Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Promise 'em anything and everything

During her stop in Greensboro yesterday, Sen. Hillary Clinton signed on to Sen. McCain's irresponsible and ineffective idea for a gas- and diesel-tax holiday.

The main difference between the two senators' proposals is that Sen. Clinton would close some tax loopholes, end some subsidies, and impose a windfall profits tax for energy companies. While these would offset the revenues lost from a tax break at the pump, they would also undermine the consumer benefits of the gas tax break by raising operating costs for oil companies. Thus, her proposals would be even less effective, if that's even possible, than Sen. McCain's.

As additional evidence of Sen. Clinton's generous spirit, The Hill has reported that Sen. Clinton is poised to become the Senate's earmark queen. Sen. Clinton has proposed $2.3 billion in earmarks for next year's budget--nearly three times the bounty that this year's most profligate senator was able to secure. To give some perspective, the total amount of earmarks for this year's budget was $16.9 billion.

It would be easy to dismiss Sen. Clinton's gimmicky proposals as silly and unrealistic were it not for Congress' stubborn enthusiasm for simultaneously cutting taxes and raising spending. Sadly, the longer this presidential campaign goes on, the sillier the ideas become.