Two factors are currently coming together which present a wonderful opportunity… for Democrats. The country is tremendously distracted with an avalanche of pressing issues along with the kickoff of the official presidential election season. Also, we are still in a period of time where we are enjoying low gas and energy bills not seen in quite some time. So if you’re a clever Democrat, such as Senator Tom Carper of Delaware, it’s the ideal time to see if you can sneak in a massive tax hike on gasoline. (WaPo)
The Senate may be in recess until after Labor Day, but Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) is still pitching a gas tax hike to help pay for badly needed infrastructure investment. His bill would increase the tax by four cents a year through 2020. That would add an additional 16 cents, increasing the tax from 18.4 cents per gallon to 34.4 cents per gallon.
The Hill reports the extra cash could help fill the gap in the federal Highway Trust Fund.
On the surface this looks like little more than the usual tax and spend policies of the Democrats. When you want to spend more on something, rather than finding corresponding cuts in other areas to pay for it, simply jack up the taxes and ask the country to foot the bill. But unlike the more recent trend of attempting to tailor taxes to hit the wealthiest Americans (or at least give the appearance of it) this is one that hits just about everyone. The current federal gas tax has been at 18.4 cents per gallon for a while now, but if Carper and his allies get their way, it will essentially double over the next few years.
It’s being presented as a way to “pay for vital infrastructure work” which is a popular theme on the Left, but it masks something else which is far more popular with the Democrats. If you look beyond the simple need to fund the transportation bill you will find on Carper’s own web site that he has long been advocating the “dangers” of dirty carbon fuels like gas and diesel and the need to discourage their use by Americans. You know… for our own good. So when prices are higher, people will use less.
And trust me… prices will be higher either way. We’ve discussed this so often here that even I get sick of hearing myself say it, but the floor for gas prices is very real and it doesn’t last forever. Low prices lead to lower production, along with our inability to export crude oil. As production falls, prices rise. Also, international instability can flip that coin in a moment. But once Carper’s new gas tax is in place it won’t be going away any time soon. And every single one of you will pay for it.
This is a witch’s brew of tax hiking goodness for the Democrats. Let’s cross our fingers and hope that the GOP majority can keep their eye on the ball and strangle this very bad idea before it gets out of conference.