I listened to some guy today talk about calls to increase the gas tax nationwide. At one point, I might have been sympathetic to this notion, but I’ve lived long enough now to realize that it won’t do any good. It’ll just be another click in the ratchet. Yes, at first, there will be a lot of catch-up finally done with crumbling infrastructure, but then with all that money rushing in, people will begin to think of new ways to spend the windfall. New ways that will cost more in maintenance, and before long, we’ll be just as broke as before they raised it.
Now THIS is the part of the Tea Party logic I am completely on board with. The frustration being vented there (at least regarding fiscal matters) is a recognition that no matter how much you raise taxes/fees, the politics it will create will NEVER abate and the demand to spend money we don’t have will only continue.
Republicans are being accused of reigning in Government by starving it, but I can clearly see why. I don’t particularly agree with it, but I get it. I’d rather both sides just say, “Uh, well, we can’t do that because we simply can’t afford it.” Raise the gas tax? Maybe we have too many highways. Did you think of that? That whole stretch of I-88 between Schenectady and Binghamton could be abandoned tomorrow and no one outside of a 30 mile radius of that road will even notice. I’d bet that there’s another 20% of the system that we could similarly abandon or turn into parkways and give them back to the states. Period.
I’ve been saying cut EVERYTHING by 5%. No one is going to die with 5% less. Our family have been getting along with far less, and we’re not starving, at least. When we figure out that the world isn’t going to end without all that hand-holding, then the following year, cut another 5%. Before long, you’ve cut 25% and we wonder how we let things get so out of control in the first place. I suspect life will end up getting much better for everyone.