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Friedman on Gasoline Taxes
Old 04-14-2005, 09:38 AM   #1
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Friedman on Gasoline Taxes

I'm listening to Tom Friedman (NYTimes) on NPR. He's calling for a gas tax and making it go to $4/ gallon.

His rationale? He says we are already paying it, but we're paying it to Saudi Arabia, Sudan, etc. This bolsters those regimes, and has us funding both sides of the war on terrorism. He claims a gas tax could pay for our schools, ssan, etc., and that it would change our behavior. This would make many more of us clamor for hybrid cars, which would be a win-win, because it would reduce our oil needs, and improve the environment.

I guess if you factor in the cost of the military to protect the oil flow, the price at the pump is not realistic.

It's unlikely that anyone would propose a new gasoline tax in Congress. Do you think his rationale, especially the part about we are already paying it, just paying it to the wrong people, is valid?
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Re: Friedman on Gasoline Taxes
Old 04-14-2005, 10:50 AM   #2
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Re: Friedman on Gasoline Taxes

Thats one way of doing it and it sure must sound great to the politicians...what better way to solve a problem than to take money away from the people that can then be well spent holding extensive house and senate discussions affecting single individual people? :

How about making vehicles that produce a certain MPG level or above sales and excise tax free while those below a certain level pay double all taxes and fees? A little carrot AND stick?

How about restricting the amount of gasoline any individual can purchase for personal, non business related needs?

All they'll get with this is poor people made even poorer, and rich people joyriding in their hummer by themselves.
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Re: Friedman on Gasoline Taxes
Old 04-14-2005, 11:29 AM   #3
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Re: Friedman on Gasoline Taxes

Seems to me like intentionally increasing fuel costs in the US is a sure way to speed us toward hyperinflation. Everything we buy is shipped via trucks. Double the fuel costs and ... :-/
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Re: Friedman on Gasoline Taxes
Old 04-14-2005, 11:47 AM   #4
 
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Re: Friedman on Gasoline Taxes

The gas tax proposal has been bouncing around since at least John Anderson's quixotic bid for the presidency in 1980. It was a no-brainer then, and a no-brainer now.

We all like the comfort of our big cars and SUV's and the fact that we really don't have to think twice about hopping into the car and dashing off a few miles for a quart of milk. But for a minimal change in comfort, we could all downsize our vehicles, pay a significant gas tax, and still end up paying the same for gas each month. As a bonus we would reap all the national security and fiscal benefits that Friedman mentions.

I've never really understood why such a practical solution to several pressing problems is considered one of the third rails of American politics.

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Re: Friedman on Gasoline Taxes
Old 04-14-2005, 11:50 AM   #5
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Re: Friedman on Gasoline Taxes

Thats easy...we're a car based nation. And it all sounds so simple to those of us with plenty of money in their pockets.

Poor people arent joyriding around, they're counting out their pocket change to come up with enough money to buy the gas they need to get to work. They're probably driving a 10 year old gas guzzler because its all they can afford. You double the taxes and they're adding water to the kids milk.
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Re: Friedman on Gasoline Taxes
Old 04-14-2005, 11:50 AM   #6
 
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Re: Friedman on Gasoline Taxes

Truth in advertising: *the santimonious opinion two messages above was penned by a newly converted zealout (2000 14mpg Ford Explorer ---> 2004 55mpg Prius).

So consider the source. *
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Re: Friedman on Gasoline Taxes
Old 04-14-2005, 12:32 PM   #7
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Re: Friedman on Gasoline Taxes

Th is right on, plus what garantees the money raised by the taxes will be used as intended, nothing else is. :P. I would prefer, if anything, an incentive directly related to new car purchases, maybe a sliding scale of credit/tax as you move from prius to escalade, that way we are not punishing the guy who delivers my paper...
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Re: Friedman on Gasoline Taxes
Old 04-14-2005, 01:15 PM   #8
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Re: Friedman on Gasoline Taxes

I was fresh from reading that our homeland security dollars have been spent on segway scooters for the santa clara CA bomb squad, leather jackets, 200k to a private yacht outfit that serves evening dinner cruises to wealthy people, a rap video on emergency preparedness and sending city garbage workers to a dale carnegie course.

Dang do I feel safer now.

If you're still on the fence, the UN just passed a resolution making it illegal for terrorists to use nuclear weapons. Oh, wait a minute, I'm sorry...nucular weapons.

So tax increases for much of anything are falling on deaf ears here...
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Re: Friedman on Gasoline Taxes
Old 04-14-2005, 02:35 PM   #9
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Re: Friedman on Gasoline Taxes

Quote:
Th is right on, plus what garantees the money raised by the taxes will be used as intended, nothing else is. :P. I would prefer, if anything, an incentive directly related to new car purchases, maybe a sliding scale of credit/tax as you move from prius to escalade, that way we are not punishing the guy who delivers my paper...
I like the idea of sliding scale, with more taxes levied on bigger gas guzzlers. That's if we're gonna let the guvmint take more, which is never a good idea IMHO. But, I thought we were doing just the opposite these days. We're giving the tax breaks to the SUVs? I don't own one, but I'm sure I heard that somewhere.
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Re: Friedman on Gasoline Taxes
Old 04-14-2005, 03:06 PM   #10
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Re: Friedman on Gasoline Taxes

