When crippling the federal government means crippling the country

reagangastax

“Today, as this bill becomes law, America ends a period of decline in her vast and world-famous transportation system. Because of the prompt and bipartisan action of Congress, we can now ensure for our children a special part of their heritage — a network of highways and mass transit that has enabled our commerce to thrive, our country to grow, and our people to roam freely and easily to every corner of our land.”


— President Ronald Reagan in 1983,
signing a bill that more than
doubled the federal gasoline tax.

Over its almost 60-year history, the federal government’s Highway Trust Fund has financed much of the transportation infrastructure upon which this country and its economy were built. It certainly built metro Atlanta as we now know it.

However, the federal gasoline tax that has long served as the trust fund’s main source of revenue is no longer sufficient to meet the demands placed upon it. As a result, the highway trust fund is expected to go bankrupt sometime in July, meaning state and local construction projects dependent on federal funding would be halted all over the country unless Congress finds a solution.

And the solution is obvious: Raise the gasoline tax to its historic norms. But because we have become a nation unwilling to invest in ourselves and our future, because we have been encouraged by our leaders to behave like spoiled children, demanding what we want without being asked to sacrifice for it, because we have undermined the very notion of collective responsibility for the collective good, Congress finds itself unable to act.

In fact, I’d go so far as to argue that our inability to do something so clearly needed as a gasoline tax increase, something so consistent both with our past and the demands of the future, stands as an example of the many other problems confronting this country that we refuse to address.

Not coincidentally, it also highlights once again just how extreme and impractical today’s conservatives have become.

Reagan, the iconic symbol of the modern conservative movement, understood quite well the necessity of the federal government playing a leading role in transportation. He spoke openly of the economic impact, predicting that the tax increase that he was signing would create more than 300,000 jobs. Such a statement is almost inconceivable from today’s Republicans, and the more fervent a Republican’s worship of Reagan, the more inconceivable it becomes.

In his signing statement, Reagan also embraced the gasoline tax as a fair means of raising revenue and noted that it hadn’t been raised in 23 years.

“Anyone who’s driven the family car lately knows what it’s like to hit a pothole — a frustration, expense, a danger caused by poor road maintenance. Woeful tales of highway disrepair have become part of the trucking lore. Bridges are crumbling from under us in many of our older cities while growth is being stifled in our newer ones, because the transportation system can’t cope with the expanding population.”

Today, the situation is again much like that described by Reagan. The federal gasoline tax of 18.4 cents per gallon hasn’t been changed since 1993, when President Clinton forced a 4.3.cent-a-gallon increase through Congress. (At the time, not a single member of the GOP in either the House or Senate voted to support the change, an early indication of where we find ourselves today.)

And of course, over the subsequent 22 years, inflation has seriously eroded the buying power of that 18.4-cent-a-gallon tax:
gastax
Today, the 18.4-cents-a-gallon gasoline tax raises the 1993 equivalent of 11.3 cents per gallon. Restoring the tax to its 1993 level would require raising it to 30 cents per gallon, and even in an era of low gasoline prices, it is almost inconceivable that Congress would take such a step.

Something else has also changed in the past 22 years: Cars have become more fuel-efficient, largely because the auto industry was forced to do so by the federal government. In 1993, the average passenger car on the road got 20.4 miles per gallon; today, it gets 24 miles per gallon. That too has undercut revenue flowing into the Highway Trust Fund.
gasconsumed
And if you do the math, combining the effects of 22 years of inflation with vehicles that have become considerably more fuel-efficient?
totaltaxpaid
In 1993, a motorist who drove 10,000 miles paid roughly $90 a year to build and maintain the nation’s transportation infrastructure. In 2015, a motorist who drives 10,000 miles a year would pay barely half that amount when adjusted for inflation. And if you travel outside this country to other industrialized countries, you begin to appreciate just how worn-out, inefficient and outdated our transportation infrastructure has become as a result.

