Middle class families fighting to make ends meet aren't seeing too many signs of relief, especially when it comes to energy. With the price of oil topping $101 per barrel last week, skyrocketing gasoline and home-heating bills hit the family budget like new tax increases, so the frustrations felt by American consumers today are both understandable and justified. This is the reality, but we don’t have to sit idly by and accept it.
Unfortunately, some in Washington seem intent on sitting idly by; others still are bent on policies that make matters worse, even though abundant and affordable supplies of energy are critical to our economic and national security, and to every industry, job, and family in America. The last thing we need is higher taxes and more expensive gasoline, to state the obvious.
Yet this week on the House floor, Democratic leaders are giving the American people exactly that: higher taxes and almost assuredly, even higher gasoline prices. The bill up for a House vote would raise taxes on producers of American energy here at home, send good-paying jobs overseas by removing incentives for American manufacturers to invest and grow their businesses, and further increase our dependence on foreign sources of energy. Even worse, the bill does a favor for Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez by exempting his state-owned oil giant CITGO – just as he is threatening to cut off Venezuelan energy supplies to the United States.
In the bill you’ll find new taxes, regulations, and mandates – you’ll even see a giant slush fund for green pork projects to help subsidize hybrid snowmobiles in Aspen, replace police cars in Beverly Hills with Lexus hybrids, or give copies of Al Gore’s movie to give to schoolchildren. Unfortunately, what’s missing from this tax-and-spend monstrosity is a single watt of new domestic energy…a single gallon of new domestic fuel…or a single reform that will lower prices for American consumers.
Access to plentiful energy fueled the industrial revolution and every medical, technological, and societal innovation since. In fact, none of the activities, necessities, and luxuries we enjoy today would be possible without affordable energy. Whether it’s heating or cooling a house, commuting to work, manufacturing and shipping goods, or running schools and hospitals, America depends on energy. That’s precisely why high energy prices act like hidden taxes on American families – when the cost of energy rises, so too does the cost of living.