We [the American colonists fighting in the War of Independence] have shed our blood in the glorious cause in which we are engaged; we are ready to shed the last drop in its defense. Nothing is above our courage, except only (with shame I speak it) the courage to TAX ourselves.
--James Madison, 1782
[Just think how many of the world's problems could be solved by a US President and Congress which would impose a 50 cent a gallon tax on gasoline.]
How is a tax on gas going to solve any problems? I hope you were being sarcastic with that one... We've seen that rising prices don't discourage use, it just takes a bigger hit on the lowest paid workers who are spending the higher percent of their money on gas to begin with.
Raise taxes in a regressive way, watch the poor squirm, and tell them you need to raise taxes again to save them from the poverty you've imposed. Rinse & repeat - this is the slow road to slavery.
Raising the gas tax enough would
1. Reduce usage and encourage more fuel efficiency.
2. It would eradicate the US federal deficit.
A gas tax may indeed be regressive (but then so are sales taxes in general, and for quite some time they have been favoured by Republicans over income tax).
But, part of the money raised by the gas tax could be used to raise personal allowances.
The fact is that a gas tax has a none fiscal goal, and the mass of people, poor or not, need to use less energy.
The problem I forsee with that is the rise in prices of good and services. Delivery services, construction conpanies that require the use of trucks and other equipment that use gas and diesel fuel will charge more.
I say the government should spend less on pork. But then again, defining what is pork becomes a problem.
Here's what I'm looking: 2006 Oil Prices and Consumption
In 2006, prices went up about 17% and total oil demand only went down by about .6%. Gasoline and heating fuel use actually went up despite the steep price increase. The major reduction was in residual fuel, mostly used by ships and diesel-based industrial machinery.
If you include the increase in bio-fuel usage over 2006, we probably used more energy than in the year before - again, despite the nearly 20% price hike. A 50 cent tax increase would be like another 17%, and the devaluation of the dollar will probably contribute another 10-15% in energy price inflation. At the current rate, this would MAYBE drop oil demand by 1% if the trend holds.
I do actually favor sales taxes, but I'd like to see things like food, reasonably priced clothing, medicine, and one's primary residence completely tax free. Then, anyone who wants to buy consumer items that are not essential to survival can contribute their fair share. Unfortunately, I suspect that regressive taxes are more likely - poor and working class people tend to not have lobbyists and professional unions with political power.
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