Fast becoming an official communications appendage of the Barack Obama campaign, the New York Times editorializes today on the “petty pandering” of Hillary Clinton’s and John McCain’s call for a suspension of the federal gas tax over the summer. Noting that the policy would not deliver lower prices for consumers, the Times asserts that “their demagoguery is growing into a real problem.” The New York Times is at least half right; demagoguery is a real problem that is threatening to significantly worsen our nation’s energy policy. But it is the Obama/Clinton oil profit windfall tax that would be damaging to most Americans.

Political analysts and the Obama campaign both seem to believe that Obama’s opposition to the gas tax holiday helped him change the subject from his relationship with Rev. Jeremiah Wright. But while Obama did fight the gas tax holiday idea, he was also running ads in North Carolina claiming that his proposed tax on “excess profits” of Exxon Mobil would help lower gas prices for Americans. Apparently, Obama has forgotten the lesson of Jimmy Carter’s 1980 windfall profits tax. A 1990 Congressional Research Service analysis of the program found that it reduced domestic oil production between 3% and 6% and increased oil imports between 8% and 16%. The tax hurt consumers more through higher energy prices than it helped them through higher tax revenues, which turned out to be far lower than originally predicted because the tax discouraged production.

But hurting American consumers through higher prices and decreased consumption seems to be exactly what the New York Times wants. The paper concludes: “Americans must find ways to curb their use of fossil fuels. That will require higher, not lower, prices for gas — even during a presidential campaign.” Is this now the stated policy of liberals? Do they Democratic presidential candidates really want to hurt Americans at the pump as much as possible? We know Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez does. That is why he also recently passed a windfall oil profits tax of his own. Do Democrats and the New York Times really want to start importing policy ideas from the socialist leader of Venezuela?

Quick Hits:

  • Senate Democrats on Wednesday proposed a windfall oil profits tax that would slap an additional 25% tax on all oil industry earnings beyond what they defined as “reasonable.”
  • Thanks to public union salaries and benefits that eat up 74% of their budget, Vallejo, Calif., became the largest city in the state to ever declare bankruptcy.
  • The earmark disease that has corrupted Congress has spread to the District of Columbia budget process, which directed $98 million of public funds to private groups in the past four years.
  • President Bush vowed yesterday to veto the Democratic plan to risk billions in taxpayer dollars to bailout housing speculators.
  • Blue Dog Democrats are threatening to block the emergency war spending bill unless leadership follows through on its promise to offset new spending with other spending cuts or tax hikes.