🇺🇸 Should We Ax The Gas Tax?
March 23, 2022

Good morning, and happy Wednesday! A Marine veteran who served in Afghanistan got a job working on NBC’s This Is Us, so the show could better understand how to write about war.

Plus, if you want the world's cleanest air, you're going to have to move here.

Also, any of our readers who deal with allergies will appreciate today’s Flag Find. You’ll find that and more below.

Flag Polls


ab521640-e2ad-6400-4ea0-8848d603c575.png 3/22: Biden Job Approval, Emerson Approve 43,
Disapprove 49
T 3/22: General Election: Trump v. Biden, Emerson Biden 42,
Trump 45
R 3/22: Generic Congress 2022, Emerson Democrats 42,
Republicans 47

Trending On The Left


Wash PostCowboys for Trump founder guilty of misdemeanor trespassing in second Jan. 6 trial

NY Times: Echoing Conservative Grievances, Blackburn Miscasts Jackson’s Views

CNN: Without Trump in the White House, will young voters turn out for the midterms?

Trending On The Right


Fox News: Ketanji Brown Jackson cites Justice Amy Coney Barrett, dodges question on court-packing

DW: Investment Bank Will Pay Travel Expenses So Employees Can Get Abortions More Easily

Wash Examiner: Barr says Hunter Biden Russian disinformation claims ‘probably affected' election

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Headlines


World: Some Ukrainian cities bombed beyond recognition, Zelensky says (WaPo)

World: Ukraine thwarts Russian advances; fight rages for Mariupol (AP)

US: Biden, allies to announce new sanctions on Russia (The Hill)

US: Ketanji Brown Jackson cites Justice Amy Coney Barrett as she dodges question on court-packing (Fox News)

US: The South is being walloped with severe weather and tornadoes after the same storm destroyed homes in Texas (CNN)

World: Russia sentences Kremlin critic Navalny to nine years in prison (Reuters)

US: Biden press secretary has COVID-19, won't travel to Europe (Yahoo) + Hillary Clinton tests positive for COVID-19 (Axios)

US: Indiana's GOP governor vetoes transgender sports ban (NPR)

US: NYC Plans to Drop Mask Rule for Young Kids April 4, Keep Private Vaccine Mandate (NBC)

ENERGY

Should We Ax The Gas Tax?

With gasoline prices soaring nationwide both Georgia and Maryland have suspended their state gas tax, and more states are considering similar steps.

News Coverage from the Left: The state of Democrats’ gas relief plan (POLITICO)

News Coverage from the Right: Two states temporarily suspend gas tax to ease drivers’ burden at pump (NY Post)

From the Flag: Oil prices had been on the rise as pandemic restrictions eased and demand grew, but they’ve gone even higher in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Here’s how both sides see the gas tax issue.

RIGHT-LEANING SENTIMENT

Diagnosing Pain At The Pump Amid The Politics


  • It’s egregious that Democrats in high-tax states won’t consider rolling back the gas tax, but rather seem to prefer sending out rebate checks to specific groups.
  • Motorists are hurting right now and lawmakers feel the need to respond where they can, which includes the ability to enact a “gas tax holiday.”
  • Suspending the gas tax could risk throwing supply and demand for oil out of whack, and eliminate money from the budget needed for repairs to federal highways.

“Buying Votes With Gas Tax Rebates” Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal: “California Gov. Gavin Newsom last week said he planned to ‘put money back in the pockets of Californians to address rising gas prices’ by sending checks to drivers. … Unlike broad-based tax cuts, such direct payments let Democrats distribute money to select voter groups. Maybe electric vehicle owners will get a check. Illinois Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker is also promising to ‘alleviate some pressure on Illinois’ working families,” after having doubled the state gas tax to 38 cents a gallon in 2019. His proposal: Suspend this year’s inflation-adjusted gas tax increase (two cents a gallon) and send $300 property tax credits to middle-income homeowners. … The Democratic strategy is to raise taxes and then redistribute a small cut of the revenues to buy votes. … Democrats in high-tax states are sharing surpluses only with a politically favored few.”

