Obama Picks Gas Tax For First Round of Fiscal Fight

“Today, POTUS will call for extension of the transportation bill which expires 9/30. If not extended, nearly a million will be out of work. Normally, we wouldnt have to worry about this, but the FAA debacle shows we cant assume people wont use it as a chance to drive their agenda”

— Tweet from White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer

President Obama wants Congress to quickly pass an unconditioned extension of the federal gasoline tax, which is set to expire at the end of the government’s fiscal year on Sept. 30.

The federal gas tax has been 18.4 cents per gallon since 1993 and generates more than $32 billion a year that is then mostly passed out to states for road construction and repair. About 15 percent goes to other federal efforts, like subsidizing public transportation or other efforts to discourage driving. The average American motorist pays about $100 a year in the federal tax.

Conservatives in Congress want to cut out the federal middleman and allow states to raise and spend their own road money. Not only would letting states collect the taxes directly reduce the money spent on federal behavioral engineering efforts (bike paths etc.), but would also allow states to avoid federal laws that require union workers be used on highway projects.

House Republicans already made a big change to the way highway dollars are allocated. Before the 2010 “shellacking” the Highway Trust Fund was a slushy spot. Influential appropriators worked hard to get the first spade full of dirt turned over on decades-long projects in their districts because they knew that they could, in essence, obligate the federal government. Then when bills came due, the Trust Fund would have to get a bailout from general revenues in order to complete already authorized projects.

Under the new Boehner rules, big projects have to be accounted for. Start a $10 billion project, budget $10 billion.

Read more here.

Why Obama’s hometown has the highest gas prices in America

Think California has the highest gas prices in America? Think again. Chicago: the one party town wears that crown.

What are the consequences of living in the last of the one-party machine towns, a town that has hosted the Daley family as well as being the hometown of Barack Obama and the cronies he put in power (including Bill Daley, his Chief of Staff)? Politicians who have no problem imposing the highest gas prices in America on their citizens.

From the Chicago Tribune:

Chicago-area gas prices have been running about 50 cents per gallon more than the national average. Fifty cents doesn’t sound like much until you consider a two-car family might buy 1,400 gallons of gas a year, which siphons some $700 more from their pockets than other Americans.

The clipping of the wallet causes damage throughout the economy, as consumers have that much less money to spend on retail purchases, save for their future, invest in their children.

The main cause of the high prices? Taxes and regulations-the Democrats solution to all our problems. There is a “mind-boggling array of tax levies that get tacked on gasoline’s retail price.”

There are excise taxes (both federal and state — and actually the Illinois state tax is in-line with other states); but also taxes that are charged to fill the underground storage tank fund and environmental impact fees. But together these last two only amount to a penny a gallon.

The killer is the sales tax. Illinois is only one of seven states to charge a sales tax on gas. What makes it worse is that these taxes are not a fixed number of cents per gallon but fluctuate as a percentage of the sale. This is a recipe for compounding the damage to the consumers; as oil prices rise, so does the amount taken from Illinois drivers — at a faster rate than for others across America. The state sales tax is 6.25 percent, so the take per gallon rises as the total bill at the gas station rises.

Illinois is also unusual in that it allows counties and municipalities to also get in the action.

In Chicago, city, county and Regional Transportation Authority (for our government-run trains and buses) sales tax add a few more percent. Thank you, Democrats.

But wait..there’s more.

When you buy gas in Chicago, you pay a couple more flat taxes. The city of Chicago and Cook County not only levy sales taxes but also flat taxes of 5 cents and 6 cents, respectively. Illinois is the only state to allow all these different taxes to be levied in concert, Sykuta said.

Worsening the problem is that some sales taxes are applied on top of flat taxes, charging motorists tax on tax, which only accelerates the total cost.

“One reason for higher prices is because of the multiple layers of taxes in Chicago,” said John Felmy, chief economist at the American Petroleum Institute.

The grand total? Taxes add an average of 69 cents to every gallon of gas in Illinois, and far more in high tax areas such as Chicago. That places Illinois up with the highest gas-taxing states in the nation, along with Connecticut, 70.3 cents, and New York, 69.1 cents, according to an analysis by petroleum institute. The national average is about 50 cents.

Taxing taxes — a Democratic dream.

But wait …there are even more costs, courtesy of politicians. Chicago is required by the Environmental Protection Agency, as are most cities, to use pricier reformulated gasoline in the summer. Chicago formulated a toxic brew so unaffordable that the rest of Illinois gets to use a cheaper blend.

This boutique blend is pricier. What adds to the costs, is that the cocktail of summer gas must include a heavy dose of corn-based ethanol. Only a few refineries make this unique blend, adding more to the costs. No wonder Obama supported the ethanol industry: Illinois is the second-largest producer of corn. So this government-imposed rule was yet another sop to the ethanol industry. Since there are so few refineries in America (thanks to rules and regulations, and the NIMBY problem) an outage in any of the very few refineries that produce Chicago gasoline can cause prices to spike even when crude oil pricing is stable.

