Douglas Andrews / June 23, 2022

Biden’s Big Gimmick

The president’s gas tax “holiday” is a desperate attempt to curry favor with the voters between now and the midterm elections.

If we didn’t know better, we’d swear it was a gimmick.

But Joe Biden wouldn’t do that, would he? He wouldn’t announce a puny, paltry, pathetic 90-day federal gas tax holiday just to assuage the anger of the American people ahead of a potentially disastrous midterm election, would he? Naw.

We’re no expert on such things, but perhaps we could gain some insight from a member of Congress — say, a senator:

The Dems’ so-called gas tax “holiday” is a gimmick worth 18 cents a gallon, or about 6% of the increase in gas since Biden took office. It’s meant to cover up the fact that Dem policies have restricted supply & raised costs.

That’s Arkansas Republican Tom Cotton, hitting on both the insignificance of the price cut and the reason for the gimmick, which is the Democrats’ ruinous energy policies. Tennessee’s Marsha Blackburn echoes this sentiment:

Joe Biden has caused gas prices to hit historic highs by killing American energy and implementing 39 new regulations and executive orders. Suspending the gas tax will not fix Biden’s energy crisis. It is a fake fix.

We know what you’re thinking: Cotton and Blackburn are Republicans. Of course they’re going to oppose it. Fair enough. What if we asked a respected Democrat what he thinks? What about Joe Biden’s old boss, Barack Obama himself? Here’s what he had to say as a presidential candidate in 2008:

I know that we’re having a debate right now about the gas tax holiday. … For us to suggest that 30 cents a day for three months is real relief, that that’s a real energy policy, means that we are not tackling the problem that has to be tackled. We’re arguing over a [wait for it] gimmick to save you half a tank of gas over the course of the entire summer so that everyone in Washington can pat themselves on the back and say that they did something.

Obama was right, and columnist Gary Bauer did the math: “If you fill up once a week and have a 15-gallon tank, at $5.00 a gallon, you’re only saving $2.70 per tank. Over the course of three months, that’s $32.40 or about half a tank of gas.”

Maybe there’s something to this talk of gimmickry. To be fair, 18 cents per gallon is, as the old man used to say, better'n a sharp stick in the eye. But not much better. After all, it’s our money. All Joe Biden is proposing to do is un-steal it for 90 days.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre inadvertently addressed the issue of these gas pains and their root cause recently when she said with Freudian flair, “The president has been very clear in making sure that he does everything that he can to elevate — to alleviate the pain that American families are feeling when it comes to gas prices.”

You know, alleviate.

Of course, a little pain at the pump is a good thing as far as the “green” Left is concerned — all the better to get everyone into one of those $60,000 electric vehicles that somehow magically recharge themselves without the benefit of fossil fuel.

If you’re wondering about the political wisdom of restoring the gas tax just before the midterms, we have a prediction for you: Biden won’t. He’ll simply extend it. The 90-day tax holiday makes him look like he’s being prudent rather than profligate. But when the time comes, he’ll call for an additional 90-day extension, and the GOP won’t be principled foolish enough to stand in the way and look like they stuck it to the voters. Thus, Biden and his fellow Democrats will have accomplished their goal of tamping down voter anger in the days and weeks before the election.

Given that Biden is unwilling to step up domestic energy production, he’s pretty much run out of options. As the editors of The Wall Street Journal note: “He’s tried lobbying the Saudis, to no avail. Releasing oil from the U.S. strategic reserve; the market yawned. Attacking oil and gas companies for not drilling or refining enough, but he also wants to put those companies out of business. … Now comes the feeblest effort so far — a White House request on Wednesday that Congress suspend the 18.4 cent a gallon federal gas tax for three months. … Has there ever been a more transparently cynical vote-buying policy exercise? Ah, yes, we forgot student-loan cancellation.”

But, yeah, as Joe Biden told us recently, “I promise you I’m doing everything possible … to bring the price of energy down, gas prices down.”

That’s a lie. And this gas tax holiday is nothing more than a gimmick.

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