$3.50?! Let’s Shoot For Ten!

EDITORIAL

Just in time for every domestic air flight to get canceled or delayed, we now have gas prices dropping below $3.50. You may think this is a good thing. I do not.

A while ago, I wrote about the glories of $10 gas, and a lot of you didn’t take me seriously. Well, you asked, and I’m answering: $10 a gallon is an idea whose time has come. Here’s some facts to back me up:

Our roads are full of potholes; our bridges are falling apart. It’s no wonder; gas taxes, which pay into the highway fund, haven’t gone up since 1997, and it’s not a percent but a flat amount. We’re paying the same 20 cents a gallon on $5 gas that we did when it was $1.50. Now, I hate paying taxes as much as the next guy — but that just ain’t right. The money is flowing to Wall Street and OPEC, and at least some of it ought to go into the highway fund, dammit.

The climate change folks tell us, if we keep burning fossil fuels, we’ve got a catastrophe coming, one where Washington D.C. could get flooded right off the map. To be honest, I don’t mind that so much; I’m not all that fond of D.C. Besides, I live inland, on the side of a hill. Beachfront property, here we come!

Thing is, though: even when all you city folk are wearing scuba gear on your daily commute, the rest of us are still gonna need roads.

My neighbor says we should hike gas taxes to put in charging stations for electric cars all across the country. I don’t see that, not so much; I figure, if electric cars are going to be a thing, charging stations will earn big money and businesses will be all over it. Government won’t have to do a thing. To my mind, taxing gas to pay for some rich guy’s Tesla is downright bass-ackwards.

My other neighbor blames gas prices on Biden; then again, he thinks InfoWars is a news source. Gasoline is a publicly traded commodity, and speculators, like all good capitalists, charge what the market will bear. If we raise taxes and prices get so high people start riding their ten-speeds to work, the market will adjust and prices will go back down, and gas speculators will lose their shirts. I’ll tell you plain: Some hedge fund billionaire loses a few billion on the commodities market, I’m not crying and neither are you.

Besides, we need highways, and freight rail, and bridges that won’t fall down when you drive over them. Last year, Congress voted to spend a trillion bucks on infrastructure, half of it for roads and ports and rail. That’s fair enough, but Congress doesn’t have the trillion. Back in 2020, our non-discretionary spending alone (that’s Social Security, Medicare, and the interest on the debt) was almost a trillion dollars more than our total tax income — and that’s before we paid for even one single tank, drone strike, or aircraft carrier. I’m all for efficiency, but we can’t efficient ourselves out of this mess.

Fact is, we need more money just to break even, and that’s the good Lord’s gospel truth.

So I say we raise gas taxes. Republicans will be happy, because we’ll spend it all on roads and bridges and other things that are good for the economy, which in turn generates both wealth -and- more income tax money. And Democrats will be happy, because riding bikes to work is good for the environment. That’s a bipartisan win-win.

The only people who won’t be happy are Wall Street fat cats. I guess I can live with that.

Oh. Right. And anyone who needs to buy gas. Sorry, American Public; you’re getting screwed over again. What can I say? Move closer to work?


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