Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Gutless Democrats Cave to Bush on Energy Bill

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on Thursday he would scale back the controversial taxes in a broad energy bill aimed at boosting U.S. vehicle fuel efficiency to avoid a White House veto and appease Republicans who were ready to filibuster the measure.

Senate Democrats failed to block a filibuster by mostly Republicans unhappy with the bill's $13 billion in taxes on big oil and gas companies.
Once again the gutless Senate "majority" leader caved to the demands of the minority party and gave them exactly what they wanted in return for....well...I dont know what. I just remember that when the Repignofascists were in the majority they didn't give a rat's Cheney what the minority thought and they rolled right over us. Now, instead of having some balls, Harry wants to bend over and spread his cheeks to appease the minority. You won't be leader of anything on January 4, 2009, Harry.

There are several things I find particularly hilarious about this bill and the attendant "requirement" that car companies must produce 35 mile per gallon cars by 2020. First, the energy issue is now. Not in 2020. Now. Global warming is an issue now. It should be addressed in 2020. So why are we just doing it now?

Second thing is this. The requirement is for an AVERAGE of 35 mpg by 2020. Its not that every car / truck /van gets 35 mpg. Just the average. Why not require that all vehicles no matter the size must reach 35 mpg?

Third thing is this. In 2002 I spent a week birding in Sweden. On landing at the Stockholm airport I picked up from AVIS a Ford rental car. It was not a Ford that you can purchase in the United States but it was clearly a Ford. I kept track of every kilometer I drove and every liter of petrol I put in the car while driving all over southern Sweden and also to the Aland Islands in Finland.

At the end of my Scandinavian week my gasoline consumption had averaged the equivalent of 62 MILES per gallon. In a Ford product. I was dumbfounded by this. How could it be that a car made by an American car maker was putting out 62 mpg but most cars produced by the same car maker were lucky to get 22 mpg?

On returning home I wrote to the president of Ford Motor company (with copies to the Virginia Congressional delegation) and Ford to explain why it was that their brand in Sweden got such fantastic mileage (and this was almost 6 years ago) but that Ford's in the United States were gas guzzlers.

Of course neither the president of Ford or any of the Virginia congressional delegation wrote back. However their silence was deafening.

The technology already exists for cars to get much more than 35 mpg right today. There is no need to wait until 2020. But they refuse to do anything about it and there is not the political will to push for change.

This is ok, however because in the end it will bite the Big Three (soon to be the former Big Three) in the Cheney. While they fiddle other car companies like Toyota, Honda and others will continue to develop and implement vehicle lines that get real gas mileage and do so at a reasonable price. Hopefully they will kick the big 3 into the also-ran category where they belong.

The argument about "it will cost too much" to re tool is a moot point. Remember how in the lead up to the 9/11 attacks every damned airline in the country complained that if the government made them reinforce doors leading to the cockpit the cost would be prohibitive and they could not accomplish it. Imagine how the world would have been different on 9/12/2001 had the airlines been forced to reinforce those doors.

Saying that its "too expensive" to do what is right and obvious is pure unadulterated bullshit.

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