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Hillary Clinton and John McCain are both pushing a ``gas-tax holiday'' to give consumers an 18.4- cent-a-gallon price break. Clinton says the plan will take excess profits from oil companies. McCain says it will help families buy school supplies.
Economists have a different take: They say the oil companies may end up the biggest beneficiaries, while the aid to families wouldn't be enough to buy a $35 backpack.
The trouble with the plan, they say, is that oil prices are rising because of low supplies, and companies will continue to charge the average $3.60 a gallon and just pocket the money that would have gone to federal taxes.
``That's $10 billion, and it's going into the pockets of oil refiners,'' said Leonard Burman of the Tax Policy Center in Washington. ``The last time I checked, they didn't need it.''
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the proposal was ``about the dumbest thing I've heard in a long time from an economic point of view.''
``We're trying to discourage people from driving and we're trying to end our energy dependence,'' Bloomberg told reporters at City Hall in New York