Thursday, February 15, 2018

Trump reportedly pleads with Congress to raise gas taxes on all Americans - By Ed Straker

In a closed-door meeting, President Trump repeatedly asked congressmen to raise the gas tax. President Trump is so eager to raise taxes that he even volunteered to take the blame for it:
President Trump tried Wednesday to persuade his fellow Republicans to raise the gas tax.  In a closed-door meeting on infrastructure with members of both parties, Trump pitched the idea of a 25-cent increase in the gas tax, which hasn't been raised since 1993. 
"To my surprise, President Trump, today in our meeting, offered his support for raising the gas and diesel tax by 25 cents a gallon and dedicating that money to improve our roads, highways[,] and bridges," said Sen. Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.), who attended the meeting.  Carper supports the increase and said "Trump came back to the idea of a 25-cent increase several times throughout the meeting."  The president "even offered to help provide the leadership necessary so that we can do something that has proven difficult in the past," Carper said.
In case you think this is "fake news," here is some degree of confirmation from a Republican:
Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), chairman of a key Senate committee that is working on infrastructure, attended the meeting with Trump and reiterated that a gas-tax increase remains a nonstarter.
As well as a non-committal response from the White House, which refuses to deny that it happened:
A White House official refused to confirm the president's comments in Wednesday's meeting.  But the official noted that Trump has previously said everything is on the table[.]
This is not the first time the president has reportedly tried to raise the gas tax:
During a White House meeting with House Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) several weeks ago, Trump mused about a gas tax increase to 50 cents per gallon, almost triple the current level, according to a person briefed on the exchange who requested anonymity to discuss White House deliberations.
The federal gas tax is currently 18.4 cents per gallon.  Trump's 25-cent increase would more than double it; his initial proposal to increase it by 50 cents would more than triple it.
States also have their own gas taxes.  California's is 38 cents per gallon, New York is 43 cents per gallon, and Pennsylvania is 58 cents per gallon, just to give a few examples.  With Trump's 25-cent increase to the 18-cent federal tax, people could be paying close to a dollar a gallon in gas taxes when you combine state and federal.
That raises the inevitable question: if gas taxes are already so high, where are they going?  The states alone should have billions of dollars to spend on highways and roads.  When you combine that with the money from the federal gas taxes, there should be plenty for a wide variety of projects.
The answer is what you'd expect: a lot of gas tax revenues are diverted to other schemes, notably subsidizing mass transit, which have nothing to do with roads and highways.
Rather than calling on states to use their existing gas taxes for their intended purpose, Trump's apparent response is to call for gas taxes to be even higher.  But even Trump seems to have the self-awareness to be ashamed to call for a tax hike in public, instead peddling it in closed meetings with fellow members of the "swamp."
Ed Straker is the senior writer at