Gas Tax HOLIDAY?

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April 29, 2008 at 11:14 am

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5 Comments

Do you take a vacation when a project you’re assigned to is in trouble at work? …when a family member is sick and in the hospital? …when money is tight and you are having trouble paying your bills?

N-O!

Then why the hell should the United States go on a gas tax holiday for the summer months?

McCain & HRC support a . Obama says a gas tax holiday would do more harm than good. I agree with Obama. The gas tax is meant to support “constructing, repairing or improving general purpose roads,” as well as funding mass transit. Yes, there are porkbarrel projects that don’t seem to meet this purpose, including a

here in my home state of Texas. That speaks to a problem with our national budget and our legislative process, however, not the gas tax.

If we suspend the tax for the summer months, while we are on the verge of recession and, when all signs point to needing to be more fuel- and fiscally-conscious, we are nuts!

Pain is the body’s sign that something is wrong, and this holds true for the US economy as well as our individual family economies. Would you go to the doctor and ask for a sugar pill if you or a loved one were sick? That is all a gas tax holiday is… a big fat sugar pill so HRC & McCain can get votes.

Americans should feel pain at the fuel pumps. Yes, dammit, fuel should be priced what it’s worth. The United States has enjoyed gas prices far below the rest of the world. The insanity isn’t that prices are so high and rising higher; the insanity is that it’s taken us this long to realize that might happen to *US*. No wonder we are top oil consumer in the world… and now we want to reduce the gas tax to offer a false, temporary “relief” that will only serve to con consumers into a false sense of security for that much longer? Sell more H2s and Escalades and Suburbans?

Let me put my British cap on for a moment… /dons cap … COME THE FUCK ON, PEOPLE! /doffs cap

We have a bunch of problems here and a gax tax holiday solves NONE of them except for one — garnering some more votes of HRC & McCain in the general election.

Do you want a President that baits and switches, makes decisions based on popularity instead of responsibility (how is that any better than Bush’s decision-making based on personal ideology & a misplaced moral imperative?) Or do you want someone who understands that being President means not settling for the Band-Aid cure and the political rhetoric and actually buckling down and working on long-term solutions. Hint: Long-term solutions don’t stay long-term forever, UNLESS you never start working on them.

/sigh

Go ahead and whine about the rising price of gasoline. Hell, go ahead and vote for McCain or HRC because “they care about me and my family, giving us a break on the gas tax so I can take a vacation.” Just don’t be surprised when the bridge you travel to work on collapses, the pot holes you’re used to dodging become giant sinkholes, the bike lanes your kids use on weekends or after work become impassable due to debris, the roads in the parks you go to “get away” fall to ruin, and the car dealerships actually start charging what gas guzzling, fuel inefficient vehicles are actually worth (wait, they already do–look at all the incentives they throw at them so people will buy them w/o thinking about the cost to feed them every 1-2 weeks.)

Pain is the body’s sign something is wrong. If you are feeling pain at the pump, that is your sign. Take your sugar pill, offered in a sterile white cup by McCain & HRC, or actually think about what might be ailing *US*.

Sadly, the average American isn’t going to truly DEMAND higher fuel economy vehicles until the cost of feeding their inefficient vehicles becomes so painful as to change their driving habits. Some people are reaching that point already. Offering a gas tax holiday now? Just pour a barrel of oil per American down the drain a day… same effect.

As a people, we are wasteful, but we have the capacity to be less so. The Great War and the Great Depression forced Americans to recycle and to make do with less. Of course, they didn’t call it recycling back then, but that’s exactly what they did–they saved and repurposed everything they could because waste could not be tolerated. We live a time a great plenty, and yet the one resource we need to use more responsibly than all the rest–OIL–we collectively seem to want a quick fix on. Personal sacrifice, either by taking public transit, carpooling or, yes, “settling for” a smaller, more fuel efficient vehicle or spending a little more on a gas-electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle? Nonsense, that’s beneath *US* in America.

