Biden's Gas Tax Proposal Is One That Even Obama Called a 'Gimmick' Back in 2008

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

Joe Biden is desperate to try to pump up his numbers and look like he’s doing something when it comes to gas prices and inflation. He’s at his lowest numbers ever, at 32 percent approval now in a new Civiqs poll, and it looks like the Democrats are heading for a massive trouncing come November.

So now Biden has decided that he’s going to ask Congress to suspend federal gas taxes for three months, according to a senior administration official. The federal gas tax is now 18 cents per gallon and 24 cents on diesel per gallon.

If Congress gets on board with the idea, gas prices then might drop a little bit but prices are rising so much, that an 18-cent “drop” might just get absorbed. But of course, that doesn’t address the continuing problem — producing more, to be energy independent. Biden is still not dealing with the underlying issue because he doesn’t seem to want to — he’s already said repeatedly he sees this crisis as an opportunity to phase-out fossil fuels and reach their radical green energy goals.

Barack Obama called suspending the gas tax a “gimmick” back in 2008 to save half a tank of gas so lawmakers could say that they did something. “The easiest thing in the world for a politician to do,” Obama said in April 2008, “is tell you exactly what you want to hear.” That’s exactly what’s going on here. It’s Biden’s attempt to help himself in the polls and the Democrats in the midterms. It’s a temporary thing to get votes. What happens when it goes back up and the problem still hasn’t been solved? He’s not talking about that.

On top of that, the tax holiday may make things worse.

There is also concern about a gas tax holiday’s impact on already record-high inflation. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a non-partisan group that advocates for reducing the federal budget, previously argued that suspending the tax for a 10-month period could actually increase demand for gasoline and other goods and services when the economy is already confronting high consumer demand and pandemic-induced supply chain disruptions.

“While the gas tax holiday may reduce prices at the pump, it will further increase demand for gasoline and other goods and services at a time when the economy has little capacity to absorb it,” the blog post said. “The result could be even higher rates of inflation in 2023.”

So instead of increasing the supply, he would be effectively increasing the demand, which would ultimately make it worse. Biden may be hoping that Republicans question this move and it doesn’t go through, so then he can attack them.

Meanwhile, Biden is blaming the oil companies for not producing more and threatening them with action. But the folly of all of this is that gas has been going up ever since Biden came into office — in part because he attacked the energy industry. Now he wants them to produce more after demonizing them and trying to do them in. But they can’t turn on a dime and come up with more.

The American Petroleum Institute and American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers sent a joint letter to Biden about a week ago explaining that their refineries are already operating close to their maximum capacity, but that nearly half of the capacity was taken off-line because of the facilities converting to renewable energy production. Not to mention all the government restrictions that are also hamstringing capacity. So the inability to refine more that Biden is decrying is directly due to the green energy policies that he has pushed.

Chevron CEO Michael Wirth also leveled Biden for the instability his approach has caused and said that has to stop if the problems are going to be solved, “[Y]our Administration has largely sought to criticize, and at times vilify, our industry. These actions are not beneficial to meeting the challenges we face and are not what the American people deserve.”

Biden’s response to that letter? “I didn’t know that they’d get their feelings hurt so quickly.” What a nasty, snippy reply. He takes every challenge as a personal affront. But what they’re saying to him that he’s blowing off is right not just for them but for the American people and American national security. You have to have a stable energy policy and Biden’s approach has been anything but that.