CNBC.com | Ron Paul | March 5, 2012
Today, as gas prices are spiking, the cost of keeping those wheels turning is becoming harder for families and small business owners alike.
Since President Obama took office, average national gasoline prices have risen from $1.84 per gallon on Inauguration Day 2009 to about a $3.74 per gallon today. Residents in states like California, Washington, and Hawaii probably wish they were only paying the national average, as their gas prices have reached as much as $4 per gallon or more depending on where they live.
Because the effects of high gas prices are far-reaching for our economy, addressing this challenge must be a top priority for our next President.
When I see the high prices at the pump, I think about those who are struggling to get by and need to fill their tanks in order to go to work every day and feed their families. I think of the seniors making do with less because of rising fuel prices and shrinking retirement funds due to inflation. And I think of the single parent being forced to deal with the discovery that just driving the kids to school every morning is breaking the bank.
The real tragedy is that much of the blame can be placed on bad government policies that have resulted in high inflation, high taxes, and unnecessary federal intervention in the energy sector.
The gasoline-tax rebate checks some have proposed won’t provide lasting relief. Forcing new efficiency standards on carmakers doesn’t help those who can’t afford the cost of a new car. Additional taxes on oil profits will only be passed down to the consumer.
In short, these are not serious solutions.
As a Congressman, I have proposed serious solutions, which, had they been enacted, would have avoided this mess without weakening environmental protections. If I am elected President, signing an authentic energy reform bill will be an early priority of my administration.
I will lead with a plan to lower prices, minimize government intervention, and restore a true free market.
Since the challenge is multi-faceted, an authentic solution is one that addresses several issues at once. In Congress, I have proposed the “Affordable Gas Price Act,” legislation that does just that while barely four pages in length.
The bill permits domestic natural resources exploration and production in the Outer Continental Shelf and Coastal Plains areas of Alaska. It would also change the tax code to allow for tax incentives and breaks for investment in additional sorely needed oil refineries, while still requiring environmental regulatory compliance.
In addition, my bill would raise the reimbursement rate for using your vehicle for business to 70 cents per mile.
It would also suspend federal taxes on highway motor fuels once the average national weekly gas price rises above $3.00 per gallon. This would save drivers at every level of the supply chain 18.4 cents per gallon - a good starting point and the least government can do when its own policies lead to higher prices.
To compensate for the loss of tax revenue, the federal government would have to quit doling out taxpayer dollars to foreign dictators like they have in the past to the likes of Ghaddafi and Mubarak. Or, leaders of both parties would be required to curtail corporate welfare.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, my legislation requires the Secretary of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve to examine the relationship between our monetary system and higher fuel costs.
After all, the price of gas in terms of precious metals has actually fallen. As I pointed out to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke at last week's Humphrey-Hawkins hearing, you could buy approximately four gallons of gas with an ounce of silver in 2006. Today, that same ounce of silver will purchase over 10 gallons of gas.
Of the five men seeking a major Party’s nomination for President - President Obama, Governor Romney, Speaker Gingrich, Senator Santorum, and myself - I am the only one who has consistently worked to reform the Federal Reserve's destructive monetary policies, which every American is now paying for.
Americans have grown weary of Washington’s lack of focus, and they are hoping for a leader with the audacity to challenge the status quo, reveal the facts, and provide well-informed answers.
If we are to restore this nation’s prosperity, we need a leader whose actions in office will be directed by principle and not the special interests. I have spent my entire political career fighting for our country’s founding principles, and I will continue that battle as President.