Monday, December 7, 2009

The Debts of the Spenders: Congress Eyes (Higher) Gas Tax to Close Budget Deficit

Can blood be squeezed out of stones? When one can only spend their way out of a deficit new means of raising cash must be found. Pundits predict that the US Congress is planning to hit an already overstretched consumer with gas taxes. Of course, given the US government's rate of spending, closing the budget deficit has about the same likelihood of reverting to Glass Steagall or overturning NAFTA.

Transportation chief Ray LaHood predicted the federal government's gas tax of 18.4 cents per gallon would not be enough to offset the nearly $500-million gap between how much revenue is available and how much money the department hopes to receive next year.

That dilemma, he said, would present Congress with two choices: Cut some programs or consider increasing fees, including the federal gas tax -- an idea LaHood discussed, but did not explicitly endorse, during Monday's conference.
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