Okay, in case you haveÂ been too fascinated by Clinton's mudslinging act to follow the issues, McCain and Clinton have both piped up with plans to give us a break from federal gasoline taxes from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Obama, on the other hand, has declined to support this idea. Where do we then get the money to repair highways, he asks.Â
John McCain today responded to this by labeling Obama insensitive to poor people and out of touch on economic issues. McCain nailed Obama for opposing the gas tax moratorium, a proposal that McCain says will particularly help low-income people who usually have older cars that guzzle more gas.Â McCain,Â you just told us that our nation's lower class is banging along in hulking jalopies. That sounded a bit elitist to me....
In the meantime, Americans are beginning to take action on their own to lessen the burden of their gasoline expenses. They are buying more small cars, and fewer big honking SUVS. Small cars are now the largest segment of the U.S. auto market, accounting for 18 percent of new car sales. Last year U.S. consumers bought a record 2.8 million of them, and with sales up 4 percent in the first quarter this year, the record almost surely will be shattered. The American people are absorbing a much needed lesson: that oil addiction is not just awkward and friendly to terrorists, it is also a very expensive dead end. This lesson, if painful enough, may induce them to actually support action to improve the efficiency of our transportation (smaller vehicles, hybrids, plug ins, mass transit). If the federal government steps in, pats us all on the head, and takes away all the burdens of our former folly, where is our motivation to leave the dead end? And then there is the elephant in the room- climate change. "The biggest lie in America politics today is to say you care deeply about global warming and advocate for the price of gas to go down," says Mike Jackson, CEO of the AutoNation car dealer chain. "Those are mutually exclusive concepts."
In my view, both Clinton and McCain are pandering. They both are quite aware the fiscal hole that Bush has dug for the american people, quite aware that you can't repair highways without money, and well aware that they are both pandering. Pandering is how you get elected, they would tell you if they could be honest. As an added bonus, they both get to stick it to Obama because they can portray him as "elitist" and "out of touch", just because he is NOT pandering.Â It's a win/win!
The economists will tell you however that this no gas tax thing is stupid. How is a temporary response to a permanent problem helpful? What happens on Labor Day when gas prices have gone up another buck per gallon? Well, hint, you are not going to reinstate the gas tax, you are just going to get rid of it PERMANENTLY. There goes one more 80 billion in annual federal revenue, forever. Now how areÂ you going to keep your promise of balancing the federal budget? Well, you are not. But the important thing was getting elected, not telling us a hard truth.
Actually, why should we just get rid of the gas tax? Why not the income tax? Hey, that is much more of a burden to us than the gas tax is, at a lousy 18 cents a gallon. Yeah, get rid of the gas tax, the income tax, and sales tax. Â We can all be happy then. Of course China and Japan, whose willingness to buy our government bonds is funding our budget deficits, will give up on us at that point and our entire economy will collapse, but hey, who cares? At least we won't have any taxes.
I realize that I should be frustrated at Obama for refusing to join the other 2 in this pandering. but somehow, I can't manage it. I find myself respecting him. What is wrong with me? Don't I understand politics?