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Is Gregg Hunt Crazy, Part 2

Feb 13, 2009

***Editor's Note:  Gregg Hunt's support of a signicant bump in the federal gas tax once again generated quite a bit of response.  His comments aired on the January 7-8 edition of U.S. Farm Report (available at

As I understood Gregg Hunt's defense of his proposal for a drastic gasoline tax on AgDay on Monday February 9, he said that to do so would pressure car makers to produce cars capable of the European average of 42 miles per gallon. That from-the-bottom-up approach will penalize the average person as the end-justifies-the-means method of achieving the intended target. Despite his objections, it would make much more sense, achieve the goal far more quickly, and not penalize the public if Congress were to legislate that car makers make cars capable of that mileage target.  Mr. Hunt meanwhile needs to engage in a fundamental rethink of his economic philosophy!
Yours sincerely,
Jim Hansen

Dear John Phipps,
   I have watched your show for years, every Sunday AM while I am doing my ironing!  I am not a farmer, do not live on a farm and don't intend to, I really enjoy your show because it is very informative about many things that affect my everyday living.  Today was my first disappointment.  I didn't catch his name but the gentleman that said the Federal Govt needs to raise gas taxes to stop Americans from using SUV's was terrible.  It is great to drive a little bitty car that gets 40 MPG, but we were a family of 6, two adults and four children, almost poverty level, but I wanted my children to see some of the USA and have some nature time.  We went camping!  How would all of us, all the camping gear (yes, we had a tent) all the food, clothing etc. in a compact car.  Think of the ripple affect, vehicle sales down, maintainence down, and travel economy on the whole!  Please don't invite him back again.  I enjoy your show because it is not political (we have all had enough politics in the last 2 1/2 years!) and you don't try to tell me what I should THINK! and how great the "left" is.  I know this is too long but I couldn't contain myself!  HAPPY FARMING ( I was born and raised in NJ - "the Garden State" so my first jobs were on farms, picking, hoeing & packing, I still go back and pick my own blueberries every year).

Please do have greg hunt as a part of you telecast anymore. His idea on raising the gas tax is unreal.  Does he expect farmers to haul seed, the field in a vehicle that gets 42 miles/g.  If this is the kind of reporting that you think would be helpful to the american farmer, you"re wrong.  If I see him on your show ever again , I will not be tuning in.  Please get some people to report news that would be revelant to our industry.  Very disappointed in you.   
Elaine Binder  
Table Rock  NE

   What in the hell is Gregg Hunt trying to say? You allowed him time to clarify what he said on the 27th of January and he can't form a cogent thought! This guy is NO free market economist. I listened intently and he started a new thought about 4 times. The only thing I "think" he is trying to say is that he wants the free market to work when it is in his favor, but when its not, government should intervene. That is a recipe for disaster - witness the present debacle.  
By the way, where in the hell does Dan Flores think we are goin to get energy from? The sun? Corn? Beans? Wind? Vera-Sun is proving what a "viable" industry ethanol is. Here in Minnesota, the State has subsidized corn-ethanol for over 30 years! It will not work, it decreases mpg by 33% and disrupts the corn/food supply, is a net LOSS in energy, uses too much water and ruins small engines! What is there to like?   
   I see that because Flores drives a Prius he is a champion of electricity! How are you going to make electricity if Obama gets his way? Obama said he will kill the coal industry. He is going to backtrack on all of Bushs' plan to expand oil recovery. He doesn't care for nuclear! All the alternative sources make up a fraction of new energy.
I thought your ag. based economist fellow were pretty smart. From what I am hearing now, I would run out of their offices for fear of turning this Country into a complete socialist state! Oh I forgot, Obama is going to attempt this anyway.
God help us!
Joe Polunce
Cologne, MN


Mr. Hunt,

My name is Gary Anderson.  I farm 230 acres in northeast Wisconsin but also have a day job of servicing dairy farm equipment.  My whole life has been either farming or farm related industries.  

