Gas Tax on the Poor

This Bloomberg article is probably the best reason to elect real fiscal conservatives to office. It says in part:
A U.S. panel created to recommend ways to fund road construction plans to propose that federal gasoline taxes rise as much as 40 cents per gallon over five years, a person with direct knowledge of the plan said.

The group will suggest that the current tax of 18.4 cents per gallon increase by 5 cents to 8 cents annually and be indexed to inflation after the five years, said the person, who didn't want to be named before the report is made public.

The panel, called the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission, is scheduled to release its recommendations including the federal fuel-tax increase Jan. 15 in Washington. Congress created the panel in 2005 for the purpose of issuing the report.

The findings may bolster efforts by members of Congress who have tried unsuccessfully to raise fuel taxes over the objections of President George W. Bush. The tax increase wouldn't go into effect until after Bush leaves office in 2009.
Taxes like these inordinately affect the poorest among us and should.. in my opinion.. be avoided. What do you think? Which of the presidential candidates do you think would support these gas tax hikes? Can anyone say tax and spend liberal?


  1. I'm up for a gas tax. As long as it gets spent on what I want it to be spent on.

  2. Great cartoon. :-)

    I'm not sure a tax is necessary, given the prices without it, but whatever. It seems to me taxes should support related services provided by government. As long as this one does that, then it is funding the right things. If it's just a vice tax, then it's really misplaced. I'm a fan of small government at heart, though, so I lean against this tax. The one thing that gets me is that government should be primarily concerned about security, and this bleeds over into being a true security issue.

    Mostly, I just love economists, and had to support the cartoon.

  3. I don't like this tax because it puts a lot of pressure on those who can afford it the least.. the poor.

  4. Tax is bad. Big government is bad.

    "This is about the heart and soul of the Republican Party," Thompson said in Surfside Beach, echoing his line from the night before. "I can out-'poor boy' any of them. I grew up in more modest circumstances than anybody on that stage. But the problem with populist rhetoric is where it leads you: Bigger government, more government programs."

  5. I think gas tax should only be something individual states themselves can do and the Feds can raise their road money in some other way. Signed, LTF

  6. I always thought roads and bridges were mostly a state affair, so I agree with anonymous that it should be voted on and raised within states. Better pressure on legislators, more precise voting, I think. It's frustrating to know my fed tax would go to fix a bridge in MN, when I think a bridge in IL needs it too!

    I also agree with KBob that it's a tax on the poor. But the need for so much driving is a problem that goes back to urban sprawl, and the rising middle class who could afford to sprawl, and the post-war economy, and and and. It gets awfully complicated.

  7. Some good points in this discussion. I do think our oil consumption is totally out of control - and it makes us less secure (by funding terrorism with oil money in Saudi Arabia for instance, by creating the need to continuously over-ride national sovereignty in oil producing countries in order to ensure our thirst is quenched).

    But I don't see a gas tax being a viable solution. People don't respond as well to punishments as they do to incentives. Instead, we should be providing tax breaks, write-offs or some other incentives to those who purchase fuel efficient vehicles like hybrids or small commuter cars. Reward people who are making consumer choices that are good for national security, instead of punish people who are making choices that are bad for national security.

    By the way, I'm already paying $3.29 per gallon, so $3.49 doesn't seem that much different (referring to the cartoon).

    I really liked Therese's point about urban development. That is the REAL problem. We build and develop in a car-dependent manner. We could definitely learn from the Europe, or even China for that matter when it comes to bike-friendly and pedestrian-friendly development.

  8. Thanks Sarah for the comment and also for the inspiration to post about hybrids :)


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