Thursday, April 08, 2004

Bush's Attack of Gas

Bush's Gas Attack: Does Good Policy Make Bad Politics?
A recent Bush attack ad (as if there was another kind, other for the ones which features attacks AND lies, of course) accused Kerry of having promoted the 'wacky' idea of a 50 cent gas tax. You may have seen it: old time footage of transportation contraptions failing humously?

Gasp! Imagine that! A 50 cent tax on gas! People might drive less! We might spend less on roads! There may be an incentive to develop more efficient vehicles and alternative fuels! You would think that, given that a gas tax is inherently regressive, disproportionately impacting those with lower incomes, Bush and his honchos would lap it up.

Well, it turns out the Chairman of Bush's Council of Economic Advisors, Harvard economist Gregory Mankiw, advocated the same idea in a 1999 article in Fortune magazine. Of course, Mankiw manages to be derogatory at the same time he advocates the idea, but he embraces it as way to address policy goals of a bi-partisan coalition. Now that Republicans have little need of bi-partisanship, the idea's stock has apparently sunk in heavy trading on the "We Don't Need No Steenkin Bi-Partisansheep. We Have All Three Branches!" markets.


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