Appearance Alert!
MRC's Brent Bozell talks about media bias on FNC's The Kelly File, 9:30pm ET/PT Thursday

NY Times Columnist Tom Friedman Calls for Tax to Keep Gas at $4 per Gallon

On Sunday's Face the Nation, New York Times columnist Tom Friedman denounced the proposed White House plan to use the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to curb rising gas prices: "That would rank in my top five worst ideas of 2011 so far....one thing we should finally be doing is using this opportunity to have a credible energy policy that begins to reduce our addiction to oil."

Friedman's idea of "credible energy policy" was to force Americans to continue to pay higher gas prices: "Gasoline is almost $4 a gallon. We know that's a red line where people really start to change their behavior. At a minimum, I'd be talking about a tax that basically says we're going to keep it at $4. If it goes below we'll true it up, if it goes above that we're not going to touch it."

As TimesWatch's Clay Waters earlier reported, for years Friedman has been obsessed with the idea of implementing higher gas taxes. In his most recent call for such a tax in a February 23 column entitled "If Not Now, When?," Friedman proposed: "The smart thing for us to do right now is to impose a $1-a-gallon gasoline tax, to be phased in at 5 cents a month beginning in 2012, with all the money going to pay down the deficit."

On Sunday, he echoed that column and generously suggested that his economically damaging proposal be slightly delayed: "Maybe say we're not going to implement it until 2012. So you signal people it's going to be coming, you don't change the - you don't harm the economy today but you get people to change their behavior."

Friedman warned host Bob Schieffer of dire consequences if a tax was not implemented soon: "Bob, if we don't to that, going forward the difference between a good day and a bad day for America is how the 86-year-old king of Saudi Arabia basically manages this reform process....We're putting ourselves in the hands of probably the most frail, antiquated regime in the Middle East. They will be setting your gas price." Apparently it would be better if our own government gouged us at the pump.

Here is a full transcript of the March 6 exchange on Face the Nation:

10:50AM ET

BOB SCHIEFFER: Bill Daley, the White House chief of staff, said on Meet the Press this morning that one of the options now is to consider using oil from the Strategic Oil Reserve in order to bring down the price of gasoline in this country. Does that make sense to you?

THOMAS FRIEDMAN: That would rank in my top five worst ideas of 2011 so far. I think that there's one thing we should finally be doing is using this opportunity to have a credible energy policy that begins to reduce our addiction to oil.

Gasoline is almost $4 a gallon. We know that's a red line where people really start to change their behavior. At a minimum, I'd be talking about a tax that basically says we're going to keep it at $4. If it goes below we'll true it up, if it goes above that we're not going to touch it. Maybe say we're not going to implement it until 2012. So you signal people it's going to be coming, you don't change the - you don't harm the economy today but you get people to change their behavior.

Bob, if we don't to that, going forward the difference between a good day and a bad day for America is how the 86-year-old king of Saudi Arabia basically manages this reform process. That's where we're putting ourselves. We're putting ourselves in the hands of probably the most frail, antiquated regime in the Middle East. They will be setting your gas price.


- Kyle Drennen is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here.