I have a lingering internal question over whether my mistrust of government is still a healthy skepticism or is now in mired in the depths of cynicism. I don’t think the difference matters significantly because I still reach the same conclusions. But the latter might make the rare exceptions harder to accept when they appear. And yet, as I wonder, a story like this on Senator McCain’s proposed “gas-tax holiday” comes along (link via John Cole):
Earlier Monday at a community college in the Philadelphia suburbs, Obama rejected a tax holiday as bad economic policy. “I’ve said I think John McCain’s proposal for a three-month tax holiday is a bad idea,” Obama said, warning consumers that any price cut would be short lived before costs spike back.
“We’re talking about 5 percent of your total cost of gas that you suspend for three months, which might save you a few hundred bucks that then will spike right up,” Obama said. “Now keep in mind that it will save you that if Exxon Mobil doesn’t decide, ‘We’ll just tack on another 5 percent on the current cost.’”
I’m calling my mental approach skepticism because Senator Obama demonstrates here what cynicism really is. Where he could talk exclusively about the stupidity of a tax holiday bribe, he had to jump into talking points. Let’s assume Exxon Mobil, since they’re the working man’s evil oppressor du jour right now, would “just tack on another 5 percent on the current cost”. Then what? I, as a price-conscious consumer in need of gasoline, drive to the Shell station where the 5 percent isn’t “just tacked on”. Although it could be, because in a competitive market, companies are able – and certainly willing, the evil bastards – to “just tack on” whatever little windfall profits they want.
I’ve heard Senator Obama is a new kind of politician. I’m not buying it. A new kind of politics would rely on something a little more honest than pandering to voters with a scapegoat and misrepresentation of economics. This is one more reason I will not be voting for Senator Obama in November.