I like South Dakota Politics, a lot, but after checking the blog on my reader I find two posts to especially disagree with.
- SDP criticizes liberals for backing higher gas prices
But as I wrote:
It makes no sense to import vast amounts of oil from unstable petrokleptocracies. Oil revenues allow corrupt elites to avoid real reform and buy-off (often dangerous) special interests. It diverts capital from New Core growth economies to these backwords pits. It helps funds Islamic terrorism. It exposes us to another oil shock.
- SDP says that Congress is less popular than the President
But as I wrote:
The reason: the American people are opposed to Congress as an institution, but are not so opposed to the President. Political science research (see, for instance, Congress as Public Enemy or Stealth Democracy) shows that Americans are opposed to the idea of a body that is dedicated to political compromise making decisions for us. We would rather our government be in the hands of experts, or people who are able to ignore politics and get things done.
Increase gas prices. Ignore Congress’s job approval.
The current high prices for oil and gas gives us a great opportunity. They focus the minds of Americans on the great problems in the world today.
The American People will make great sacrifices to achieve a Goal, but will not tolerate meaningless hardship. The currently high prices are meaningless. They represent nothing more than the fluctuations of supply and demand, instability and war.
President Bush should turn this around. He should announce that gas prices will never come back down: that we will never subsidize Oil-Tyrants again. He should do this with a new federal gas tax, which will floor the price of gas at five dollars per gallon.
This money should not go to the general treasury. Instead, it should be immediately divided evenly given to heads of household as a monthly check. Immediately, this would make those who consume a lot of gas (and thus support the destructive policies of Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela) subsidize those who do not so contribute to geopolitical instability. Better, it would encourage the economy to swiftly move to other sources of motor power.
We need a $3/gallon federal tax on gasoline. We can do it and make the tax a popular idea.
How? Give every citizen an equal check from the gas tax fund.
The average motorist uses 520 gallons of fuel per year. If we assume that in the first year the tax does not decrease the amount of fuel used (because people still have their old cars, etc), in the first year a $3/gallon tax collects $1560/motorist. Assume that there are 200 million motorists in America. This tax raises $312 billion in the first year. This money would then be redistributed to all Americans equally. Assuming 300 million Americans, this gives a rebate check of $1040/American.
This is a fair tax. The most serious criticism of a gas tax is that it is regressive. It hits those least able to pay — the poor — most. But a redistributed gas tax solves this problem. Further, most gas taxes hurt families because kids need to be driven places. In a redistributed gas tax, the larger the family the greater the rebate. A family of five, for instance, would have a gas tax rebate of $5,200/year.
The first years rebate checks could be given as the gas tax effect, so citizens feel the benefits of the tax immediately. It is a patriotic plan to prevent oil dictatorships from driving our policies, to save developing societies from the corruption of oil, and of course the air will be cleaner.
$3/gal gas tax now. The people will support it.