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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

A taxing change

Add Richard Lugar to the list of those who think our gas taxes are too low:

A gasoline tax is transparent, easy to administer and targeted at the one sector that burns most of our oil. We know it would cut imports. When gasoline prices topped $4 a gallon last year, Americans chose to use less, leading to a major drop in gasoline consumption. The gains from accurately priced gasoline would grow as Americans demanded more fuel-efficient vehicles, chose non-petroleum alternatives to power them and found public transit options that work. Pricing gasoline to reflect its true cost to the nation would help spur a vast market in which oil alternatives such as advanced biofuels would become competitive and innovation would flourish.

Of course, when gas prices topped $4, it also encouraged reactionary behavior in Washington rather than thoughtful action, hence the incredibly wastful and shortsighed ethanol program. And I didn't notice the politicians and environmentalists suddenly seeing the light on nuclear power. It is an economic certainty that anything that is taxed is discouraged, and it is a respectable conservative principle to therefore tax what you don't want to have, rather than regulate against it. But forcing a behavior change on people who otherwise wouldn't be ready for the change is likely to accelerate bad reactions to the change.


William Larsen
Tue, 02/03/2009 - 12:55pm

Lugar has lossed it. Now we have an elected representative who thinks it is responsibility to not only deside what we buy, but how much it should cost.

Why are we in the mess to begin with? Back in 1973 during the Arab Embago, our elected representatives passed a wind-fall profits tax on oil. This capped the wells of many small producers, cutting supply. Why sell your oil at 70% less when everyone else with a well head date could get market rates. Then we had our elected representatives give special tax incentivest to the auto companies to make bigger gas guzzlers. They subsidize coal, nuclear and all the big ol boy energy sources. All this did was artificially distort the market.

Now they see that importing $700 billion a year in oil is bad for the economy. You know what is worse, politicians who cannot budget. They are quick to say how my spending is bad, but just look at their record.

As our elected representatives debate and pass legislation with the intent to stimulate the economy, I would like to offer this bit of knowledge. The national debt as of September 30, 2007 was $9,007,653,372,262. As of September 30, 2008 the National debt was $10,024,724,896,912. The budget deficit was $1.017 Trillion!

How much is a Billion Dollars? Sounds like a lot of money. To put this into perspective, $1 billion of taxpayer

Michael B-P
Tue, 02/03/2009 - 1:31pm

My regard for Congressman Souder's integrity nothwithstanding, I believe he voted with the majority in favor of the bailout out of fear, joining the stampede being goaded on by the then-Treasury Secretary and others at the time. As far as I know, first principles were neither examined nor debated about the question at hand. The continuing disregard of those principles by the Congress is endangering the survival of our Republic, and I would not be opposed to its being dissolved in order to favor the reopening of debate concerning Government's proper role in our society versus the status quo.