Newt Gingrich’s billionaire-funded 527 organization, American Solutions for Winning the Future (ASWF), has announced an exciting new contest: “Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Nothing.” Claiming that “common sense is losing out to political posturing,” Newt introduces his YouTube contest for “a short video why we must adopt a ‘Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less’ approach” with the prize of “free gasoline for an entire year.” Watch it:
For the first time, there will a beneficiary of the ASWF propaganda campaign who isn’t a right-wing millionaire or oil executive. But checking the contest details reveals the meager prize:
The contest winner will receive a $2,500 gift card, or a series of gift cards totaling $2,500 from a major gasoline provider in the United States.
So the prize is really $2,500 that goes to an oil company. Is it even, as Newt promises, worth “free gasoline for an entire year”? Probably not.
The average American’s gas bill in 2006 was $2,227 — when gas was $2.58 a gallon. But a gallon of gas is now $3.80, a nearly 50% increase. ASWF’s $2,500 gas card won’t pay for a year of gas unless prices fall back to $3 a gallon — or the winner cuts back driving significantly. If gas stays at $4 per gallon in 2009, the average household will be looking at a bill of about
$3,500 $3,300. So Newt’s propaganda contest is really more likely to turn out to be “Drill Here, Drill Now, Drive Less” for its one “winner.”
Just like the hoax that offshore drilling would help Americans pay less at the pump, or the absurd claim that conservative propaganda has affected the price of oil, even Gingrich’s YouTube contest is built on cheap promises. If Newt wanted to offer a genuine prize, he’d give away a Tesla electric sportscar. If Newt actually cared about Americans, he’d support relief for every driver, such as a “reliefbate” paid for by closing oil subsidy loopholes or by implementing a windfall profits tax on oil companies.
Of course, filling the gas tank isn’t an issue for the backers of ASWF’s agenda. It takes Sheldon Adelson, the right-wing kingpin who’s given ASWF more than $3 million, less than ten seconds to make $2500 from his Chinese casinos, and it takes Exxon Mobil less than two seconds.
UPDATE: $4 gas, as kiweagle notes in the comments, translates to an average gas bill of approximately $3,300 a year. $4.30 gas gives a gas bill of approximately $3,500 a year.