The Democrats call it a New Direction for America. But to me, it looks like the same old same old.
The Democrats’ recently announced
New Direction for America was apparently intended as a parallel to Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America as a set of ideas to be implemented if the Democrats regain control of the House of Representatives in this fall’s elections.
Let me focus today just on the Democrats’ plan to address our energy challenges:
LOWER GAS PRICES AND ACHIEVE ENERGY INDEPENDENCE.
Crack down on price gouging; eliminate billions in subsidies for oil and gas companies and use the savings to provide consumer relief and develop American alternatives, including biofuels; promote energy efficient technology.
Umm, so that’s it? That’s the Democrats’ energy plan? Well, I’m all for brevity, but a few more details might be welcome, such as:
- I have not seen a sensible definition of “price gouging” anywhere. Whatever it is, though, it certainly sounds bad, and I’m glad that the Democrats are serious about protecting us from it. Of course, it’s not clear how whatever is being proposed here differs from the Federal Energy Price Protection Act of 2006 (H.R. 5253).
- Nor have I seen any evidence that anticompetitive behavior by U.S. firms is making a significant contribution to gasoline prices. I have, however, seen polls suggesting that many Americans believe it is. Now, you don’t suppose our leaders would write legislation on the basis of opinion polls rather than hard evidence, would you?
- There doubtless are some subsidies that I would favor eliminating. I suspect that more of what the Democrats have in mind is tax increases on the oil companies, and again here there are some ways in which this might be implemented that I would support. However, as I’ve noted before, any revenue the Democrats think they might gain from this is already spoken for, and then some.
- More fundamentally, how in the world would lower subsidies or increased taxes on energy producers possibly result in an increase in the supply of gasoline?
All of which seems to leave us with the heart of the proposal in the last nine words: “develop American alternatives, including biofuels; promote energy efficient technology.” Now, who could be against that? Or, who could be for it, since there are no specifics of exactly what it entails?
This surely is no energy plan, but is instead a collection of empty slogans. Once again America’s leaders display their complete contempt for the intelligence of American voters.