Americans are not the complete morons that most of our politicians think we are. We know that there is no such thing as a free lunch. We have the ability to understand that you can't just put a cap on prices and not expect that there will be other unintended consequences. We even know that if you cut a tax now, you are going to pay for it in the future with a higher tax or a lower level of services.
So then, how do you explain both McCain and Clinton advocating this idiocy about suspending the gas tax? McCain is easy - he wants to starve government to death by depriving it of tax revenue. He and his ilk do not believe in the protections (other than military) that the government provides. He is like Grover Norquist, a designer of the Bush economic "plan" who said
My goal is to cut government in half in twenty five years to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub
If you believe that government is bad, useless, provides nothing that working people need, then cutting a key tax makes some sense. But NOT for the reason of helping the working person. Specifically for the reason of killing the government. I wish our media would ask McCain how he expects that the white working class voters who he is counting on to abandon the Democratic party are going to sends their kids to college with no government assistance. Or how they will individually protect their food supply, or their air and water quality, or the safety of their cities and towns, or the stability of their banking system, or, or, or... So much for Straight Talk!
But Clinton? She has always respected the value of government. Why is she advocating this nonsense?
Let's take a short detour here and talk about why reducing the price of gas is bad. Supply and Demand works. If we reduce the price of gas now, then we send the signal to consumers that there is nothing to be gained by making the changes necessary to use less gas. That means that those who can buy more fuel efficient cars won't; that those who can take public transportation won't, and those who need to make even more drastic life changes so that they use less gas, really won't. All because our government will be saying "we'll fix the problem for you, so hold on." On the other hand, if we provide relief in a different way (say sending cash) but KEEP THE PRICE HIGH, consumers will have BOTH the incentive (high prices) and the ability (a little cash) to make some long needed changes to use less gas.
Back to Hillary. The reason she is spouting this nonsense is because she will say whatever she needs to say to get elected. She thinks we're stupid, and rather than do the hard work of educating people on why the gas tax should actually be higher, she takes the easy way out of lying to us.
Barack - stay strong! So far you have said that temporarily repealing the gas tax is a gimmick. Please keep telling the truth. Killing the gas tax means poorly maintained roads (even worse than now), higher gas consumption, more imported oil, greater need to be in Iraq and all sorts of other bad things. Find a way to put more money in people's pockets (a gas stimulus check would be the easiest thing, especially if it were explicitly funded by an increase future gas tax).