So Thomas Friedman, like most on the left, wants higher taxes on gasoline (1/2, Opinion, “Obama must take gas-tax plunge”). Even though he doesn’t believe President-elect Obama will do it, he advocates higher fuel taxes to drive the “benefits” of a system that “permanently changes consumer demand, which would permanently change what Detroit makes,” and on and on.
However, this stance is the basis of socialism, and this is not a socialist state (not yet, anyway). The United States is a capitalistic society based on laws and one in which the consumer drives demand, not the government.
It should be the reverse: The CAFE standards should be removed so Detroit can make the cars and trucks that people want to drive. Then they could sell the hybrids to Europe or South America.
We pay enough in taxes. Recession or not, higher fuel taxes will hurt our economy.
Recent Opinion articles have stated that gasoline and diesel should be taxed more because we need more income for road repair and people have been going back to pickups and SUVs since the price of gas went down. One article said a gas tax would force the use of small cars.
Be careful what you wish for. It may come true. Higher gas prices really hit the economy badly. We are in a major recession, and people who want to raise taxes don’t understand the situation.
Lastly, higher gas prices cause ripple effects such as higher food prices and higher airline tickets.
As a wise man once said, “Tax the poor. It gives them incentive.”