Sunday, May 02, 2004

Tax Gas

I'm sorry that John Kerry dropped the idea of a tax on gasoline, because it was one of the best things he's proposed, and we need it. I'd like to see gas cost at least three times as much at the pump as it does now. That would push forward toward a resolution of some of the worst problems the country faces.

It would be more equitable as a tax, because it would fall harder on the rich or those who choose luxuries over practicalities. Nobody made you buy that SUV. Some relief structure would have to be built in for necessary work such as doctors in rural counties, but that could be handled in the tax codes. As things now stand, everyone, frugal or not, pays taxes that subsidize the current (relatively) low price of gas.

It would begin to change America's collective lifestyle for the better. People would walk more, bicycle more. That would help slow the obesity epidemic. It would make inner cities more appealing as places to work and live. That would turn the tide on another frustrating cancer in the nation.

It would encourage car companies to bite the bullet and make more fuel-efficient vehicles. And it would pile on incentives for research into alternate energy sources. If people drive less, pollution levels will subside, and if people use less gasoline, we'll be less inclined to drill for it in fragile environments.

Americans would continue to buy gas, of course, but more of the money we spend on it would go into the government services we need, rather than into the pockets of our false friends the oil sheiks, who use it to fill mosques and madrassahs around the world with West-hating Wahhabist imams.

And if you think you're paying more at the pump than you were 20 years ago, please remember that you're actually paying less.