Today Logo

2022-06-25 01:45:51 By : Mr. karl zhang

By Ja'han Jones

President Joe Biden’s latest proposal to curb rising gas prices would be a major gift to oil companies. 

On Wednesday, Biden proposed a three-month suspension on gas taxes to alleviate some of the strain Americans are feeling due to high gas prices. That strain, caused by global strife — like oil-rich Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — and price hikes by oil companies, has become a political bane for the White House despite having virtually no control over gas prices.

The gas tax holiday would be yet another carrot for the industry: an ask that they do good with no penalty if and when they don’t.

But Biden’s proposal, also known as a “gas tax holiday,” involves a not-so-novel idea: giving tax breaks to oil companies with hopes they’ll pass those savings on to consumers.

"By suspending the 18-cent gas tax — federal gas tax — for the next 90 days, we can bring down the price of gas and give families just a little bit of relief," Biden said in a speech Wednesday.

"I call on the companies to pass this along — every penny of this 18-cents reduction — to the consumers," he added. "There’s no time now for profiteering."

But the top oil companies don't agree. As the president is well aware, many of them have netted record profits while upping gas prices for Americans. But the gas tax holiday would be yet another carrot for the industry: an ask that they do good with no penalty if and when they don’t.

The proposal faces staunch and bipartisan opposition. Many Democrats — including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — oppose lifting the tax because it’s used to fund major infrastructure projects, and because there’s no guarantee oil companies pass the savings on to consumers. 

Republicans, keen on seeing Biden suffer politically, have cited several reasons for their opposition. Some have denounced the tax as a “gimmick” — a phrase President Barack Obama used to denounce the idea of a gas tax holiday during his 2008 campaign. Others, like Sen. Marsha Blackburn, oppose it on the grounds that Biden should allow domestic oil companies to drill more instead — although there’s no evidence this would actually lower gas prices. 

Nonetheless, what we see in our current politics is a set of rather narrow, corporate-focused solutions to stem inflation, from raising interest rates to lowering corporate taxes. The image, in full, shows a nation controlled by big money, and no industry is flexing its power right now quite like Big Oil.

Ja'han Jones is The ReidOut Blog writer. He's a futurist and multimedia producer focused on culture and politics. His previous projects include "Black Hair Defined" and the "Black Obituary Project."