Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Gas prices provide an entrée for Eric Schansberg into media debate with his opponents


One thing I know: Demopublicans really, really hate it when the media treats Libertarians like they were legitimate candidates for public office.

One thing I don't know (among many): precisely what city in Indiana's 9th Congressional District is the home base for the Evening News and Tribune.

But I know that this is paper with some intellectual integrity, as Daniel Suddeath proves in his article on how the price of gas has come to dominate the three-way race between Democrat Baron Hill, Republican Mike Sodrel, and Libertarian Erich Schansberg. The Demopublicans don't want to appear on the same stage with the Libertarian, and certainly don't want the news coverage of the issue to be framed around a third-party candidate, but hey....

When the Libertarian in the race is also the only candidate with a PhD in Economics, I guess you end up getting lectured:

When Eric Schansberg decided to run for Indiana’s 9th District U.S. Congress seat, he had “no idea” gas prices would be such a hot topic.

“It wasn’t even on my radar initially,” Schansberg said during a Wednesday press conference at Jeffersonville’s Warder Park.

The Libertarian candidate said as gas prices increased substantially in recent months, so did the interest level of Indiana residents.

“The price of gas has had a profound impact on the working poor,” he said. “Instead of political posturing and economic ignorance, we need public policies that will increase the supply of oil and strengthen the dollar as soon as possible.”

Schansberg has attempted to engage his competitors — Republican Mike Sodrel and incumbent Democrat Baron Hill — to a debate on gas prices, citing Hill’s insistence on a debate with Sodrel over fuel in 2006.

The debate hasn’t been agreed upon, but the three candidates are all focusing on gasoline.


Sodrel took a junket to ANWR, and Hill has been celebrating the Bureau of Land Management's decision to open up new public lands for drilling, but their problem (I'll say it again), is that they're dealing with an economist who actually understands the issue at greater than sound-bite depth:

Schansberg, an economist at Indiana University Southeast, suggests the main driving force for high gas prices may have little to do with drilling or speculation.

“The pursuit of spending and debt has weakened the dollar by about 40 percent over the past six years,” he said. “So, 40 percent of this problem has been caused by a devalued dollar.”

Schansberg — who refers to himself as the only fiscal conservative in the race — said getting a control on spending could have a great impact on gas prices.

Schansberg said that like Hill, he believes in reducing the size of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, though he thinks it will only result in a modest impact on market supply and price.

Schansberg believes an investigation into the high prices of Louisville gas being launched by Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear will not yield the results residents are hoping for.

“The answer is almost certainly (Environmental Protection Agency) regulations, which dictate the sale and use of certain types of gasoline,” Schansberg said, adding the type of gas sold in Louisville is different from most other states.

“This results in otherwise surprising price differentials between counties and greater price fluctuations in these regulated markets.”


I picked this one up through Eric's website. Somehow I seriously doubt that either Sodrel or Hill have posted it on theirs.

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