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The Northerner

Gas plan full of hot air

Joseph Szydlowski

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I think the world has turned upside down and hell is freezing over. The Republicans actually want to raise taxes.

President George W. Bush, trying to curb skyrocketing gas prices, has called for several measures to resolve this “matter of national security.”

He’s apparently going to stop depositing oil in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and investigate anyone who gouges consumers at the pump. But that isn’t what’s so surprising.

He’s also going to raise taxes.

That’s not exactly how he puts it, of course. It’s described as “repealing certain tax breaks that are unnecessary for energy companies.”

Same thing. It still means, regardless its phrasing, that someone is going to be paying more in taxes.

Unfortunately the plan probably won’t do any good. If the government cuts off the corporations’ tax breaks, then the oil companies will just find another way to fill up their coffers. They’ll probably raise the price of gas, which will have consumers’ wallets running on empty.

As for his plan to add oil normally reserved for the SPR to the market, it would be just a drop in the barrel. According to CNN, the plan would add “30,000 barrels of oil a day to a country that consumes 21 million.”

He also preached conservation. Whether it’s billions of dollars disappearing in Iraq, thousands of gallons on several trips for photo ops after Hurricane Katrina or borrowing record billions of dollars, ‘conservation’ is a word I don’t think he’s very familiar with.

Bush also hoped to expand domestic production. Basically, he means drilling in Alaska. While not necessarily a bad idea, drilling in the Acrtic National Wildlife Reserve will take time.

But I am curious as to why Bush hasn’t followed the ‘advice’ he gave President Bill Clinton or his 2000 campaign promise.

In 2000 Bush blasted the Clinton-Gore administration for allowing gas prices to rise as high as, gasp, $1.50! He said they had squandered the goodwill that his father, President George H.W. Bush, had had with the Saudis.

He delineated his plan: He would use the friendship his father had with the Saudis to get the gas flowing again. He’d also remind Kuwait of America’s rescue and Mexico of America’s economic assistance.

I don’t recall him doing any of that.

What I do recall, however, is in his State of the Union Address, Bush said that he is going to support programs to develop energy efficiency.

Yet the Chicago Tribune reported Feb 22 that Bush cut funding to development of fuel-efficient cars, buildings and appliances.

Sadly, no real solution will be implemented until gas prices really do become outrageous. While hybrid cars certainly are good, sales aren’t. CNN.com reports dismal figures.

Mostly, analysts say, because of the $3,000 more that consumers have to pay for a hybrid vehicle.

So, politicians on both sides of the political aisle are shaking in their Armani loafers. The days until the election are counting down as prices are going up, and Americans are looking for someone to blame.

So as long as gas prices keep rising Americans will pay at the pump, and politicians will pay at the polls.

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The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.
Gas plan full of hot air