Operative BJ swung by the Castle lobby bar earlier this week and gave the Czar some of his thoughts on something the Czar has, coincidentally, been giving some thought independently. The Czar has sobered out enough to remember them.
As you have heard time and again, the lower cost of gasoline has resulted in a drop in revenue for the states and federal government. Lower the cost of gas, and we lower how much money is collected in associated taxes.BJ and the Czar laughed, because while you hear thisand the Czar has heard it at least twice in the last two weeksit’s an utter fabrication. Taxes, BJ reminds us, are collected on a per-gallon basis and is not tied to the cost of gas itself. Lower costs at the pump mean Americans are filling up like mad, and the gas taxes are being collected at an even higher rate. This is truethe lower cost is coming out of the oil companies’ profits (primarily the overseas companies, which is a double-win). American oil companies are doing all right: it’s the drop in global demand that’s forcing the lower prices.
Whatever. But BJ pointed out something interesting: New York state charges 50.25 cents per gallon in taxes. Add to this the 18.4 cents per gallon the feds slap on, and this means New York state residents are paying 68.65 cents per gallon in taxes; if gas costs about $2.23 at the pump, New York state residents are being gouged 30% at the pump…higher than their federal and state income taxes combined.*
Assuming that poor folks buy as much gas as rich folks do (a reasonable assumption), the poor are being killed by these gas taxes.** BJ adds that unlike sin taxes, which you can avoid by neither drinking nor smoking, you can’t avoid the gas tax.
Well, sure you canyou can avoid it by not driving. That’s one of the hallmarks of liberal thought: if we all took mass transportation and biked everywhere, we could avoid any and all gas taxes. Of course, this is a farce: if you use mass transportation, you pay for the gas taxes in the form of increased fairs. Unless you go socialist and the state subsidizes everything.
But of course, then we all pay gas taxes, even those few who can survive biking everywhere. If you have a family of four, good luck biking home with $180 worth of groceries. Alas, then, liberals will remind you that if you didn’t have a family at all, you can avoid that, too.
So the concept is that gas taxes hurt everybody, but eat up a higher percentage of the poor’s income. They can’t bike everywhere or take a bus or train to their two jobs. This is how stupid it all is: in theory, if everyone could bike or train everywhere, only then would gas tax revenue drop to zerothen the statists will complain about a loss of revenue.
Gas taxes are a sin taxthe sin of not being a green eco-nut who walks everywhere in his tiny, lonely life. We can’t forget that environmentalists who want us back living in caves and starving to death on grapes are one of the liberals’ big constituencies because no one else can stand them.
BJ is forgetting one thing, though: there’s a lot more tax paid on gasoline than this. Don’t forget that the gas you buy at the pump was purchased by the owner/operator of the station. He’s paid a fair amount in sales tax for it. And he doesn’t buy his gas from the refineries: he purchased it from a distributor. That distributor? Yeah, she paid a bunch in sales taxes buying from a variety of terminals.
Don’t be fooled: gasoline generates an inconceivable amount of income for local, state, and the feds. It’s doubtful anyone will step up and fix that, or we’d all be paying about eighty cents a gallon again. Liberals think they’re saving the world by discouraging people from buying gas; the reality would make them pissed off, too.
* California pays almost a buck per gallon taxes, federal and state combined.
** Forty cents per gallon go to earmarks unrelated to road and highway maintenance. So if anyone tells you that gas taxes are needed to pay for infrastructure, remind them that very little of the revenues make it to the infrastructure. And gas taxes account for only about a quarter of the revenues going to such maintenance! Most of the gas tax money is going to cowboy poetry festivals.
Божію Поспѣшествующею Милостію Мы, Дима Грозный Императоръ и Самодержецъ Всероссiйскiй, цѣсарь Московскiй. The Czar was born in the steppes of Russia in 1267, and was cheated out of total control of all Russia upon the death of Boris Mikhailovich, who replaced Alexander Yaroslav Nevsky in 1263. However, in 1283, our Czar was passed over due to a clerical error and the rule of all Russia went to his second cousin Daniil (Даниил Александрович), whom Czar still resents. As a half-hearted apology, the Czar was awarded control over Muscovy, inconveniently located 5,000 miles away just outside Chicago. He now spends his time seething about this and writing about other stuff that bothers him.