Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton: Where Is the Leadership?

pumphead.jpegJoining Hillary Clinton in the push to reduce the federal gas tax is fellow New York Senator Chuck Schumer, who has railed about gas prices at least since they "soared" to $1.59 per gallon.

As Politico reports, rather than talking about climate change and auto dependence, Schumer is pushing a Democratic plan to go after "Wall Street speculators, OPEC, price gougers and Big Oil":

[R]egardless of the legislative realities — not to mention the
futility of promising short-term decreases in gas prices
— Democrats
have embraced a political opportunity. By proposing aggressive
legislation that takes on the boogeymen of the oil tycoons and
profiteering speculators, Democrats are trying to corner Republicans
into choosing between a president who is chummy with the oil industry
and a decidedly populist energy bill.

“We need to stop the speculation” that’s driving up oil prices, said
Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), who has been involved in discussions with
Democratic leaders who debated energy policy at a closed-door lunch
Tuesday. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) promised “short-term relief and
long-term relief” and insisted that “Big Oil should pay” for any
suspension of gas taxes.

As Politico points out, the main elements of the plan, which include substituting gas tax revenues with new taxes on oil companies, investigating price gouging, and diverting oil from national reserves to increase supply, are mostly long shots and short-term fixes. Why can’t Schumer and Clinton take a cue from the New York City Model of transit oriented development and show some true leadership?

  • Larry Littlefield

    Schumer has been like a broken record on this issue.

    I took the time to write him a letter pointing out the folly of it, and it might of been a coincidence, but he shut up about it and talked about mass transit and alternative fuels for a month or two. But that was an abberation.

    Another abberation — isn’t he supposed to call for gas tax cuts, and object to “price gouging” and “windfall profits,” on Sunday nights?

    We have a generation of leaders seeking to make sure that there is nothing left for anyone else when they kick the bucket — the political differences concern the beneficiaries not the future effects. Schumer is representatives.

  • Spud Spudly
  • LN

    Record profits being made by oil companies and no regulation and no blame goes to them.

    Instead states are supposed to do without money to support their already strapped programs so people can pollute the air, run us over ect…

    Idiot politicians!

  • Mark Walker

    Sen. Levin wants to “stop the speculation” on oil. Does that mean investors are forbidden to bid on the futures markets? These guys should get their story straight. Either the free market is allowed to operate or it isn’t.

    Demonizing the oil companies does no good. They may be sneaking in some extra profits, but the real reason for rising oil/gas prices is that crude oil production has peaked in the face of rising worldwide demand. Starving the oil companies will only reduce exploration and extraction, which of course would reduce supply and accelerate rising fuel prices for everyone.

    And diverting from the strategic reserves is a suicidal idea. Those reserves exist for national security reasons. If a hurricane takes out a refinery or two, we’re going to have bigger problems than high gas prices.

  • ddartley

    Maybe with things looking so bleak for the auto-dependent world, maybe it will soon be time for a politician on the national stage to say that which only a very few dare say:

    Something that has to be drilled out of the ground, transported hundreds or thousands of miles, refined, then transported hundreds or thousands more miles, and then burned (which is a dirty chemical process for ANY substance), SHOULD BE EXPENSIVE!!

  • Josh

    A Senator from Michigan wants to blame the increasing price of oil entirely on the oil companies? And he wants gas prices to be capped so that people can keep buying big expensive cars? I’m stunned. STUNNED, I tell you.

  • Mark Walker
  • JF

    Schumer does not show leadership. He does not lead. He follows “the Baileys,” and he won’t stop fighting for cheap gas until the Baileys get rid of their SUV:

    http://www.streetsblog.org/2007/03/14/defending-the-baileys-right-to-kung-pao-chicken-and-an-suv/

  • gecko

    At his lecture and book signing for Common Wealth this week (Columbia’s Miller Theatre on Monday, April 28, 2008), Jeff Sachs said that it was appalling that candidates Clinton and Obama during their last debate said absolutely nothing about the climate change crisis which is by far the most important issue of our time.

  • ddartley

    Where is the leadership from Schumer and Clinton? They realized leadership was a liability even BEFORE they voted with the wind for the Iraq war.

    Whom has my contempt even more than Republicans who voted for the war? Democrats who voted for it.

  • ddartley

    Very important note: didn’t mean to say “whom.”

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