The ABC program ‘Good Morning America’ isn’t my cup of coffee—my husband tunes in to it while he’s getting ready for work. But this morning Diane Sawyer’s advocacy for a gas tax hike woke me up faster than a triple espresso.
White House Energy Czar Carol Browner, who’s been at the Environmental Protection Agency since President Bill Clinton appointed her in 1993, faced Sawyer on the ABC show Tuesday morning to answer questions about President Barack Obama’s plans for fuel standards on autos. Browner just kept repeating the standard promotional thesis of more miles per gallon, saving consumers bucks at the pump (but costing more for the upfront purchase of the vehicle). Browner tossed in the clean air/less carbon emissions bonanza that’s going to actually up the price of everything from household energy to nail polish, but as we like to say, that’s a rant for another day. Over and over Sawyer gave a nod to neoliberal writer Thomas L. Friedman’s dream goal of a gas tax or a carbon tax.
Those America-loving neo-libs love to come up with ideas to punish the American people. What I had a hard time dealing with was Sawyer’s apparent bias for a tax that will further burden the American people. That is one of many reasons I call the show ‘Good morning, Comrades!’
When my husband leaves, I immediately switch the channel to flip between C-SPAN and Fox News. Browner made her way to 'Fox and Friends' and they grilled her on the matter of choice and the cash for clunkers plan wherein you get bucks for trading in your Hummer for a fuel-maximized Hummer. The Fox crew focused on choice, being smart enough to not even breathe the word, ‘tax.’ Browner said, “We want every single class of car to be cleaner.” She acknowledged the administration actually crafted the plan based on President George W. Bush’s approach, but President Barack Obama is pushing Bush’s timetable ahead. “The speedup is pretty important,” she said. That translates to 39 mpg by 2016.
The plan does address an issue that allegedly had car manufacturers a little dizzy—instead of standards varying by state, there will be one federal standard that makes it all nice-and-tidy-uniform. Matt Hardigree, writing for the blog Jalopnik, put it in a clever manner: “We're being told auto executives from around the world plan to fly their private jets to Washington for the purposes of gathering 'round Obama and singing Kumbaya.”
The Campaign for Liberty blog has a good nuts and bolts analysis written by John Crawley and David Alexander who said the proposal is “the most aggressive increase in U.S. auto fuel efficiency ever in a policy initiative that would also directly regulate emissions for the first time and resolve a dispute with California over cleaner cars.” That state, by the way, is flat broke.
The full impact of the new energy policy is yet to be determined. If Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) had his way, we’d all be non-consumers who leave our homes only when it’s absolutely necessary. In a Waxman world, the government would provide all until of course there’s no one left to tax. Waxman’s cap-and-trade aims would probably render the cost of your home heating and air-conditioning system to a level requiring a loan to purchase one.
Watching all the actors in the ideological energy war ongoing in America, I wonder how many representatives and senators actually represent the people who elect them. And then I wonder how voters can be stupid enough to elect people like Waxman in the first place. Then I wonder about the arrogance of the political class—Diane Sawyer in that school-teacherly voice of hers, crooning over and over the tune, “I wanna gas tax!”
Only the politically elite, far removed from those of us who live in the real world, could advocate for increasing federal taxes on gas, or for increasing any taxes for that matter.
Diane Sawyer practically begs Energy Czar for gas tax hike by Kay B. Day