May 06, 2008

Hundreds of economists tell Clinton and McCain that their gas tax holiday is a pretty damn stupid idea. HP fully agrees.


You wonder what a couple of pandering idiots like Clinton and McCain were thinking.

Just two more short-sighted politicians, doing and saying anything to get elected. Even if it's stupid. Even if it makes zero economic or social policy sense.

America deserves better. I'm not sure if most Americans understand things like the gas tax either, but that's why we need leaders who do.

HP's recommendation? Raise the gas tax $1 a year for the next five years. Use the money to fund massive transportation infrastructure (highways, roads, bridges, trains, light rail, etc) and launch a Green Manhattan Project. The only way to get Americans out of their SUV's and away from imported oil and massive carbon emissions is to give them the incentive and ability to do it.

Clinton and McCain - two idiots who don't understand Econ 101 or what's best for America, running for president and failing.


Economists Criticize Clinton, McCain Gas-Tax Plans

More than 200 economists, including four Nobel prize winners, signed a letter rejecting proposals by presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and John McCain to offer a summertime gas-tax holiday.

The moratorium would mostly benefit oil companies while increasing the federal budget deficit and reducing funding for the government highway maintenance trust fund, the economists said.

The environmental group Friends of the Earth endorsed Obama over the weekend and called Clinton and McCain's moratorium proposals ``sham solutions that won't ease the pain at the pump.''

73 comments:

Anonymous said...

What do they need a gas tax for? From what I can see, they are neither building nor maintaining any of the roads/streets at this time.

Kenduffelsniffenspotzen

Akubi said...

I believe it was well over 200 economists.

Frank@Scottsdale-Sucks.com said...

I thought you were a Constitutionalist? A Ron Paul guy? Where on earth is the constitutional authority to levy a gas tax, let alone raise it $1/year to fund socialist programs like mass transit??

The gubmint has the 16th Amendment to authorize the income tax, but where's the "gas tax amendment"?

States have authority to levy a gas tax but not the federal gubmint....

Anonymous said...

i love billary's response to the econcomists:

"We've got to get out of this mind-set where somehow elite opinion is always on the side of doing things that really disadvantage the vast majority of Americans,"

she needs to be careful about that statement. it could be applied to a whole lot of things.

keith said...

Frank - good point, but here's my response

I'm for the total elimination of the ridiculous and unfair income tax, with all the deductions and loopholes etc. Strippers and bartenders pay no taxes while people with w2 jobs do.

I believe the government has the constitutional right and the necessity to raise taxes from the public - to fund a military (to defend our borders, not lauch unprovoked wars), to build and maintain public infrastructure, for education and basic social services, etc.

So what's the best way for the government to do that? Consumption taxes, period. Eliminate income taxes, and levy consumption taxes. And gas tax is the easiest and most sensical consumption tax. But the key to raising the gas tax is having the public transportation infrastructure so that people who cannot afford it have alternative modes of transportation to get to and from work etc.

Gas tax goes up, car sizes come down, mpg goes up, carbon emissions drop and public transportation gets built. The gas tax is one of the most important and necessary taxes for any society. You start with the gas tax.

Noodles 3 said...

You know, before the car became the dominant mode of transportation, train towns, towns with stations, were the big sh-t. There was a lot of fighting for who'd get the stations, cause the towns that didn't, the towns that were bypassed just atrophied and died. I can just see that happening in the next many decades as far flung suburbs and exurbs fight tooth and nail for a station. Those that get them survive. But the vast majority of McCrapvilles will become drug-and-squatterburgs.

Anonymous said...

Actually the gas tax is a constitutionally valid tax. It is directly appropriated to specific projects and a sales tax.

Anonymous said...

Raising the gas tax would disproportionately hurt the poor and middle class. Encouraging private investment in renewable fuels and increasing consumer demand for fuel efficient cars (that don't look dorky like the Prius, etc) is the way to go.

We are making progress. Biotech companies engineering bacteria to secrete hydrocarbons. Renewed interest in 100% electric cars (check out the Tesla Roadster!!!!) due to exploding gas prices. I haven't been on this earth for all that long. But I know America has historically been very resilient and is still the most competitive economy in the world. We'll be fine. No need to freak out over every little thing and give yourself high blood pressure.

keith said...

Pandering at its best and voters are stupid enough to buy it

_____

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton admitted on Monday it would be tough to lift the federal gasoline tax this summer as she has proposed because of a likely veto from President George W. Bush.

ADVERTISEMENT

Clinton, a New York senator, and rival Barack Obama, a senator from Illinois, have sparred over the gasoline tax before primary elections on Tuesday in Indiana and North Carolina.

Obama has accused the former first lady of political pandering with a proposal that would not save consumers much money in the end.

keith said...

This one's for you Frank. That ol' Constitution is a pretty nice document - you should read it sometime

Section 8 - Powers of Congress

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States

http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html

Paul E. Math said...

You've got me thinking, Keith. I had never considered replacing the income tax with an extremely high gas tax. So crazy it just might work.

