Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Doyle's Gas Smells

I know a few bloggers have mentioned this article in the past couple of days, but I need to chime in. I mean, who would have ever guessed Jim Doyle's petition to lower gas prices was a cheap political stunt? If only someone could have predicted that...

But my favorite part of the article has to be the quote from Mary Keuler of Appleton, who isn't upset at Doyle using state resources for a cheap political hit, but instead is mad that the petition wasn't sent to Washington, D.C. before Memorial Day. From the article:

"It looks stupid," she said Sunday. "They put in that date and didn't even get it to them on time. For Pete's sake, it's unprofessional. Aren't they supposed to be professionals down there — people with college degrees who know what they are doing?"
She actually believes that if the petition would have been mailed to Congress a couple weeks earlier, that her gas would be less expensive now. Like George W. Bush is sitting in the oval office with his hand on the "lower gas prices" button, just waiting for the Jim Doyle gas petition to come in.

Not to be outdone, Doyle spokesman Matt Canter (presumably with a college degree) is quoted:

Canter compared the petition effort to an open letter in the New York Times. He said that when Doyle's office launched the site, it sent media notices to outlets all over the country.

"It was a very public petition," Canter said.
If anyone can explain to me the relationship between sending out nationwide press releases and lower petroleum prices, I'd be happy to hear it. He goes on:

Canter said sending all this paper to Washington would not have been cost effective, so the office created electronic versions of the petition on compact discs. Canter said this work took time, as did drafting a letter to Washington.

Canter said the problem still remains and Congress hasn't passed a bill to cap oil profits.

"Gas prices are still up over $3 a gallon in parts of the state," Canter said "They still need to take action."
So it's not cost effective to mail the petition to D.C., but it is cost effective to have state employees spend hour after hour scanning each page in electronically? And they actually blame their inability to write a cover page as the reason it took an extra couple of weeks?

I would love Canter to explain to me exactly how capping oil company profits provides lower cost fuel at the pump. Rather than lower the cost, oil companies would probably either shut down more stations or spend more money on research and development to make it under the "profit cap." This makes about as much sense as my second favorite idea - the "windfall profits tax," which would actually raise the cost of gas, so oil companies could recoup their lost revenue from having to pay more in taxes.

And finally, we hear from another "woman on the street:"
Traci Wojnowski of Appleton recently took a new job in Oshkosh. She is spending $6 a day on gasoline, a cost she says adds up.

"This is ridiculous," Wojnowski said. "Somebody has to do something."

As long as that someone isn't Traci Wojnowski, who can't possibly be asked to cut back on her constitutional right to use as much gas as she wants.