Obama’s Gulf Coast Tax Hike

By Vince Haley

Last night — 57 days after an oil-rig explosion triggered an uncontrolled deep-water oil
gusher in the Gulf of Mexico — President Obama spoke to the nation about his administration’s
efforts to address the crisis. After offering two short paragraphs to explain what is being
done to stop the leak, Obama devoted most of his speech to explaining why now is the time to
dramatically and permanently raise the cost of gasoline, diesel, and electricity for every

Jay Leno gave voice to the widespread puzzlement over this misplaced focus: “President Obama
said today he is going to use the Gulf disaster to immediately push a new energy bill through
Congress. I got an idea. . . . How about first using the Gulf disaster to fix the Gulf

President Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, said at the start of the Obama presidency
that “you never let a crisis go to waste.” We now know that this means the Obama team never
lets a crisis go without more borrowing, more taxing, and more spending on their political
allies. We saw this with the $862 billion stimulus law that didn’t create jobs, the Obamacare
law that won’t bend the health cost curve down, and now with an energy proposal that won’t
lower costs and won’t increase supply.

The proposal, which Obama is urging upon the Senate, is for cap-and-trade energy taxes. It has
nothing to do with plugging the hole, but Obama and his liberal allies in Congress want the
power to spend billions in new tax revenues on a massive redistribution of wealth to
green-energy-company shareholders.

The Senate is reportedly going to take up cap-and-trade shortly after it returns from recess
on July 12. If the legislation is passed there, the House will vote on and approve it in a
lame-duck session after the November elections. Our opportunity to stop this new energy tax
is now, and the next two months will be absolutely critical.

Obama’s plan will inflict higher gas and electricity costs on everyone. It will kill hundreds
of thousands of jobs and prevent small-business growth. It is especially foolish to contemplate
a massive new tax in the midst of a recession, but President Obama’s central purpose is less
economic than ideological: the redistribution of wealth, come what may. Slicing a shrinking
pie is easy enough when you’re wielding the knife; it’s the rest of us who will have to fast.

Meanwhile, the oil continues to gush under the Gulf waters. Like Jay Leno, Sen. Dianne
Feinstein, a California Democrat, gave a pithy summary of Obama’s baffling priorities:
“The climate bill isn’t going to stop the oil leak. . . . The first thing you have to do
is stop the oil leak.” The president should listen to his friend in the Senate. It’s time
to plug holes, not raise taxes.

Vince Haley is the vice president of policy at American Solutions, where he is leading the
Stop the Energy Tax campaign. This piece was originally published on The Corner.

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