Charles Krauthammer does not drive himself, which is understandable due to his physical condition. He also lives inside the cloistered beltway, for which he can also be forgiven, given that he works for Fox News in the Washington. Moreover, he supported Walter Mondale against Ronald Reagan – and while we may forgive that – I hesitate to cede the notion that this man is fully brilliant. He is a recovering liberal. Many of us never had that liberal phase, and yet we are called the rubes who live in fly over territory.

And the truly brilliant David Horowitz, for example, is also a recovering liberal. His recovery is complete – far more so than Dr. Krauthammer’s – who’s disease is not in remission it would appear.

Living in his world, and given his background in the corrupt leftist world of academe, Dr. K can also be forgiven for not understanding anything about energy prices and a rancher’s reality in Montana, a landscape contractor’s reality in North Carolina, or a soccer mom’s in Ohio.  Thus what is unforgivable – in the political policy sense – is his insistence on commenting on energy and energy taxes when it’s rather clear he possesses little practical understanding of the subject.

In his latest attempt to push a gas tax, published in many publications, the good doctor is simply wrong – on almost every count. Let’s debate the main points:

KRAUTHAMMER: For 32 years I’ve been advocating a major tax on petroleum. I’ve got as much chance this time around as did Don Quixote with windmills.

WRIGHT: This is a good thing, because 3o years ago you supported Walter Mondale over Ronald Reagan, and we know how that worked out.  

KRAUTHAMMER: The only time you can even think of proposing a gas tax increase is when oil prices are at rock bottom. When I last suggested the idea six years ago, oil was selling at $40 a barrel. It eventually rose back to $110. It’s now about $48.

WRIGHT: You are right Doctor K that the prices has spiked up and down dramatically in just the last six years, more than any other consumer item. But by your own logic, such a tax must be rescinded the very moment it spikes back up. Do you seriously expect us to believe that this will happen? Has it ever? 

KRAUTHAMMER:  The hike should not be 10 cents but $1. And the proceeds should not be spent by, or even entrusted to, the government. They should be immediately and entirely returned to the consumer by means of a cut in the Social Security tax.

WRIGHT: Okay, let me get this straight. With a straight face you are proposing revenue to Washington will actually be used for the purpose upon which it was sold in the first place? You mean like the ‘social security lock box?’ Sir, history insults your premise once again. 

KRAUTHAMMER: The average American buys about 12 gallons of gas a week.

WRIGHT: STOP right there. The “average American?” Who is that? This average is just a mathematical fiction somewhere between the gas bought by those living the Seinfeld lifestyle in the big cities and the rancher in Montana, the fleet operator in Texas or the traveling soccer mom in Ohio. I submit this is where those in academe make their mistakes. They deal in fictions while proposing policies that impact realities. It almost never works. This won’t. Now please, proceed.

KRAUTHAMMER: Washington would be soaking him for $12 in extra taxes. Washington should, therefore, simultaneously reduce everyone’s Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax by $12 a week. Thus, the average driver is left harmless. He receives a $12-per-week FICA bonus that he can spend on gasoline if he wants – or anything else. If he chooses to drive less, it puts money in his pocket. The unemployed would have the $12 added to their unemployment insurance; the elderly, added to their Social Security check.

WRIGHT: Well first we destroyed the notion of the ‘average driver’ earlier – but this “chooses not to drive” comment is another contrivance of your academic proclivities. Does the rancher choose to fuel his equipment and trucks? How about the delivery fleet owner? I guess the soccer mom does choose to use more gas, but probably because she has obligations to her children and others. I know that this is a pittance for those of you who scoot around Washington and Manhattan in limousines – fueled by some poor schlubs and not yourself – but this dollar increase would cripple many businesses and wreck many household budgets. 

Moreover, when energy spiked in the period between 2005 and 2007, people in the real world stopped paying their mortgages, and thus the first domino in the housing mortgage derivative bubble was toppled…and we know how that all worked out. Energy prices matter! 

KRAUTHAMMER: The point of the $1 gas tax increase is not to feed the maw of a government raking in $3 trillion a year. The point is exclusively to alter incentives – to reduce the disincentive for work (the Social Security tax) and to increase the disincentive to consume gasoline.

WRIGHT: I’m sure this model works in the faculty lounge. Jonathan Gruber’s models worked in the faculty lounge at MIT also. It failed reality however. When people stop consuming gasoline, it means they stop traveling, stop doing business, stop staying in hotels and eating in restaurants. In other words, it cripples the entire economy. Please sir, connect some dots. 

