Of all the regrettable outcomes in the election of 2004, the fact that Congress has become ever more protective of the bumbling moves of the Bush administration will turn out to be one of the gravest errors in the Bush era. With deliberate intent, Congress â€” rather than pursuing the facts important to the formulation of policy â€” continues to allow the administration to classify documents and to deny worthy investigations that might contradict this administrationâ€™s claims, assumptions and purported facts. Without good information, however, the nation continues a downward slide with serious consequences.
In the statewide political battle surrounding a tax hike on gasoline, the Republicans picked the easier side in the debate â€” affordability â€” while the House Democrats have to defend a more complex position: that the tax is a better mechanism to raise needed revenue for a host of reasons, none of which can be boiled down into a politically palatable sound bite.
But take a moment to inspect the issue. The first question is: Is the additional revenue the proposed gas tax would raise really needed?
The Vermont House approved a bill that would raise gasoline taxes by 4 cents per gallon (to 24 cents) and by 6 cents per gallon on diesel fuel (to 32 cents per gallon). The increased taxes would generate $26 million that would be used to leverage more than $100 million in federal highway funds â€” a bump in transportation funding approved by the U.S. Congress and Bush in this era of burgeoning deficits. (If you donâ€™t raise the needed state match, you lose out on the federal dole.)