My colleague Ann Carlson explains:
[O]ne of the most audacious political stances I’d seen in many years was the Republican position — dreamed up by GOP pollster Frank Luntz — that a tax on big banks was actually a big bank bailout. Converting a tax to a government bailout was pure political chutzpah, and some sick form of genius.
Now it’s the Democrats’ turn to cry bailout. Several Democratic Senators — Lautenberg and Menendez from New Jersey, Nelson from Florida — have proposed raising the amount of liability insurance an oil company must carry for spill coverage from $75 million to $10 billion. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), a huge supporter of oil drilling, has apparently blocked the bill. She’s instead proposed charging an additional penny a barrel of oil to provide increased funding for the federal oil spill response fund. So aren’t the Republicans now in favor of a big bailout for big oil?
This should be the ad from the DNC all over the web. No, I’m not holding my breath.
It actually makes sense to impose taxes to pay for anticipated environmental costs. But the GOP’s attacks on climate change regulation and their complete mendacity on financial regulation give me less scruples about such things.