With high gas prices slamming American family budgets, Senate Democrats have devised a brilliant plan to help alleviate the pain at the pump. They'll hike taxes on America's energy suppliers. What could go wrong? Fortunately, this stupid political stunt appears to be "doomed" for failure:
As promised, Senate Republicans gave the green light Monday to debating a Democratic bill that would repeal billions in oil industry tax incentives — the latest twist in the parties’ struggle to seize the high ground on gasoline prices. The 92-4 cloture vote allowing the Senate to proceed to the bill belies the fact that the legislation itself is doomed: In all likelihood, it ultimately won't get the 60 votes it needs to pass the Senate, and in any case it would be dead on arrival in the House.
The bill, by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), would repeal five incentives worth about $2 billion annually for the five largest oil companies. Monday’s no votes came from Sens. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.). An initial parliamentary vote on a similar Democratic bill last May failed amid opposition from Republicans and from Nelson, Landrieu and Begich. But this time, Republicans essentially called the Democrats’ bluff and voted for Monday's initial cloture vote, saying they welcome the opportunity to spend time on the Senate floor talking about gas prices.
Not a bad play by Republicans, who proceeded to tee off:
"Today, Democrats will propose raising taxes on America's energy manufacturers, something common sense and basic economics tell us will lead to even higher prices at the pump," Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell said ahead of the vote. "Frankly, I can't think of a better way to illustrate how completely and totally out of touch they are on this issue ...We're going to use this opportunity to explain how out of touch Democrats are on high gas prices, and put a spotlight on the common-sense ideas Republicans have been urging for years," he said.
The GOP's Exhibit A on this front? The Keystone Pipeline debacle. Even some Democrats said they oppose the Menendez bill:
"We should have a real energy debate, not this show and tell for campaigning purposes," [Alaska Democrat Mark] Begich told reporters afterward. "This is the third act of the same play. It has the same outcome every time ... and people are still going to be paying higher gasoline prices."
That's what this is about. A cynical "campaign show and tell" designed to pit ordinary Americans against the big, bad oil companies. Another crucial point in all of this: Democrats introduced nearly identical legislation last year, which they admitted at the time was "never intended" to lower Americans' energy costs. Let's go to the video tape:
Economics 101 teaches us that if you tax something, you will either get less of it, or the cost of it will rise. Raising taxes on successful energy producers -- while dishing out billions of taxpayer dollars to their failed "green" counterparts -- will result in the targeted companies passing down their increased costs to consumers. President Obama endorsed this scheme in a demagogic speech earlier this morning, which shouldn't raise a single eyebrow. After all, this is a man who doesn't really care about actual outcomes, so long as the policies satiate his misplaced "fairness" fetish (skip ahead to the 40 second mark):
"Purposes of fairness," above all else. That perverse and destructive mentality is alive and well in the modern Democrat Party.
UPDATE - White House spokesman Jay Carney can't explain why Senator Barack Obama voted in favor of the very tax breaks he now decries:
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography