In a desperate effort to divert anger from his administration over gas prices and to stop people from focusing on how his anti-drilling policies have caused us to be so vulnerable to these price fluctuations, President Obama is pushing anti-oil company rhetoric, demanding increases in oil company taxes. He is confident, in doing so, that the Republican aversion to any tax increase will lead them to shield big oil and incur populist wrath.
He’s right the GOP can’t approve raising oil company taxes and that its refusal to do so will raise the party’s negatives among a broad swath of the population.
But he’s dead wrong in believing that raising this issue will, in any way, make up for his failure to promote domestic drilling. Obama has been so outspoken in his demand that we move away from dependence on fossil fuels and so naively futuristic in depending on renewable energy to replace it, that the average motorist will still grit his teeth in anger at the president every time he gases up. People get that “drill, baby, drill” is the best and nearest-term solution to high gasoline prices, and they get that Obama is on the wrong side of the issue.
A more subtle point, lost in the debate, is that decreasing oil company tax breaks makes drilling and exploration more costly. But, in the current environment of massive oil company profits, this tax increase won’t matter much.
It is best that Republicans keep this idea to themselves and focus, instead, on the need for more domestic drilling.
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