01 May 2008

Gas Tax Holiday Follies

I try very hard not to talk about national politics. It just seems like a timewaster, and there are already thousands of voices on these issues. But this gas holiday thing is driving me crazy, and I cannot resist.

The McCain / Clinton proposal for a 3 month Federal Gas Tax Holiday is so stupid, so disrespectful of the soldiers who are risking their lives to bring us oil, that it makes my head hurt writing about it. It is pure pandering, and I think it speaks volumes about the character of the politicians proposing it.

I did an internet search and couldn't find anyone who supported the idea. A sampling:

Tom Freidman, Autopia, American Public Transportation Association, The Oil Drum, Economists call it stupid, NY Magazine calls it an Ominous preview of a McCain or Clinton presidency. James Fallows cant' believe the stupidity of it.

Freakonomics:
If any reader can find a coherent economist not affiliated with any of the major campaigns who thinks this is a good idea, then please add a link in the comments.
...we won’t find any economist willing to support this nonsense. Not a right-wing economist, not a left-wing economist, and not even a two-handed economist.


...the country is already 3.2 billion dollars behind on highway funds. Senator McCain's proposal would add $8.5 billion to that shortfall.
...
Projects across the board could be cut or put on hold. The American Road and Transportation Builders Association estimates more than 300,000 jobs could be at risk...


The Congressional Budget Office projects that the Highway Trust Fund, which finances the highway and public transit infrastructure, could become insolvent as early as next year. Senator McCain’s proposal will even further negatively impact the Highway Trust Fund, causing it to become insolvent even faster.

The federal gas tax has not been raised since October 1, 1993 but the demands on our roads and public transportation systems have continued to grow. Maintaining and expanding our transportation systems that meet the needs of our growing population is essential. The presidential candidates should be voicing their solutions for meeting the transportation needs of the future and dismissing any proposals, such as the “gas tax holiday” proposed by Senator McCain, that might be popular in the short-term but disruptive in the long term.

3 comments:

DP said...

Couldn't agree more.

What kills me is people's inability to connect the taxes they pay with the services the taxes provide. If they want to save their $50 this summer, that's fine, but don't complain to me when the Brent Spence gets rebuilt as a toll bridge.

I guess what really kills me is that this sort of political pandering might actually work on a lot of people. Ugh.

UncleRando said...

The costs to maintain our roadways are not even close to being met by the dedicated tax provided to them.

Cutting this tax temporarily would be a major mistake in every sense of the word. Just one more reason to vote for logic/reasoning this Fall.

CityKin said...

Rando, If you have some links about the costs of roadways vs what the gas tax provides, I would love to see it. It might make a good dedicated blog post. I'm sure people have researched this and the numbers are out there somewhere.

While it is possible that McCain really believes this is a good idea (after all he says he isn't an economist) I am certain that Clinton, being the wonk she is, knows what BS this is.