In lieu of real energy policy, senators propose sending people checks

Apparently driven insane by high gasoline prices, congressfolk are reaching virtuosic heights of pandering and venality, approaching some sort of Platonic ideal of What’s Wrong With Politics These Days. Exhibit A: Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) just unveiled a proposal that would bribe the American people with $100 checks in exchange for permission to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. We wish that were some kind of metaphor or figure of speech, but really, that’s what it does: Everyone with an income below $125,000 would get a $100 check — to help with gas prices, you see — and oil companies would get drilling. Exhibit B: Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) introduced a bill that would repeal $5 billion in oil-company tax cuts and send a $500 tax rebate to families earning under $119,950. We don’t have a crystal ball or anything, but we’ll hazard a guess that this legislative race to the bottom is not going to end in sensible energy policy. Anyone wanna take bets?