I think an increase to urban population density would go hand-in-hand with this strategy. To do this we need to remove many of the impediments to urban construction such as byzantine regulatory requirements and the bribery of municipal agencies required to get approval for new projects. This is the problem with Boston.

Urban planning and infrastructure is one of the few areas where government actually has a positive role to play. It's unfortunate that this takes place at the local level where nepotism, corruption and graft are so prominent.

Case in point: the Big Dig in Boston. The cost overruns on this project are not just a local embarrassment, but a national one. All of the pigs lined up at the trough on the Big Dig and billions of dollars later we get ceiling panels falling and killing people. There has to be a better way.

screwchina said...

This clinches it for me. Obama's got my vote.

I've always believed that the U.S. govt should slowly raise the tax on gas, say by 25 cents a year over a ten year period and make people aware of the changes.

The would have given auto makers time to respond and consumers a chance to plan their next vehicle.

But instead they took what they thought was the easy way out, but it will be the hard way out, a shock to the system.

The $100 fill-up, when the average American has to pay more than $100 to fill the average car from not quite empty. That will be the shock soon -- could be months away.

Oil can hit $140 this year and gas approach $4.50/gallon. Still, that's almost half the price most Europeans pay. Not many Hummers in Denmark by the way. And lots of bikes and fit people. (And great-looking women!)

vanilla ice said...

Anonymous said...

" Raising the gas tax would disproportionately hurt the poor and middle class. "

Increasing the gas tax would also disproportionately help the poor and middle class. Especially the poor, if the gas tax was used to improve infrastructure and public transportation the public would be far better off then any losses seen through more expensive fuel.

A higher gas tax makes sense on many levels:

- reduces consumption
- acts as a carbon tax
- increases efficiency
- reduces hard and soft impacts of driving

I say increase the gas tax to $6/gallon. Use the funds to improve our roads, many of which are receiving only minimal maintenance. The majority of the funds should go to building public transport. We should rebuild our rail system, introduce a national bicycling system, and build a first class pedestrian system instead of treating them like second class citizens.

Anonymous said...

I cant believe anyone would WANT to pay more taxes! What a great stupid citizen you are! You know, because the more we are taxed, the more the BENEFITS have just come shining through! Come on! Give the gov more money, and they will WASTE more money. It is a simple concept to see and grasp.

By your reasoning we need an IQ tax. Tax goes up, stupidity comes down, IQ goes up, retardation disappears. Talk about a necassary tax for society!

I love my SUV, I use it to tow my drag car. My 115 octane burning, supercharged, $7 a race gallon monster! I love my sportscars, yes, multiple. I would just as soon die as drive a shitbox Toyota anything, or god forbid a Honduh. I live for excitement and enjoyment. Why the hell else get up every morning? To drive an Accord 15 miles for my commute? NO WAY! I will take my 2002 SS Camaro thank you! Oh yeah, it knocks down 28 mpg all day long because it has a 6 speed transmission. Almost as good as those Honduhs and Toyota Piousus. This is America Keith, not Europe. I DONT WANT IT TO BE EUROPE! If you like Europe so damn much, please, STAY THERE! Public transportation is a joke. 4 times as long to get anywhere, while making 3 different transfers. Thats convenient! And can I smoke on public transportation? Can I scratch my balls if I need to without making a scene? You socialists need to accept this is America and we are great because of CAPITALISM. Not the granny state. Some will win, some will lose. Quit being a loser if you dont like it. There are endless opportunities for those that are not too lazy or stupid to take them.

Keith, I found this blog about 2 years ago and visit everyday. You used to be pertinent to your cause and you stuck to it. You have drifted so far off course from what your original cause was that I dont even come here anymore to check on housing issues, because they are few and far beetween anymore. DrHousing Bubble has kept on track and focused. You have not. You have become a Communist / Socialist / anti American blog. VERY SAD. I miss the old focused blog. With the fruition of the housing crash, it seems you are not relevant anymore, just spewing and trying to force the European lifestyle on us. Thankfully, real Americans will always scoff at the Europeans. We live well because we enjoy it. We do not drive shit boxes with 17 horsepower that get 60 mpg because we have to drive 75 mph on the freeway every morning and European shitboxes cant keep up. We lead the world Keith, we do not FOLLOW! Try and keep up!

WildBill said...

Most economists that have seriously studied mass transit arrangements have concluded that they are boondoggles, with little value due to the distribution of American population, jobs, etc.

This is different in a few - very few - places, most notably NYC.

Even in DC, most people commute away from the city center and so mass transit is a total loss from an economic, convenience, and even "green" standpoint.

WildBill said...

"I believe the government has the constitutional right and the necessity to raise taxes from the public...to build and maintain public infrastructure, for education and basic social services, etc.

Interesting, Keith. Where in the constitution specifically do you find this power? I am familiar with the power granted to the US government to wage war, but I just can't seem to locate the items you cite above in the powers explicitly - and selectively - given to the Feds. Please point us to the portion of the constitution that mentions those.