Chicago is a microcosm of what Democratic policies lead to: sky-high prices and the ever-present risk of government caused-shortages.

Obama sees benefits in high energy prices (he and his minions have repeatedly said so) –especially those that transfer money from motorists into the hands of Democratic politicians.

America, welcome to the world of Cook (“Crook”) County politics.

Gasoline up 100% under Obama

Feeling pain at the pump? Gas prices have doubled since Mr. Obama took office. According to the GasBuddy gasoline price tracking web site, the price of a gallon of regular gas was around $1.79 when Mr. Obama took office. Today the national average is $3.58. The lowest average price in the continental United States is $3.31 in Tulsa Oklahoma, the highest is $4.14 in Santa Barbara, CA. Four-dollar-a-gallon gas has arrived on average throughout California, and a number of other states are headed in that direction.

Consumer price index (CPI) figures from February show an unadjusted 12 month gasoline inflation rate of 19.2%, but in the last month alone prices jumped 6.8%, probably because of oil price increases due to instabilities in the Middle East. If the trend continues, gas prices would double again within a year. 100% gasoline price inflation is nothing to brag about, but imagine Mr. Obama going into the 2012 election having to explain why gas costs $7.00 a gallon. I’m sure the White House would spin it as one of their “Green” initiatives.

Is $5 a Gallon Gas Right Around the Corner?

Five dollar a gallon gas will shatter the Federal Reserve’s tightly constrained lid on inflation and accelerate the other half our long anticipated “double dip” recession. Gas and diesel powers America’s 141 million cars, 100 million pickups and SUV’s, 8.8 million heavy trucks and 6.7 million motorcycles. Oil runs our harvesters, delivers our groceries, cooks our food, heats our houses, propels our jets, fuels our M-1A1 Abrams tanks, and lubricates our bicycles. American business can only absorb a few percentage points increase in oil prices before passing on their additional distribution costs to the consumer. Already the increases in food and clothing prices have been felt at the cash register. Disposable income will inevitably drop along with consumer demand for domestic cars and trucks, imported goods from China, and destination vacations to resorts in the United States, Mexico and the Caribbean. Don’t even ask what this means to our already sluggish unemployment numbers.

In June of 2008, Congressman Roy Blunt released the following information about how the House members voted on energy issues. During this time Democrats were the majority party in both the House and Senate.

ANWR Exploration:

House Republicans: 91% Supported

House Democrats: 86% Opposed

Coal-to-Liquid:

House Republicans 97% Supported


House Democrats: 78% Opposed

Oil Shale Exploration:


House Republicans: 90% Supported


House Democrats: 86% Opposed

Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Exploration:

House Republicans: 81% Supported


House Democrats: 83% Opposed

Refinery-Increased Capacity:


House Republicans: 97% Supported


House Democrats: 96% Opposed

Summary:

91% of House Republicans have historically voted to increase the production of American-made oil and gas, while 86% of House Democrats have historically voted against increasing the production of American-made oil and gas.

In 2009, the United States still imported 51% of all its petroleum requirements, both crude and refined. This continues to be an unacceptably high number in our quest for energy independence. Gas prices remain hostage to the increasing hostile regimes that sell us oil. Our own Department of Energy has proudly halted off shore drilling. With the political unrest in so many oil producing nations, and the long-term obstruction of Democrats to domestic oil exploration and production, American families have begun to pay the steep price for our failed national energy policies. This current Administration has wasted tens of billions of stimulus dollars on solar panel factories and windmills rather than building new oil refineries and using new technologies to recover the oil buried in our own back yard.

$7-a-gallon gas?

Obama: Using Gulf crisis to push unpopular cap-and-trade bill.

The folly of O’s oil-spill ‘fix’

By BEN LIEBERMAN

President Obama has a solution to the Gulf oil spill: $7-a-gallon gas.

That’s a Harvard University study’s estimate of the per-gallon price of the president’s global-warming agenda. And Obama made clear this week that this agenda is a part of his plan for addressing the Gulf mess.

So what does global-warming legislation have to do with the oil spill?

Good question, because such measures wouldn’t do a thing to clean up the oil or fix the problems that led to the leak.

The answer can be found in Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel’s now-famous words, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste — and what I mean by that is it’s an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before.”

That sure was true of global-warming policy, and especially the cap-and-trade bill. Many observers thought the measure, introduced last year in the House by Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Edward Markey (D-Mass.), was dead: The American people didn’t seem to think that the so-called global-warming crisis justified a price-hiking, job-killing, economy-crushing redesign of our energy supply amid a fragile recovery. Passing another major piece of legislation, one every bit as unpopular as ObamaCare, appeared unlikely in an election year.

