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Hannity blames Congress for high price of gasoline

Reported by Chrish - November 11, 2005

In a recurring segment called "Follow the Money" on Hannity and Colmes tonight 11/10/05, Sean Hannity took the twisted stand that Congress should rescind the taxes on gasoline before Big Oil pays any excess profit tax or takes other steps to bringdown the price at the pump.

Alan Colmes slipped up (I think) in his segment intro, obviously knowing what the talking points to come would be. He said "Gas taxes are sky high, consumers are feeling the squeeze..." I think he meant to say gas prices are sky high.

Hannity said that while Congress excoriates Big Oil for extreme profits, could they, along with state governments, be the real culprits here? He urged viewers to pay attention to the changing chyrons which listed alphabetically the states and their cents per gallon tax rates. Comment: great distraction technique, focusing attention away from the guest. They only got up to Mississippi so it was not only useless but also incomplete.

The guest, Tyson Slocum from Public Citizens Energy Program, was immediately upon introduction drilled by Hannity's rude rapidfire style. He was asked his personal opinion on drilling for oil in the 48 contiguous states (for it), whether he supports drilling off the coasts of Florida and California (no), drilling in ANWR, (no), building more refineries (absolutely, with environmental compliance), and nuclear power (when he said it has nothing to do with oil, Hannity said that Slocum obviously didn't want to answer the question, as if he had something to hide.)

Hannity says he looks at these numbers, for example New York ("coincidentally" the state with the highest taxes, 63 cents/gallon) and asks "Don't you think that the very people who create the shortages because they don't want drilling anywhere, they just create our dependence on foreign oil, then they raise taxes to that extent, before they start lecturing anybody else on the high cost of a gallon of gasoline, don't they need to rescind their taxes first, sir?"

When Slocum responds that these gas taxes haven't been increased in a decade, (are you all watching the chyron looking for your state?) Sean injects, I didn't ask you that. Slocum continues over him that these are the same taxes as when crude oil was $20/barrel, when gas was $1/gallon, and Sean talks over him saying isn't 63 cents excessive, sir? Comment: No amount of "sir"s will hide the fact that Sean Hannity interviewing someone who disagrees with him is a rude, overbearing bully, unlike his fawning over Charlie Daniels.

Slocum continues that the fact is that the big run up we've seen is directly related to the big profits of the oil companies. This time, Alan Colmes overtalks him and obfuscates his point. With friends like these....

Alan's pointing out that they're talking about two different issues here, taxes and profits. Colmes has some facts handy: in 1999 oil companies' profits were 22.8 cents/gallon; profits are up 79% in the last five years (approx. 41 cents) and that's what the issue is.

Slocum makes the point that taxes go to build and maintain roads and infrastructure, and the government needs revenue to pay for these things. The government could have raised CAFE standards and chose not to because as Slocum puts it "We don't have an energy policy in this country. We've got political payback. The energy bill that Bush signed August 8th extends $6 billion in tax breaks to OIL companies."

Hannity is Hey Tyson Hey Tyson-ing him over the last 8-9 words (the states are gone from the lower 3rd so Hannity has to distract from the content another way.)

Hannity then says to Slocum (sneering and jabbing the air) "You're a big anti-capitalist liberal. When the sanctimonious politicians stop taking 63 cents a gallon they'll be in a better position of moral authority to talk about capitalism and profits. Until then they need to shut up and cut people's taxes before they lecture us. But I appreciate you being here."

Comment: You'd think the fact that the tax rates shown on screen varied from state to state would have been a clue. He's just taking the anti-tax meme and vomiting nonsense. While he's at it he can harp about the higher rents and across the board cost of living in New York...those are all traceable back to taxes too, I suppose.

He is really preaching to a shrinking choir. Most people are not so understanding of the beauties of unregulated capitalism when the executives make obscene profits while grannie worries about the heat bill. Hannity has neither the education nor the class to be elite but he tries to make up for it with nouveau riche snobbery.

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