Friday, July 25, 2008

Government by gimmick

We thought the proposed "gas tax holiday" was a stupid idea from the moment we first heard about it.

Eliminating the federal gas tax during the busiest driving months? Cutting off the supply of money to fix our roads and build new ones at a time when our transportation system needs major overhauls and upgrades?

That's lunacy. It does nothing to solve the long-term problem of gasoline being more expensive than it really should. Instead of temporarily knocking 20 cents off the price of a gallon of gas, government should be encouraging solutions to bring about a significant and permanent decrease down to at least $2 per gallon, if not cheaper.

Sens. John McCain and Hillary Clinton bought into this asinine idea during their presidential campaigns. We'll give Sen. B. Hussein Obama credit for recognizing this as a goofy gimmick and dismissing it, although we don't see B. Hussein Obama coming up with any real solutions to lower the price of gas for the long haul.

The current artificially high prices for gas and diesel ought to be a winning campaign item for nearly every Republican Senate and House candidate this year. Democrats have traditionally been opposed to increasing domestic oil production and refining capacity and have rebuffed GOP efforts to do so.

So what does Bruce Lunsford do? He jumps onto the goofy, gimmicky gas tax holiday idea. Guess he thinks Kentuckians are too stupid to recognize a nutty idea when they see or hear it.

The suggestion to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is equally goofy. We are not in a true emergency or shortage situation that would justify such a release. The high gas prices are troublesome but there's still plenty of gas available for everyone. The SPR should be reserved for true emergencies.

Government by gimmick doesn't work. The American people want real relief for prices at the pump that is significant and long-lasting. A gas tax holiday is not the ticket and would actually do more harm than good. So, too, would releasing oil from the SPR.

We all agree with the concept of developing alternative energy sources, but for right now, gasoline-powered individual transportation is what we have and what we must live with. Until an alternatively-fueled vehicle can be developed that will run 400 miles at current highway speeds and can be refueled in a 5 to 10 minute stop at a price comparable to a tank of gas, we have to use petroleum-powered cars and trucks. That's the reality we face now and must plan for in the immediate future as we hammer out an energy policy.

Lunsford has no answers. He's part of the problem.

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