RED COUNTY WASHINGTON: STEVE BEREN RESPONDS TO MCDERMOTT “GAS STAMPS” BILL
Posted by: Michael S. Kerr - 07/23/2008 9:01 AM - Representative Jim McDermott (D-Washington-7th District) has introduced a new bill which would provide "gas stamps for the needy." This $5 billion dollar proposal doesn't sit well will many Americans including McDermott's opponent, Steve Beren. Red County contacted Mr. Beren to get his reaction to McDermott's proposed legislation and he offered the following:
My opponent, far left Democratic incumbent Jim McDermott yesterday proposed a new $5 billion program, supposedly to provide "gas stamps" to poor people. Unfortunately, this bill does nothing at all to reduce gas prices, and offers no real help to the American people. Not a word about where this $5 billion would come from, but obviously it would lead to either $5 billion in increased taxes or $5 billion added to the federal deficit.
According to McDermott's congressional website, under McDermott's bill, the current SSBG (Social Services Block Grant) program would receive a $5 billion infusion to finance a "Gas Stamps" program. The program is supposedly intended to assist low income families purchase gas, but according to McDermott's congressional website "(S)tate governors would have the flexibility to use the money to create programs that target the specific needs of their communities." Washington State has about 2.11% of the entire United States population, so that's perhaps $105.5 million for Christine Gregoire. Do we really want to trust Christine Gregoire with "the flexibility" to use perhaps $105.5 million to "create programs"?
McDermott's legislation does nothing to reduce the price of gas. In order to that, we need to increase the supply of oil, and that means expanding drilling and removing regulations that restrict the ability of oil companies to expand refinery capacity.
Jim McDermott, Nancy Pelosi, and their fellow Democrats took control of congress in 2006 with big promises, including a promise to reduce gas prices. But the Democrats have failed - just one more reason that voters have an extremely low opinion of congress.
Some far left extremists in the environmentalist movement believe that cars, highways, and fossil fuels are pushing the planet toward disaster, and that higher gas prices are necessary to "force people out of their cars" and "force people off the roads" and "deal with climate change."
McDermott and the Democratic majority in congress has acted in accordance with the influence of these extremists, seeking to prevent the oil companies from increasing supply in order to bring prices down. McDermott himself has a hypocritical record of opposition to increasing the supply of oil. He has consistently favored heavy penalties and increased taxes on oil companies, and strong restrictions limiting the ability of oil companies to build new refineries and open new avenues of exploration for oil.
During the 2006 campaign, Jim McDermott said that "the oil companies fully intend to keep raising prices at the pump.... this crisis is not about supply and demand." McDermott accused "a handful of oil companies" of deliberately "refusing to supply ... in order to drive up the prices." He argued that only by electing Democrats would the oil companies be forced to increase supply, leading to reduced prices. (Jim McDermott, speech of 4/26/06)
However, once the Democrats achieved a majority in congress, they pursued a counter-productive policy of inaction. The price of gas has gone up approximately $1.70 per gallon since Nancy Pelosi became speaker - and House Republican Leader John Boehner correctly calls this price increase the "Pelosi premium."
McDermott's official congressional website says that "many difficult environmental problems, including acid rain, global warming, and air pollution, are the direct result of our fossil fuel consumption" and therefore McDermott "opposes oil exploration" in ANWAR and "off-shore areas of California and Florida."
McDermott's legislation also does nothing to actually help poor people. The best thing we can do for the American people - including low income people - is to strengthen economic growth and improve the business climate by reducing taxes.
We should eliminate taxes for everybody making less than $25,000 a year, and we should greatly reduce taxes for everybody else. This could be done, for example, by raising the personal exemption to $25,000.
We need to sharply reduce spending, cut taxes, reduce the deficit, and balance the budget. I'm for lower taxes and smaller government, because lower taxes are better for families, property owners, and small businesses. Lower taxes lead to increased liberty. With lower taxes, families have more money for their needs: mortgage, college education, and health insurance. With lower taxes, business have more money to invest, hire, and provide services. Less government bureaucracy improves the business climate and promotes job growth. If taxes are lower, liberty is increased. If taxes are lower, families have more of their own money to pay their mortgages, educate their children, and purchase health insurance. If taxes are lower, businesses have more of their own money to invest, leading to more jobs, more products, and more services.
In my campaign against Jim McDermott, I am promoting free market solutions, energy independence, and conservative policies - right in the heart of Seattle and King County.
We need to put the highest priority on ending our dependence on foreign oil. Our national security gives this a special priority in any energy policy. If we are going to use oil, it is preferable that we use domestic oil - American oil. Let's put Americans to work, drilling American oil in America - for use by Americans!
We must remove the regulations, restrictions, and obstacles that block the construction of new oil refineries. And to increase supply and reduce prices, let's drill here, and drill now.
Red County Washington enthusiastically endorses Steve Beren for Congress. You can read Steve's entire position paper on Energy Policy at www.berenforcongress.com/energy.html
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