-By Chris Slavens
The average price of a gallon of gasoline is $2.87, a number which will continue to climb as the Federal Reserve’s “quantitative easing” scheme lowers the value of the dollar. That’s a 50% increase from only two years ago; in the weeks following the presidential election, the average price was about a dollar lower. But according to some Democrats, today’s price isn’t high enough.
Senator Thomas “Tom” Carper (D-DE) wants to raise the federal gasoline tax by twenty-five cents over a period of two years, increasing the current rate—18.4 cents per gallon—by 136% to 43.4 cents per gallon. The last time the tax went up, in 1993, it was increased by a mere 4.3 cents.
Has Carper filled up recently? Does he drive? Or are his vehicles powered by pixie dust and wishes?
The senator travels to Washington, D.C., by train regularly, so perhaps he can be forgiven for apparently forgetting that most Americans are already feeling pain at the pump, and will continue to struggle to afford fuel even without a mind-blowing 136% tax increase.
Then again, he might not be forgiven. With the exceptions of Wilmington, Dover, and a handful of overdeveloped beach towns, Delaware is a rural state. It’s not uncommon for residents to drive twenty miles to work, and in many cases “work” consists of serving summer visitors, as tourism is vital to the First State’s economy. One could almost believe that Carper is intentionally trying to anger his constituents, who will have an opportunity to reelect or fire him in less than two years.
Democrats defend the proposed increase by arguing that revenue must be generated somehow, somewhere, so why not at the tens of thousands of gas stations across the United States?
Their feeble argument reflects their thorough disconnection from the people they pretend to serve. The T-E-A in Tea Party stands for “Taxed Enough Already,” and the results of the recent election can only be interpreted as an unsubtle backlash against big government and tax-and-spend policies, yet still Democrats (and, curiously, some Republicans) insist on raising revenue to fund a predetermined budget. While working families scrounge and cut back, the government spends their hard-earned wealth freely—which is one of several reasons that the country entered a recession in the first place.
The federal government does not have a revenue problem. It has a spending problem. In the real world, a household earns a certain amount, and bases its budget on that income. Why should Congress be above such a common-sense approach to handling finances?
The Democrats’ gas tax hike is not only utterly unnecessary; it will harm a vast majority of Americans, stifle the recovery and growth of businesses big and small, and possibly derail efforts to rejuvenate the economy.
Americans expect to see unfeigned efforts to cut spending, eliminate unnecessary agencies and programs, and reduce the seemingly infinite reach of the federal government, and while only an imbecile would believe that this can happen overnight, the average voter is not so naïve as to be fooled by half-hearted attempts to alter minor details of the progressive agenda, like rearranging the deck furniture on a sinking ship. Fundamental, far-reaching reform is craved, which is why a proposal to do the opposite—to raise taxes for no reason—seems more like a poorly-timed joke than a serious suggestion.
Obama said that electing Democrats would be like putting a car in “D,” to drive forward. He just neglected to mention how expensive driving would be with his party behind the wheel.
Chris Slavens is a libertarian columnist. He lives in Delaware. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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