The Price of Gas, and the Cost of Hot Air
This same U.S. Congress presides over a tax code that is complicated and unfair to American individuals or small businesses that cannot afford to hire an army of accountants, lawyers and lobbyists. The resultant revenue generated by this convoluted and confiscatory code sometimes seems indistinguishable from protection money and kickbacks that might be paid to criminal organizations.
Whether or not Congress is a criminal gang is a topic for another place and time. But when the federal excise tax on gasoline runs 18.4 cents a gallon, on a projected 380 million gallons of gas sold per day in the US this year, we are looking at a federal tax take of over $25 billion a year on the sale of gasoline.
To be sure, this $25 billion in federal excise tax is insignificant in the face of a U.S. national debt of $14.3 trillion. This revenue represents less than 6% of the interest paid every year on that debt. And believe it or not, Congress and the President are on track to spend $1.4 trillion more than it takes in this fiscal year, creating a nearly unbelievable annual deficit, and adding to the monstrous national debt.
Congress screeches about $4 billion in “freebies” to oil companies, and points fingers at private producers of energy while it carelessly reaches deep into the pockets of small and mid-sized businesses here in Virginia, and all over the country. Rather than chastising American oil producers and drillers, Congress should be outraged and infuriated at its own poor management of resources.
The global price of oil reflects increasing global demand for energy, higher extraction cost in aging oil fields, expensive new field development, and a lack of security in many oil-producing countries – the latter in part due to decades of American foreign policy favoring U.S.-friendly puppets and propped-up governments over free markets and merit-based competition. The price of oil today also reflects the ongoing devaluation of the U.S. dollar, which can be traced directly back to the shocking inability of the U.S. government to control its spending.
I certainly don’t like paying more for a fill-up these days. But what I really hate is being taken for a fool by the U.S. Congress who is at fault for the miserable state of the American economy. As I tour my congressional district, I echo what fellow constituents prefer, “that Congress would simply live within its means and rationally spend our tax dollars.”
Karen Kwiatkowski is running for congress in Virginia’s 6th District (www.karenkforcongress.com)
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