On Monday, House Republican Whip Roy Blunt stated that the Democratic proposals to add up to 55 cents a gallon in federal gas taxes would cost the average consumer an additional $10 for every 18 gallons he bought.
Democratic Representative Jim Oberstar, Chairman of the House Transportation Committee, proposed a five cent per gallon federal gas tax raise to be used to finance the repair and fortifying of the nation’s bridges in the aftermath of the collapse of a major bridge in Minnesota. Democratic Rep. John Dingell has proposed a 50 cent per gallon tax on top of that one, which would ostensibly be used to finance the fight against global warming but which critics denounce as yet another “punish the rich” move by the Democrats.
The American Highway Users Alliance, which is a coalition of large industries, has already vocalized its support for the proposed taxes. “The motorists and truckers will support a user fee that is not earmarked nor diverted from the bridges that are in dire need of repair and replacement,” says the head of the Alliance.
“The Majority seems driven to undercut what’s in the best interest of the American people, advancing a proposal that would add $10 to the price of filling up the gas tank. This nonsensical policy would greatly harm our economy, and disproportionately punish those who live outside our nation’s cities and depend on their cars and trucks to get to work. It’s time for the Democrats to live up to their rhetoric of working to help middle-class Americans with an agenda that actually drives strong economic growth. Clearly, a $10 increase to the price of gas does not meet that standard,” said Blunt.
The Democrats gained majority control of Congress in 2006, and since then have proposed the single biggest tax increase in American history. The Republicans and the Bush Administration have spent the current President’s time in office cutting a lot of taxes, especially taxes that most affect the wealthy. The Republicans, like some economists, maintain that allowing the wealthy to keep more of their money inspires new business ventures and has a “trickle down effect” which, over time, benefits all classes financially.
The Democrats contend that they need to raise taxes in order to finance important government programs that the Republicans refused to bolster, like universal health care. The Republicans, however, accuse the Democrats of desiring to preside over a “nanny state” or of further compounding the nation’s “welfare state”.
Many critical economists have opined that the biggest reason for the growing income gap between rich and poor in the United States is the rise in total taxes over the last few decades. Although they pay more money in taxes, the wealthy can more easily absorb and afford a tax hike, and typically can shelter more money from taxes than the middle or lower classes.
House Republican Whip Roy Blunt (PR Newswire), “Raising Gas Tax Will Hurt America’s Economic Growth”