Petition Against Gas Tax Holiday Pushed by Left-Wing Economists

<p><img src="/static/2008/05/2008-05-05-GasTaxes.jpg" alt="cartoon by Yogi Love of |" align="right" border="0" height="188" hspace="3" vspace="3" width="151" />The debate over a gas tax holiday has caught the attention of all three presidential candidates as well as the media. Last night, CBS &quot;Evening News&quot; said 150 economists had signed a petition against the cut and quoted one saying &quot;it isn't sound economic policy.&quot;</p><p>But that list includes several prominent liberal economists, some who have also opposed the Bush tax cuts and pushed for a higher minimum wage in other petitions. The list featured economists from liberal groups such at the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, as well as several former Clinton staffers.</p><p>Reporter Priya David didn't mention any political affiliations or leanings for those opposed to the gas tax holiday. &quot;But last week some 150 economists signed a petition saying it's a bad idea,&quot; she said. </p><!--break--><p>David brought on Len Burman, from the Urban Institute, who called the temporary tax cut &quot;pandering.&quot; Burman is just one of several signatories who worked for Democratic presidents. According to the Urban Institute Web Site, Burman is a senior fellow and &quot;held high-level positions in both the executive and legislative branches, most recently serving as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tax Analysis at the Treasury from 1998 to 2000,&quot; during the second Bill Clinton term.</p><p>Henry Aaron, from Brookings, was the first name listed on the latest petition and a 2006 petition to back &quot;modest increases in state minimum wages.&quot; He also appears on a third petition against the Bush tax cuts. Aaron was a staffer during Democrat Jimmy Carter's presidency. &quot;In 1977 and 1978, he served as Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare,&quot; according to the Brookings site.</p><p>Alice Rivlin, Clinton's head of the Office of Management and Budget from 1994-96, also appears on all three petitions. She is a senior fellow with Brookings and director of Economic Studies.</p><p>Brookings is run by another former Clinton staffer - Strobe Talbott, &quot;deputy secretary of state in the Clinton administration,&quot; according to his bio on the group's Web site.</p><p>Columbia University's Joseph Stiglitz also signed all three petitions. Stiglitz authored a December 2007 Vanity Fair piece blasting &quot;catastrophe that was the Bush administration.&quot; </p><p>That petition, and another to oppose President George Bush's tax cuts, were both featured on the Web site for the left-wing Economic Policy Institute. </p><p>Even Clyde Prestowitz, a former Counselor to the Secretary of Commerce in the Reagan Administration, is far from conservative. Prestowitz is cited by as having given $20,000 to the Democratic National Committee and another $3,000 to Democratic candidates such as Sen. John Kerry. Prestowitz had only funded one Republican candidate - for less than $1,000.</p><p><b><i>Illustration by Yogi Love of <a href=" target="_blank">Red Planet Cartoons</a>.</i></b></p>

Dan Gainor
Dan Gainor is The Boone Pickens Free Market Fellow and Vice President for Business and Culture for the Media Research Center