Monday, May 26, 2008

Hill's hypocrisy on gas prices

From Daniel Suddeath's lead story in Saturday's (Jeff-NA) News-Tribune...

Schansberg challenges Hill to debate on gas prices

Gasoline prices nearing $4 a gallon in Southern Indiana are a big issue for Eric Schansberg, the Libertarian candidate for the 9th District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Schansberg would like Democratic Party Rep. Baron Hill to address the prices is his bid for reelection, and he feels there is no better way to do it than in a debate.

“Voters deserve an explanation from Congressman Hill,” Schansberg said. “Baron thought this was an important issue in 2006. Surely he will want to address it now.”

Schansberg referred to the 2006 campaign when Hill challenged then incumbent Mike Sodrel, the Republican candidate for the 9th District seat, to a similar debate.

Schansberg said that like Sodrel in 2006, Hill apparently isn’t interested.

To add appropriate flavor to this, one should remember that Hill repeatedly demanded a debate from Sodrel in May 2006.

“He still has not returned our calls,” Schansberg said.

In a release from Katie Moreau, campaign spokeswoman for Hill, she stated the congressman is worried about acting on the problems, not debating them.

“There will be plenty of time for open and honest debates in the months to come. Right now, Baron is focused on legislative priorities, such as lowering the people of Southern Indiana’s property taxes and the price they are paying at the pump for gasoline,” Moreau said.

Talking with us through the press instead of returning our calls? Classy, huh? And again, in May 2006, Hill thought that debating was more important than acting. Why the change?

Schansberg does not expect the debate to take place, saying the gesture was more to show that Hill was being hypocritical on the issue.

“Two years ago he demanded a debate from Sodrel on this issue and now that the shoe’s on the other foot, he’s not going to want any part of this,” he said.

Why won't Hill debate me on this?
a.) his party supports a range of policies that reduce supply and thus, increase prices
b.) he supports profligate spending and debt, weakening the dollar, and driving up the price of imports including oil and gas
c.) he's a hypocrite
d.) it's the smart thing to do politically-- as an incumbent who has little to offer on this issue
e.) why would a politician want to debate an economist on an economics issue?
f.) all of the above

The correct answer: F. (Ironically, this is Hill's grade on fiscal conservatism from the NTU, CAGW, and Club for Growth.)

Sodrel’s campaign has been contacted about the debate and Schansberg said there has been some dialogue between the two camps, which was confirmed by a spokesman for Sodrel’s campaign.

Sodrel said he’s not sure how much good a forum just on gas prices would be.

“When Congressman Hill challenged me, I said a single-issue debate is not very useful and I still feel that way,” Sodrel said. “Would I participate? Sure. But I just think we ought to have a serious debate (on several issues).”

I appreciate Sodrel's consistency, although he missed an opportunity to expose Hill's hypocrisy.

In a release, Schansberg stated gas prices have increased 68 percent since Hill returned to Congress in November 2006.

“As an economist, I know that gas prices are determined by the market, and we all know that Democrats support a range of policies that restrict the supply of oil and gas, and thus keep prices higher,” Schansberg said.

On May 14, a bill co-sponsored by Hill to temporarily suspend filling the Strategic Petroleum Reserve for the remainder of 2008 passed in the House. The Senate also passed the bill, and President George Bush announced Monday he would sign it into legislation, temporarily suspending filling the reserve for the next six months.

“People are really hurting,” Hill stated in a release. “Although this is certainly not the long-term answer to lowering gasoline prices, we should help people in the short term if we can. I believe we ought to be offering relief to folks.”

Reducing the SPR is fine, but it's exceptionally modest compared to other policies.

Sodrel said the key is to develop other sources of energy, but added that even if developed, Americans would not be able to rely on the additional sources for at least a generation.

In the meantime, Sodrel suggests capitalizing on existing U.S. oil sources.

“We’re also going to have to develop our natural gas and our crude oil sources in environmentally conscious ways,” he said.

Amen, brother...Preach it!


At May 26, 2008 at 11:15 PM , Blogger said...

From article: "I hadn't realized, until the hearings on energy that were held this week in House and Senate committees, that the United States doesn't have any big oil companies. It's true: the largest American oil company, Exxon Mobil, is only the 14th largest in the world, and is dwarfed by the really big oil companies--all owned by foreign governments or government-sponsored monopolies--that dominate the world's oil supply."

At May 27, 2008 at 12:00 AM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...

Thanks for that little/big factoid!


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