Pass The “Terrorist Tax” (December 18, 2006)

Tax terrorists.  By taxing gasoline.  The tax should be implemented incrementally to allow adjustments to spending and driving habits and raised enough to reduce demand purposefully.  Americans are directly financing hostile political activities because dinosaurs made the unfortunate decision to die in regions that sprouted unfriendly regimes.  Profits from the sale of gas profit some terrorists.  That must stop.

The consumption of much gas in America really does not result in the production of any goods or services; other countries consume gas to produce goods and services.  Consuming gas while driving to work results in the production of some goods and services, yet driving alone is inefficient.  Gas must be used more efficiently.  The market is the answer.

The market will respond in particular if there is certainty that the tax increase is permanent.  The higher resulting price for gas alone will spur research and investment into other sources of energy without the need to create any additional specific tax credits and deductions.  (There should be a concensus that the Terrorist Tax is not to be coupled with any specific tax credits or deductions.  Otherwise, a lobbyist will grab a representative’s ear and obtain an earmark for some pet technology that may not otherwise be marketable.)  The tax revenue can be used to address our obscene national Debt of almost Nine (9) Trillion ($9,000,000,000,000.00) dollars or for other purposes.

To his credit, Bush spurred debate by noting in his State of the Union address that America is “addicted to oil.”  “Addicted to Oil” is a documentary narrated by Thomas Friedman addressing the world’s competition for a decreasing pool of crude oil.  “A Crude Awakening – the Oil Crash,” a recent film directed by Basil Gelpke and produced by Ray McCormack, explains why the collision of insatiable demand for oil and the “limits of geology” is producing dire consequences.  Others have written about the problem; see the Internet.

Others have made the argument that taxes must be increased.  Mr. Friedman has championed the cause for years.  Dispensing credit for the idea is less important than selling the idea to the public.  Implementing the tax is economically and politically painful, yet failure to implement the tax is economically and politically fatal.  Paying a substantial tax on gas is one of the most patriotic sacrifices each one of us could make.  Convincing the American public to accept the “Terrorist Tax” will require astute and bipartisan statesmanship.  Those Americans who believe that taxes should be raised during a time of war may be the first to enlist in the campaign.  Present it as a tax that provides a double punch.  A single dollar provides a double return because we keep it and the terrorists don’t get it.

There is only one person who could pull it off in the short term.  Bush could shock the world by announcing the Terrorist Tax as a means to 1) deny funds to Terrorists, 2) confront global warming, and 3) generate much needed revenue.  The sales campaign requires an observation that some sympathetic countries provide oil to the United States; this country does not need to generate more enemies.  “Tax Terrorists Today.”

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