Beating up on oil companies has always been low-hanging fruit for politicians when gasoline prices are high. And as the country is headed into the summer driving season, gas prices are certain to go higher, giving Democrats the opportunity to play that card.
But such politicking isn’t going unnoticed or without criticism. On Thursday’s “Special Report” on the Fox News Channel, syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer ripped congressional Democrats for hiding behind the disguise of fighting higher gas prices.
“I could care one way or the other about the actual subsidies,” Krauthammer said. “But the hearings are a disgrace. They’re a show trial for two reasons. Number one, ostensibly the hearings are about the high price of gas as indicated by Fred [Barnes]. It will have zero effect on price of gas, which is dependent — it’s not set by oil companies. It’s set by world supply, interruptions, instability, demand, increasing demand with the recovery from the recession, the dollar which is weak and the risk premium as a result of the instability which is added on in the financial markets – all those are the reasons. Imposing this tax will not affect the price one way or the other.”
Krauthammer also explained why the math doesn’t add up with this sort of tax.
“The second reason – it’s contemptible,” he continued. “The Democrats are claiming they are going to use the money to reduce the deficit. The deficit for this year is $1.5 trillion. This tax [would] bring in $2 billion, so you’d go from $1.5 trillion in deficit to $1.498 trillion, or to put it another way, which isn’t even a rounding error. To put it another way, you could collect this tax annually for a hundred years and it wouldn’t cover two months of the current deficit. A hundred years, two months. What Democrats want to say – they’re slogan in the election is, ‘Republicans want to close the deficit by stealing the money from seniors or Medicare instead of taxing oil companies. It’s a farce from beginning to end.”