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Art of the deal…or bait and switch?

May 1, 2017

News that President Trump might be open to a hike in the Federal gas tax isn’t really going over well on Main Street, but not for the reasons you might initially expect.

Granted, the Feds haven’t raised the gas tax since 1993, but advertising a possible jump in the tax now is spectacularly bad timing.

It’s not just the obvious impact of raising the tax on a commodity that none of us can do without, even if we don’t drive.

Gas taxes affect everyone from what UPS and FedEx charge to ship a package to Uber drivers to the Mom who shares carpooling duties in her neighborhood.

It also feeds the perception that the impact of the much vaunted income tax cuts will be negated by hikes in every other Federal fee  and tax.

Not very many people ever thought that Congress would voluntarily cut spending to help out ordinary Americans.

Most people understand that this is coming from the GOP threat to demand revenue neutrality in exchange for tax cuts, coupled with decreasing gas tax revenue arising from more efficient cars and people staying closer to home during the gas price run-up.

What bothers them is that by signaling so early that he is willing to add to other taxes to pay for his income tax cut, the President is in effect admitting that even he doesn’t believe in the economic stimulus he claims will result from the tax cuts.

So far, most of his constituency has forgiven the President’s sometimes dramatic  shifts in his position based on his lack of experience in Washington.

They even give him credit for his yard sale bargaining tactics of starting high and bargaining the price down from there.

They also understand that if the AHCA doesn’t pass, it removes about a trillion dollars in tax savings from the equation.

But this is perhaps a bit too much of a stretch, logistically and politcally.

Older voters remember that even Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts took a couple of years to bear fruit.

With that in mind, they would much rather have heard him say that he would push for more spending cuts before raising non-income tax revenue or even saying he would reserve judgment on increasing other Federal taxes and fees until he sees how much increased consumer prosperity raises tax revenues.

At some point, the President is expected to draw the proverbial line in the sand for his own party. At present, he is perceived to be a little too concerned with achieving a political win even if it means selling out his base.

No one expects him to ever be able to make many buddies on the Democrat side of the aisle.  They do expect him to get the GOP in line.

Joel put it like this:

“How about he gets all those titty-suckin’ Republicans in a room and tell them to oppose him at their own risk, because he will be happy to let their constituents know they voted against a tax cut  for every American taxpayer? How about starting with a political Tomahawk, instead of a nerf ball?”

From → op-ed

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