May 04, 2006

James Lileks on Gas Taxes

Yet, another classic from James Lileks:

Nothing better exemplifies the world-turned-upside-down madness than the response to the gas "crisis." If the GOP was intent on educating the public, it would explain obscure concepts like "supply" and "demand" and how this big country called "Chi-na" has been sopping up more liquefied dinosaurs than usual. Also, we don't build enough refineries, and thanks to the greenies we can't drill anywhere Steven Spielberg might see the rig from his house. And he has houses everywhere. But who cares? Man up, ya crybabies! We're Americans. Let's go poke holes in Mother Nature's noggin and hoover up some light sweet crude so we don't have to rehash this drivel next year.

The actual GOP response? Hundred-dollar rebates. Cash money, friend, just for drivin'. We feel your pain: Here, have some money we borrowed from someone else. How's your Starbucks bill looking this week? Caramel mocha lattes add up, we know, and perhaps we can spot you a twenty (as long as you'll agree you're addicted to caffeine) and let Congress mandate 25 percent ethanol in your morning cup.

Rebates! If there's anything that exemplifies the nanny-state mentality, it's driving up the federal armored car and pitchforking sawbucks out the back. For a moment the nation braced for the Democratic response — if it had been true to form, the rebates would have been twice the size, adjusted for income, paid for with a tax on those chrome fish emblems Christians like to stick on their cars, printed on recycled paper with soy ink and introduced at a press conference featuring a leading liberal strategic theorist like Susan Sarandon, who would use the opportunity to complain that Karl Rove has been giving her movies one star on Amazon.com review sites.

As it happens, the Democrats saw a nice issue left on the ground, picked it up and gave it a close look: hmm. Tax relief. Crazy, but it just might work. And so we had the Republicans throwing money at the problem, and the Democrats proposing a moratorium on gas taxes. You almost expected Bill Frist to propose alternate fuels based on embryo stem cells.

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