CBS Suggests Government Subsidies to Lower Gas Prices

     CBS’s “Early Show” co-host Maggie Rodriguez suggested June 25 that the cure to high gas prices is to have the government subsidize oil. After blaming speculators for the prices, Rodiguez asked, “Given the dire situation here in our country, can't our government step in?”


     Correspondent Sheila MacVicar reported that “getting behind the wheel feels like an outrageous extravagance” in some countries in Europe where gas is near $10 a gallon. Much of that, she pointed out, goes to governments that levy high taxes on gas.


     “There are some places where gas is still a bargain. Countries that produce oil and subsidize the cost for domestic consumption,” said Rodriguez. “So in Mexico, filling up at $2 a gallon doesn't feel so bad. Or in Iraq and Saudi Arabia, where the price is $1.50. Iran, $1.20. The best bargain of all, oil-rich Venezuela, 15 cents. 15 cents a gallon.”


     Venezuela’s “bargain,” of course, is thanks to its oil field-seizing dictator, Hugo Chavez, whom the media have glossed over.


     Rodriguez said these other countries are “doing a much better job of keeping their prices in check.”


     In an interview with U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, Rodriguez suggested that perhaps subsidies would be the solution to bring down gas prices in the United States.


     “Can't our government step in and stop listening to the lobbyists and stop arguing about the role of speculators and do something substantive to bring down our prices?” she asked.


    MacVicar’s report also featured oil analyst John Hall, who said speculators are “very much to blame for the increased cost we’ve seen in the last year so.”


     Echoing Hall, Snowe claimed speculation “contributes as much as $25, if not $60, to a barrel of oil.” However, some economists disagree with that claim.


     Alan Reynolds, a senior fellow with the Cato Institute, wrote in The New York Post June 20 that “the urge to blame speculators is as big a waste of time as blaming oil companies. Americans want more oil and gas – not more hot air from politicians.”



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