KRAUTHAMMER: A $1 gas tax increase would constrain oil consumption in two ways. In the short run, by curbing driving. In the long run, by altering car-buying habits. A high gas tax encourages demand for more fuel-efficient vehicles. Constrained U.S. consumption – combined with already huge increases in U.S. production – would continue to apply enormous downward pressure on oil prices.

WRIGHT: This is the kind of analysis one would expect from Steven Chu, Obama’s first Energy Secretary – who didn’t even own or drive a car! Everything you mentioned above as a positive result actually destroys jobs and perverts the auto market. Such bureaucratic meddling is, next to the union contracts, the main reason for having to bail these companies out in the first place.

KRAUTHAMMER: A tax is the best way to improve fuel efficiency. Today we do it through rigid regulations, the so-called Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards imposed on carmakers. They are forced to manufacture acres of unsellable cars in order to meet an arbitrary, bureaucratic “fleet” gas-consumption average.

WRIGHT: The current standards are arbitrary and destructive – but sir, a tax – some arbitrary figure that some academic or bureaucrat comes up with – is not the best way to improve anything. It is totalitarian on its face and history indicates it almost never accomplishes what these precious models insist it will. And for the record, there is nothing as rigid and regulatory as a tax increase! Your theory fails your own test on that point. 

KRAUTHAMMER: And finally, lower consumption reduces pollution and greenhouse gases. The reduction of traditional pollutants, though relatively minor, is an undeniable gain. And even for global warming skeptics, there’s no reason not to welcome a benign measure that induces prudential reductions in carbon dioxide emissions.

WRIGHT: A benign measure? Tell that to a long haul trucker. A commercial fisherman. It is only benign in the Manhattan media studio or the faculty lounge. Oh, are you enjoying this last wave of global warming? I’m not.   

KRAUTHAMMER: The unexpected and unpredicted collapse of oil prices gives us a unique opportunity to maintain our good luck through a simple, revenue-neutral measure to help prevent the perennial price spikes that follow the fool’s paradise of ultracheap oil.

WRIGHT: The unpredictable nature of the oil price is really an argument against your idea and not in favor of it. It is vain and naive to assume that your one dollar figure – or any other figure – is some magic bullet of stabilization for the markets. In the meantime, what is predictable is the catastrophic devastation on the economies of real people living outside the Washington to Manhattan political/media/crony corridor that would result. Thanks, but no thanks, sir. 

The last thing the GOP needs is to nominate another family legacy candidate OR a moderate squish. In Jeb, you have both.

The last thing the GOP needs is to nominate another family legacy candidate OR a moderate squish. In Jeb, you have both.

There’s been a pretty obvious trend in the Jurassic media over the past couple of weeks – a movement to contrive this wave of support for Jeb Bush as the Republican Presidential nominee for 2016. Why not? The mainstream media is simply an arm of the Democrat Party – and the Democrats (though not the Republican establishment) realize that a moderate squish like Jeb is exactly the kind of GOP candidate who will lose big. Think McCain. Think Mitt. Think Dole. Think HW Bush. This has been true since 1980.

In the past few days, we’ve seen pieces by CNN, The Boston Globe, The New York Times, The Politico and Bloomberg (did I miss anybody?) pushing the inevitability of Jeb’s nomination – or perhaps the wisdom of it – onto the Republican electorate. They know what they’re doing. But do we? (some of us, yes….memo to Karl Rove, Britt Hume, Charles Krauthammer, etc.)

Consider: The only reason George HW Bush won in 1988 is that A: people thought he would give us four more years of Reagan, or something close, and B: Mike Dukakis was a far left loon who made two astonishing mistakes in the campaign. The only reason his son, George W. Bush won in 2000 (and not the popular vote) is because Al Gore was also a far left loon – and ditto John Kerry in 2004. And yet, W barely won those. Shoulda been WIPEOUTS!

What the Republicans MUST have is a wide ideological gap between the parties – or at least a perceived chasm. What the Democrats MUST have is a muddied or narrow ideological gap. Why do you think Bill Clinton won twice? Because he moved to the right in rhetoric and neither Bush 41 nor Dole were far enough right. There was no wide gap.

Moreover, why was Clinton the keynote speaker for the Democrats in Charlotte in 2012? Because he is the master obfuscater and he was able to narrow the perceived ideological gap between Obama and Romney. Then again, Romney allowed it with his squishy moderate campaign.