Your comments on raising the gas tax caught my attention because any concession to raise taxes violates my common sense.  I think you're being much too parochial in your interests. Raising taxes on gasoline -exclusively on passenger cars as you've said - just panders to the special interest exclusivity that has made our tax code the mess that it is.  Understandably, you're interested in advancing ethanol.  But taxing gasoline does not create a profit motive as you've described.  It creates a stick motive. I'm interested in advancing the prosperity of America, not just agriculture.  When America prospers, agriculture will prosper.

Currently, our politicians are spending money like drunken teenagers with Dad's credit card.  When teenagers irresponsibly spend their allowance you don't raise their allowance. You cut them off.  It's the only way we will discipline their spending.  The same with politicians.  If we want them to stop spending we need to cut them off and remind them that they work for us - not we work for them.  The fact that we would concede to or, even worse promote, a tax increase seriously irritates my sensabilities. 
Washington would obviously love having a tax increase on gasoline.  Along with the revenue, it gives credence to their faulty argument of fossil fuels' contribution to man-made climate change.  All of this is used as an excuse to create more mandates that limit our economic freedom.  Gasoline taxes are one more such economic limitation.
I'm sure you and I would agree that energy independence is crucial to our economic freedom.   But we don't need a gasoline tax to force energy independence.  We have enough fossil fuel reserves in the form of coal, oil shale, and oil reserves in ANWR, and off shore oil.  Again, special interest mandates from Washington based on false premises of environmental damage are limiting our energy independence.  Fighting these mandates, rather than rolling with the flow of adding more special interest regulations such as the case you make for increasing gasoline taxes, is the better way to advance America's energy independence. 
I'm in favor of developing other forms of energy, including ethanol.  But they should be developed on their economic merit rather than their political influence.  If and when fossil fuels run short, other forms of energy will naturally be developed, just as oil was developed as a form of energy in the late 19th century.  But forcing this development through taxation and regulations will result in a decline in our standard of living and will force economic resources to flow to the wrong places.  I know this sounds like a lecture, but to concede to more taxes and give Washington more authority over us will advance - unfortunately now at a much faster pace - our march toward socialism.  We're losing our country in the name of special interests - agriculture included.
I realize I'm being an idealist.  But we have too few idealists to fight for the principals that the country was founded on.  People such as yourself would help if you would advance a little of that idealism.
Gary Anderson
Cecil, Wisconsin

 There is an old saying that when you're in a hole, quit digging. Gregg Hunt kept digging this morning. He has a high tax, big government philosophy and no amount of talk will get him out of the hole. His idea was stupid the first time and just as stupid with further explanation. Most people don't want government telling us what we can drive. The reason people drive SUVs is for safety. He wants us driving cardboard boxes. (I don't drive an SUV and have no intention of buying one.)  Hunt must have campaigned for Obama with his attitude. 
Darrell Smith

Dear Sirs, 
   Mr. Hunt appears very uncomfortable on air this morning during his explanation about our economy. His disjointed explanation is dated and not relevant to our current economic happenings.  

Kevin K.
Fort Wayne, IN
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COMMENTS (7 Comments)

If the government passes the gas tax, then we will consume less oil. But wait then OPEC will cut the supply and gas will go over 5 dollars a gallon. Were will it END.
12:12 AM Feb 16th
Gregg Hunt's comments on raising the gas tax make a lot of sense. Our roads, bridges and transportation infrastructure are falling into disrepair and it only makes sense that the users of such infrastructure should foot the bill for the repairs. Also, the gas tax increase will lessen gas use, lessening our dependence of foreign oil. Some of the increased tax revenue should be used to promote alternative energies in advance of the next energy price spike. We should not wait until oil is $200 a barrell, either because the world is running out of oil or OPEC decides to turn off the spigot for political reasons. You don't just develop alternative energies overnight. They take decades to develop as did the oil industry. However, Mr. Hunt probably forgot that most people today are too shortsighted and "me- first oriented" to accept any pain. Pass it on to the next generation to deal with the energy crisis, just like the federal budget deficit. If Mr. Hunt erred, it was by not pandering to the masses.
1:04 PM Feb 10th


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