Planet Gore

Taxing Gibbs’s Capacity

Greg notes below the back-and-forth between former Alaska governor Sarah Palin and the White House over the president’s close campaign-financing ties with BP. Greenwire also covered the kerfuffle:

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs described Palin’s comments as uninformed. “We proposed a windfall profits tax when they jacked their oil prices up to charge more for gasoline.

“My suggestion to Sarah Palin would be to get slightly more informed as to what’s going on in and around oil drilling in this country.”

Where to start? First, Obama is in fact pushing the very agenda he said he would push when BP made him its favorite politician, at least in terms of doling out campaign donations: a cap-and-trade scheme to cause energy (Obama said electricity, but that’s,erm, “uninformed”) prices to “necessarily skyrocket.” The president’s “green” boondoggle would transfer taxpayer wealth to rent-seeking BP — a company that, let us not forget, invented carbon cap-and-trade with Enron. (I was in the room when they were scheming with greens to get it through.)

Gibbs might inform himself of such facts before accusing others of being ignorant. Assuming, that is, that he really doesn’t know these things. But more troubling and typical in today’s Washington, Gibbs seems to be completely unburdened by any understanding of how markets work.

OK, so maybe that’s typical of our political class. But when purporting to speak to the nation as the president’s spokesman, it might be a little less unseemly for Gibbs to refrain from calling others ignorant, or else bone up a bit on something other than fever-swamp talking points about conspiracies and Big Oil collusion. Is he really unaware that the FTC has been repeatedly tasked with finding such malfeasance, and keeps coming up frustrated — learning only that supply, demand, the psychology of the market and, yes, regulatory policy, are what drive oil and gasoline prices.

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