Anonymous said...

Minnesota's bridge collapsed. Did a gas tax fund it's maintenance?

emmy said...

The price of gas is going up so rapidly,so lots of the effects you want will come into play. There is money, just no will.
What is needed is a different crowd in charge.

emmy said...

The price of gas is going up so rapidly,so lots of the effects you want will come into play. There is money, just no will.
What is needed is a different crowd in charge.

PIG, back to the Arky swamp... said...

"Clinton and McCain - two idiots who don't understand Econ 101 or what's best for America, running for president and failing."

Billary should get fitted for a casket today. She will be killed of finally after a another humiliating primary defeat.

Too Bad she has done so much damage by staying in her losing campaign of shame and disgrace.

The Clintons do not seem to care how low in the ditch they squirm.

They are the perfect shining examples of everything that is wrong in America.

Send the Clintons to China to continue their Good Work...

Anonymous said...

"Use the money to fund massive transportation infrastructure (highways, roads, bridges, trains, light rail, etc) and launch a Green Manhattan Project. The only way to get Americans out of their SUV's and away from imported oil and massive carbon emissions is to give them the incentive and ability to do it."

Only way this works is in high density cities like NY or Boston. And those cities already have fairly good public transportation already.

But come on, there is no feasible way to replicate that in Atlanta or Dallas or Phoenix. You'd be looking at trillions of dollars to build subway lines to cover the massive sprawl of those cities.

You're stuck in this notion of people live in the 'burbs and work downtown. So build a train from the burbs to downtown and all is well. This is 1960s thinking. Today more people commute from suburb to suburb than suburb to downtown. You'd have to build a spider web of subway lines to make people leave the car at home. And even if that were feasible, good luck getting someone to wait in line outside for a bus/train in Phoenix or Dallas or Houston or Atlanta or Miami during the summer.

US cities are not like European cities. Good or bad, that is the situation we're in. You can't just say let's build a Berlin style public transportation for Dallas.

The future will be in changing the way people work, not how they get around. 50% of people commuting to and office could do their job from home as well - if not better - than from a cubicle. If/when gas hits $7, $8, $10 a gallon, employees will demand this option. Employers will relent since the only other option would be paying them more.

No need for gas or any other taxes to solve this issue. The market, as always will figure out the solution without the government getting in the way.

David said...

Thankfully one major candidate (Obama) is against this ridiculous summer gas tax holiday.

The idea would just funnel more money into the oil companies.

keith said...

Wild Bill - what part of my previous language from the US Constitution did you not understand?

Section 8 - Powers of Congress

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States

http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html

Anonymous said...

In case anyone is interested:

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) – Gasoline prices in the United States, which have recently hit record highs, are actually much lower than in many countries. Drivers in some European cities, like Amsterdam and Oslo, are paying nearly 3 times more than those in the U.S.

The main factor in price disparities between countries is government policy, according to AirInc, a company that tracks the cost of living in various places around the world. Many European nations tax gasoline heavily, with taxes making up as much as 75 percent of the cost of a gallon of gasoline, said a spokesperson for AirInc.

In a few Latin America and Middle-East nations, such as Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, oil is produced by a government-owned company and local gasoline prices are kept low as a benefit to the nation's citizens, he said. All prices updated March, 2005.

Nation City Price in USD Regular/Gallon
Netherlands Amsterdam $6.48
Norway Oslo $6.27
Italy Milan $5.96
Denmark Copenhagen $5.93
Belgium Brussels $5.91
Sweden Stockholm $5.80
United Kingdom London $5.79
Germany Frankfurt $5.57
France Paris $5.54
Portugal Lisbon $5.35
Hungary Budapest $4.94
Luxembourg $4.82
Croatia Zagreb $4.81
Ireland Dublin $4.78
Switzerland Geneva $4.74
Spain Madrid $4.55
Japan Tokyo $4.24
Czech Republic Prague $4.19
Romania Bucharest $4.09
Andorra $4.08
Estonia Tallinn $3.62
Bulgaria Sofia $3.52
Brazil Brasilia $3.12
Cuba Havana $3.03
Taiwan Taipei $2.84
Lebanon Beirut $2.63
South Africa Johannesburg $2.62
Nicaragua Managua $2.61
Panama Panama City $2.19
Russia Moscow $2.10
Puerto Rico San Juan $1.74
Saudi Arabia Riyadh $0.91
Kuwait Kuwait City $0.78
Egypt Cairo $0.65
Nigeria Lagos $0.38
Venezuela Caracas $0.12

Source: air-inc.com

Mark said...

HP's recommendation? Raise the gas tax $1 a year for the next five years. Use the money to fund massive transportation infrastructure (highways, roads, bridges, trains, light rail, etc) and launch a Green Manhattan Project. The only way to get Americans out of their SUV's and away from imported oil and massive carbon emissions is to give them the incentive and ability to do it.

Why don't socialists ever want to cut government spending and taxes? More than half of all goverment spending goes to SOCIAL programs. Cut these entitlements and you will have MORE than enough money for roads and bridges...

