Friday, June 13, 2008

NH congressman Paul Hodes Solves the gasoline price crisis

Mr. Hodes shared his wisdom with us taxpayers in a handsome 4 color printed brochure mailed to voters. “This mailing was prepared, published and mailed at taxpayer expense” was printed right on the front. Mr. Hodes has a four part plan to bring back the good old days of lower gas prices.

Part 1. Stop filling the strategic petroleum reserve. Big one here. 70,000 barrels per day were going into the reserve. US consumption is 20 million barrels a day. Stopping filling reduces US demand by 0.35%. Does anyone think this is enough to make any kind of difference?

Part 2. Sue OPEC. The long arm of US law will reach across the world and hail Dubai, Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, the Iranians, and others in to US district court. Rather than being held in contempt of court, these easily cowed Arab countries will immediately cut prices and pump more oil. Last time I looked, foreign governments were not subject to US law. Sounds like more welfare for lawyers. Surely no one believes we can increase supplies by suing the suppliers.

Part 3. Alternate Energy. Repeal some tax breaks enjoyed by the oil companies and put the extra tax money into “alternate energy”. Ethanol anyone? At least I can run my car on ethanol. Wind and solar? Can’t put them in my gas tank, or my oil tank. Add a “biomass” tax credit. Wow, I get a tax credit for the cord of split birch I bought this spring?

Mr. Hodes doesn’t speak to the PSNH wood fired electric plant for Grafton country recently shot down in Concord, or the endless red tape holding back nuclear power.

Part 4. Offer special low rate loans for construction of energy efficient buildings. Right on. With mortgage money tight as it is, every new building will be certified “energy efficient” if it cuts a quarter point off the mortgage rate. This will become simply cheap mortgage money, a desirable thing, but hardly a thing to reduce gasoline prices.

Part 5. Tax credits for carpooling. “Oh yes your honor, I carpooled every day, and that is why I took a tax credit of $5700 last year, $20 a day for the 270 working days”. Right now, everyone who can put a carpool together is carpooling. Find two or three guys working at the same company and living sorta close together and they will carpool. No tax credits required.

Mr. Hodes doesn’t speak of the need to increase domestic oil production, build more refineries, exploit US reserves of oil shale, refine common cheap heavy sour crude oil into heating oil and gasoline, support research into nuclear fusion, and end the ridiculous system of boutique gasoline requirements.

If Mr. Hodes would talk about actually doing real things to relieve the fuel shortage he could send out as many self promoting brochures at taxpayer expense as he pleased. As it is, he comes out four square for doing nothing, at taxpayere expense.

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