So Obama and congressional proponents of cap-and-trade spent several months rebranding it — downplaying the global-warming rationale and claiming that it was really a jobs bill (the so-called green jobs were supposed to spring from the new clean-energy economy) and an energy-independence bill (that will somehow stick it to OPEC).

Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) even reportedly declined to introduce their new cap-and-trade proposal in the Senate on Earth Day, because they wanted to de-emphasize the global-warming message. Instead, Kerry called the American Power Act “a plan that creates jobs and sets us on a course toward energy independence and economic resurgence.”

But the new marketing strategy wasn’t working. Few believe the green-jobs hype — with good reason. In Spain, for example, green jobs have been an expensive bust, with each position created requiring, on average, $774,000 in government subsidies. And the logic of getting us off oil imports via a unilateral measure that punishes American coal, oil and natural gas never made any sense at all.

Now the president is repackaging cap-and-trade — again — as a long-term solution to the oil spill. But it’s the same old agenda, a huge energy tax that will raise the cost of gasoline and electricity high enough so that we’re forced to use less.

The logic linking cap-and-trade to the spill in the Gulf should frighten anyone who owns a car or truck. Such measures force up the price at the pump — Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs thinks it “may require gas prices greater than $7 a gallon by 2020” to meet Obama’s stated goal of reducing emissions 14 percent from the transportation sector.

Of course, doing so would reduce gasoline use and also raise market share for hugely expensive alternative fuels and vehicles that could never compete otherwise. Less gasoline demand means less need for drilling and thus a slightly reduced chance of a repeat of the Deepwater Horizon spill — but only slightly. Oil will still be a vital part of America’s energy mix.

Oil-spill risks should be addressed directly — such as finding out why the leak occurred and requiring new preventive measures or preparing an improved cleanup plan for the next incident. Cap-and-trade is no fix and would cause trillions of dollars in collateral economic damage along the way.

Emanuel was wrong. The administration shouldn’t view each crisis — including the oil spill — as an opportunity to be exploited, but as a problem to be addressed. And America can’t afford $7-a-gallon gas.

Ben Lieberman is senior anal yst of energy and environmental policy in The Heritage Founda tion’s Roe Institute.

Welcome to the Era of Expensive Energy

By Ed Lasky

Gas prices are marching steadily upwards — past three dollars at my local suburban station and a couple of dimes more than that in Chicago. Why? Part of the rise is seasonal in nature: demand increases going into summer to fill up those cars going on family vacations. Also, as summer proceeds into fall, refineries start refining more heating oil from crude and less gasoline. Part of the rise can be attributed to the lack of refineries in America — government rules and regulations (and the NIMBY-Not In My Backyard dynamic) have halted the building of American refineries. Our country is more reliant than ever on refineries located in foreign nations. They can turn the faucet on and off at will.

States, such as my own Illinois, have very arcane rules regarding the blends of gasoline permissible to sell and that increases cost. Demand for energy is increasing around the world as some signs of economic recovery take hold, especially in booming China.

Years of governmental obstruction in tapping our offshore and onshore stores of black gold have played a role. A little-mentioned cause is the fact that our Federal Reserve and the Democrat-led government is printing so much cash that our dollar is becoming is becoming Weimar Wallpaper — an increasingly worthless slip of paper that retains value against the Euro only because the EU is farther along, for now, into socialism than we are.

Here is my question.

Why are Democrats silent about the gas rise? After all, aren’t oil companies their favorite bogeymen? They like to bully Big Oil every now and then — especially when gas prices rise. This certainly occurred a great deal when we had a Texan as President and a Vice-President with leadership links to Helliburton (misspelling intended). But they have always done so when Republicans have any degree of power — be they Texans or not. Bullying oil companies is a nice tool in the partisan tool belt.

James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal noticed a dynamic at work years ago. When Democrats are in control, homelessness is forgotten as an issue. However, when Republicans lead the government (particularly when Ronald Reagan was President) homelessness became the topic of the day. He dubbed this the “homelessness watch.”

How about calling this the “Gas Price Rise” watch? Democrats do not want to be on the watch when bad things happen because then the public may blame them. People may point out that Democrat policies — such as the ones that led to a weak dollar, or that shut off vast areas of America to oil development and refinery building — have created the conditions that give rise to oil prices. Democrats and their friends in the liberal media just don’t like people pointing out bad things happening when they have the keys to power.

Many liberals live in high rises in urban areas, so they don’t commute long distances to work and/or use public transportation to do so. They don’t empathize with suburban or rural Americans or care about their troubles. Certainly our President is outright disdainful towards them (suburbs bore me, rural people are bitter and cling to their guns and religion). After all, suburban and rural people are Tea Partying racists who deserve no respect.