We say this is the Information Age, but I’m wondering when we will actually learn to process and act on that information–now, that

would be something to be proud of. Information without critical thought, understanding and responsible action is just static.

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5 Comments

April 29, 2008

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Although I’m not sure the tax holiday will make a big impact one way or the other nationwide, I

respectfully disagree with you in regard to your position on the current proposal. To properly view this, you need to see it from the lower and lower middle class family perspective … the ones without extra expendable income.

The idea of returning a few dollars to those at the ‘barely getting by’ end of the population does the most good, and in case of the fuel tax, it actually makes the biggest impact on these families. The advantage for the citizens at the bottom end of the economic spectrum is that the reduction in tax helps them immediately — even if it is only enough per week to buy a few more items at the grocery store it helps them the most. At the top end, it won’t make much of an impact on ones day to day routine, but might mean another latte or two which keeps a struggling American employed.

What about vacations … if we can pad the stumbling economy, even mildly, by keeping a few more Americans spending on Mickey or filling a hotel room, that too keeps Americans (or illegals) working, paying taxes and out of the unemployment line or government welfare programs (funded by taxes). Whatever small things government can do to pad our landing and prevent a recession, they should attempt.

Reducing taxes is one thing they can do to stimulate the economy … but congress also need to reduce their spending just as the American households do … and even more-so as the economy stumbles.

The time to “legislate” (if you believe in that) smarter automotive choices is when Americans will suffer the least, not when they are suffering the most. For some, offering a few more dollars in their pockets will prevent them from having to choose between gas and milk. Yes … its just a small thing, unless you’re the family pinch that tightly.

April 29, 2008

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I could not agree with you more on this issue. It seems our need to live lavishly during the 80’s and 90’s has finally caught up with us. I had a Pontiac I loved dearly it got great gas mileage but I had to put it down when the transmission went out on me. I could fill it up and go two weeks on one tank. Believe me I did no bitchin either. I went to Topeka to St Louis on about a tank and 1/4 of gas not once but twice. It went back and forth twice to run the ex to KC he left his government ID at home so I had to go back to Topeka and back to KCI to get him his ID and then had to go back home all one 3/4 of a tank.

You are right we need to learn how to do more with less. I grew up with grandparents who were born before the depression and my dad was born in 33 so he was a child brought into the world by depression era parents. We learned how to make a buck stretch and to be happy with what we have. I love what I have and am on a fixed income I would rather have my health and my son and a simple roof over my head and a reliable vehicle over my head any day.

I don’t know how we became such a materialistic society and when I watch these tabloid type TV shows that glamorize the gluttony of Hollywood I am like “that is exactly why we are the way we are” I mean let’s face it I will never be Paris Hilton or Ivana Trump or any of the other countless women my age who were born into money or married into money, but I am seriously ok with that.

Ok done ranting on your rant lol. I felt compelled to comment on this though so I did. Have a great day.

Your twitter follower wildheart4vr aka Joe Cheray

April 29, 2008

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I don’t think the government needs to, or even should, ever legislate what vehicles people drive. Setting standards (CAFE standards) for fuel economy, by the way, doesn’t legislate the vehicles people drive. Even years off from the new CAFE standards taking effect, we’re seeing the marketplace respond by providing more small, fuel efficient vehicles (traditional gas or diesel) and a greater variety of hybrid vehicles–luxury crossovers, pickups, powerful sedans, etc.

I don’t for a minute buy that the gas tax holiday, or something like it, would do a darn thing to help the poor. Even if it did, limiting it to just the summer would do more harm than good–create dependency on a false lower price that is going to shoot back up when the tax is reinstated. Further, many poor people don’t own a vehicle–they are one of the primary users of mass transit (bus, metro, rail, etc.) How about free bus and metro/subway if you want to help them and the working poor get to and from school, their jobs and on shopping trips?

