Gassing About Gas

When Republicans were in the majority and Democrats were in the minority — not that long ago — just about every April, gas prices would rise uncomfortably, and the Democrats would charge the oil companies with collusion.

The Republicans would react by hauling oil company executives before the Congress, and then badger them about the high costs of filling up the tank.

Inevitably, Red Cavaney from the American Petroleum Institute would educate the members of Congress about the laws of supply and demand, about how the biofuel mandates that Congress put on the industry increased the prices, and about how there aren’t enough refineries to refine the crude oil.

The Republican Congress, not wanting to repeal the laws of supply and demand, would look to find other ways to alleviate the situation. They would repeal the gas tax or pass incentives so that more refineries could be built.

Today, gas prices are about double what they were just two short years ago. Once again, Republicans are talking about repealing the gas tax. They are also looking at ways to increase refining capacity.

And what are the Democrats doing? Pretty much nothing.

Despite promising the American people a plan to reduce the price of gas, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has done nothing. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has joined in Pelosi’s campaign to do nothing, and actually attacked Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for proposing to drop the gas tax.

I have a theory why the Democrats do nothing about the high cost of gas.

They believe high gas prices will actually help the environment. They want higher gas prices, because high gas prices will change behavior. The theory goes that people will walk more, take public transportation or stay home more.

Al Gore and New York Times columnist Tom Friedman (as well as many other left-leaning luminaries) have called for a sharp increase in the gas tax. They want consumers to pay a lot more for a tank of gas, so why should they do anything to lower gas prices today?

This is the bargain that the voters get with the Democrats. Yes, the Democrats tend to be much greener than Republicans. But they also will take much more green from the average consumer.

With Democrats, the middle-class voter will get higher taxes, higher gas prices, higher utility bills and more government intrusion in the marketplace.

When the Democratic leaders stay silent on an issue, it is not because they have forgotten about it. Nope, they are too clever for that. The fact is that higher gas prices are all part of the Democratic plan to change the wasteful behavior of the American consumer.

Don’t believe me? Then ask Speaker Pelosi yourself where her plan is to cut the costs of crude oil. My guess is that she will keep that plan a secret, and let the poor sucker known as the American taxpayer keep paying too much at the pump.