Monday, May 05, 2008

Joe Scarborough: Morning Joe Scam

Asked by Joe Scarborough, why are you proud of America, Barack Obama said America is a beacon of hope...

Senator Obama went on to give an answer based on his own family history, and made comment about Americans struggling, etc.

The "real" questioning then turned to the gas tax holiday, proposed in slightly different versions by John McCain and Hillary Clinton.

Mica: Why are you opposed they need relief right now

Obama: Absolutely need relief that's why this isn't relief, he did this in Illinois Senate... didn't work, pretending to give relief... oil companies jack up prices to cover costs... oil companies made out, meanwhile ordinary people still struggled... learned from his experience...

His plan... economic stimulus... long term and permanent tax relief next year

Mica: People struggling now... Is gas tax holiday beyond belief...

Obama: It is not an honest solution... it's a proposal offered every two years... someone invariable offers a bill pre-summer... know more gas going to be used... prices go up... if this was realistic... they would have proposed measures before this in the Senate...

What a horrible interview by the MSNBC Morning Joe panel. All week, Scarborough has been plugging the gas tax holiday and how this would provide relief for the regular "joe." He chastised Obama for being "out of touch," and "elitist" and can't relate to the little guy's troubles.

This morning, Scarborough had an opportunity to face-off with Obama, and he did not. He didn't engage in any back and forth, instead, what did Joe want to know, why is Obama proud of America!

Scarborough could have challenged Obama head-on with the same reasoning he'd been using the entire week, and continues to use when Obama isn't present to provide a comeback, or set the record straight.

Hillary Clinton is next...

Video of May 5, 2008 program segment

we can read all about her plan on her site...

Clinton will pay for it by raising tax on windfall profits... and the way her plan is structured would lead to lower prices we would set a floor on oil companies profits and the rest would go into the fund... investigate markets... Exxon price driven by traders... it's being manipulated by something called the Enron loophole and much we can do...

Clinton then goes into several minutes of anecdotes from people who have complained about the high price of gasoline... sure we need a long-term solution... why not bail out people now... facing their own challenges economically... help out main street, not Wall Street.

Continues her refrain more people have voted for her going into the next two contests...

Watch, nobody brings Clinton out of her self-hypnosis... Michigan is hers? No other candidates were listed on the Michigan ballot. The only other option there for voters was to vote for uncommitted. Even then, the results show with Clinton's name on the ballot and uncommitted as the opponent, almost as many voted uncommitted as for Clinton!

Just after Clinton's off camera, Scarborough gushes, actually gushes.

Joe: What makes Clinton so great... she's so great...

Are you kidding? This has got to be a Rush Limbaugh clone. It's Scarborough exposed as a political scam.

Why didn't he ask Clinton about the effect her gas tax holiday would have on prices after the holiday, if in any measure her plan would work for 3-months, and work only because she'd "cap" the profits of the oil companies and pay for her holiday plan with the "excess" profits, guess what would happen immediately after?

why Virginia, the prices would quadruple, and what would Clinton do? Permanently impose a higher tax on windfall profits? Freeze the profits of oil companies to what she believes is "fair."

Scarborough knows that's socialism. He wants Clinton to win the Democratic nomination because he realizes as does Rush Limbaugh, Barack Obama will tromp John McCain in the General Election.

Harold Ford: asked about the gas tax holiday says it is not the long-term solution...

Mica long term hurtful... doesn't think it's going to work.. 30 bucks could be helpful... but not if oil companies raise prices... it's pandering... 100 economists wrote a letter opposed...

Joe: you don't think it's a problem cause you don't have a problem filling your tank... former President Bill Clinton lowered gas prices... and there was no long-term detrimental effect.

Uh factcheck Joe... former President Bill Clinton raised the gas tax shortly after he took office, it was the largest tax increase in history, according to reports at the time.

Joe is really stumping for the working class person, right. He feels their pain.

And there's Tiki Barbar arguing exactly what Scarborough should be arguing! Arguing exactly what the CATO Institute expert argued against the holiday in the short-term.

Get the transcript.

Meanwhile, poll results shown on the screen reveal the public isn't buying the holiday plans.

Poll Bad solution 49%

Poll Good solution 45$

Come on Joe. If both Obama and Clinton were proposing the gas tax holiday and McCain were opposed along the lines the CATO Institute is opposed and every other economist, how much you want to bet Joe would be opposed to the Democratic solution.

