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06 May 2008

On gas.

I'm really sick of reading about Clinton's and McCain's gas tax ideas. So, I figured I'd write about them, so everyone else that's sick of reading about them can roll their eyes and click on by. I promise not to make such topical distractions a habit on this, my largely self involved corner of the Internet.

It just won't work. Economists say so. Most intelligent people I've spoken to about it say so. Hell, Obama knows it won't work because he tried some similar shit in Illinois and it didn't work. What's more, it seems even Clinton and McCain know it won't work, but can't resist the opportunity to prey on public anxiety for political gain. It's exactly the kind of cynical pandering that makes me so sick to my stomach about our political system, and what bother me most about this particular steaming pile are the Lilliputian dollar amounts that are being touted as relief.

Most people that would benefit at all from this "relief" of $30 or so are about to receive checks for $600 from the federal government just for filing their taxes. That kind of money is relief. I'm looking forward to that $600, and although I certainly would be able to think of a few things to do with $30 other than light it on fire if someone handed it to me, the notion that my vote might be bought for the phantom promise of such a paltry sum really irks me.

Look, if you really want to propose a solution that would never get through our bureaucracy anyway just to grab the votes of at least a few simpletons, aim high.

How about this?

How about you repeal the sales tax on the purchase of all vehicles (new and used) that get over 35 miles per gallon? Now that would save some people a lot of money on gas, not to mention encourage a shift in public thinking to prioritize fuel efficiency over the ability to drive the kids to the soccer game through molten lava. My car gets about 36 miles to a gallon (for real, I keep a spreadsheet) and although I do a lot of driving for work, rising gas prices haven't really hurt me too badly yet. I still fill up for about $35.

Hell, take it one step further: waive the sales tax for new cars only if the car gets better than 35 miles per gallon and is made in the USA. Create some jobs in Detroit!

Sure, not everyone can afford to buy a new car. Or a used one. But there's going to come a time in the not-so-distant future when people are going to have to seriously weigh the cost of maintaining a gas guzzler against the cost of junking it and getting a car with some fuel efficiency. Why not give a few people a head start?

Unreasonable? Sure. You could drive a Hummer through the holes in it. But if someone started stumping with this sort of plan at least it would pique my interest, not just ignite my utter seething contempt.

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