April 30, 2008

The ultimate horror - $4 for a gallon of gas

I'm so grateful to John McCain for proposing a way out of the morass of high gasoline prices. It's this sort of creativity that bodes well for our nation's future in the unlikely event Captain McQueeg takes the helm of the Good Ship USA in a few months. And we've actually got two chances out of three because Hillary Clinton, displaying the same kind of originality that impelled her to sign on to the Iraq War Authorization and the Kyl-Lieberman Bomb-Iran-Now permission slip, has said "me too!" with that trademark toothy grin. It's simple, really: suspend the federal excise tax of 18 cents a gallon for the summer.

Wow. That ought to do it. Let's see, my car has a 14-gallon tank, so every time I fill up I will save $2.52. With prices so high, I've been driving a lot less, so a tank lasts about two weeks these days. So I'll save that $2.52 six times! That's $15.12. You know what? With that kind of bonanza, I think I'll fill up every week so I can save $30.24. If I don't use the gas, I'll just siphon it onto the ground before I fill up, because I want in!

As I understand it, the excise tax is used to maintain federal highways and bridges, like the one that fell down in Minnesota not too long ago. Have you driven on an interstate freeway lately? Try I-5 between San Francisco and L.A. If you hit a pot hole at 75 miles per hour, as I have, you'll need a lot more than $30.24 to put your axle back together. I assume that McQueeg and Hillary, both ready to rock on Day One, are not seriously suggesting that the federal government is going to stop maintaining the roads. So they'll still maintain the roads but without the funding, as with so many federal programs these days, like war. Thus, McCain/Hillary are going to borrow money to fix the roads while encouraging Americans to drive their cars on vacation this summer.

I thought those two were the big global warming experts. America has three hundred million people and two hundred million cars, more than any other nation on Earth. Of worldwide usage of 87 million barrels of oil a day, we use about 20 million because (a) we drive pigs, (b) we drive too much, and (c) we don't bother to provide any other way to get around. If The Maverick is serious about global warming, why doesn't he propose something more lasting to deal with one of those problems instead of a three-month gimmick to make himself look good before the election?

We're envious of the Germans, naturally, because they pay only $2.27. Of course, that's per liter. They pay about $8.60 per gallon. They tax the hell out of their gasoline, but then driving on the autobahn doesn't require a chiropractic adjustment when you're done. And they subsidize mass transit, which they have a lot of. They were once paying about $4.07 per gallon, too. Back in 1996.

The repeal won't happen, even if Chuckie (The Hedge Fund Manager's Best Friend) Schumer says "it's in the works." Here's an idea. Let the worldwide, borderline shortage set the price of oil, and pay the price you have to pay for gasoline. Get used to it, because it's not going to get better on a permanent basis. It's going to get a lot worse. If the federal government wants to subsidize someone (and that's what the "gas tax holiday" is, a short-term subsidy, just like the "stimulus package" of Chinese money sent to American citizens), subsidize the trucking industry. They're the ones getting hammered because they have to drive. Keep collecting the 18 cents and give some of it to them. Tell everyone else they're lucky they're only paying 4 bucks a gallon. Walk somewhere. Ride a bike if you can. Trade in the Yukon EarthDestroyer for a car shorter than a city block.

Look, Captain, I know it's not Day One yet, but try leading for a change.

No comments:

Post a Comment