But one more factor may be at work.

Democrats really like it when gas prices rise. They just use it as a bludgeon to whack Republicans when it is politically useful to do so.

After all, people such as New York Times columnist Tom Freidman have long advocated higher taxes on gas to reduce demand and make “renewable energy” less foolish. Haven’t we been told for years by the nattering nabobs of the nanny nation that gasoline price rises are good for us? Why are these powers-that-be also trying to shut down the development of shale gas, a clean burning domestic resource that our nation has in vast abundance?

In fact, Democrats do like high gas prices because it allows them to justify the irrational and costly subsidies and tax breaks they give to their friends in the “green movement” and their cronies who benefit from the drip, drip, drip of tax dollars going from the government IVs into their bank accounts. As I have written before, General Electric is a prime beneficiary of this government corporate welfare-hence, MSNBC and NBC’s devotion to Democrats.

Are liberals actually maneuvering to increase gas prices at the pump?

This Washington Times editorial may lead one to believe so:

Long-anticipated climate-change legislation is scheduled to be unveiled in the Senate today. The ostensible purpose is to clean the air by cutting carbon emissions 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. If the bill becomes law, though, consumers will get smoked as they are forced to pay more for a fill-up.

Backers of this measure are more beholden to ideology than reality. As scientific data shows the Earth is actually cooling, the only thing heating up is alarmist rhetoric. On Friday, Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said the president believes “now more than ever is the time to act,” indicating White House complicity in the push for higher gas prices. Attempting to impose new burdens on American families struggling in a buckling economy in hopes of mitigating an unproven climate theory says a lot about the O Force’s warped priorities.

The widely reviled cap-and-trade plan would institute a Wall Street-type market for carbon permit exchanges. Cap-and-dividend would prohibit the marketing of carbon permits and instead collect revenues in a government account that would – in theory – be rebated to consumers. (Don’t hold your breath waiting for that check.)

Whatever the taxing mechanism is called, the end result would be the same: the imposition of increased costs on all carbon-based energy products, which would be passed on to consumers. Americans would see steeper prices at the gas pump.

Is this the Democrats’ dream? To finally be able to take advantage of gas price rise (that they have engineered) in order to force radical changes upon the American way of life? We have seen over the last 17 months of Democratic rule, that they couldn’t care less about what Americans as a whole want (see ObamaCare). They are determined to waterboard us with a bundle of new laws and regulations that will be shoved down our collective throats — whether, to borrow a phrase from Barack Obama, “we like it or not”.

This is the essence of liberal fascism. Americans are just dumb..we don’t know what is good for us. We have deluded Don Quixotes tilting at windmills (and wind energy is disastrously inefficient and costly and have many problems associated with them-unreliability of wind, transmission lines, medically related complaints from neighbors) while the rest of us would rather see oil pumps (that occupy a very small footprint) on the horizon pumping out cheaper crude to fill our tanks.

The only pumps the Obama team and their allies in Congress like are the ones pumping our green tax dollars to their pals and donors in the “renewable energy” racket of the jolly Green Giant with the big carbon footprint: Al Gore.

A digression. When I was young the Burt Lancaster movie The Rainmaker made a powerful impression on me. Lancaster played a con man Bill Starbuck, who comes into a drought-stricken small town promising to bring forth water from the skies like so much manna. His appeal was almost religious in nature; he promised and preached salvation. But he was just a con man — a trickster who promised to change the weather for a price. We have a quite the crew of Bill Starbucks bellying up to the governmental trough. He was a fake — and so are they.

Americans suffer, as lefty Thomas Frank reminds us, from false consciousness; we just are too ignorant to know what is good for us, what is pure and high-minded. Hence the need for our masters to take control.

Actually, I think liberals feel that suffering is good for us. That it makes us better people. After all, didn’t Barack Obama hector us that we can’t drive big cars or keep our thermostats in the comfort zone (while he makes the White House all but a Hawaiian like sauna, according to David Axelrod; meanwhile, he takes that big plane on overseas jaunts to help his cronies land the Olympics for Chicago; and flies to Broadway shows for a night on the town with Michelle). They want to punish us for all types of past transgressions against the liberal creed: colonialism, imperialism, materialism, for living in suburbs, for racism.

We have to consider the rest of the planet — which couldn’t care less about Americans — and Mother Earth, the patron Goddess of all that is good and wonderful. Humanity — particularly the American variety — is bad.

We have utopian leaders with very little experience in the real world but plenty of experience in Ivy League classrooms, where high minded platitudes substitute for empiricism and pragmatism. But they have the keys to the kingdom. For now.

They may try to silence Americans as they stuff policies down our windpipes-but Americans will not remain silent. Never have; never will.

Liberation is coming-not in the form of the Trinity of Pelosi, Reid and Obama-but in the form of a ballot box.

November, here we come.