Various Frankfort politicians and journalists spent much of 2008 failing to convince us that a cigarette tax would help balance the current budget, pay off pension debt, fund new health programs, and fund new education programs while cutting demand for cigarettes. So I should be used to ridiculous overselling of tax increase virtues.
But I almost fell off my chair while reading New York Times columnist Tom Friedman promote the idea that a gasoline tax increase would be the best thing Barack Obama could do.
I kid you not:
“A gasoline tax would do more for American prosperity and strength than any other measure Obama could propose.”
And, of course, it gets better:
“Today’s financial crisis is Obama’s 9/11. The public is ready to be mobilized. Obama is coming in with enormous popularity. This is his best window of opportunity to impose a gas tax. And he could make it painless: offset the gas tax by lowering payroll taxes, or phase it in over two years at 10 cents a month.”
Can’t imagine anyone falling for this, can you?