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Bruce Bialosky

A Defining Moment

We are coming off two years of lockdowns that were countered with government programs spending billions and billions of dollars to offset the effects of those government-imposed restrictions. We are then hit with a burst of inflation at levels not seen in America for forty years. Additionally, one of the world’s largest energy suppliers decided to attack its neighbor without provocation. This has all brought to the forefront the failed philosophies of a political party and a lesson to be learned.

With the soaring cost of energy and the abandonment of sourcing that energy from America and Russia, there is a logical and pragmatic solution. Restore our own production to the levels we had prior to the Democrats taking over our government. Unfortunately, the party is so driven by their blind allegiance to their green energy policy that has caused this crisis that an adjustment is not even a consideration.

First, Washington proposed a release of oil from the strategic petroleum reserve. One might think that the reserve is for legitimate national emergencies and not just politically embarrassing price increases. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm announced an agreement among 30 countries to release some 60 million barrels from reserves. The U.S. Has made a commitment to release 30 million barrels. To understand the significance of that, know it equals roughly 1.5 days of U.S. usage.

Then the government wonks in DC suggested a gas tax holiday. At 18.4 cents per gallon, that would barely dent the price of gas at your local station. California then started throwing around their own gas tax holiday. Governor Newsom suggested he wanted the holiday. At 53.3 cents per gallon (second highest state tax in the nation), that would be a significant decrease. Newsom also suggested eliminating an automatic tax increase that going into effect on July 1, 2022, but the legislature balked.

Before we go further, the gas tax is a use tax. It is supposedly dedicated to the repair of roads and bridges. Drive in California and one might think how the funds are not being spent in a highly effective manner maintaining roads and highways.

The state currently has a projected surplus of $46 billion so expending some of that to alleviate significant financial pain for residents would be a shot in the arm — especially for middle class workers.

It would be too easy a solution to let the people who use gas get a direct benefit by reducing the price of the product they are taxing – gasoline. The legislators in Sacramento have a better idea. They want to send every taxpayer a $400 check. They even said it would cover a once-a-week fill-up for a year. The problem is the check goes to every taxpayer whether they have a car or not or whether they use gasoline in their vehicle.

This is a quintessentially Democrat solution. Instead of letting people make their own decisions on their money they will make their decisions for them. They will run the money through their hands, processed by the government union employees who are the Democrats principal campaign contributors and then give us back the residue (at their discretion of course). We will never know the cost of this program which would be zero if they simply suspended the gas tax.

This rebate program comes on the heels of the Secretary in charge of the unemployment program in California stating that $11.4 billion of benefits were given out fraudulently. She believes it could be an additional $20 billion. Did Ms. Su get fired in disgrace? No, she was hired by the Biden Administration to be the Deputy Secretary of Labor.

With this recent history one might think sending out random checks for $9 billion might give one pause. Not these Sacramento Democrats.

The latest proposals have Newsom recommending $400 debit cards (that worked so well with unemployment benefits why not bring it back for an encore – they never learn). The good thing is that the cards would be limited to two per person if you happen to own two vehicles. The members of the legislature proposed $200 rebates per family member (six-year-olds need gas tax rebates), but income restrictive up to $250,000 (whatever that means except we know it is punishing people for being successful but does not recognize the cost of living in California has been driven ridiculously high by government policies.) Of course, these silly ideas do not recognize EVs owners who will also get the money.

There are a combined one million EVs and hybrids in California. They pay either no gasoline tax or a severely reduced amount. They will likewise be getting $400 debit cards along with all the criminals who got the unemployment debit cards and went on a buying spree on Rodeo Drive. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

Virtually every time there is a problem that is created by a Democrat induced program, their solution is to create another program instead of either correcting the existing program or dismantling it. No wonder California has 25% of the country’s state government unionized employees.

The lesson to be learned here is this is what happens when you have one party control all the levers of a state. The last time a Republican was elected statewide in California was 2006 and that was Arnold – enough said. With the Democrats having control of every statewide constitutional office, supermajorities in both houses of the legislature and almost every judge appointed by their team, controls on them simply do not exist.

Ask the Russians or the Chinese if one party government works well. That is how simple problems end up with complicated solutions. This could be your future.