RUSH: Here’s another See, I Told You So. This is from the New York Times environmental blog that they call Green Ink. ‘For politicians, two of the most dreaded words in the English language are ‘gas tax,’ and it was only a few months ago that a few politicians (including some presidential candidates), were proposing gas-tax holidays for the summer driving season. As it stands, the current federal gas tax is at 18.4 cents a gallon — and it has not budged for essentially 15 years. Every state except Alaska slaps its own tax on gasoline, and these, too, rarely get raised.’ The whole point of this blog is to encourage the states. Some states are now flirting with raising the gasoline tax and the New York Times Green Ink blog wants them to go forward and do so. It’s interesting because, once again, there’s a great lesson.
Our friends in the government all tell us that we have to start conserving, that we are wasteful when it comes to our use of energy. It doesn’t matter what kind. We need to go out and buy smaller cars even despite the fact that most people (if they had their druthers) would buy large cars. We gotta go buy small cars because we have to save the planet and then we gotta go buy cars that get even better gas mileage, perhaps use some kind of alternative fuel. Even though it might destroy boat motors, we still have to do it. People are eager to please their government. Ever since the days of FDR and Franklin Roosevelt moving forward some people in this country are eager to please and help their government. As Biden said during the campaign, it’s even ‘patriotic’ to pay higher taxes. People are eager to please their government, and so they let their tongues drag the floor and they start panting (panting) and they run out and do what the friendly government tells them to do. The government also says, by the way, ‘If you do this, look at the money you will save. It will give you more disposable income in your family budget because you’re driving a smaller car with much better gas mileage, going to be using less gasoline. You’ll be saving the planet from global warming. It’s a win-win.’
You go out and do what you can to help your government, which is not the same thing as helping your country, by the way, it’s not anymore. Maybe one day it used to be, but it’s not. I won’t be surprised if Obama in his inauguration, ‘Ask not what your government can do for you, demand what my government will do for you.’ (laughing) The country is a lost cause; country is an old, passe concept anyway. Now government is the thing so people are eager to help their governments. They go out and they do all this stuff — and, lo and behold, something unexpected, an unintended consequence. You do everything you’re told to save the world, to save the planet, to save your government, and to give yourself more money; and then they realize that you’re not creating as much tax revenue, and then they say, ‘Well, we have to do something about this,’ because they can never do with less, and so they start talking about raising the gasoline tax. And then something else happens. The oil price plunges and the gasoline price gets back to a normal price that people were used to paying for years, in the two dollar to two-fifty-cent range.
Well that creates less tax revenue for the states, so people then discuss and start hearing about raising gas taxes even more, and that’s where we are. So you do everything they asked you to do, and it’s going to cost you money no matter what. Why do you think so many people try to structure their lives to have as little contact with government as possible? ‘Cause it costs them to have contact with government, and some people can’t help it. You have to go through the twists and turns of the regulators and so forth to do what you want to do.