McCain’s Gas-Tax Holiday From Reality Continues

Two weeks ago, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) proposed a summer-long “gas tax holiday.” Since then, he’s been faced with the challenge that such a moratorium may sound good but would be terrible policy.

Sen. McCainWhen it was pointed out that the federal gas tax funds critical transportation infrastructure and jobs, a spokesman said McCain would pay the $11 billion tab from the “general revenue.”

When it was pointed out that cutting the federal gas tax would minimally affect the price at the pump, McCain then said his proposal was just “a little psychological boost.”

When it was pointed out today by MSNBC anchor Mika Brzezinski that the tax cut is an expensive and environmentally unsound policy that would do nothing to help American drivers, McCain finally erupted:

Mika, you know what? All it is is it’s not the end of Western civilization as we know it according to some, quote, economists and some around America. It’s just to give Americans a little relief.

He then exposed how out of touch he is with the realities of America by saying:

I think it’s obvious that the lowest-income Americans drive the furthest and probably they spend more on gasoline because of the age of their automobiles.

In fact, lowest-income Americans drive the least, and most of the benefits of the gas-tax holiday would go to high-income Americans.

No amount of bluster can disguise that this proposal — just as it was when Sen. Bob Dole proposed a similar gas tax holiday as the Republican presidential nominee in 1996 — is a violation of the responsible economic principles Sen. McCain has formerly espoused.

UPDATE [5:30 PM]: Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York City, tells the Observer a gas tax holiday “would help Chavez, Qaddafi and other people like that.” He also said:

It’s the dumbest thing I’ve heard in an awful long time from an economic point of view. I don’t understand why you think there’s any merit to it whatsoever. We’re trying to discourage people from driving and we’re trying to end our energy dependence. We don’t do that — oh, and incidentally, we’re trying to have more money to build infrastructure. All three of those things go fly in the face of giving everybody $30 a year. The $30 bucks is not going to change anybody’s lifestyle. The billions of dollars that we would otherwise have in tax revenues can make a big difference as to what kind of a world we leave our children.