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Suspending the Federal Gas Tax

by LEIGH SAAVEDRA

Are the voters in Indiana and North Carolina going to fall for the newest political “trick”, the one where Senators Clinton and McCain join hands and offer us a three-month break in the federal gas tax?  We hope not and should spread fuller information about it to our friends.

These two senators insult our intelligence by waving it in our faces, like a piece of cheap candy to win a child’s affection.  The tax is 18.4 cents a gallon and the savings for each of us is estimated to be $30.  The cost to the government is 18.5 BILLION dollars.  And what we need to remember with a little more ferocity is that when anything COSTS the government, who is in deep debt, it means borrowing it, probably from China, and leaving the debt for our children to worry over.  All so each of us can head to the beach this summer with a spare thirty dollars?   I recall the horrifying root of our economic woes:  we continue to borrow from the Chinese so that we can send money to Saudi Arabia (home of most of the 9-11 terrorists, a fact some still get confused over).

Additionally, as Barack Obama (who strongly opposes this “trick” as an easy grab of a few votes) points out, it would cost jobs.  Who is it who is out on the stump promising all the new jobs?  The gas tax fund goes into road repair and infrastructure.  According to the Department of Transportation, this “tax cut” would cost 300,000 people in construction their jobs.  To think we could knock that many people out of work, all for the cost of a moderate dinner for two at a chain restaurant –ONE dinner.

This is no surprise coming from McCain, who never (after his most recent change of heart, at least) meets a tax cut he doesn’t like.  But Hillary Clinton knows better, and she’s playing us in a style that can’t be called anything but Clintonian.  This is pandering of the worst form, and she knows it.  She claims she would pay for it with windfall tax profits from the oil companies, but she also knows the windfall profit tax will never get past Mr. Bush and his veto-proof congress.  Besides that, she’s already declared that she would channel all windfall profit taxes to renewable energy.  Consistency and integrity have to be weighed here.

It’s a brave move for Senator Obama.  The voter who is able to catch only five minutes’ news a day will see only that Clinton-McCain is giving him something, while Obama is denying it to him.  The fact that Obama speaks truth to those quick to pander to us reaffirms my belief that honesty and integrity are the first foundations for leadership.

We’ve gone eight years without that honesty and integrity.  SURELY, we won’t be fooled yet again.

LEIGH SAAVEDRA is a veteran political activist, a former teacher, gifted education specialist, and arts columnist.  She’s also a writer of fiction and short poetry and is the author of two books, “So Narrow the Bridge and Deep the Water” (Seal Press, Seattle) and “The Girl with Yellow Flowers in her Hair” (Pitchfork Publishing, Metuchen NJ).

 

 

 

 

 

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