When you have a CATO Institute fellow opposed to a gas tax holiday, understanding the logistics, you know there's something drastically wrong with the short-term plan.

Nod to AP's Rachel Beck for the piece and CATO expert's quote. At the heart of the issue, if supply can't grow, if that is "fixed," and demand rises, guess what rises along with demand for a limited supply of a product?

We followed up on Taylor and found he places blame squarely elsewhere

CNN Transcript interview with Taylor

Cato Institute News

None of this is to say taxes of all sorts should not be lowered and/or eradicated.

See CATO Report

"Don't Increase Federal Gasoline Taxes—Abolish Them." Taylor, Jerry and Peter Van Doren, 7 August 2007. Policy Analysis. 30 April 2008

Another stickler is what the gas tax is used for. Everything under the sun but for what it was intended: fix crumbling federal highways.

Government spends far more than than it should whenever it takes in far more than it should.

April. 28, 2006 GOP tax rebate plan called costly, ineffective

Jerry Taylor: "It's not really a compensation for higher gas prices," Taylor said. "It's simply a please-vote-for-me-in-November payment."

On this issue, a gas tax holiday, Barack Obama is on the right side - the short-term solution to high gas prices is not a gas tax holiday for 3-months, and then what? Roads and bridges continue to crumble while whatever monies remain in the fund go to projects supported back home that will bring in votes, and more lobbyists' contributions...

Later Scarbaorough guests on another program opposite ... Shultz. Joe says he doesn't understand the economics of it... and maybe it's stupid as Obama supporters and the Obama camp claims, but if you compare one candidate says they'll give you a break and the other says no, the public is going to go with the one who says yes.

Say what, Joe. Polls show the public isn't falling for the Clinton hype and sob stories. 49 percent to 45 percent. That might be close to some but even one percent more is guess what, more.

And Joe, it's not just Obama supporters and it's certainly not the Obama campaign... Robert Reich and economists are saying it's dumb...

Hillary Ignoring Economists on Gas Tax Holiday
Filed under: 2008 elections, Barack Obama, Economy, Hillary Clinton, Taxes — marc moore on May 5, 2008 @ 6:52 am CEST

Robert Reich, a former Clinton Secretary of Labor who now favors Barack Obama, says that the gas tax holiday Ms. Clinton supports - as does John McCain - is "economically stupid" and would increase demand for gas while costing the government $9B to finance. And he’s not alone.

(via memeorandum)

…when economists tell a president or a presidential candidate that his or her idea is dumb – and when all respectable economists around America agree that it’s a dumb idea – it’s probably wise for the president or presidential candidate to listen...

Net the Truth Online


Clinton discounts economists in gas tax debate
By MAUREEN GROPPE / Star Washington Correspondent
Posted: May 4, 2008

Gas-tax holiday would do more harm than good
By RACHEL BECK The Associated Press Sunday, May 04, 2008

...As economists explain it, gas prices typically rise in the summer months because demand is higher. Now, refineries are already running near capacity. If lifting the federal tax reduces gas prices, that could boost demand even more. Supply can't grow - in economics terms it is known as being inelastic - so it could drive prices back up.

That means the economy wouldn't get the intended stimulus, and consumers would see no benefit or could even be worse off.

"If the supply is really fixed, then no cut in the federal gas tax will change gas prices," said Jerry Taylor, senior fellow at the libertarian Cato Institute...

ALL BUSINESS: Don't count on gas tax cut lowering prices
By RACHEL BECK – 2 days ago

NEW YORK (AP) — Sure, a gas-tax holiday seems like a good idea, at first. According to the presidential candidates touting it, it would yield cheaper gas, which in turn would produce less expensive packaging, food, etc.

It's trickle down at its best ... until you drive over one of those super-sized potholes that jolts your car and rattles your teeth.

What Were They Thinking???
by Len Burman on Tue 15 Apr 2008 06:27 PM EDT
by Len Burman and Eric Toder

Gas-Tax Holiday: Len Burman and Eric Toder write on the Tax Policy Institute’s TaxVox blog that there are nothing but problems in Sen. John McCain’s proposal to temporarily suspend the gas tax over the summer. “Refiners run near capacity every summer as families rack up miles on family vacations. That’s one reason why gas prices jump in the summer. If McCain’s excise tax cut translated into lower prices, we’d all want to drive more, which would push up the demand for gasoline. Since the refiners can’t produce much more without building new refineries, the price has to go back up. Higher prices might stimulate a little more production and we might import more gasoline from our neighbors. But the price will have to increase by almost the amount of the tax cut. Otherwise, there will be shortages. Unless the plan’s aim is to boost short-term profits for petroleum refineries, the proposal makes no sense.” Dean Baker on his Beat the Press blog agrees, “We have a fixed amount of gas entering the market, the question is simply what price clears the market. In this context, if we reduce or eliminate the gas tax, the price doesn’t change, the lower tax will simply allow Exxon and other oil companies to keep more profits (unless of course they were lying about running their refineries at capacity).”
Compiled by Phil Izzo

