president gas is up for president

Time to talk politics.

First, hitting up the Opposition Party, Radley Balko has a few questions for Barack Obama:

In your autobiography, you admit to using marijuana and cocaine in high school and college. Yet you largely support the federal drug war — a change from several years ago when you said you’d be open to decriminalizing marijuana. Would Barack Obama be where he is today if he had been arrested in college for using drugs? Doesn’t the fact that you and our current president (who has all but admitted to prior drug use) have risen to such high stature suggest that the worst thing about illicit drugs is not the drugs themselves, but what the government will do to you if you’re caught?

He also has some questions on farm subsidies and ethanol, but I like that question best.

Next, picking on the Ruling Party candidate, John McCain has changed another of his long held political beliefs, this one on cigarette taxes:

McCain’s war against the tobacco companies – and this former POW does believe the metaphor is appropriate – stands as a self-acknowledged failure. In 1997, McCain was the moving force behind legislation to expand government powers to regulate tobacco and to levy a tax on cigarettes of more than a dollar per pack. In 1998, the legislation failed, but McCain helped to broker the industry’s $338 billion settlement with state legislators.

McCain developed an antipathy to tobacco lobbyists. He once threw lobbyist Charlie Black out of his Senate office because Black worked for Phillip Morris at that time. (Black now works for McCain as a strategist.)

McCain now opposes sin taxes on cigarettes. He said he worries that Congress would put the additional money into a general revenue pool. “Does anyone here have confidence in Congress?” he asked the crowd. Moderator Paula Zahn was skeptical. Might McCain change his mind if researchers proved that raisng the tobacco tax would help lower smoking rates?

Finally, I have to credit Patri for pointing this out: the Congressional Effect Fund, an equity fund that only buys long on the days Congress sits in session and looks for interest-bearing securities otherwise. Their reasoning: the market reacts spasmodically to Congressional pronouncements – e.g., Congress declares higher fuel standards for cars; car company stocks fall – so you’ll do better to invest when Congress goes on vacation.

I wouldn’t sink my retirement fund into it just yet. The graph looks convincing, sure, but any fool with a degree in Finance can fair a curve with 40 years of past results. However, I respect the logic behind it, so I might pitch a couple bucks their way.


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