Thursday, May 24, 2007

I hate taxes...

But I do like the idea of a gas-tax. I think it would be a good way to discourage driving, and encourage efficient cars without silly CAFE standards.

Trust the intelligent readers of the Economist Blog, Free Exchange to give me another reason to be ok with a gas tax -
"The costs of driving should show up in gas prices. These costs include road maintenance, medical costs from accidents, traffic law enforcement, and a number of other things. One study I read in the 1990's suggested that it would take a $9/gallon gas tax to cover these costs. If you phased that in over 10 years, you would see a big change.

I would have no problem transferring some or all of the costs of driving to the gas pump and removing that portion from income or property taxes. This would allow market forces to discourage driving. It would also create a more honest debate about the cost/benefits of mass transit relative to personal cars."

Good points, all. I like having my own car, but it's also nice to have the metro in a big city. I don't think I would have complained so much about how much it cost when I was in DC if I was comparing the cost of a metro trip to the real cost of driving.

It also just makes sense to have the people who use the roads more (and thus buy more gas) to pay a larger part of the cost of upkeep for the roads. It makes sense to allow market forces to work. (That last sentence was a trueism)

This point "I realize the logistics of such tax systems {editor's note: such as a pay per pound of waste collected by a garbage truck} are not simple, but a move in that direction would encourage environmentally responsible behavior and make research into greener technologies more profitable." is also granted, but I think it's worth it. We have the technology to do stuff like this, and I think we should.

Anyway, I hate taxes, but I think people should pay for the goods they use...and public goods need to be paid for, and negative environmental externalities need to be accounted for, so a tax should be paid. That tax should be as related as possible to the good purchased, however - not the income of the consumer or the value of their house.

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