KTTH OPINION

Rantz: Seattle media gives pass to Democrat lie creating sky high gas prices

Jun 27, 2023, 8:45 AM | Updated: 10:07 am

Washington most expensive gas: A gas station sign in Poulsbo, Washington, displays a $5.09 price pe...

A gas station sign in Poulsbo, Washington, displays a $5.09 price per gallon. (Photo: Toby Scott via Getty Images)

(Photo: Toby Scott via Getty Images)

A Democrat lie about climate change legislation propelled Washington state to the top of the list of states with the highest gas prices. Democrats are now lying to cover up their original lie — with the help of some in Seattle media.

Governor Jay Inslee dismissed concerns over his carbon fee legislation (Climate Commitment Act). Critics of his plan noted that taxing oil and gas companies for the carbon they emit will be passed on to consumers. Inslee pretended otherwise, dismissing any potential increase to just a few pennies. His argument never made any sense, with the state’s own data contradicting Democrat talking points. But you can get away with a lot when you have an obedient, left-wing media that do little to call out agenda items reporters and editors can get behind.

Washington gas is the highest in the country, with $0.45 a gallon in new fees from the carbon fee adding to already-high prices. In some parts of King County, like Seattle, gas exceeds $5 a gallon. What’s worse, the plan isn’t cutting down on environmental pollutants. Will more in the local media start to push back?

Outing the Seattle gas price hike

The good news is that some in the media are now seeing the truth about the carbon fee. But the bad news is that they’re still carrying water for Inslee, with one columnist defending the lie as a necessary evil.

Seattle’s newspaper quoted The Oil Price Information Service that blames up to 50 cents a gallon on Inslee’s legislation. Severin Borenstein, a University of California Berkeley professor of business administration and public policy, characterized the carbon fee as obviously responsible for the rise in gas prices, too. And while the paper frames the story around “conservative” criticism, it still provides a clear explanation for the higher gas prices. It also explains why the Department of Ecology quietly removed from its website Inslee’s claims over the legislation’s minimal impact on gas prices.

Facts don’t get in the way of Democrat talking points, though. The Governor’s office and the Department of Ecology continue to gaslight Washingtonians over the gas price hike. They blame it on market factors like supply/demand, Saudi Arabia, and, remarkably, Ukraine. These arguments are transparently and laughably bad. No one is claiming there aren’t outside factors responsible for price increases. What we’re noting is that the carbon fee is adding up to 50 cents above what it otherwise would be. It’s why we’re now higher than other west coast states (and the rest of the country).

The governor’s spokesperson blames greedy oil and gas companies for the price hikes. Even if that were true, that the gas prices are up purely due to greed, it still means that Inslee’s legislation is a failure. They’re not polluting any less.

Defending the carbon fee lie

The carbon fee was meant to raise the price of gas because Inslee and other environmental extremists want to force you out of your cars.

While they’d rather you walk, bike, or bus, they’re okay with you driving electric vehicles. To the average Washingtonian, these options are not practical or affordable. And low-income residents are hit the hardest, paying more of their hard-earned dollars on gas while hearing Democrats claim they will fight regressive taxes! But Washington Democrats believe their goal is laudable, so they’re okay with the pain at the pump. And they have allies in the media.

Seattle newspaper columnist Danny Westneat devoted a recent column to the gas price hike. He noted the lies, though won’t condemn them. He called out what he characterized as “strategic misrepresentation” from Democrats. But then he says it’s necessary if we want to get serious about addressing climate change, claiming “it might be impossible to pass one [climate change policy] without strategically misrepresenting it to the public.” He goes on:

That’s because climate fixes are upside-down from what typically wins. They offer immediate pain for speculative future benefits. Pay now, make life better later. That’s the opposite of our usual political formula, which either sells prompt perks or puts costs on a credit card (or both — see federal budget deficit.)

In the end, I’m ok with the 50 cents per gallon, if it starts a shift away from fossil fuels. Beyond the spin job, the biggest failures are that the state didn’t come up with much to make oil companies eat some of those costs or to aid working people who can’t afford it.

Westneat’s argument is lazy, of course. But his conclusion is wrong.

 

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The carbon tax doesn’t help the environment

Westneat is okay with the lie because it will shift us away from fossil fuels. But it doesn’t.

The high price of gas doesn’t stop people from driving, nor does it substantively change driving habits. It’s merely a form of economic torture porn. You either have to drive to work or you don’t. No one is quitting their job because they can’t afford the gas. They just spend more of their money on gas than they originally budgeted for.

Bussing is hardly an option, either. A mom who lives in Tukwila and must get her son to school before she heads to Seattle for her job isn’t taking the bus. While there certainly are some people who drive solo when they could take the bus, some transit agencies don’t make it appealing. King County Metro is only now saying they’ll enforce rules (and laws) against public drug use. But they let the crisis get so bad that they’re branded by their failures. Light rail could be an option for some, but Sound Transit is incapable of expanding its services on-time or on-budget.

As the carbon tax is passed along to consumers, which was inevitable, the state’s coffers grow while your savings dwindle. Meanwhile, we’re emitting the same carbon as before, only the state is now charging companies to pollute. None of this is noble.

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Listen to the Jason Rantz Show on weekday afternoons from 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). He is the author of the book What’s Killing America: Inside the Radical Left’s Tragic Destruction of Our CitiesSubscribe to the podcast. Follow @JasonRantz on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook. Check back frequently for more news and analysis.

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Rantz: Seattle media gives pass to Democrat lie creating sky high gas prices