to whack Big Oil in ways that aren't likely to change anything. And instead of saving "working families" pennies a day, he promised dollars a day.
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