Remember how the right wing bloggers and the radio squawkers and Republican lawmakers all howled in laughter when Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle proposed a windfall profit tax on oil companies? "It will never work," they said. "The oil companies will pass the costs on to us, the consumers," they cried.
Doyle's response? Basically, It will work because we say it will, and the oil companies wouldn't dare be so crass as to stiff us with the bill.
(For the record, I opposed the idea then and I still do.)
But guess who just stepped up to suggest that public shaming of oil companies is an effective deterrent? My headline gives it away:
STEPHANOPOULOS: Not a single economist in the country said [a gas-tax holiday would] work.Let's see if Doyle can get McCain up here to campaign for the windfall profits tax ...
MCCAIN: Yes. And there’s no economist in the country that knows very well the low-income American who drives the furthest, in the oldest automobile, that sometimes can’t even afford to go to work.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But they all say that . . . the oil companies, the gas companies are going to absorb … any reduction.
MCCAIN: … they say that. But one, it didn’t happen before, and two, we wouldn’t let it happen. We wouldn’t let it — Americans wouldn’t let them absorb that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: How would you prevent that?
MCCAIN: We would make them shamed into it. We, of course, know how to — American public opinion. And we would penalize them, if necessary. But they wouldn’t. They would pass it on.