But again, rather than restore funding of the Highway Trust Fund, we’re getting ideas such as this, from U.S. Rep. Tom Graves of Georgia:

Graves wants to basically abolish the Highway Trust Fund, reducing the federal gasoline tax from 18.4 to 3.7 cents per gallon and giving responsibility for transportation infrastructure to the states. As he sees it, moving that responsibility from Washington into state Legislatures would reduce the influence of special interests, a claim that makes me wonder how much attention Graves paid during his own time in the Georgia General Assembly.

Under such a system, some states might indeed take that responsibility seriously; others probably would not, creating a much more patch-work and inefficient national network.  Even the highly conservative Heritage Foundation, which supports Graves’ legislation, agrees that building roads and other infrastructure has been a constitutional function of the federal government from the very beginning.

In short, by trying to cripple government, Graves and his colleagues would cripple the country in the process. What they perceive as a return to the vision of Ronald Reagan and to those of the Founders is in fact an extremist repudiation of all that. It is an ideologically driven effort to turn back the clock to a time that never existed, and it has consequences for each of us, every day.

 

Reader Comments 0

1682 comments
SoGAVet
SoGAVet

Somebody must have beaten Rep Graves oner the head with a Stupid Stick.

RonnieReagan
RonnieReagan

Great man was Ronald Reagan. Switched parties when he realized that Democrats just don't get it. Wish we had a President like him today instead of one that was forced on us.

JamVet
JamVet

@RonnieReagan 

Yep, a great candidate for the "limited mental capacity" crowd. (hat tip, Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger)

"Trees cause more pollution than cars." ~R. Reagan, 1979

Bill OrvisWhite
Bill OrvisWhite

Here's a common sense idea: Privatize the roads and all highway projects while enacting bond referendums, toll roads and user fees. If we let the local area decide how to maintain their roads, then we would all have more money in our pockets. Keeping more of our hard-earned dollars means that all of us can be on the road to prosperity. Making everything local means that WE HAVE CHOICE! Amen, Bill 

Bill OrvisWhite
Bill OrvisWhite

@GaGirl53171875 Getting folks to pay tolls and user fees gets them to think about how much it co$ts to build and maintain thoroughfares. This once-free nation has gotten lazy since the early 1960s when discipline and God were thrown out of our institutions. Amen, Bill 

Bill OrvisWhite
Bill OrvisWhite

@JamVet @Bill OrvisWhite @GaGirl53171875 I'm done. Toast. Fried. Lost faith. Retired. Retired from draconian taxes, regulations and a nation that lost its moral and economic compass. The only thing me and millions of others can do is spread THE TRUTH! Amen, Bill 

Doomy
Doomy

@HeadleyLamar


And if you don't like it you don't need to buy it. Drink tap water.

GaGirl53171875
GaGirl53171875

@Bill OrvisWhite  The only goal of privatization is to make someone in the GOP some money at the expense of taxpayers. The public should be in charge of our natural resources and manmade resources like roads and waterways.

gotalife
gotalife

In 1968, the assassination of MLK caused riots in Baltimore.


In 2015, the slaughter of a unarmed kid caused riots in Baltimore.


See a trend?


Stop the murders and there will be no riots.


Our issues are not complicated.


Bill OrvisWhite
Bill OrvisWhite

@gotalife How about getting the thugs to stop looting? What about all of the hard-working law enforcement personnel who put it on the line each and every day? No one is talking about how much those honorable people do. Amen, Bill 

GaGirl53171875
GaGirl53171875

@Bill OrvisWhite @gotalife  AND it sucks being judged by the actions of a few others doesn't it? I wonder how the poor folks who need food through SNAP feel being constantly judged as cheaters of the system.

Brosephus
Brosephus

down below someone posted about the Crips and Bloods coming together for their community:


http://nypost.com/2015/04/27/rival-gangs-team-up-to-take-out-baltimore-cops/


Interesting that article has no photos of said Crips and Bloods.  This one, however, does actually have photos of them coming together for their community.


