Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Bush can do no right: Transportation Secretary Norm Mineta came to Los Angeles today and announced -- as is typical -- that the law will change on the next president's watch so this one won't have to deal with it.
A plan requiring automakers to boost fuel economy standards for some sport utility vehicles, minivans and pickup trucks could eventually help Californians avoid sticker shock at the pump, the nation's top transportation official said Tuesday.
Speaking at a Mobil gas station in south Los Angeles, Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta laid out the proposed standards, which the auto industry would be required to comply with by 2011.
"The plan is good news for the American consumer because it will ensure vehicles get more miles to the gallon and will save them money," Mineta said.
Don't get the wrong idea, I think this is a good thing. Frankly, I think this should've happened years ago. Frankly, I'm surprised that the Clinton administration never did anything about it.
So, having taken a positive step to eventually lessen the nation's need for foreign oil and what is the response from the environmental left? Predictable.
Environmental advocates panned the approach, saying it failed to go far enough to reduce the nation's dependence on imported oil while creating new loopholes that would weaken the requirements.
"At a time when Americans are paying record prices for gas, the Bush administration has sided with its cronies in the auto industry and rejected real solutions," said Dan Becker, director of the Sierra Club's global warming program.
Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., called it "backward looking" and "another lost opportunity to help our security, economy and environment."
The joke goes that if President Bush were to hop out a boat and walk on water that his foes would scream that he can't swim.
When a Democrat does something, however incrementally, that helps the environment he's praised for it. When a Republican does something that helps the environment, it's never enough. During his first term, Bush tightened diesel emission standards -- something that his predecessor never even bothered with -- and got no credit from the environmental left. They were to busy whining about mercury in groundwater.
The air is cleaner today than it was in the final year of Clinton's presidency, but you wouldn't know it from the media or the left-wing environmental groups.
On a related note: If state legislators are so concerned about how high gas prices are hurting working families and the economy, there's something that they can do: Cut taxes. You see, you're taxed twice on each gallon of gas you buy. There's state and federal excise taxes of several cents on every gallon, and then there's sales tax on top of that -- they tax the tax. Higher gas prices put even more money in state coffers. If they were truly concerned about bringing down gas prices they wouldn't be complaining about opening up the strategic petroleum reserve, they'd be offering to cap the price at which gasoline is affected by the sales tax.