Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Wacky Gas Tax... 

Can you guess who wrote this wacky gas tax theory?
Many members of Congress have been pushing for a cut in income taxes, but they've been unsure how to pay for it. Fortunately, I've figured out an answer: with a tax increase. Let's cut income taxes by 10% and finance it with a 50-cent-per-gallon hike in the gasoline tax.
If you have ever been stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic, you have probably wished there were fewer cars on the road. A gasoline tax would help to accomplish this by encouraging people to car-pool, take public transportation, or live closer to work.
Another benefit of a rise in the gas tax would be a reduction in the size of vehicles. Whenever a person buys a large car or a sport-utility vehicle, he makes himself safer, but he puts his neighbors at risk. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a person driving a typical car is five times more likely to die if hit by a sport-utility vehicle than if hit by another car. A gas tax is an indirect way of making people pay when their massive vehicles impose risk on others, which in turn makes them take account of this risk when choosing whether to buy some monster urban-assault vehicle or go with a sensible compact.

Environmentalists should also favor a higher gasoline tax. The burning of fossil fuels such as gasoline is widely believed to be the cause of global warming. Experts disagree about how dangerous this threat really is, and most economists who have studied the subject believe global warming would not be nearly the economic catastrophe that some environmentalists claim. But there is no doubt that a tax on gasoline, or on fossil fuels more generally, would help cut such emissions.
Cutting income taxes while increasing gasoline taxes would lead to more rapid economic growth, less traffic congestion, safer roads, and reduced risk of global warming--all without jeopardizing long-term fiscal solvency. This may be the closest thing to a free lunch that economics has to offer.
John Kerry? Nope

Ralph Nader? No way.

Al Gore? Wrong again.

It was Greg Mankiw. And who is he? The chairman of Bush's Council of Economic Advisers. Call me crazy but I don't remember hearing Greg's name in Bush's latest attack ad.