googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: A False Dichotomy

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A False Dichotomy

With gas in my area surging to over $3.09/gallon recently, a lot of people have been asking what the feds intend to do about it. Some Washington folks have they answer – they say we need to raise the gas tax a little more!

In a recent AP article, it was reported that a Washington commission has suggested increasing the tax on gas another 50 cents per gallon over the next five years.
“The report comes as state governments and several business groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers, are calling on the federal government to raise gas taxes to pay for substantial transportation improvements. The Minneapolis bridge collapse, which killed 13 people and injured about 100, spotlighted the decaying infrastructure and drew new calls for additional spending.
There, you see, people are dying because we don’t pay enough taxes!

Many of our elected leaders suffer under a false dichotomy: Whenever there is a problem they only see 2 solutions – raise taxes and spend more. It doesn’t occur to these people that there is another alternative, namely to cut spending somewhere else.

Building interstate highways is a perfect example of why we have the federal government. In spite of my disdain for government, we do need things like highways, an army, a court system, etc. so I don’t mind paying a certain amount of taxes so that these things are done. I’m constantly annoyed, however, when Washington is involved in all those other things (such as national health care) that it no longer can afford to do the things it’s supposed to be doing – like fixing our roads.

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