Ans you will actually GROW the economy instead of sinking it with your insane gas taxes...

vanilla ice said...

"This is America Keith, not Europe. I DONT WANT IT TO BE EUROPE! If you like Europe so damn much, please, STAY THERE!"

This is supposed to be a free country. Why can't we build European styled cities here if we want? Why does every place have to be a strip mall and subdivision, sprawling, hell hole?

It seems to me Mr. Anon that you, like most Americans derive most of your entertainment from driving things. You don't care much about the places you are driving to. The faster you can drive by and through wasteland suburbs and countryside the better.

The Europeans have never let go of the fact that place matters. Being somewhere is much more important then getting there. A nice city is a much better investment then wasting resources on getting around in automobiles.

I think this is the point Keith might be trying to make. And our attitudes towards driving also ties into our individualistic, short sighted attitude that helped create the housing bubble.

Anonymous said...

End of the day Obama wants more of your cash out of your pockets into his coffers.

Anonymous said...

"It seems to me Mr. Anon that you, like most Americans derive most of your entertainment from driving things. You don't care much about the places you are driving to. The faster you can drive by and through wasteland suburbs and countryside the better."

You sir are truly an imbecile.

WildBill said...

"Wild Bill - what part of my previous language from the US Constitution did you not understand?

Section 8 - Powers of Congress

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States

http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html"

As long as you are at that site, Keith, take a look at this:


Q4. "I was looking for what the Congress is prohibited from doing."

The Constitution doesn't so much say what they can't do as it does what they can. If you think about it, this restricts the Congress a lot more than if it spelled out what it is prohibited from doing. For info, see Article 1, Section 8; this is a list known as the "enumerated powers." The Commerce and Elastic clauses of that Section have ended up providing Congress with some relatively wide latitude in its application of power. However, Article 1, Section 9 does spell out some very specific things the Congress is prohibited from doing.

Though the intent of the Framers was to provide as little power as necessary to Congress, many felt that the lack of specificity would lead to power grabs. Within a few years of the ratification of the Constitution, these fears found their way into the Constitution in the form of the Bill of Rights. The first eight amendments restrict the powers of Congress much more specifically, explicitly, for example, restricting the power of Congress to regulate free speech.

****************************

The intention of the founders was to *restrict* the Federal government from doing things it was not explicitly listed as permitted to do. This was to prevent power grabs so that the feds ended up running things as locally-important as, say, local infrastructure, local education, and local welfare.

And it worked pretty well for around 150 years (until 1936/Bailey vs Drexel), so you gotta give them credit for a decent job. But with liberals and socialists always looking to subvert the clear intent and almos 200-year understanding of the constitution, we have ended up trying to decide if there is ANYTHING the feds should not control.

One last point, in the Articles of Confederation which immediately preceded the constitution as the nation's governing text, the term "general welfare" was more clearly linked to the defense of the country at war. That was, according to James Madison, the meaning of "general welfare" when he authored the constitution. However, as evidenced by your reading, he did not express it clearly enough to maintain integrity over the 200+ years since.

Alexander Hamilton took your view -- anything desirable is/can be general welfare. That perspective was rejected by the courts for around 150 years, but has become the standard liberal interpretation today.

vanilla ice said...

"You sir are truly an imbecile."

Would you please explain why, Mr./Mrs. Anon? Or maybe you're the imbecile.

keith said...

wildbill - thank you for a slice of heaven today - the opportunity to think about and debate the constitution and how it relates to the idea of taxation

Seriously, your input here is welcome, and I wish more people would read about and think about the constitution, especially as issues like flag burning, gay marriage and even going to war are concerned.

The single greatest document ever written by man. And so completely and totally trashed by Bush and Cheney to suit their purposes.

If the constitution was a women I'd marry her.

Lost Cause said...

It is just the kind of pandering that Bush voters love. Stuffing more money into the pockets of the gas companies. Of course, prices are forcasted to rise by $1 before the end of the summer, which might put a little egg on the corner of Mc Cains lips.

Wait, that is not egg...

Anonymous said...

The gas tax holiday is nothing more than political pandering. Everyone already knows that; even the MSM and we all know how clueless they usually are.

Tom said...

You sir are truly an imbecile.

I read your previous diatribe, Mr. Anon. And quite frankly, if you are looking for an "imbecile", my suggestion would be for you to find a mirror. Make sure it's wide though since I am suspecting you need all that additional horsepower in your "28 MPG Camaro", SUV and dragster to cart your fat, artery clogged carcass all over whatever hick town you live in.

You sir, are the personification of the stereotypical, lazy, full of false entitlement American who believes only in their "right" to a certain so-called quality of life that from the vantage point of others looking at you, is quite laughable. You choose to assert yourself through your giant car engines and high speeds in a vain attempt to compensate for your myriad of inadequacies. So while you may think you are enjoying the "thrill of life", the rest of us merely think you are an arrogant, self-righteous douchebag.

Put that in your fuel-injected exhaust pipe and smoke it.

