Thursday, January 15, 2009

No new gas taxes?

So it looks as if Obama's team is reversing its previous rhetoric: low gas prices are now good, and they are adopting the centrist policy of economy over environment. This despite the fact that Obama's chosen energy secretary is a Nobel laureate scientist who has previously come out in favor of much higher gas taxes as a tool to get Americans to reduce how much they drive.

According to the NYT:

He had told the Wall Street Journal last September , “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe,” a statement likely to give some commuters a case of road rage.

This isn't the only "controversial" statements he has made in the extremely conservative realm of American energy policy.

For example, in a presentation at Berkeley in April, 2007, now preserved on YouTube, he declared, “coal is my worst nightmare,” words previous energy secretaries would be unlikely to utter.

“We have lots of fossil fuel,’’ he said. “That’s really both good and bad news. We won’t run out of energy but there’s enough carbon in the ground to really cook us.’’

One begins to wonder if this is merely the beginning of a trend towards the Right in Obama's policy. Will his promise of an Office of Urban Policy and investment in mass transit, passenger rail, and bicycling as a form of transportation just turn out to be hollow campaign promises, or is he merely making politically-sound overtures to assuage the markets and the public?

Only time will tell.

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