A Gas Tax Now

After my recusal on the matter of cars on today's Chris Matthews' show, my personal interest in Mike Kinsley's proposal is obvious. But the general point remains nonetheless. We desperately need to move toward a lower-carbon economy. The most effective tool we have to goad us into this is the high price of gasoline. Higher gas prices were tough for a while for many people, but they reduced oil consumption, made alternative fuels more viable and helped the planet. Now, alas, the price has plummeted - and all those good green things are vulnerable to collapse. So wasn't ten months ago the perfect moment to raise the gas tax? If done gradually, we could have essentially moved all that oil money from the pockets of people who hate us to the US Treasury - while avoiding a big price hike. But we did nothing. What could the Treasury do with the money? Obvious:

[G]ive the money back to people by lowering the payroll tax. The payroll tax, or FICA, collects about 15% of your wages or salary half from you and half from your employer. It is expected to bring in close to a trillion dollars in 2009. Using our windfall from plummeting crude-oil prices alone, we could cut the FICA tax by more than half. Including other forms of energy would bring in even more.

We help the working poor and accelerate energy innovation and encourage employment. Why does this obviously simple and great proposal never get off the ground?

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

Just In