John McCain has suggested that the United States should deal with spiraling gas prices by suspending all taxes on gasoline during the summer. Seriously: do Republicans ever have a Plan B to use after cutting taxes? A whopping 5% of the price of gas in the US is owing to taxes, which is why I generally fill up on the southern side of the border, as opposed to Canada where it’s something like 20-30% of the price! In other words, as gas prices peak, cutting out the taxes won’t make much difference for American consumers, and it’ll just mean that the states won’t have funds to spend on fixing potholes and crumbling bridges and such. Now, do I even have to ask whether the news media in the US is calling McCain on putting forth such a transparently asinine plan?
Update: Apparently, Hillary Clinton is making the same offer. It’s just such transparent pandering. They might as well say, “I have no idea what to do; but I’ll pay you if you vote for me.” Sure, I know this crap works with people (“No taxes? Great! I hate taxes!”), but I really do hope Obama doesn’t jump on this lame bandwagon. What seems to be needed here is an effort like the space race, but dedicated to getting off petrol. I just don’t get the sense that gas prices are going to drop significantly in the coming years. Seriously: the first politician to say, “Look, access to a finite natural resource is not an innate human right, okay?” will get my vote immediately.
Update Update: Brian corrected me on the gas taxes. It's more like 14 percent of the price. About half of it is federal tax, which is what they want to suspend, so it's better than I said it is, but still not a substantive answer. But, the states will be able to fix potholes.
Update 3: Are gas prices expected to drop again? I've said I doubt it, but I'm cynical. I've now read that it's likely. Again, I'm pretty skeptical.