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3059143/The-Wire-Unimaginable-scenes-Baltimore-s-Crips-Bloods-Black-Guerrilla-Family-Nation-Islam-unite-black-men-stop-violence.html


One reason why I tend to discount the sensationalism being peddled by US media.  It's all about getting the gullible to watch or click to increase ratings to help the selling price for advertising.


http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/baltimore-city/bal-video-gangs-call-for-calm-in-baltimore-20150427-premiumvideo.html

honested
honested

@Brosephus 

Dude, it's in the new york post, so nobody over 2nd grade reads it anyways.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

We need more men and women of Robert Kennedy's vision and the vision of Martin Luther King, Jr. among America's citizens today.  But, today's citizens have lived in almost a half-century of a corporate controlled, self-serving America where "survival of the fittest" has prevailed.  This must change. We must again embrace the consciousness of King, the Kennedys, Hubert Humphrey, Jacob Javits to help solve our social and societal problems, once again.

Doomy
Doomy

@MaryElizabethSings 


"But, today's citizens have lived in almost a half-century of a corporate controlled, blah blah blah...


Apparently, Mary E. still doesn't seem to understand that it is corporations which employ people, giving them jobs and paychecks, and that its corporations and their employees that foot the tax bill that pays for everything.


How it is that she can't seem to understand something so obvious is a mystery still.

Doomy
Doomy

@HeadleyLamar 


I dunno. Ya'll seemed awfully hung up on Newt's alleged affair and divorce.

GaGirl53171875
GaGirl53171875

Folks come on this comment section and they act so smug, like they have all the answers and they are the only ones who know the real truths in this world. While you're sitting on here complaining about black people taking welfare illegally and liberals trying to take your guns, the Koch Brothers and others are killing the country and the natural resources that will provide for your kids and grandkids. Everyone should check out the legislation that is taking place in their names. Learn about what is really important to your politicians. https://legiscan.com/GA


Cities and counties are being banned from banning things that they want banned, like unlimited fracking on their own lands and plastic bags that are destroying the beauty of their coast lands. None of these things create JOBS, the thing conservative voters say we need most. You don't get jobs through the banning stuff, you get jobs from investing in infrastructure. Just ask China, it's the number one economy in the world (and China is also gobbling up American companies ex. pork industry, movie industry, etc.) and China invests heavily in it's INFRASTRUCTURE! Look it up.


TicTacs
TicTacs

@GaGirl53171875  Economic warfare has been going on for centuries.

honested
honested

@DownInAlbany @GaGirl53171875 

They collectively make enough money off gullible Americans so that it would be difficult NOT to accidentally let some of it do some good!!

Doggone_GA
Doggone_GA

@GaGirl53171875 "Folks come on this comment section and they act so smug, like they have all the answers and they are the only ones who know the real truths in this worl"

They do...and maybe you should be a little more circumspect in YOUR posts...because, to me, yours is just as good an example of that as just about any other.  Things like proof and links would go a LONG way to increasing your credibility.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

Robert Kennedy's word upon MLK's assassination, and the subsequent riots in cities throughout America:


"We can move in that direction as a country, in greater polarization -- black people amongst blacks, and white amongst whites, filled with hatred toward one another. Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand, and to comprehend, and replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand, compassion, and love. . . .


And let's dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world. Let us dedicate ourselves to that, and say a prayer for our country and for our people."


http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/rfkonmlkdeath.html

gotalife
gotalife

Don't kill unarmed kids and no riots.


Clear enough for you cons?

honested
honested

@AimHighVet @gotalife 

Is it fool day?

There are still two concerns:

1-Citizens, politely follow the legitimate orders of Police Officers.

2-Police Officers, stop murdering Citizens under any circumstances.

AimHighVet
AimHighVet

Another city run by liberal politicians...is burning. This is Ferguson, MO all over again...on a larger scale. The mayor and the democratic city officials are once again scratching their collective heads searching for a way to blame the white man and Republicans. Heard one of the rioters (not protester) blame all this on George Bush. He's the one who took all the jobs from the black folks. Don't worry though, Al Sharpton is on the way. Has anyone heard from the obama yet?

Yeah...didn't think so. 

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@AimHighVet  heads searching for a way to blame the white man and Republicans.


An incredibly stupid statement. 


Your racism shows through with comments like that. 

honested
honested

@AimHighVet 

Were you stupid enough to volunteer for the Iraqi War of Choice or were you involved in some legitimate activity where the interests of United States Citizens were at stake?

