Almost on cue

It’s been less than 24 hours since I asked the question whether First District Congressional hopeful Frank Kratovil would risk alienating environmental voters and instead side with those of us fed up with $4 a gallon gas. Courtesy of my cohorts at the Maryland GOP, we may have some of the answer:

In an hour-long interview on the Delmarva Today radio show on WSLD 90.7 FM, Frank Kratovil showed his out-of-touch values when discussing the rising energy costs. Kratovil stated he opposes domestic exploration and a gas tax holiday and would rather support more funding for mass transit. “Kratovil’s pro-tax, anti-consumer stances are out of touch with the voters in the 1st Congressional District,” said MDGOP Chairman Jim Pelura.

Kratovil rejected the idea of a gas tax holiday outright, saying that it would be an insignificant help to consumers. Dr. Pelura responded, “I don’t think paying $.42 less a gallon would be viewed as insignificant by Maryland’s working families.” Kratovil also seemed to celebrate the high gas prices. “We have an opportunity with gas prices being as high as they are to actually make a change.” Kratovil said. “We have the opportunity to use the high gas prices to do what we should have done before, to invest in alternative energy, to invest in alternative vehicles, to look at public transportation again.”

“Mr. Kratovil should remember that he is running for Congress in the Maryland’s rural Eastern Shore and not the DC suburbs where he was raised,” replied Chairman Pelura. “Voters on the Eastern Shore and other parts of Maryland are tired of their gas tax money going to fund mass transit in the Washington suburbs.”

While a vast majority of Americans are calling for the United States to decrease its dependence on foreign oil, Frank Kratovil opposes expanding domestic oil production. “Frank Kratovil’s lack of concern on the rising costs of energy shows he lacks the leadership and understanding that the people of the 1st District need in a congressman,” concluded Chairman Pelura.

Granted, this statement is cherrypicked from an entire hour-long interview (one I’ve not listened to as I write this) but I’m fairly confident that what’s being said by Pelura and company is fairly representative of Frank Kratovil’s philosophy insofar as energy policy goes.

While I think a gas tax holiday isn’t a bad idea, I can understand the argument of opponents who claim that prices won’t necessarily fall by the full amount of the taxes deleted from the price. It may serve as an opportunity for long-suffering station owners to recoup some of their expenses as oil prices continue around their all-time peak, so the price may initially drop by 40 cents or so but slowly rise back to a smaller decline from the original pricing point. Conversely though market pressures may allow the price not to go back up the full 42 cents once the holiday comes to an end. Either way, it’s academic because we know that government is the last entity to do without.

More telling to me is the insistence by Kratovil that we need to turn our back on a resource which is still in ample supply domestically and artificially game the energy market by subsidizing alternative sources. There’s already a plethora of incentives for investing in alternative energy to those who wish to do so; apparently Frank thinks they’re not robust enough. He’s backing what amounts to a shell game in taking the tax money that we already pay into the system through gasoline taxes, adding any windfall profits tax on oil companies that he can help shepherd through Congress, and redistributing it to those whose behavior he and the Democrats seek to reward (mainly large energy companies who are looking for a rent-seeking opportunity to increase their bottom line at our expense.)

Pelura brings up his best point in bringing up Kratovil’s advocacy of mass transit to cure our transportation ills. Certainly some commuters have shifted over to taking the bus or Metro when possible to save a few dollars, but even with the increased ridership these services depend mainly on subsidies from government to stay financially afloat. And those transit authorities also have to deal with the rising cost of fuel, meaning that fare increases are likely. Then we’ll hear the sob stories about poor working people now being priced out of mass transit, which will mean government will have to step in and figure out another way of redistributing wealth in order to allow the poor working folks to maintain their “right” to transportation.

To me, a much simpler long-term solution is allowing the energy companies who already know best how to deal with the problem to do so. Allow them to domestically drill for oil, mine the oil shale, get back into nuclear energy, and if those companies see a viable market for a particular technology, pay for their own research into alternative forms of renewable energy. Government needs to step back and let the real experts in the private sector work their magic, not overrun the market with incentives targeted to those areas which need a taxpayer-funded subsidy just to maintain a tiny market share and survive. Unfortunately, I’m not sure the Democrat who’s seeking your vote here in the First Congressional District trusts a free market enough to allow the proper solution to be put into place.

Author: Michael

It's me from my laptop computer.

4 thoughts on “Almost on cue”

  1. I have come to expect more from you than a simple regurgitation of MD GOP talking points from a press release. If you are just going to be a mouthpiece for Jim Pelura, then you are diminishing the opinions you offer to the realm of the same strict partisanship that is offered by Andy Harris and the rest of the right wingnuts. Kratovil offers views and solutions that fall right in line with the majority of this district. Nothing that he said can be characterized as some far left propaganda. Kratovil is right on illegal immigration and fiscal responsibility. He supports your 2nd Amendment rights at the same time that he enforces the laws against the criminals in his jurisdiction. And he is smart enough to know that pandering to voters with a gas tax holiday is a waste of time. It is time to end our dependence on oil, both foreign and domestic, and he gets that. All of the drill here drill now Newtists are a bunch of short sighted reactionaries that are not really offering long term solutions. Their success would only extend the profits of oil companies and our addiction to oil. The free market has stopped waiting around for you to catch up. All manner of alternative energy solutions are being developed by the entrepreneurs of our country who can envision the true economic boom that will result from new energy technology. You and Andy and Newt are fossils in your own right.

  2. It was reported today that the use of public transportation is up 17% this year in Baltimore. Increased ridership should result in a decrease in the amount of subsidy required.


    Why aren’t they drilling in the 68 million acres of leases held on federal land both on and off shore? According to the fact sheet on HR6251, these leases could produce 4.8 million barrels of oil per day and increase natural gas production by 75%. My guess would be that some companies snapped up the leases just to keep competitors from having the opportunity to develop the area. These same companies might just grab up the leases on any new areas that are approved and not develop them. They don’t really want oil prices to come down. That would hurt the price per share of their stock.

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