Monday, May 1, 2006

Short Termer’s Disease

This idea of a $100 check for every citizen to minimize the high price of gasoline is probably one of the best campaign issues the Republicans have handed the Democrats since Duke Cunningham went up the river. Even the party hacks aren’t buying it, and you know that if a Democrat had come up with it, the GOP would have been all over it as pandering to the voters, which it clearly is.

It’s a real telling tale about how the Republicans view the whole energy and gas-price issue: a short-term solution that sounds really sexy — “Hey! We’re gonna send you a hundred bucks!” — and it does absolutely nothing to solve the long-term problem. (For the record, I also think the idea of rolling back the federal gas tax for sixty days is dumb, too.) The GOP seems to be living by the philosophy that everyone is stupid during an election year, when the truth is, as Charlie Young notes, the politicians just treat everyone as if they are stupid.

The problem isn’t the high prices — and I know that’s hard to say when I drive a V-8 and the price for self-serve regular at the Liberty station is over $3. The problem is that this government — that’s us — has avoided the problem for the last thirty years by coming up with short-term solutions to a problem that is only going to get worse. You don’t treat cancer with aspirin, and you don’t solve the question of how to fuel our cars and our economy by throwing money at it — which is a line the Republicans are so fond of using when the Democrats suggest spending more money on a problem. A check for $100 isn’t going to make the gas prices lower or the SUV’s like the Ford USS Enterprise more fuel efficient. If anything, it will make people spend more money on gas so they can take the kids to Mouse World in Orlando.

It must be a real sign of desperation when the Republicans are coming up with hare-brained ideas that even Jimmy Carter wouldn’t use in his most cardigan-wearing, turn-down-the-thermostat plans to save energy (which actually work, by the way). What’s next? Hand out free glassware at every fill-up?