Friday, September 12, 2008

Surprisingly, the government gets worse

The new plan? Gas stamps. Think food stamps for your car and you have the right idea.

Gas stamps would work like traditional food stamps, which some Americans have collected since the 1930s. They would be used, however, to pay for regular unleaded instead of meat and potatoes.

Under one version of the proposal, a person earning up to $31,200 or a family of four earning up to $63,600 could receive government payments totaling $500 for gas.

Because the only way that any of us can get anywhere is by driving a family car. Somehow, the congresscritters in favor of the idea (Dems trying to shore up their appeal in the heartland based on the article) are comparing the pricey gas we have now to the war-imposed gas rationing from WWII, when you were only allowed a little at a time and had the stamps to allow you to buy more.

The idea for fuel stamps was first proposed by maverick Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), chairman of the House Income Security and Family Support subcommittee, who remembers his family using gas stamps when he was a boy during World War II.

“If you had to drive to work, you got to buy more gasoline than if you just drove your car on the weekends,” he said of the wartime policy.

Who knows how much time and eventually money will be blown on this. Making gas appear to be cheaper (and it will only be on the surface, after all, it will take higher taxes to provide a new service) does nothing to resolve the real problems. On the other side of the aisle are the GOP members claiming that opening offshore drilling will take care of everything. Again, at best this will add a fractional amount of new crude to what we already use and will not fix the systemic problems.

Is biking more the solution for everyone? No, but added to public transit and walking it would reduce the demand within the US to the point that prices would come down. Beyond that, people need to make it clear to manufacturers that they want cars that go farther per gallon and are willing to pay for them. None of this requires government action, it requires lazy-@$$ Americans to do something, which means it won't happen.

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