Elizabeth Warren: she might be the ONLY Democrat Jeb could beat....maybe.....

Elizabeth Warren: she might be the ONLY Democrat Jeb could beat….maybe…..

When you have both extremes, as we had in 1984 when Reagan ran for re-election against far left Walter Mondale, you have an historic wipe out and a 49 state win for the GOP. Maybe today 49 is out of the question, but the over all equation holds.

In the mid terms of 1994, 2010 and 2014, the ideological gap was larger than normal, and all three were historic Republican routs.

Thus, the liberals are craving a Jeb Bush nomination. So is the clueless Republican Washington establishment. This is NOT going to happen. The only Democrat Jeb might beat is wacko Elizabeth Warren – and even then, I’m not so sure.

 

 

 

 

Ferguson in Pictures (Democrat Voter Registration?)

by C. Edmund Wright on December 15, 2014

The pictures of all the "hands up don't shoot" crowd are illustrative....

The pictures of all the “hands up don’t shoot” crowd are illustrative….

FERG2 FERG3 FERG4

John Boehner Gives Middle Finger to the Voters (Omnibus bill)

by C. Edmund Wright on December 12, 2014

At least this little hellion is cute.....

At least this little hellion is cute…..

Let me tell you what John Boehner just did – he just shot the bird to all of those who voted for Republicans in the 2014 mid term elections. By working with Barack Obama – the man the voters clearly wanted to reign in and stop – to push through the 1.1 trillion dollar omnibus funding bill – Boehner effectively removed almost half of the leverage the NEW Congress can exercise.

This bill goes through September – meaning that the new House and the new Senate will lose 8 months of input on Federal budget issues. This, even more than some of the malignant spending in the bill, is the real cancer here. Boehner just did an FU to all of us.

And to make it worse, he had his deputies lie about his intentions to get a procedural vote win he needed. I won’t bore you with the details of this now, but suffice it to say that Boehner promised to pull the 9 month bill in favor of a short term 2 month bill if certain people voted certain ways on the procedural vote. Total corruption.

Now the theatrics moves to the Senate – where we may see an alliance between Ted Cruz and Elizabeth Warren. Strange bedfellows indeed.

 

AHEAD OF THE CURVE!! 2009 “As Racists Go, We Are Rank Amateurs”

December 11, 2014

As published in The American Thinker July 27, 2009 – and yet even more relevant today! Mr. President, history and reality teach us that as racists go, we are, frankly, rank amateurs. And I am sick and tired of Ivy League elites like you and Professor Gates pretending otherwise. What? You think I’m crazy? Look […]

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Academia Nut Gruber to face the Music Today on Capitol Hill

December 9, 2014

So today Dr. Jonathon Gruber – that faculty lounge cowboy who bragged on numerous videos about how he helped the Obama administration and the Democrats use “the stupidity of the voters” to sneak Obama Care into law – will have ‘some splaining to do Lucy’ today. He is set to face Darrell Issa’s Congressional Oversight […]

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Democrats Go “Oh for the South” as Landrieu is Crushed by Bill Cassidy

December 8, 2014

It was a preordained result – Mary Landrieu was not going to be returned to the U.S. Senate by the voters of a state who cannot stand Barack Obama and Harry Reid-  even more than they love the pork that comes with a Senator with seniority. That she lost by 14, and not 20 plus, […]

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And now we hear from the Low Testosterone Republicans….David Brooks and Little Peter Wehner

November 23, 2014

Ah yes, the low testosterone Republicans are weighing in this week, apparently hoping that the country will be too stupid (apologies to Dr. Gruber) to know what and why they voted for November 4th. And in case you don’t know what I mean by low-T Republicans – and I did just make up the term […]

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Shutdown Hangover for GOP? Not Even a Smidgeon of Evidence (but evidence of need for virtual Congress)

November 18, 2014

NOTE: this piece is also published at American Thinker.  It’s hard to go more than a few hours without being slapped in the face with some example how out of touch Washington’s wizards are with the country that is increasingly ruled by those same mavens. And there is no more compelling example of this dynamic […]

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Not just Obama Care will be swamped by Gruber: Good bye Mitt 2016!

November 15, 2014

He is the gift that keeps on giving….. Jonathon Gruber, in his arrogant condescending honesty, has done the nation several tremendous favors. The most obvious, of course, is that he has dramatically increased the chances that the Supreme Court will strike down the heart of the law in the upcoming cases before the court – […]

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