C’mon, you don’t REALLY think a gas tax holiday that removes 18.4 cents per gallon on unleaded gasoline is going to keep anyone employed or off the public dole, do you? It’s a simplistic, short-sighted “solution” with only one intended real effect–to garner votes while doing NOTHING to solve any problem. Long term, sustainable solutions are what’s needed.

If we want the government to help its people (that would be Americans, legal citizens of the United States of America, living here and abroad) in every way possible, then what are we doing fighting in Iraq, again? … talk about billions of dollars that are desperately needed, and billions of it we’ve given over to the Iraqis cannot even be accounted for, and probably never will be. Gas tax holiday? END THIS WAR. Bring our working servicemen and women back from Iraq as soon as possible and let them rejoin our economy.

Teach a man to fish… don’t prop him up with a petty handout that you are going to yank away in 3 months’ time, anyway. And don’t say it’s “for the poor” at election time, not when the people apt to cheer loudest are driving H2s, Escalades, Suburbans and the like to and from Starbucks. The government just doesn’t want to see the headlines of folks across the USA paying $100 to fuel up…at least not until their candidate makes it to the Oval Office.

May 1, 2008

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Here’s the beef … I support “almost” all efforts that return dollars to our citizens and would rather keep 18.4 cents (24.5 diesel) per gallon our of Washington DC politician building bridges to nowhere or pork project that

waste money that is better circulated in our economy this summer.

As for making much of a difference for most Americans … probably not. Its certainly not a government solution to the problem but one that slightly softens the impact for small business (lawncare, landscaping, construction, etc) that often have workers who notice a few extra dollars in their budget.

A 3 month vacation from a fuel tax is hardly an incentive to ignore the petroleum addiction, but then I don’t see the cure as just a government based solution — they can encourage efficiency and incentives for alternatives, but economics will make the change. Slow change is less painful than radical change … rarely are ‘addicts’ able to go cold turkey.

Market pressures will have to encourage alternatives, be profitable for business and investors and

buyers will have to demand (ie. buy) more efficient vehicles; these are changes that don’t happen overnight. A gas holiday is merely a small 3 month breather for those feeling the 30% rise in their fuel cost … and will take the normal summer ‘additional’ price increase off as we face a recovering economy and the highest gasoline prices ever.

May 1, 2008

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This is yet another reason why the tax should remain–we’ve been sucking on this teat for a long time and we still will be, gas tax or no gas tax. If people were truly going to end up going “cold turkey”, they wouldn’t drive at all–they’d carpool/ride-share, take the bus/metro/subway/train, bicycle or in some cases even walk. Continuing to pay a gas tax they are already paying = still smoking cigarettes, just mad as hell that they’re expensive and taxed.

Another thing to consider is plenty of people will be buying new and used vehicles over the summer months, and Americans’ collective memory is so short that if the gas tax isn’t there when they buy their mega-inefficient gas guzzler, they’ll once again be “surprised” when the gas tax is reintroduced after the summer.

With the tax remaining in place (eg. the status quo) a few people might actually look at more fuel efficient vehicles who would otherwise not if prices were artificially lowered at their time of purchase.

A 3 month breather isn’t going to infuse the economy with enough to even make a blip on the radar in a positive direction, and while some families scraping by on tight margins could use any add’l cash, I’m not sure we’re doing them a favor with such a short term “relief”. Unlike the stimulus checks, efforts to buoy family’s facing foreclosure, etc., the gas tax holiday does indeed set people up for a nasty surprise when the tax goes back into effect. Oil prices aren’t going anywhere but up anytime soon, summer or no. Like the lobster in a pot that’s slowly brought up to a boil, people who’ve been artificially protected from the harsh economic realities of the rising cost of fuel may not make the necessary changes (see above regarding alternate modes of transportation, as well as taking less unnecessary trips & maximizing existing trips); when the gas tax is reintroduced they’d find they’re paralyzed, unable to make the leap out of the proverbial pot.

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