The White House is reportedly holding off on the idea of sending “gas cards” — pre-paid debit cards loaded with taxpayers’ money that the government would send to certain Americans to use toward gasoline — after pushback from Democrats who worried the idea would never work in providing economic relief in the face of high fuel prices.
Instead, President Joe Biden’s team and the gang on Capitol Hill are reportedly considering more stimulus checks, raising gas taxes on oil companies to fund means-based assistance, and rescinding federal oil leases to companies who do not use them to tackle the problem of high gasoline prices.
An in-depth look at the proposed plans, alongside common sense, would lead one to believe that the White House’s plans, serious or otherwise, would cause more inflation and higher gas prices.
On Saturday, Axios reported that the “White House considered giving Americans gas cards to help offset high prices, but faced strong opposition from congressional committees, which questioned the plan’s viability and effectiveness.”
According to Axios, a Democratic caucus laid out why it was a bad idea on Wednesday:
- It would be expensive and poorly targeted.
- It could worsen inflation and wouldn’t do much to lower costs.
- Delivering the cards would be a slow process that could bog down the IRS in the middle of the filing season, potentially delaying people’s tax returns.
Instead, Dems are looking to other ideas to try and lower gasoline prices, one Democratic senior aide told Axios:
- Other ideas being discussed include stimulus checks, using more ethanol to lower the demand for oil, and canceling oil companies’ federal leases that aren’t actively being used, the senior Democratic aide told Axios.
- Various Democrats have also already introduced bills that would suspend the federal gas tax; raise taxes on oil companies to fund means-tested assistance; or provide a federal rebate whenever gas prices get above $4 per gallon.
Yet as The Daily Wire recently reported, more stimulus checks would likely worsen inflation. In fact, much of the inflation we are experiencing in the first place was at first caused by massive government spending in 2020, according to the Hoover Institute’s John Cochrane. Even the Associated Press acknowledged that massive government spending will drive up inflation, The Daily Wire stated last week:
“Government spending has been a clear factor behind rising consumer prices, though it’s not the only one,” the AP noted on Tuesday. “Biden last year signed a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package known as the American Rescue Plan — and many economists say that caused inflation to run higher than it otherwise would,” the paper continued.
“But the problem is that Biden pumped more money into the economy than it could handle. Administration officials said before the relief package was passed that the greater risk was do too little to help the economy than to do too much. The implicit risk was inflation, though the tradeoff was faster hiring and stronger growth,” the paper added.
We’re being hit with that inflation today and will be for quite some time.
As for gasoline, as explained by Katie Tubb, senior policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation’s Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies, Biden has done “worse than nothing” on the matter. He has actively discouraged investment in the industry and enacted policies that drive up cost:
Rather than relieve regulatory roadblocks to affordable energy—like lifting the Jones Act and the ethanol mandate—President Biden has aggressively deployed regulators across the executive branch to make it more difficult to explore for and produce oil, construct and operate pipelines, access financing and private sector investment, and use gasoline in cars and trucks.
Throughout his presidency, Biden has “used his bully pulpit from day one to vilify the oil industry rather than implement simple and effective policy solutions,” Tubb remarked.
The solution to the energy crisis then is not one which threatens to tax companies or run them out of business for not using their permits, but to enact policies which limit regulation, or deregulate the oil market, to encourage companies to produce more oil in America.
But for now, even Axios admits that Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell “forecasts high inflation through the middle of the year — so gas prices will remain an issue in midterm campaigns.”
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.