Brian Mudd

Brian Mudd

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Gun Control Dividing Lines, Gas Taxes & 2024 - Top 3 Takeaways


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Gun Control Dividing Lines, Gas Taxes & 2024 - Top 3 Takeaways – June 23rd, 2022  

  1. Dividing lines. The most meaningful vote on federal gun control measures in nearly thirty years took place Tuesday night in the United States Senate. The vote to advance debate on a package of gun control related measures. In total 14 Republicans joined with all Democrats in advancing the debate on legislation which is increasingly likely to become law. The 14 Republicans included notable senators like John Cornyn, the key GOP negotiator and minority leader Mitch McConnell. Notably it didn’t include either of Florida’s senators. What’s most notable about that is our junior Senator Rick Scott, was our governor and central organizer of 2018’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas School Safety Act. The law which enacted the most stringent gun control measures in Florida’s history – which included the raising of the legal age to purchase firearms to 21 (except for members of law enforcement and the military), imposed a 3-day waiting period for long guns and imposed risk protection orders – or a “red flag law”. By comparison the federal legislation he voted against, along with Senator Marco Rubio – who's up for reelection this year – is far more benign. The Senate legislation includes expanded background checks for buyers under 21, provides grants to states for implementation of their own risk protection orders and provides money for mental health services and school security. Florida’s law is already far wider-reaching than this. In fact, should this federal bill become law it’ll effectively have no bearing on gun policy in Florida. So why then the opposition by Florida’s Senators? It comes down to dividing lines. In a recent interview with Senator Scott, I specifically asked him about what he thought of the Senate negotiations and whether he might support federal measures. He expressed skepticism and said something significant that colors the votes of many federal legislators. There’s a significant difference between crafting policy at the state level, which is designed for a specific state and enforced by state and local law enforcement, and federal policy imposed on all states and enforced by federal law enforcement. The heavy hand of the federal government applies here. And that’s the dividing line and the difference in the vote. And while there’s room for debate as to whether that’s good federal policy... 
  2. Suspending the federal gas tax is a good policy. Yeah, it's possible the only reason President Biden is proposing a three-month suspension of the federal gas tax is because he thinks it's good politics. After all, when has President Biden ever stood for lower taxes – let alone on something he’s vowed to eradicate – fossil fuels? But whether it's pure political expediency or not it's in our best interest. As I’ll illustrate in today’s Q&A, should Congress go along with Biden’s request – and that is an if at this point, it's good policy. That’s not just because fewer and lower taxes generally is advisable, but because the estimated cost to the federal government - $10 billion, is nothing compared to the revenue impact of a protracted recession. The single biggest issue forcing the US economy to the brink of a recession? 41-year high inflation. The single biggest driver of that inflation? Energy. Yes, Biden reversing his executive actions limiting US energy production and distribution is the best policy and an actual long-term fix. But given that he’s serious about his threat to attempt to eradicate traditional energy sources, suspending gas taxes for a time will at least do something productive. Meanwhile, gas prices will continue to come down for the near term, independent of the gas tax as oil prices are sliding, due to the damage that’s already been done to the economy. Oil’s back to $103 per barrel – the lowest since May 10th. President Biden’s energy policy has been a disaster but suspending the gas tax is good policy. 
  3. 2024? A potential lose-lose for DeSantis? Maybe Politico’s writers are just bored. Possible. Or maybe they’re just hoping. Probably. Either way they’re attempting to stoke the flames of a DeSantis v. Trump battle royal for 2024. A Politico report yesterday, citing four unnamed sources entitled: 2024 intrigue: DeSantis declines to ask Trump for reelection endorsement. I’ve spoken about this, including recently and it bears repeating. There’s nothing left-leaning news media, which Politico is, would like more than taking out Trump. That is unless it takes out DeSantis along with Trump. Understand, any mainstream media reporting talking up 2024 DeSantis and Trump “intrigue” has this ultimate goal in mind. Considering the source is crucial. But here’s the thing. And it is a thing. If Trump decides to run, there may no chance at winning for DeSantis. Not because DeSantis can’t beat Trump in a Republican primary – that may prove possible. But because of what might happen even if he did. Would Trump concede defeat, call it a career and ride off into the sunset? Or would he consider running as an independent acting as a foil? I’ve said that if Trump decides to run, I don’t think DeSantis will – but if Trump does run and DeSantis does as well – it's a potential lose-lose situation in the end. Candidate beware. If MSM wants it, rest assured it's not in DeSantis’ best interest. 

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