Cogito Ergo Erras
Cogito Ergo Erras

@LeninTime

"I understand that. But still I'm struck by the utter lack of any curiosity about the question from those who don't hesitate to condemn the acts of vandalism."

First of all, as I have publicly stated more than once, I think race is being conflated with the quite separate issue of police brutality. Far more whites are killed by police than blacks and yet almost ALL of the national reporting is about the latter. Why would THAT be? Brosephus thinks it's monetary; I think it's more ideological.

I posted this a while back, but for those who missed it:

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/08/what-i-did-after-police-killed-my-son-110038.html#.VT-xSfBCmSo

alexander2
alexander2

@Penses @JamVet  I disagree, I believe there is systemic racism in America and that police dept are simply a micrcosym of a national issue--and I'm white and have been the "victim" of a rogue cop

LeninTime
LeninTime

@Penses 

I think race is being conflated with the quite separate issue of police brutality

**

They're intermingled.

JamVet
JamVet

@Penses @LeninTime 

"Far more whites are killed by police than blacks..."

How many more?

And is that ratio higher, lower or the same as the ratio of the total number whites to total number of blacks in America?

Do you know?

Just curious...


alexander2
alexander2

@Penses @LeninTime  After Ferguson ther was a lot of empirical data presented that black are ( for one) more often arrested for the same offense, given longer prison times, etc. I don't know of a definitive study ( if there is one), but many argue with at least some research support that race and police brutality are related.  

JamVet
JamVet

@LeninTime @Penses 

I agree.

The attempt to separate the two - in the context of this debate - is unreasonable.

They are not quite separate issues.


Cogito Ergo Erras
Cogito Ergo Erras

@JamVet 

That is immaterial to my point. A truly objective media would report ALL police killings nationally, if they were to report any at all. Since they don't, they create a false impression in the minds of people like you and I. For many years, I thought that serial killers were, for the most part, white. That is, until I actually did some research and found that there are more black serial killers per capita than white.

The main issue, in my mind, is police brutality. I do NOT believe there is systemic racism in police departments. What the police departments did in Ferguson - using "enforcement" as a revenue stream - is being done everywhere (I have experienced it Georgia and I'm Irish).

Cogito Ergo Erras
Cogito Ergo Erras

@alexander2 

I think one also has to factor in criminality in any such discussion. It is a fact that blacks commit far more crimes per capita than do whites or Hispanics.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@alexander2 @Penses @LeninTime They most certainly are.


The judicial system treats black people much differently than white.


For example if you are black and kill someone black you are far more likely to get he death penalty than if it was the other way around.



Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@Penses @alexander2   It is a fact that blacks commit far more crimes per capita than do whites or Hispanics.


Economics is a far bigger factor in who commits crimes than race.


That is a fact. 

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@alexander2 @Penses @JamVet The kind of things we see boiling over in Ferguson and now Baltimore didnt happen overnight


Eventually people get tired of being harassed and targeted by police.


Cogito Ergo Erras
Cogito Ergo Erras

@alexander2 

Why is there virtually NO national reporting of whites being killed by police in the media? Would you say that is "objective"? 

alexander2
alexander2

@HeadleyLamar  To a point I agree, but I also think that "anarchist"  exacerbate the problem and precipitate the violence and lead the "mob" mentality.

Cogito Ergo Erras
Cogito Ergo Erras

@HeadleyLamar 

ROFL What does BO have to do with what I said? The very fact that you are chasing a red herring in this fashion demonstrates that you are wrong. Brosephus at least did not deny that the news coverage was disparate; he attributed it to greed. But not you - you deny it altogether. And yet you then go on some imaginary rant accusing me of being deluded by BO.

alexander2
alexander2

@HeadleyLamar @Penses @alexander2 I suspect that the media wants it's bias confirmed.I don't know about the data, but like many of Jay's data reports, one must be very cynical about the data....

Cogito Ergo Erras
Cogito Ergo Erras

@HeadleyLamar 

I am not sure how you "know" that. Culture and parenting and drugs (or lack thereof) are very big factors in crime as far as I can see.

