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Some Truth On The Federal Gas Tax

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CATO: “WE HAVE A SPENDING CRISIS, NOT A FUNDING CRISIS”

|| By FITSNEWS ||  Gas prices are low … which means politicians all over the country are looking for ways to raise the gas tax.  Funny how that works, isn’t it?

We wrote recently about an incredibly deceptive push to raise the state gas tax here in South Carolina, while at the national level a “bipartisan” effort to raise the federal gas tax is actually getting support from The Wall Street Journal.

According to the “conservative” paper, America is beset by a “growing backlog of troubled roads and bridges.”

Not so, according to Chris Edwards of The Cato Institute …

Citing data from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Edwards noted that the percentage of “structurally deficient” bridges in America has declined from 22 percent in 1992 to just ten percent a year ago.  Citing a Federal Reserve study, he added that the nation’s interstate system has become “indisputably smoother and less deteriorated.”

Well, everywhere except South Carolina …

Also worth considering?  Edwards points out that while the federal gas tax hasn’t been raised since 1994 – it more than quadrupled from four cents to its current 18.4-cent rate in the twelve years prior to 1994.

His conclusion?

“We have a spending crisis, not a funding crisis.”

Indeed …

The first reaction of politicians to any problem – real or imagined – is to raise your taxes and throw more money at it.  That’s how the federal government has racked up an $18 trillion debt.  The problem?  Government is inefficient.  And corrupt.  So throwing more money at problems invariably results in more inefficiency.  And more corruption.

Don’t get us wrong … we believe roads and bridges are a core function of government (we’re kooky libertarians, but we’re not that kooky).  However in performing this core function, needs-based priorities and fair, transparent procurement systems must be in place – and taxpayers should never be asked to shoulder additional burdens when so much of their money is going to non-essential spending.

Anyway … just be aware that there are answers beyond just “tax and spend.”  And that “tax and spend” has a direct consequence on your bottom line … and the broader consumer economy.

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