Federal Gas Tax Relief ~ Is This the Price of Your Vote?

This is classic pay-me-now-or-pay-me-later, near-term-gain-for-long-term-pain thinking.  Let’s face it, the age of cheap oil is history.  America must now adapt to this new economic reality. 

Showing us just how much he really does not know about economics, Senator John McCain has proposed Federal gas tax relief (Memorial Day to Labor Day) as a way of alleviating some of our economic pain this year.  Does this sound good to you?  Yeah, I thought so too until I did the math.

Hillary Clinton, recognizing a good election year ploy to buy your votes, was quick to endorse McCain’s idea, while Barack Obama is saying, “No.” How come?  I think it’s because he believes it’s better to be honest with voters.  He trusts that voters are too smart to be bought for the price of a cup of coffee a day for ninety-seven days.

The Federal excise tax on gasoline, by the way, is 18.4 cents per gallon, it’s 27.2 cents per gallon on diesel fuel.  If the tax on just the gasoline were to be suspended for the summer, each of us who drives a car would save approximately 46 cents a day, assuming that we drive an average of 50 miles a day and that our car gets 20 miles per gallon of gas.  But, given that there are approximately 300,000,000 registered vehicles in America today, not counting commercial trucks and recreational vehicles (let’s say just two-thirds of them are driven the average 50 miles a day), the Highway Traffic Fund would lose $91,908,000.00.   While not as generous as the Economic Stimulus package that Congress has already agreed to add to deficit spending this year, the money that we might not spend individually at the pump this summer will be money that won’t be spent later maintaining our nation’s highway infrastructure.  Hmmm… I wonder how many jobs in how many states this amount of money translates into.

This is a classic case of pay-me-now-or-pay-me-later, near-term-gain-for-long-term-pain thinking.  Let’s face it, the age of cheap oil is history.  America must now adapt to this new economic reality.

At a time when economic conditions signal the need for expansion- ary fiscal policies on the part of our Federal government, it’s no time for anyone to be “nickel-and-dime’n” their way into the White House.  We need to drastically reduce our demand for foreign oil, which is the biggest part of our trade deficit, and we need to cut down on CO2 emissions for the sake of our planet.  We do not need government to subsidize our continued gluttony, even if only psychologically and if only for a few short weeks. The only winners will be the share holders of big oil.  Only when world demand for oil declines will prices decline.

Please feel free to comment pro or con to this posing.

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Published in: on May 1, 2008 at 5:14 pm  Comments (5)  

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. The idea of the gas tax relief is like using a garden hose to fight a forest fire. I’ll make my own coffee and continue to pay the tax. They gotta come up with something better than that. Do they really think we are all stupid? And if people use the tax rebate to by gas for the SUV’S, the money goes to BIG OIL. More gas will be bought causing the pump price to go up. More money for BIG OIL. We need somethig like a 25% tax cut for anyone making less than $100,000. And a tax increase for the filthy rich.
    The rich,very rich and filthy rich are keeping the money tied up and out of circulation. We need people going into stores and spending like it was the last week before Christmas. You ever see a filthy rich person in Wal Mart? No!
    That’s my thoughts. Tell me how wrong I am Opa.

  2. Right on, John, except that the tax relief for the middle class that you propose seems a bit excessive to me. Whatever break the next administration gives us on taxes must be paid for somehow. Senator Obama would let the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy expire in 2010 and raise the tax on capital gains, which would affect few who earn less than $100,000.

  3. Thanks for the article Kent. When I heard of the gasoline price relief from the top contenders for the highest office in the U. S., I had to pinch myself. Are consumers suppose to be stupid or what? I wonder what school those two attended. I am really digusted over their proposals. I think we should all go to Washington, D.C. en masse. Then perhaps they will get it.

  4. I was listening to Air America Radio today on my XM radio (which I love, by the way), and the host asked the question: “Why are the people not so enraged by the mess this country is in that they are burning cars in the street”….kind of like was done in the late 60’s in the US…or like the French have done to protest…whatever has their ire up? And the host answered his own question with, “We would if there were a draft.”

    What I wonder, is Why are the majority of Americans so apparently apathetic? Or they just like to complain about stuff, but do not or will not take ACTION to change things: i.e. complain about price of oil/gas, but still drive gas-guzzling “pig cars ” as I refer to them as I pass them and think “oink oink” and don’t recycle, just throw plastic in the trash, etc. etc. and only vote once every 4 years …if that.

    They vote more for “American Idol” than for anything or anyone else!!!!! I wish we were like Australia: if you don’t vote in the democratic elections…not for “idol”, you have to pay a fine.

    Anyway, thanks for the chance to express myself, Kent.
    Keep the faith and hope to see you in Austin at the Democratic State Convention.(I hear you are an Alternate delegate from DeSoto and I am going to go as a volunteer) and by the way, I support Obama for president.

    Love to you and Natalie,
    Nancy Sanchez

  5. The point you make, Nancy, is probably why Obama hasn’t been able to reach many of the Blue Collar, Less-Educated, Over the Hill crowd. Hillary makes big promises, which they are just greedy and gullible enough to swallow, while Barack makes sense.


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