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There's another catch to the McCain and Clinton proposals. Currently, the gas tax is deposited directly into the Highway Trust Fund, which is used to pay for upgrades to roads and bridges. The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that the three-month gas tax holiday could cost as much as $8.5 billion.

McCain has responded by pledging to fund the Highway Trust Fund out of general revenues. That, of course, means adding another $8.5 billion in federal debt, which in turn means adding as much as $383 million per year in interest payments.

Clinton’s plan is somewhat more complicated. She promises to impose “a windfall profits tax” on oil companies -- the mechanics of which she hasn't outlined -- and use that to fund the gas tax holiday.

U.S. Learns a Lesson From Gasoline Tax
By Paul F. HorvitzPublished: WEDNESDAY, MAY 18, 1994


Bill Clinton. Against A Gas Tax Holiday. March 30, 2000. And Moore. by kravitz Mon May 05, 2008 at 01:59:05 AM PDT

Bill Clinton's press conference, March 30, 2000, capped a turbulent history on this issue. His history with the gas tax flows through the Keating Five Scandal issues in 1991. It has long been a May and/or Memorial Day ritual for politicians to proclaim 'we have to cut the gas tax for the summer.'

This year, clearly, is no exception...


..."Three years ago, Bill Clinton gave us the largest tax increase in history, including a 4-cent-a-gallon increase on gasoline. Bill Clinton said he felt bad about it." President Clinton: "People in this room are still mad at me at that budget because you think I raised your taxes too much. It might surprise you to know that I think I raised them too much, too." Announcer: "O.K., Mr. President. We are surprised. So now, surprise us again. Support Senator Dole's plan to repeal your gas tax and learn that actions do speak louder than words."...

Expert Support For Gas Tax Holiday Appears Nonexistent
April 30, 2008 04:23 PM

More for thoughtful reading

Valuable rundown of links from Tax Prof Blog.

The Cato gas tax critique: is this claim true?

Overwhelming Majority See Gas Tax Suspension As Political Ploy
The New York Times By ADAM NAGOURNEY and MARJORIE CONNELLY May 4, 2008

My Way News
Obama attacks Clinton's gas tax plan
May 3, 4:36 PM (ET)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Broadening his attack, Barack Obama said Saturday that Hillary Rodham Clinton's support for a summertime break from the federal gasoline tax symbolizes a candidacy consisting of "phony ideas, calculated to win elections instead of actually solving problems."

Not so, the former first lady told a campaign audience as the next round of primaries approached. Obama is "attacking my plan to try to get you some kind of break this summer," she said.

Locked in a Democratic presidential race for the ages, Clinton and Obama campaigned across Indiana and North Carolina at the same time they competed in Guam's caucuses and added to their convention delegate totals in several states...

Discussion and Opinion

Democratic Underground

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Clinton Caught in Time Warp With Windfall Oil Tax: Amity Shlaes
Commentary by Amity Shlaes


Note dates

GOP tax rebate plan called costly, ineffective
Economy growing strongly despite soaring gas prices, critics say
By Martin Wolk
Chief economics correspondent
updated 4:55 p.m. ET, Fri., April. 28, 2006

Bush rejects calls for tax on oil company profits
Says industry should reinvest earnings to find more crude, alternatives
updated 6:04 p.m. ET, Fri., April. 28, 2006

President Bush said Friday that taxing enormous oil industry profits is not the way to calm Americans’ anxieties about pain at the gas pump, and that his “inclination and instincts” are that major oil companies are not intentionally overcharging drivers.

Bush’s remarks suggested the former Texas oilman is unlikely to take harsh action against oil companies despite public anger about the rising cost of fuel. Gasoline is averaging $2.92 a gallon across the country, up 69 cents from a year ago, according to AAA’s daily fuel gauge report.

With politicians concerned the issue could tilt what are expected to be close midterm elections this fall, the president and many in Congress have been rushing to offer solutions, most of which would offer little immediate relief.

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