Coastal Sense


Loosen your belt, America! by drewwade
May 1, 2008, 10:55 am
Filed under: Energy, National Politics, transportation

This post was written by Drew Wade.

Well, it was inevitable. The campaign that would never end stretches on and politicians are eager to offer soundbite solutions. The topic du jour, of course, is the soaring price of oil and gas.

McCain and Clinton, of course, have it exactly wrong as also pointed out much more eloquently in this NY Times editorial. Our country is facing economically trying times, partly brought on by outrageous loan practices (followed by a corporate welfare style government bailout, likely with more to come) and partly by decades of woefully inept mismanagement of land use, transportation, and automobile production policies.

The solution should be long term — dropping the federal gas tax only increases the demand and puts money in Exxon’s pocket. Better funding for transit, improved MPG standards, and making roads safe for bicycles and pedestrians would make a real long term dent in the problem. Stopping the gas tax for the summer would increase the deficit, provide indirect corporate welfare, and give minimal if any real benefit to the consumer.

It’s all too telling of our current policies. When faced with adversity, we say, make it easier! Traffic got you down? Widen the road! Economy tanking? Lower interest rates! Getting fat? Loosen your belt! Trying to fix the economy and our current oil dependence in this way would be like handing out cocaine to fix the healthcare system.

UPDATE:  No credible economist thinks the gas tax holiday makes sense.  In fact,

Henry Aaron from Brookings, managed to very quickly whip up a list of 150 economists opposed to the gas tax holiday. And there are some pretty impressive folks on the list, from across the political spectrum.

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[…] Sense Loosen your belt, America!TLOST in the SenateMurphy Elected Young Republican National CommitteemanWell the State legislature […]

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