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Editorial December 22, 2011  RSS feed


Here’s an idea for Congress and the President to consider over the Christmas holiday: Instead of fooling around with a two-month or year-long payroll tax cut that dances around the deductions taken out for Social Security, why not just cut the taxes on gasoline?

Every time you fill up your car, van or SUV, you are paying a whole host of federal and state governments taxes on gasoline, including sales taxes, excise taxes, gross receipts taxes, oil inspection fees, underground storage tank fees and other miscellaneous environmental fees. On average, these taxes cost about 27.4 cents per gallon.

This would be a very nice little gesture to the American taxpayer to help boost the American economy, but apparently, Washington, D.C. is where good ideas go to die.

For years, it seems that neither branch of government can make up its mind on what to do next. No matter what the topic, nobody seems able to make a single, long-term decision that will truly benefit the most people.

Every idea includes more and more time needed to study the problem, talk about the problem, come up with several variations on the theme. Bills and rules and tax cuts are extended by another month or a year, and once the new deadline comes up, so does the bickering—and yet even more punting.

Members of Congress are all starting to sound like the dialogue in the old Mickey Rooney/Judy Garland movies of the early 1940s. “I’ve got a good idea, let’s put on a play. My grandpa can build the stage, my mom can make the costumes, my dad can lead the band and we can all sing and dance.”

That was pure Hollywood make-believe and somehow the legislators of Washington are looking more and more like actors and actresses from central casting.

Unfortunately, this is what the American public has voted into office. Every voter should hang their head in shame for allowing a gang of befuddled, self-serving politicians to make laws that do more damage than good.

Everything gets complicated and convuluted and the buzzword of the day is compromise. The two-party system in Washington has evolved into a crap shoot and what is good for the general public never seems to enter into the dialogue.

Not one thing seems to get resolved. The job market doesn’t expand, and rather than set the table for job creation, Congress just keeps extending unemployment benefits. Even with the passage of the health care reform bill, the cost of health care coverage keeps ballooning—and no one in Congress is doing anything about it other than shouting talking points.

The public is looking for just one little glimmer of hope from their elected officials and by eliminating some of the taxes on a simple thing like filling up the gas tank would be a positive move.

Not everyone has an auto, but the ripple effect of extra money in a pocket would spread all around. Lower fuel prices would lower shipping costs, thereby making food and goods cheaper. Like a rising tide, this tax cut would theoretically help raise all boats, big and small.

It’s a common sense move, but does Congress have enough common sense to sit down and do their job?