And Obama’s Solution is…?
I have been hearing now for weeks about all the “gimmicks” that McCain is proposing.Â The gas tax holiday is a gimmick, since it only saves the average American $30 (see my previous posts here and here for why that analysis is flawed.)Â In addition, any proposal for increasing domestic production is met not only with cries that it is harmful to the environment, but that it is not a near term solution–that “do (sic) not provide immediate relief.”Â And yet, this same solution is chastised for not being a long term solution either!
In addition, Obama’s attacks McCain’s proposal to offer a $300M prize for battery development
“to improve battery technology for full commercial development of plug-in hybrid and fully electric automobiles” to leapfrog currently available batteries and would have to build “more than one” advanced battery at 30 percent of current costs.
(In fact, in that same article Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, is quoted as saying “We don’t need a game show,” which, while making a great sound bite, seems to ignore the tremendous innovation currently seen through the use of prizes even at government expense, such as the X-Prize.Â See here, here, here, and here.)
In several other stories we see the McCain has proposed immediate, near, mid and long term solutions.Â Generally speaking, what Obama is calling gimmicks, we call a strategy.Â He is working to alleviate (or at least reduce) the immediate pain at the pump, while seeking to ameliorate the overall energy situation through investing, and rewarding, innovation.
Obama’s plan?Â Well, he really doesn’t seem to have a targeted one.Â He supports a second round of stimulus tax rebates.Â He also supports taxing “big oil” for making their record profits (which, by the way, are a far lower percentage of revenue than the much beloved Apple Inc.Â If you don’t trust me, just challenge me.Â I did the math…)Â He also has called for higher fuel efficiency standards to double fuel economy by 2027!Â (is that a near term solution?) And he supports alternative sources, such as solar, wind, and biofuels.
So does this add up to a coherent strategic plan that addresses the immediate needs, as well as the mid- to long-term needs?Â What does Obama himself have to say about this:
Obama admitted that his own plan will not immediately affect gas prices but said his proposal for a second stimulus package will offer overall financial relief. â€œI wish I could wave a magic wand and make gas prices go down, but I canâ€™t,” he said. “What I can do â€“ and what I will do â€“ is push for a second stimulus package that will send out another round of rebate checks to the American people.â€
So, what is Obama’s plan for today?Â He and McCain seem to agree on the long-term.Â And the need for change.Â But Senator Obama, do we really have 10 to 20 years to wait?
So, readers, I ask this.Â If you were putting together a comprehensive strategy, what would be your:
- immediate term solution for lowering the price at the pumps today
- near/mid term solution for keeping costs down
- long term solution for weaning Americans off a dependence not just on foreign oil, but oil.
And I think this is exactly where Obama needs to make up significant ground if he is going to fare better than either Gore or Kerry’s infamous “I have a plan” rhetoric.
Instead, in ads they are both running in PA now that you have likely seen, Obama is trying to leverage his street cred with blue-collar folk. McCain can assume that he has that established and can focus on the issues that he is presenting. So far McCain is coming out ahead if you ask me.
what confuses me is that if we are going to alleviate the cost, what is the reason for the drastic inflation of energy costs over the past four years? If it really is supply/demand McCain is offering solutions to leverage supply domestically which makes sense to me. Obama is playing the conspiracy card that “big oil” is ripping us off, but that claim has yet to be substantiated. What I think a better debate would be is how to help strengthen the dollar overseas no? Just a guess…
– Strengthening the dollar hurts US exports and our balance of trade (with weak dollar, US Labor wins, US consumer loses). When China floats the rhenminibi we can stop (purposely) devaluing our dollar.
– Biofuels are not technically an alternative energy “source.” They are more precisely a *very* inefficient way to store, transport, and deliver solar power.
– Get India and China to stop raising their standards of living, and we will be able to go back driving Diesel Escalades. $4.00 gas is the price we pay for a robust world economy, where the standards of living are increasing in the third world exponentially.
Having lived in Japan and spent time hanging out in Singapore, it is quite clear to me how to function with less oil: denser construction.
Unfortunately, this would require a complete reorganization of American culture to achieve. As long as civil liberties concepts are the property of pimps, drug lords, and racketeers, who wants to live in an urban zone? There are many other government mandated social ills to add to the list.
It is better to drive around the urban no-go zones on the way to work.