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Paging Ivory Tower Politicians

Of all three candidates for president I can’t decide whose position on the proposed gas tax cut bothers me the most. The plan in question originated when John McCain, “the presumptive Republican presidential nominee called for a hiatus in the 18.4 cent-a-gallon federal gas tax from Memorial Day until Labor Day - the period when vacationing Americans spend the most time on the road.”

Probably the most palatable stance is Barack Obama’s, because it is clear that Obama simply doesn’t get the logic behind allowing people to keep more of their own money. Hillary Clinton on the other hand supports this particular measure but, as evidenced by proposals like her mandate for socialized healthcare, it is not because she believes that people have the capacity to make intelligent, autonomous decisions that affect their own lives. McCain’s stance is somewhat lacking as well, especially because he understands that people have a right to (more of) their own money. This makes me think “he knows better” and to expect more from him generally. Instead of cutting taxes on gas, the revenue of which goes to funding legitimate highway projects, wouldn’t it be more prudent to cut taxes on, say, income? Income taxes go to fund a whole range of ridiculous programs and projects, and there is no reason (as far as I can tell) to disincentivize earning money.

What the gas tax episode reveals to me, above all, is how detached these politicians are in many ways. There is probably no compelling reason not to cut taxes on gas, and giving people more of their money back should presumptively be considered good. But at the same time, it seems to me like politicians should be doing a lot more (or rather stopping the many bad things that they try to do) to help people. See Thomas Sowell: “There is nothing so bad that politics cannot make it worse” or Ronald Reagan: “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’”

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