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07/10/2018

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Nathan Holtslander

I will keep reading past this point if you can offer anything to support that the left "wants to raise the price of gas."

"For example, the left wants to raise the price of gas, which will hurt the poor, while the right wants to lower it, which will help the poor."

John Pepple

Sorry, can't do it. I've seen the statement from liberals and leftists plenty of times, but because I've seen it so often, I never thought to record it. But the price of gas is higher in Europe, and liberals and leftists have expressed frustration that ours isn't as high.

Do you have proof that they want it lower? They certainly don't act like they want it lower.

Nathan Holtslander

I'll help you out. You're basically referring to two quotes. One from Steven Chu, made before he was the Secretary of Energy. He said that if we can get gas to European levels, it would incentivize development of alternative energies. Another is from Barack Obama before he was President saying he thought higher gas prices wouldn't be a bad thing (once again, because of alternative energy development) but that he would prefer to see it happen gradually.

So, based on those two instances, you're OK saying that "liberals and leftists have expressed frustration..."? That is an awfully large brush you're painting with.

If you're trying to make the argument that because the left is more inclined to want to save the environment and enact regulations that don't put the cost of gasoline first and foremost it makes them somehow cheerleaders for higher gas prices, that is quite the stretch.

I also find it dubious that you've seen this statement "plenty of times" or "so often", but you can't provide one example.

John Pepple

I distinctly recall seeing someone in a letter to the editor of the local newspaper calling for higher gas prices as a way of saving the environment. That was a few years ago, and as I already indicated, I didn't bother to note the date on that letter because the sentiment seemed so common.

If it's going to make you happy to believe something else, go ahead and do so.

Nathan Holtslander

Cool. You went through the trifecta...
1) Your statements are so obvious, you don't need to actually back them up with verifiable data or examples.
2) It should be my responsibility to prove a negative such as "prove the left wants lower gas prices." They don't want higher gas prices, some just realize it may bring about some good long term.
3) And, finally, dismissing any challenge to what you claim, as frivolous and beneath you. If it makes you happy to believe that everything you write is factually correct, even though you balk on proving it, by all means.

Borepatch

Thomas Friedman in the New York Times explicitly called for higher gas taxes:

https://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/28/opinion/28friedman.html

[begin excerpt] A gas tax reduces gasoline demand and keeps dollars in America, dries up funding for terrorists and reduces the clout of Iran and Russia at a time when Obama will be looking for greater leverage against petro-dictatorships. It reduces our current account deficit, which strengthens the dollar. It reduces U.S. carbon emissions driving climate change, which means more global respect for America. And it increases the incentives for U.S. innovation on clean cars and clean-tech.

Which one of these things wouldn’t we want? A gasoline tax “is not just win-win; it’s win, win, win, win, win,” says the Johns Hopkins author and foreign policy specialist Michael Mandelbaum. “A gasoline tax would do more for American prosperity and strength than any other measure Obama could propose.” [end exerpt]

As our host pointed out, not a word about the impact of the proposed taxes on poor people.

Charles N.Steele

It’s easily demonstrated that the left wants to raise the price of gas. First, the left promotes carbon taxes to raise prices and discourage use. Second, the left promotes bans on hydraulic fracturing, drilling, and pipelines – again, to raise prices and discourage use, or as Obama put it, to “leave fossil fuels in the ground.”

In addition, the left pushes “efficiency mandates” and mandates for barely-functional alternative energy vehicles, which further increase the cost of driving and which poor people certainly can't afford.

If Nathan is unaware of all this, he’s out of touch with reality. Nathan, it’s time to walk away from the left – they really are proposing bad policies that hurt poor people.

Nathan Holtslander

So, you see that excerpt, with all of the benefits laid out that cleaner energy could provide and say “F that, they didn’t address how this would affect the poor.”? This is your argument? This is an example of conservatives caring about the poor when liberals don’t because they’d like their grandkids to have breathable air?

Charles N. Steele

First, I don't use the uncivil language too many on the left seem to find necessary. Be civil.

Second, I demonstrated exactly the thing you doubted was so, that the left systematically tries to raise gasoline prices. You respond by changing subject and claiming "clean energy" provides benefits, conceding Pepple's original point.

Third, your alleged benefits of clean energy are largely imaginary, particularly for the poor. That's why, for example, the World Bank's climate consensus study concluded that the number one way to address climate change is by fostering economic growth, as opposed to switching to more expensive "clean" energy. Similarly, the Obama admin found their proposed "clean" energy policies couldn't be justified by any reasonable benefit-cost analysis. Poor people are the most vulnerable and the ones who most need long term economic growth. "Clean" energy is expensive, a rich person's luxury, useful for rent seeking (think Tom Steyer) and virtue signaling. BTW I use the quotation marks on clean bc it's your term, and frequently tends to increase GHG emissions, as the Soanish and German experiences have shown, as well as America's ethanol boondoggle.

John Pepple

Many thanks, Borepatch and Charles N. Steele!

To Mr. Holtslander: Mr. Steele has already said most of what I wanted to say, but let me add this. You used the word "conservative," whereas I used the word "right." Please be aware that there's a difference. As I have pointed out, the right includes not just conservatives, but also libertarians and those of us whom I am calling right-wing egalitarians.

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