GOP Gas Rebate Plan Panned
I've got a very busy first part of the week what with the impending end of classes for the summer and all, so I may not be able to post very much before Wednesday. But I did want to mention this NYTimes story from Monday's paper, about the vociferous and generally negative reaction to the plan proposed by Senate Republicans to send out $100 "gas rebate" checks.
"Under the proposal, $100 checks would be sent late this summer to an estimated 100 million taxpayers, regardless of car ownership. Single taxpayers with adjusted gross incomes above about $146,000 would be ineligible for the checks, as would couples earning more than about $219,000. The $100 figure was determined by Mr. Frist's office, which calculated that the average driver would pay about $11 per month in federal gas taxes over nine months." That's the plan in a nutshell. It makes no sense. If you're going to spend $10 billion, why the heck not use it on something like research and development for new technology, or funding for raising fuel efficiency, or x, y, or z? Wouldn't that be money much better spent?
Even if they're going to send out rebate checks, I also have a bit of a problem with the whole "regardless of car ownership" thing. I don't own a car. I don't buy gasoline. So why on earth would I get a rebate check? That's just ridiculous. Sure I like getting money back, this is just downright goofy. Either us it for something more productive, or give it to someone who needs it.
As the Times reports, many others feel similarly. A staffer to Sen. Cornyn says they've been getting calls from left, right and center in opposition to the rebate plan: "The conservatives think it is socialist bunk, and the liberals think it is conservative trickery." Rush Limbaugh called it "an insult" (I can't believe I'm quoting Limbaugh, I need to go wash my hands), and Brit Hume used the term "silly."
Throwing money at voters isn't going to lower gas prices. It's also not going to improve the tanking approval ratings of Congress. The American people are smart enough to see through this nonsense, and I hope the Senate opts to do something more useful with that spare $10 billion they've got stashed away (hah!).