“Gas tax holiday good policy, good sense” State Senator Jake Corman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette op-ed: “I did not pick the date of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Nor did I support runaway spending in Washington, D.C., that put new inflationary pressures on Pennsylvania families. Nor did I support the anti-energy policies supported by Joe Biden and Tom Wolf that led to rising energy costs even before the first Russian tank crossed the Ukrainian border. I did not choose any of this, but as a leader in the General Assembly, I can choose to do something about it. That is why I called for cutting state and federal gas taxes by nearly 50 percent in a way that would not impact current or future projects. The only ‘buck’ being ‘passed’ is more money in people’s wallets and fewer dollars required at the gas station.”

One more opinion piece from the Right: Why a gas tax holiday would be a disaster Jay Evensen, Deseret News op-ed.

LEFT-LEANING SENTIMENT

Gas Tax Talk Just Spinning Wheels


  • Eliminating the gas tax is a bad idea because it encourages more greenhouse gasses and puts added pressure on the environment.
  • One of the most distressing outcomes for many states would be the defunding of transportation projects, if gas tax revenue went away.
  • The price of gasoline is tied to a number of different factors and the gas tax is a small concern for motorists whether it exists or not.

“Cut the Gas Tax? No, No, No.” Peter Coy, New York Times op-ed: “There’s an understandable groundswell of support for suspending gasoline taxes. High prices at the pump are causing pain for Americans, and most states are in good financial condition, so they can afford to give something back. … Even if you, a state legislator, are in the mood for cutting one product’s cost to consumers, gasoline is one of the worst choices you could make. Not as bad a choice as cigarettes, to be sure, but still bad. Burning gasoline causes pollution locally (carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, particulates) and contributes to global warming (through greenhouse gases). And driving contributes to time-wasting congestion as well as accidents. Also, in most states, gas taxes help finance road construction and repair. That’s sensible: People who use the roads the most pay the most to support them. Suspending the gas tax would break that link.”

“Keep the gas tax: Holidays don’t help consumers much and are disastrous to infrastructure funding” Editorial Board, NY Daily News: “High gasoline prices worsened by a faraway war are hurting drivers’ wallets. So it’s understandable that, especially in an election year, politicians want to ease the pain at the pump. But cutting or suspending the gas tax — either the state or federal version — is a foolish short-term stunt that robs investment in our transportation infrastructure, from roads, highways and bridges to subways, buses and commuter rail. New York’s fuel tax is not tied to the price but volume, so it’s the same 46.19 cents per gallon regardless of whether Russia is invading Ukraine. … ​​It’s far better to direct focused tax relief to people at the lower end of the income scale. And why stop at gasoline? The prices of many items are rising, why not slash sales taxes more broadly?”

One more opinion piece from the Left: A ‘gas tax holiday’ won’t heal that pain you’re feeling at the pump Robert Briant Jr., The Star-Ledger op-ed.

FLAG THIS

Hitting Up Big Oil


In a poll conducted earlier this month, 87% of respondents said they want lawmakers to focus on “taking action” against oil and gas companies in response to rising prices. More specifically, 80% indicated a preference for a windfall tax on the fossil fuel industry’s profits, in a bid to discourage price gouging.

Flag Poll: Do you think oil companies are most to blame for the recent run-up in gasoline prices? Join our discussion here.

FLAG FINDS

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WATERCOOLER

Titanic Sweeps Oscars, Save Gas, Big Dipper Eye Test

On March 23, 1998, James Cameron's Titanic tied the record for most Oscar nominations with 14—joining 1950’s All About Eve—and by night’s end would tie with Ben Hur (1959) for most wins by sweeping 11 categories, including the coveted Best Picture. Above is the theatrical poster for the film.

Popular Science: How to save gas without ruining your car

NYLONWhy Millennials Are Always Tired

bon appétitHow to Measure Sticky Ingredients Without Losing Your Gosh Darn Mind

Today I Learned two dim stars from the Big Dipper served as an ancient eye test. If you lived in the time of the early Romans and could see them, you would have been eligible to be an archer in the Roman army.

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