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|bigtree (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore||Mon May-17-04 04:34 PM
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|6. George Bush’s Gas Tax|
Edited on Mon May-17-04 04:42 PM by bigtree
With Gas Prices Soaring, Kerry Offers America True Energy Independence
Outlines Plan to Lower Gas Prices and Fuel the American Economy
Will Fight To Reduce Costs to Consumers and Relieve Pressure on Economy
March 30, 2004
Today at a rally in San Diego, John Kerry outlined his policies to get gas prices under control by moving the nation toward energy independence and growing the American economy. Two days ago, Kerry introduced his plan to create 10 million new jobs during his first term in office – 500,000 of them in renewable energy fields.
Gasoline prices are at an all-time high, having risen 11.5 percent since George Bush took office, and prices are expected to rise even higher this summer. The current cost of a gallon of gas in California is $2.13 and increased gas prices are costing the average family $289 more per year.
While candidate Bush promised to address gas prices, he has simply let the problem fester. Higher gas prices is just the latest example of how the Bush economy is hurting American families and comes at a times when pressure on families including college tuition, health care, and state and local taxes have skyrocketed and incomes have fallen.
“We need a new direction on energy policy,” said Kerry. “For three years, George Bush and Dick Cheney have bent over backwards to help their big contributors in the oil industry. I’m going to stand up for students and middle class families and all those who need relief at the pump.”
Rather than providing false hope and trusting big oil to solve the problem, John Kerry is offering a comprehensive strategy to lessen the impact that high gas prices are having on the American economy, on American jobs, and on American consumers both today and in the future.
“I’ll use real diplomacy to do what George Bush hasn’t – pressure OPEC to start providing more oil,” said Kerry. “We’ll stop diverting oil to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve until gas prices get back to normal. We’ll simplify the patchwork of rules on gas all over this country so that we can reduce costs and make fuel supplies while keeping our air clean.
“And instead of a secret energy meetings and drilling in the Alaskan wilderness, we’re going to have a real energy plan for America. We’ll create 500,000 new jobs in renewable energy and building the vehicles of the future. Under my plan, America will be energy independent from Mideast oil in 10 years, the fuels of the future will be less expensive, cleaner, and our young men and women will never have to fight and die for foreign oil.”
While Kerry talked about real solutions to the problems America faces – increased unemployment, more manufacturing jobs, rising health care costs, skyrocketing gas prices and decreased support for education, George Bush spent the day in Appleton, WI – the hometown of famous illusionist and escape artist Harry Houdini – trying to explain the disappearance of 3 million American jobs.
Making America Pay: The $24 Billion Bush-Cheney Gas Tax
The Bush Administration's failed policies have created record high prices for gas. Americans are paying 12% more for gas since former oil industry executives Bush and Cheney took office on the pledge that their ties to the oil industry would lead to lower gas prices. Instead of helping consumers who will pay $24 billion more for gas this year, Bush and Cheney are aiding oil companies' record profits and increasing American dependence on foreign countries.
Bush Gas Tax Hike Costs Americans $24 Billion More.
Economist David Rosenberg told CNN’s Lou Dobbs that “pain at the pump has wiped out more than $20 billion of the coming $40 billion in tax refund checks.” How? On January 5, consumers paid $1.51 for an average gallon of gas. As of today – less than three months later – they’re paying $1.75 per gallon, a 24 cent increase since January.
According to the Wall Street Journal, “every penny increase in a gallon of gas costs consumers $1 billion a year.” That’s a $24 billion gas tax hike this year alone.
But that’s not all: nationwide gas prices have risen 12% since 2000, and are expected to skyrocket upward to $1.83 a gallon this summer – a 17% increase since Bush took office.
Guy Caruso, the administrator of the Energy Information Administration told the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee that an average family will spend about $1,700 for gas in 2004.
At today’s gas prices, this means that an average family will spend over $300 more for gas than they would have if prices were at the level they were the week Bush took office.
Candidate Bush Said Clinton Should “Jawbone OPEC” to “Open
During a Republican primary debate in Manchester, New Hampshire in January 2000, Bush said, “What I think the president ought to do is he ought to get on the phone with the OPEC cartel and say we expect you to open your spigots. One reason why the price is so high is because the price of crude oil has been driven up. OPEC has gotten its supply act together, and it's driving the price, like it did in the past. And the President of the United States must jawbone OPEC members to lower the price.”
But this year, Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham said the United States has made it “very clear we are not going to beg OPEC for oil,” in response to the current run-up in crude oil, gasoline and other energy prices.
Cheney Sponsored a Bill to Keep Oil Prices High – And Met with Energy Executives Behind Closed Doors.
On October 9, 1986, as a member of the House of Representatives, Dick Cheney introduced a bill to establish a $24-per-barrel price floor on imported crude oil – a mandatory minimum price, indexed to inflation, that today would reach as high as $36.12 per barrel. If Cheney’s bill had passed, consumers would have paid over $1.2 trillion in increased gas prices since 1986, with $600 billion going to oil companies.
In 2001, as Vice President, former Halliburton CEO Dick Cheney lead an energy task force that met with energy industry officials in closed meetings. These meetings led to the administration’s energy policy. The administration has refused to release detailed records of the meetings to the General Accounting Office, the investigative branch of Congress.
The secrecy surrounding the meetings is so unusual that the Supreme Court will hear arguments that the records for the meetings should be opened on April 27th. Cheney is still receiving $180,000 annually in deferred compensation from Halliburton as part of his $40 million retirement package.