Idiot.

Andrew Hac said...

Yes, the Lord have eyes and ears.

"""""
'His judgement cometh and that right soon.'
"""""

Fat-Ass, Obese, Waddling-Like-A-Pig Americano now will suffer greatly from those chicken-coop, Snapper-Turtle-tank Expedition SUV, Ford F250, etc...

Being hoity-toity, blindly arrogant, ignorant, pompous, greedy, stuff-yourself-like-a-pig attitudes are coming home to roost in the land of the cracker nuthead Americano.

Good Lord, Have Mercy !!! Oil is $122 U.S toilet-paper currency and there is no sign of stopping.

#####

The Americano Housing Bubble has revealed the true anatomy of the Americano Australopithecus species. And what that anatomy amounts to is a heap of putrid, rotten to the core, maggot filled, rat chewing pile of garbage.

Greed, Ignorance, Irresponsibility, Laziness, Materialistic-Craze, Hoity-Toity attitudes are all part of the Americano rotted anatomy, stinky gut.

How a fat-ass, obese, beer-gut, rotten teeth, putrid breath, dumb-ass Americano male driving by himself a Ford Expedition on the road, consuming 15-18 miles per gallon of gasoline is just beyond the realm of reasoning.

How a whole family of cracker-nuthead, GrandPa and GrandMa, Joe6Pack and JaneZinfandel, 6 of the spoiled-brat runny nose snotty kids swarming the Walmart aisle after aisle piling junks on the shopping cart is pure hilarious and pitiful at the same time.

How a whole family of Hicks and HillBilly chomping down on oily, greasy McDonal french fries and Wendy’s hamburger is just so resembling the scene of the bunch of hogs roosting and wallowing at the feed trough.

The Americano nation is pathetic and sinful beyond the point of redemption !

proudlib said...

The gas tax is an excise tax, for all you right-wing constitutionalist scholars. I'm looking at you, wildbill. Do you think that the federal interstate system is an example of the federal government overstepping its bounds? It was a "government boondoggle", coming in far over budget and behind schedule. But I can't imagine an America without it.

In conclusion, one thing to remember- the interstates are completely socialized. Everyone has a right to use them for free, and their cost is paid for by the government through taxation. Even most health care systems aren't socialized to that degree!

When people like anonymous lobby for privitized roads and they pay their fair share, then I might consider taking them seriously.

Latex Chameleon said...

So, why doesn't Obama come back with "If I'm president, all the gas taxes that would have been charged on that 'gas tax holiday'...will still be collected, and dedicated to funding alternative-fuel research. When utilized properly, Government can achieve what individuals and corporations cannot. Remember the moon landing? Let's make that effort again, and break our dependency on oil."

Anonymous said...

"The faster you can drive by and through wasteland suburbs and countryside the better."

Yes, children need the smog of the city in their lungs, they need the hardness of concrete and asphalt below their feet. They need the 20th floor of an apartment for their playground. What a paradise.

I live in CT, but I travel to Long Island regularly for business trips. When I drive through the Bronx and see the endless row of projects people call homes, I shudder and completely understand why so many of those people are heroin addicts with children in trouble with the law by the age of 10. It is a paradise unto its own. If the city turns you on, good. I hate it with a passion.

I love grass, fresh air, and a safe environment for my children. I do not have a 100 mile commute. It is 15 minutes. Well worth the drive. I am moving closer to my job soon. As soon as my daughter is done with her current school. That will be next spring. I will "catch the knife" then. But because I want to be within minutes of where I work, not to make a profit, not to flip in the future. Because the need is there. As much as I like this blog, there is no common sense as to the reality of why many people buy houses. I refuse to live in a hell hole city and use hell hole public transportation and breath smog on a daily basis.

Yes, you are an embicile if you really feel that the coutryside is the wastelands of our country.

I will put rural crime and standard of living in any area of the country up against the big cities crime rate and standard of living any day, anywhere. I have never had a homeless person beg for money from me in the countryside. There are many places in the city I refuse to drive to because I get accosted by the beggars and scourge of our society the second I step out of my car. I have a job, they can get one too. But wait, in your perfect socialist world, they can just keep sucking from the government tit that you are oh so happy to flip out and refill with money, er... milk. Your views on helping people just perpetuate the down and out cycle they are stuck in. Grow up, demand responsiblity, and quit coddling lazy people.

Anonymous said...

You forgot to mention that your Messiah Obama voted for the same exactly bill in Illinois, a few years back. Nice biased and useless Clinton bashing, which says a lot about you character.

Anonymous said...

"The SUV craze was a bubble and now it is bursting," said George Hoffer, an economics professor at Virginia Commonwealth University whose research focuses on the automotive industry. "It's an irrational vehicle. It'll never come back."

Anonymous said...

This clinches it for me. Obama's got my vote.

Hey, stupid MTV Pot Smoking College Idiot, Obama voted for the same exactly bill in Illinois a few years back, and once again he's changing the story to fool the sheep.

