John McCain is apparently getting frustrated trying to defend the base political pander he calls the gas tax holiday. (Typical appraisal from those in the know: “It’s about the dumbest thing I’ve heard in an awful long time from an economic point of view.” — Michael Bloomberg) Here’s McCain responding to a voter’s question:
“You’d think that I was attacking Western civilization as we know it. The special interests [say], ‘Oh, my God. This will destroy our transportation system in America. This will have disastrous consequences.’ Look, all I think is we ought to give low-income Americans, in particular, a little relief.”
Okay, first of all, to suggest that opponents of the gas tax holiday are “special interests” is preposterous. Experts and economists of all ideological types have criticized the gas tax holiday as braindead. Second, the special interests, specifically the oil companies, are cheering the idea. If you take an 18-cent tax off the price of a gallon of gas, you allow the oil companies to add 18 cents per gallon in additional profits. That’s why the original criticisms of the McCain version of the gas tax called it a giveaway to the oil companies!
And one other note. John McCain seems to think that the gas tax holiday helps low-income Americans the most because they drive the farthest. In fact, the opposite is true.