by Radley Balko
In an interview last week on National Public Radio, Barack Obama was asked about his proposal for a "windfall profits" profits tax on oil companies. To her credit, the interviewer prefaced her question by noting that nearly all economists from across the political spectrum oppose the idea. Taxing oil company profits won't make gas any cheaper — it'll likely make it more expensive in the long run by discouraging exploration — and it won't speed the development of alternative energy sources. Obama's answer was pure demagoguery, pitting senior citizens and working class families against oil companies, who he says are reaping profits "hand over fist."
Obama's opponent John McCain has smartly opposed a tax on oil company profits — and Obama has promptly attacked him for it.
But McCain isn't much better. McCain has proposed an equally ridiculous "gas tax holiday," which will also do almost nothing to provide relief at the pump. Obama has smartly opposed the idea — and McCain has promptly attacked him for it.Economic ignorance is nothing new in politics. Neither is the idea that a candidate would perpetuate economic idiocy he knows to be false because it plays into the narrative he's pitching to the voters. But no issue seems to prompt more jaw-dropping sophistry and anti-capitalist demagoguery than gas prices.
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