I dare you Keith to expose Obama on that truth.

Anonymous said...

Raise the gas tax? What the hell for? Part of my local, property, state, and federal taxes were already supposed to go for infrastructure but have somehow disappeared.

Is it to fund these operations because they aren't profitable? For example, where I live, a light rail line has been crammed down everyone's throat and is openly represented as never being able to operate at a profit, always needing to be subsidized. Then why does it exist?

In some cases I can see where some of the money has gone. Instead of a simple, functional bridge with a steel structure and concrete/asphalt pavement, I see crews casting the concrete into some kind of fake rock look and chiseling some $100K artsy-fartsy rock as you approach the bridge telling you the name of the bridge and the river it's crossing.

What would you expect from a government? It's not their money, after all. Look at any new school. I see the nice pay raise that teachers keep bitching about in those glass-domed entries.

Anonymous said...

The same economists that run the Fed, who never saw the housing bubble coming, who worked for Bear Sterns, who cheer the fake economic indicators provided by the government? Are those the "trustworthy" economists you're talking about?

You should come out of your Starbucks/Abercrombie & Fitch pink bubble to realize that many people in this country would welcome a small gas tax break to get by for another week.

Keith is too concerned about the average American family in the US, as he watches everything from his London pad and trips throughout Europe, without doing a damn thing for a living. Booohoooo, complaining that his car rental in Europe was a POS Ford, while millions of Americans would welcome Clinton's little gas tax brake to buy some food for the week. You sure belong in the Obama BJ crowd, a bunch of snob elitists who fake concern about the average American.

Anonymous said...

What do they need a gas tax for? From what I can see, they are neither building nor maintaining any of the roads/streets at this time.

Exactly, bridges are collapsing around the country and the Obama idiots keep arguing that the small tax break from Clinton would take money away from construction of roads and infrastructure.

Hey Obama $5 Latte and $2k Handbag Imbeciles, I don't know if you've notice outside your Starbucks store but there's no investment in infrastructure going on, with or without tax breaks. Flawed argument. Next!

Anonymous said...

FACT that this biased blog doesn't want to reveal:

Obama voted three times for a tax holiday when he was in the Illinois legislature. Legislators were responding in 2000 to gas reaching $2 a gallon in the Chicago area.

The version that ended up becoming law required a six-month suspension of the state’s share of the sales tax on gasoline, a 5 percent tax paid directly by consumers rather than gas stations. It also required gas stations to post signs on their pumps saying that the Illinois General Assembly had lowered taxes and the price should reflect that cut.


Do a search on Obama voting 3 times for gas tax holiday in Illinois, and you'll see a zillion articles about it, including from the Chicago Tribune.

lawyer said...

wild bill:

the Interstate Highway system is funded by Congress, most likely under its power to regulate interstate commerce. It is legal, and in my view appropriate since it is not a local matter.

Anonymous said...

would these be the same economists who were convinced subprime was contained?

Anonymous said...

Guess what Ron Paul will say about this proposal.

Well, when Obama gets it right for once, it's all over the paper. What about Ron Paul, who got it right almost every single time?

Anonymous said...

People rallying for mass transit do not understand that our basic infrastructure is not set up for that in the US. In Europe cities and towns are set up in an organic foramt that is designed around people walking - everything is close together.

In most of the US and Canada the cities do not spread "organically" they spread following the sectioned square mile grid that makes up most of the newer US (the northeast is more "organic" like Europe - public transit may be a viable option in Boston or New York - but never in Phoenix or Las Vegas.

Anonymous said...

I would vote for raising the gas tax not reducing it in anyway. On the other hand, why would anyone listen to an economist? They are wrong nearly 100% of the time...except in hindsight.

Anonymous said...

"the rest of us merely think you are an arrogant, self-righteous douchebag."

Fine, luckily in this country, you can feel however you please. Just be sure to get my order right the next time you are taking it from me. Tired of you minimum wage government program slackers messing my order up. Yes, I will take fries with that, be polite when you ask me. I am the one with a nice house, high paying job, wonderful family that is supporting your subsidized bus riding ass through my property taxes, income taxes, every tax that you do not pay because you cant make a nice enough life for yourself or a decent wage so you get all your taxes back at the end of the year. Keep renting, I dont want your kind in my neighborhood!

In ending, let me point out I was not the same anonyomous that called you an imbecile. But you sure proved you are one with your attack on me and your assumption that I was the same anon. Douchebag!

Anonymous said...

Yes, children need the smog of the city in their lungs, they need the hardness of concrete and asphalt below their feet. They need the 20th floor of an apartment for their playground. What a paradise.

Apparently you've never been to Europe or you're an elitist who can afford the exorbitant cost of living in CT? Perhaps hubby is picking up the tab for your Town & Country lifestyle in CT, huh? Another case of "falling in love" with the "right guy", eh? "Ewww, how those poor people can live in the Bronx...ewwwww, I need a horse ride or a bath in my jacuzzi, after seeing homelessness in my trip to NY." "How can people live like that" "That's it, I'm voting for Obama so he can make everyone have my CT lifestyle" "My children is sooo special and better than everyone else!"

