Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
nyt suv rip tod

The New York Times' editorial board is calling it. The SUV's Time of Death is… Black Tuesday. And while their headline says "RIP," what they actually mean is "may you rot in Hell you gas-sucking, planet-warming bastard." "It’s hard to convince most Americans that there is a silver lining to $4-a-gallon gasoline. But General Motors provided a nugget of good news when it announced that it would shutter much of its production of pickups and sport utility vehicles — and might even get rid of the Hummer, the relative of the Abrams tank unleashed on the streets in the cheap-gas days of the 1990s. It’s hardly the solution to global warming, or the country’s dependence on imported oil, but it’s a start." No ambiguity there, then. Nope. Nor is there any doubt– well, just a little– that high gas prices are just what the planet ordered. And can I get that with a side order of MORE taxes? "Expensive gasoline is not good news for most American families… Still, Americans’ response to rising gasoline prices makes an excellent case for a gas tax. It proves that drivers will change their behavior in response to high fuel prices. And even if Detroit doesn’t buy global warming, drivers can help persuade it to embrace fuel efficiency. They don’t even have to know that the Honda Civic emits less than half the 13 tons of greenhouse gases spewed by the Ford F-150."

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  • M1EK M1EK on Jun 18, 2008

    Quasimondo, that's kind of a content-free position to take, and not particularly accurate anyways. Some types of taxes in Europe are actually surprisingly low in comparison to here - the extra money they get from fuel taxes made that possible.

  • Geeber Geeber on Jun 18, 2008
    golden2husky: CAFE “failed” only because they didn’t slowly increase the threshold over the years, and because of the stupid loopholes. The loopholes existed because without them, the law would have been scrapped entirely. It's the same as the speed limit on most limited access highways - people don't complain because they know that there is some "leeway" in enforcement. If the police really enforced the speed limit to the letter, people would complain so much that the limit would either be raised to realistic levels enjoyed by sophisticated drivers (about 80-85 mph in many areas), or enforced so loosely that most people would ignore it (as it is now). If the CAFE loophole had been closed, it would have provoked an outcry, and the entire law would have been scrapped. Which would have been a good thing. golden2husky: The blame for that belongs squarely on the shoulders of the “Republican Revolution” in 1994. They attached a rider to the Transportation appropriations bill EVERY year that forbade the Clinton administration from even studying increases in CAFE, let alone making incremental changes. A bone tossed to the TTAC’s favorite executives. A real meaty bone. A selective reading of history. I don't recall Congressional Democrats pushing too hard for an increase in CAFE when they controlled Congress in the 1980s. For that matter, after the election of Bill Clinton in 1992, both the White House and Congress were controlled by the Democrats (until the fall elections of 1994). And Al Earth in the Balance Gore was vice president. During that time, I don't recall any serious push to increase CAFE, even though, with control of two branches of government, the Democrats were in a position to push through an increase in CAFE. But they didn't. For that matter, in the late 1990s, President Clinton was quite effective in staring down Congressional Republicans (remember the government shutdown in the mid-1990s?), but I don't recall him willing to make this a priority. Why? Because customers (read, voters) didn't want it. golden2husky: Instead of CAFE, we should have instituted a registration surcharge for guzzlers. SUV’s could have had one class, cars another. Buy efficient, and a rebate is yours. Or, we could let the free market take care of it, as it is doing now. And in the real world, the vehicle that gets the best mileage isn't always the most all-around efficient choice. golden2husky: Their Editorial board is no more left biased than those who write the New York Post, (or any Rupert Murdoch media outlet for that matter) are biased to the right. Which is to say, pretty biased. But they pretend to be objective, which is the main problem. I don't recall the Murdoch publications making any pretense at objectivity. golden2husky: At least the Times is well written and is geared to those who have more than a fifth grade education. Yes, the creative writing displayed by Jayson Blair and the stringer who was turning in stories without have attended the events (his name escapes me) certainly appealed to an audience that appreciates good fiction. Except, of course, that it was on the news pages. Oops.. And then there was the Duke Lacrosse players rape fiasco, where The New York Times ended up with egg on its face. When the original stories by reporter Joe Drape basically supported the accounts the accused players, this contradicted The New York Times' editorial stance. This led to Drape's dismissal and replacement by Duff Wilson who took a pro-prosecution stance. We all know how that one turned out...apparently those who possess more than a fifth grade education skipped that class in school that taught "innocent until proven guilty." M1EK: Some types of taxes in Europe are actually surprisingly low in comparison to here - the extra money they get from fuel taxes made that possible. The relevant question is what is their TOTAL tax burden. Singling out one or two taxes, and claiming that they are lower than the equivalent taxes for Americans, provides an inaccurate picture of the total relative tax burden.

  • Hal Hal on Jun 18, 2008

    Oil and Gas are undertaxed in the US end of story. The entire cost to the Govt. of policing the Middle East - that's multiple carrier groups in the Persian Gulf all the time, bases all across the region, endless subsidies to Israel, two Iraq wars etc is crippling the federal budget and should be tacked on to every barrel sold. Then you can start to calculate the cost of building and maintaining all the infrastructure required for cars and cleaning up after them. Personally I'd happily pay $8+ for gas, consider it a bargain and enjoy the less crowded roads.

  • Brent Brent on Jun 18, 2008

    hal: Or we could drill for more oil here, or perhaps lift the many, many, MANY prohibitive regulations on refinery development, which contributes its own fair share to the rising cost of fuel -- regulations made possible by a bloated government, in turn made possible by the prohibitive tax burden you and I share. Something tells me you're full of it when you say you'd happily pay $8 per gallon of gas. But let's just take your statement at face value. A lot of people in the great heartland of our nation would slip into poverty. That's because, by virtue of the landscape, they often must travel great distances to go about the daily business of living. And, by virtue of the many jobs they have in farming, they must use quite a bit of fuel to go about the daily business of doing business. M1EK: One thing our politicians continually bandy about as a reason to keep taxes high is to combat poverty. See above. And below... I was taxed 40 percent on my 2007 income. I'm not rich. Without telling you and everyone else here exactly how much I make -- which would be a tacky thing to do -- I'll simply say I grossed, as a self-employed individual, far less than six figures. With my wife's income included, we were still shy of six figures (by a mile). I'd like to help my mother and father, both fast approaching their 70s and unable to make ends meet living in their falling-apart home. But I guess the money I sent to the government will have to help my prents through government programs I (and they), in the infinite wisdom of our dear centralized leaders, may or may not benefit from. Do you really think government wants to tax oil in order to discourage its use? Do you really think government wants to deprive itself of revenue. If anything, I wouldn't be surprised at all if our politicians resolved to tax oil to high heaven and then also instituted measures disallowing the development of alternatively fueled personal transportation. In your world, M1EK, someone like me should have to pay even more in taxes. I thank the Lord people like me still have a vote against people like you.