John Kerry: Real Solutions to Lower Gas Prices and Fuel the American Economy
While families are paying record prices at the pumps, oil industries are bringing in record profits. For example, Exxon’s after tax profits for 2003 were over $20 billion dollars. George Bush and Dick Cheney are siding with big oil executives and their contributors.
The centerpiece of the Administration’s energy policy -- drilling for oil in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge -- will damage the environment without providing meaningful protection from high oil and gasoline prices.
Also, the special interest-laden energy bill that the Bush Administration supports is so inadequate that even its own Energy Information Administration agrees it will have a “negligible impact” on gasoline prices in either the short or long term.
I. REVERSE BUSH BROKEN PROMISE AND URGE OPEC TO INCREASE OIL SUPPLY
Candidate Bush Promised to Arm-Twist OPEC. “Governor George W. Bush and others are deriding the Clinton administration for not arm-twisting OPEC into increasing production.”
George Bush Has Broken His Promise. On February 10, 2004, OPEC announced an agreement to cut its output quotas by 1 million barrels per day, starting in March. By March 17, crude oil prices in New York reached a 13-year high of $38.18 per barrel. George Bush’s silence on OPEC decisions has sent the signal that prices are not a concern.
John Kerry Believes Immediate Pressure on OPEC Is Necessary.
OPEC is meeting this week in Vienna and Kerry believes action is necessary. A Kerry Administration would act immediately to exert pressure on OPEC to abandon its cut in output quotas and instead increase oil supplies.
As President, John Kerry will engage in diplomacy to ensure that US consumers are not held hostage to price fixing by OPEC. During the last year of the Clinton Administration, effective diplomatic pressure resulted in OPEC responding proactively to reduce prices.
II. TEMPORARILY SUSPEND FILLING THE STRATEGIC PETROLEUM RESERVE (SPR) UNTIL OIL PRICES RETURN TO MORE NORMAL LEVELS
George Bush has failed to manage the SPR at a critical time, allowing higher gas prices to emerge while taking no action.
SPR Management Critical in Time of Crisis.
The U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve is the largest stockpile of government-owned emergency crude oil in the world. Established in the aftermath of the 1973-74 oil embargo, the SPR provides the President with a powerful response option should a disruption in commercial oil supplies threaten the U.S. economy.
It also allows the United States to meet part of its obligation to maintain emergency oil stocks, and provides a national defense fuel reserve.
Bush Put SPR on Automatic Pilot – Ignoring Consumers.
The Bush Administration has put the SPR fill program on automatic pilot without regard to the short-term effect on the US market. The program needs better management – diverting oil from the market to fill the Strategic Petroleum Reserve at a time of exceptional tightness in oil markets as Bush has done, and continues to do, does not make sense today. Kerry would temporarily suspend filling SPR until oil prices return to normal levels.
A Long-Term Strategy for the SPR.
In the long term, a Kerry Administration will work with consumers, producers, and public policy makers to establish strategic oil reserve policies that minimize the negative impact on consumers while ensuring our nation’s energy security.
III. Enact a simpler, cleaner national fuels strategy
Patchwork Regulations Reduce Flexibility and Drive Up Price.
There are more than 300 local and state fuel regulations in the U.S. These regulations result in a patchwork of gasoline zones across the country where only certain fuels can be sold, creating price disparities across the country.
The large number of fuel types also limits flexibility in product distribution, particularly if a disruption occurs. Consumers pay for that lack of flexibility whenever there is a price spike.
Streamline Fuels to Reduce Costs and Increase Flexibility.
Action must be taken to reduce the proliferation of boutique fuels. This is necessary if we are to increase the ability to provide an adequate supply of gasoline and other fuels in times of disruption or in tight markets, such as those we will see this summer.
A Kerry Administration will work with States to develop rational fuel policies that ensure local air quality is protected while reducing market problems that result from the number of boutique fuels used around the country. Gasoline needs to be more fungible from region to region in order to prevent regional or localized price spikes and volatility. This will restore the market flexibility that is necessary to protect consumers.
IV. AN ENERGY POLICY TO DECREASE DEPENDENCE ON FOREIGN OIL AND PROTECT AMERICANS
End Closed-Door Policies Written by and for Big Oil.
Dick Cheney’s energy task force that met with energy industry officials in closed meetings led to the administration’s energy policy – a virtual smorgasbord of benefits for the oil, gas, electricity, and nuclear power industries that threatens the environment and takes us backward by increasing our dependence on polluting sources of energy.
Incentives to Help Americans Use Energy More Cleanly and Efficiently.
When sixty-five percent of the world’s oil reserves are in Persian Gulf states and only 3 percent are in the US, we cannot drill our way to independence. We can, however, develop and deploy clean energy technologies that will make us more efficient and allow us to capitalize on domestic and renewable sources of energy. John Kerry also believes we need to raise fuel standards to make America competitive for the future.
Engage in Responsible Oil/Gas Development in the US.
John Kerry's plan would continue to aggressively develop domestic oil and gas supplies where it makes economic and environmental sense to do so -- such as in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico. He will continue to oppose, however, efforts to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other pristine areas which, under any scenario, will have no meaningful impact on gasoline prices in the United States.
A Renewable Energy Trust Fund.
John Kerry’s plan includes a renewable energy trust fund that will fund the development of renewable energy, reducing our oil dependence by more than 2 million barrels of oil a day – about the same amount we import from the Persian Gulf. Kerry’s plan will also create 500,000 new jobs over the next decade and includes a goal of producing 20 percent of US energy from renewable energy by 2020.
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