Quote:
We're giving the tax breaks to the SUVs? *I don't own one, but I'm sure I heard that somewhere.
Part of the 2003 tax package was accelerating the depreciation of business vehicles over 6000 pounds. No doubt some naive legislative aides thought they were helping the trucking industry, but I'm sure their boss knows how much SUVs weigh.
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Re: Friedman on Gasoline Taxes
Old 04-14-2005, 03:43 PM   #11
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Re: Friedman on Gasoline Taxes

Agree Nords, except I think legislative aides aren't naive for long, or they aren't aides for long. :P
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Re: Friedman on Gasoline Taxes
Old 04-14-2005, 04:58 PM   #12
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Re: Friedman on Gasoline Taxes

Quote:
Part of the 2003 tax package was accelerating the depreciation of business vehicles over 6000 pounds. *No doubt some naive legislative aides thought they were helping the trucking industry, but I'm sure their boss knows how much SUVs weigh.
And weirdly enough, there was some evidence that more SUV's were bought because of the tax change. Some CPA's were steering their clients (hey, a pun!) to larger SUV purchases for tax purposes. A very unfortunate side effect of the tax policy.

IMHO, at the very least, this government needs to start the process towards minimizing our use of foreign oil. Here's an idea, let's raise the CAFE standards, just a tiny bit. Don't you think we should be able to have a nation with an overall MPG efficiency at least as good as we had in 1985?
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Re: Friedman on Gasoline Taxes
Old 04-14-2005, 06:09 PM   #13
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Re: Friedman on Gasoline Taxes

I almost bought a SUV just for the immediate write off. Tax policy that encourages higher fuel consumption. (Didn't, but I almost did).
IMO the government should make the tax policy neutral and allow the market to set fuel use. Yes, 3-4-5 dollar a gallon will hurt, but it will cause a change in behavior that ultimately will recreate equilbirium.
Just get the government out of the way and we'll do just fine.
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Re: Friedman on Gasoline Taxes
Old 04-15-2005, 10:21 AM   #14
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Re: Friedman on Gasoline Taxes

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Just get the government out of the way and we'll do just fine.
If by this you also mean get the government out of the Middle East, then you may be right. But we have the worst of both worlds. The government does nothing to quell consumption at home and does a lot to maintain the flow overseas, often leading to detrimental results.

I would love to be in a situation where we could hear about some conflict in the Middle East and just say, "That's too bad. I hope that works out for them."
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Re: Friedman on Gasoline Taxes
Old 04-15-2005, 10:23 AM   #15
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Re: Friedman on Gasoline Taxes

Yep, it was called the 'hummer deduction'. My brother in law bought one and I helped him work out the tax situation, which allowed him to write off almost the entire purchase cost.

He was happy. I think its one of the silliest motor vehicles on the planet. Might as well just walk around waving a big sign that says "I have a tiny weener!"
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Re: Friedman on Gasoline Taxes
Old 04-18-2005, 05:49 AM   #16
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Re: Friedman on Gasoline Taxes

Quote:
Don't you think we should be able to have a nation with an overall MPG efficiency at least as good as we had in 1985?
We would have without the CAFE laws. People didn't like the small cars, so they switched to large trucks that used more gas than the big cars they used to buy.
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Re: Friedman on Gasoline Taxes
Old 04-18-2005, 06:01 AM   #17
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Re: Friedman on Gasoline Taxes

I own a truck so big it barely fits in my driveway
(much less in the garage). If I cross the county line, it takes several minutes until the back bumper actually
makes it. Gas gauge goes down faster than Monica Lewinsky. I need 6 lanes just to make a U turn.

JG
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Re: Friedman on Gasoline Taxes
Old 04-18-2005, 06:15 AM   #18
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Re: Friedman on Gasoline Taxes

Friedman is a hoot!

He writes about the forces of freedom and by implication free markets(aka globization) taking root more and more - and then proposes something like this!!!

He should read Scott Burns Sunday column on how our government subsidizes gas guzzlers - not exactly what they intended - unless you support conspiracy theories.

Where is Adam Smith's invisible hand now that we need him??

Heh, heh, heh

And then - there is 'locally formulated gas' due to air polution. MBTA anyone??
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Re: Friedman on Gasoline Taxes
Old 04-18-2005, 09:41 AM   #19
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Re: Friedman on Gasoline Taxes

Ahhh - MBTA - yes, as I drive my commute my mileage in a supposedly fuel efficient car sinks by 5-10 mpg because the state of CA is saving the environment with MBTA. Gotta love it - oh and I get the privelege of paying even more for the gas plus extra taxes...oh and the tolls on the bridges which go up 100% by government fiat.

Gosh - I also take the train and that's no cheap means of transportation either.

Rant off - Bridget
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Re: Friedman on Gasoline Taxes
Old 04-18-2005, 09:50 AM   #20
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Re: Friedman on Gasoline Taxes

Another californian...

Anyone else besides me amused at the 2-3 times a year stories about why gas prices are up? Because they're changing 'formulations' for the season and they've had complications? Because of unforecasted demand during peak driving times of the year? Because they took too many refineries offline for maintenance at the same time by accident?

Anyone else start to wonder if they're being fed horsedroppings or if these guys running the refineries have never, ever actually made gas before in their lives?

This is somewhat possible. Every time I go buy gas I inevitably end up behind someone who appears to have never pumped it themselves before, as unlikely as that might be...
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