Doomy
Doomy

@HeadleyLamar 


No. That is not a fact. If it were then many Chinese, who often go to the same inner city schools in LA as blacks and Hispanics, would have disproportionate crime numbers. They don't. And the Jews that came to this country dirt poor from Eastern Europe and who lived in ghettos, where the term comes from, would have been involved in high rates of criminality. They weren't. 


Using economics is just an excuse. Furthermore, its also invalid because the, ahem, "poor" in this country vastly exceed the level of material wealth of most middle class people in the rest of the world. 


The problem is one of culture. 

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@Doom Classical liberal @HeadleyLamar  No. That is not a fact.


Yes it is a fact.


Its not about "culture" with which one assumes you mean race


Poor people of all races commit crimes at about the same rate.


You put anyone into poverty Jewish Chinese I don't care and there will be  LOTS of crime to follow

Doomy
Doomy

@HeadleyLamar 


Furthermore, as of right now there are more whites on death row than blacks. Yet blacks commit more murders. So your statement that blacks are more likely to get the death penalty is complete BS.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@Doom Classical liberal @HeadleyLamar We've long known that the death penalty disproportionately kills people of color. David Baldus, a University of Iowa law professor, and his colleagues studied more than 2,000 homicides in Georgia in the 1970s and 1980s for evidence of bias. Their landmark research, known popularly as the Baldus study, found vast racial disparities in Georgia's capital-punishment system.


Please educate yourself sir. You are looking dumber than usual today.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@Doom Classical liberal  Racial disparities in crime rates aren't a factor in this because homicide, the predominant capital offense, is an overwhelmingly intra-racial crime. Federal statistics show that 84 percent of white victims and 93 percent of black victims between 1980 and 2008 were murdered by someone of the same race. But death-row statistics don't reflect those rates: Although roughly half of all U.S. homicide victims are black, more than three-quarters of victims of death-row defendants executed since 1976 were white.


Shall I go on sir ?

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@Penses @HeadleyLamar parenting and drugs (or lack thereof) are very big factors in crime as far as I can see.


Guess what those things follow


Poverty.

Doomy
Doomy

@HeadleyLamar 


Nope. Clearly your mind doesn't seem to understand the most basic statistical analysis. All your article states is that blacks, who comprise only 13% of the population, constitute 42% of the death row population. This is true.


What it doesn't state, however, is that blacks commit more murders than any other segment of the population. So if you commit more murders than anyone then of course you have a disproportionate number of people on death row relative to your share of the population. Duh! There's no mystery about that sir.


You really, really, really need to work on your critical thinking skills.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@Doom Classical liberal Surrender noted 


Also for the record Planned Parenthood is not a Govt conspiracy to kill minority babies.


Ive heard you spew that BS here too.

Doomy
Doomy

@HeadleyLamar 


782 whites have been put to death since 1976 vs 482 blacks. And this has happened despite the fact that in most years blacks commit more murders than whites.


There's no hiding from the data, Hedley. You just don't know what you're talking about.


http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/race-death-row-inmates-executed-1976


"In 2013, the FBI has black criminals carrying out 38 per cent of murders, compared to 31.1 per cent for whites. The offender’s race was “unknown” in 29.1 per cent of cases."


http://blogs.channel4.com/factcheck/factcheck-black-americans-commit-crime/19439

Doomy
Doomy

@HeadleyLamar 


Quit committing a disproportionate amount of violent crime such as murder, rape, robbery, carjacking, quit openly dealing drugs on street corners, etc. and you won't be targeted. Simple really.

Doomy
Doomy

@HeadleyLamar 


Nope. History is replete with numerous peoples who started off poor in many different countries around the world who became successful without resorting to crime. In particular the Chinese that immigrated to Malaysia and Indonesia and elsewhere around the globe started off at a lower rung than the native populations and still succeeded without resorting to crime. Same with Jews, who started off dirt poor in the Jewish ghettos of this country.


Just like with your nonsense regarding the death penalty and blacks, you simply do not know what you are talking about. Culture is the prime determinant of success.