Anonymous said...

Fine, luckily in this country, you can feel however you please. Just be sure to get my order right the next time you are taking it from me. Tired of you minimum wage government program slackers messing my order up. Yes, I will take fries with that, be polite when you ask me.

And they are naturally super-sized, right? Cause nothing says America like stuffing your face with 3000 calories worth of fried potatoes.

And don't be upset at us for screwing up your order. Blame your son who is working a slave wage job after receiving the stellar parenting you instilled on him. But try to be nice: if you complain to the management, they'll toss his pimplely faced ass out the door to make room for better skilled foreign labor. Hard to acquire good job and life skills after smoking pot all through high school and playing XBox while daddy was busy at the drag strip showing off his newest 700 horsepower mid-life crisis mobile to his vacuous, beer guzzling friends.

Oh, by the way, no need to worry about your daughter. She's making a good career for herself in the San Bernadino Valley working on her latest skin flick with Ron Jeremy.

Afterthought said...

Better gas tax than tolls.

You pretty much pay per mile of road use, and you have an incentive to get a fuel efficient vehicle.

Gas tax wins; but I'm not in favor of raising it.

TM said...

Where on earth is the constitutional authority to levy a gas tax, let alone raise it $1/year to fund socialist programs like mass transit??

I always get a kick when someone bemoans the socialist aspects of mass transit, as if it were fundamentally different than the socialist interstate highway system or the socialist infrastructure that allows air travel. The only truly free market form of travel involves your sneakers, and it doesn't get you very far.

Travel is a socialist affair, however you cut it.

Yoski said...

anon 2:14
"I DONT WANT IT TO BE EUROPE! If you like Europe so damn much, please, STAY THERE! Public transportation is a joke. ... You socialists need to accept this is America and we are great because of CAPITALISM."
Then I don't want to hear your damn whining once gas hits $10/gallon. Not enough to get your attention? How about $20/gallon? Still no pain? How about rationing? Now you can ride your bike or walk your 15 mile commute. Enjoy that coronary.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Keith on the consumption tax. It's art auction time, and I would love to see those Billionaires pay a 20% tax on those $140 million prices for those Monets. That pays a lot more than all of our measily wage or gas taxes of those on this board.

Vanilla Ice said...

Roads and highways are also subsidized!

Anonymous said...

"In conclusion, one thing to remember- the interstates are completely socialized. Everyone has a right to use them for free, and their cost is paid for by the government through taxation."

(yawn) Google interstate tolls...

brianbb said...

In the short term lower the gas tax it will bring relief.

People don't change mileage instantly. Gas demand is "inelastic"...the price has to go way up to make people drive less, at least at first. In the LONGER term, gas demand would fall. You'd see more hybrids, more plug-in hybrids (which could reduce demand to near zero for many people), but that's still a ways off. So raising the gas tax now wouldn't do much. Raising it in the longer term would lower the price of oil (by lowering demand), being net neutral to the consumer, hopefully.

The US is too decentralized to have a european style rail system. What are you going to do, take the train to go grocery shopping? The US just isn't set up that way except for in a few cities (like manhatten), where you can walk to things.

brianbb said...

If they could design US cities like LA, Atlanta, Dallas over again, maybe the European model would be teh way to go.

They can't though. Too late.

Europe was designed around villages 1,000 years ago or so. Maybe they had horses then but that's it. So of course they're more centralized and walkable. Great. I love it. Wish we had it here, we don't.

You can design a new city that's walkable? Great. More power to you, but most people live in sprawl or the countryside.

Plug in hybrids and lighter carbon fiber auto parts would lower gas usage by roughly 50% I figure. The technology is here...they should be sold in 2010. It would take a long time to adopt them fully, but it's a start.

Raising gas taxes now would just be cruel. People can't use less gas overnight or at least can't cut their usage much. It takes time for vehicle fleets to turn over, people to move closer to their jobs, etc.

Hillary's proposal isn't meant to be LONG term. It's a short term relief.

Anonymous said...

Man the stupid American never learn:

YOU NEVER SAY YES TO TAX INCREASES OR NEW TAXES OR TEMPORARY TAXES BECAUSE YOU CAN'T TRUST YOUR GOVERNMENT TO SPEND WISELY OR STOP COMING FOR MORE LIKE A CRACK WHORE. GOT IT?

When the GOV comes with the sweet talk of new taxes, "temporary taxes", or a "small" tax increase, you always say NO! NO! Once the corrupt GOV puts the hand in your wallet, they will always come for more and more and more. It's always a penny here, a dime there, a temporary tax that always become fixed, etc. ALWAYS SAY NO! I guess you idiots just came out of college to be in favor of taxes. Are you naive or plain stupid??? No wonder you follow that Marxist Obama like zombies. Damn, this country is doomed!

Anonymous said...

"If they could design US cities like LA, Atlanta, Dallas over again, maybe the European model would be teh way to go.

They can't though. Too late."

Nonsense, here's why:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curitiba

proudlib said...

brianbb-

The supply of gas is also inelastic. What matters for tax incidence is relative elasticities. Knowing what you're talking about helps.... If supply is more inelstic than demand, then most of the tax falls on the gasoline producer, so they will gain the most from the tax holiday. It helps to know what you're talking about before you open your mouth...

About Obama and the gas tax, he is on record saying that he learned from the gas tax holiday in Illinois and that it doesn't work. No need to get worked up....

brianbb said...

Cutting the gas tax would result (due to inelasticity of demand) in NO more miles being driven.

So the cut in price would fall directly to the consumers not producers. The price of oil would stay constant as the demand would not increase.

This is the flip side of demand staying constant as prices increased. If they stay constant with prices having increased, then the elasticity is zero. The demand will likely stay constant with prices decreasing by 20 cents per gallon.

So the 20 cents falls directly to consumers.

If not, why not raise taxes $1 a gallon immediately. That would fall directly on the producers too, according to your logic.

Try to know a little of what you're talking about before you accuse other people of not knowing what they're talking about.

Of course production is inelastic. I'm taking that as a given.

brianbb said...

Anon, no, you're nonsensical.

So I'm going to take a bus to go to the supermarket? There is a spiderweb of sprawl in most cities that doesn't exist in your random Curiba, Brazil city apparently. It would take an hour to get to the supermarket and then another hour to go to the mall 2 miles away and then another hour to go to the gym 4 miles away. It's ridiculous.

If they could design a city from scratch with living areas, shopping areas and parks in a logical orderly way, then maybe it would work.

Anonymous said...

It would take an hour to get to the supermarket and then another hour to go to the mall 2 miles away and then another hour to go to the gym 4 miles away. It's ridiculous.

Millionaire residents of some of the wealthiest zip codes in CT (and in the country) take a train to work in Manhattan five days a week. I guess that would be too complicated for you. My bad.

Anonymous said...

Cutting the gas tax would result (due to inelasticity of demand) in NO more miles being driven.

So the cut in price would fall directly to the consumers not producers. The price of oil would stay constant as the demand would not increase.


Agree. For instance, here are the price elasticities for transportation:

Short-Term = -0.6
Long-Term = -1.9

But in order to set the optimal carbon tax, we could apply the marginal cost's relation with the ATC and AVC curves. Thus, forcing automakers to produce efficient cars that have the marginal cost of emissions at the intersection of the curves.

And the Obama zombies *cough* Keith *cough* still have the nerve of accusing us, Hillary voters, of being uneducated bafoons.

proudlib said...

Brianbb- I do actually know something about economics. What matters is relative elasticities like I said.

You really think demand stay constant as prices increase? The elasticity of demand is low, but not 0. Unless you want to find a source that says demand is zero, it's a completely unfounded statement.

And if supply elasticity is even smaller than demand eleasticity, than the burden of the tax falls mostly on the suppliers. You didn't address that at all. In that case, most of the tax relief goes to oil companies and not regular people. If the elasticities are the same, then the oil companies still get half the tax relief, leaving only 9 cents per gallon for drivers.

If you knew anything about economics, you would know that there's supply AND demand. Hit the books and come up with something better.

brianbb said...

No way, people take trains to Manhatten? Isn't that my point, that trains work when people are going to a central point and not when there is sprawl and people are going wherever?

Do these same people take a train to their children's school? Their local grocery store?

Not everyone works "downtown". If you had a brain you'd realize that. Not every downtown is as convenient and centralized as Manhatten. How many millions of people live within 30 miles of Manhatten? Now try that in Dallas or Atlanta where there is nothing but sprawl for as far as the eye can see. "Millionaire" has nothing to do with it.

brianbb said...

I took economics too. I don't think a 20 cent gas tax cut is going to increase demand at all. How much has demand fallen with prices up $2.50 in three years? So how much will it rise with a 20 cent decrease?

Anonymous said...

You really think demand stay constant as prices increase? The elasticity of demand is low, but not 0. Unless you want to find a source that says demand is zero, it's a completely unfounded statement.

What are you talking about? See the official elasticities for transportation provided above. They're NEGATIVE, not zero.

Anonymous said...

No way, people take trains to Manhatten? Isn't that my point, that trains work when people are going to a central point and not when there is sprawl and people are going wherever?

You main argument was about being impossible to change current large cities into more public transportation friendly. I gave you several examples that it can be done, as exemplified by other cities that have done it. Nobody here is saying that you will get rid of all cars, but you will give an option for people who prefer to use EFFICIENT public transportation. The way you're saying, it seems that you want to eliminate all cars. Kids are transported to schools by public transport all the time, people who use public transportation buy groceries after work all the time. Have you ever used LA's subway? Have you ever used Paris public transportation system? Have you ever used the public transportation in Montreal? I have and it's fun, convenient, and economic. The way you're saying, you want a subway station on every door otherwise it won't work. Public transportation systems don't work like that.