Obama proposes $10 a barrel tax on oil

The Obama administration is proposing a tax of $10 on each barrel of oil consumed in the US. The $300 billion raised over 10 years would be used to fund the president's green transportation plan, funding mass transit, high-speed rail, self-driving cars, and other transportation white elephants that are supposed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and relieve congestion.

Politico:

Two senior administration officials authorized to discuss the plan described it as a sharp departure from unsustainable asphalt-driven Washington policies that date back to President Eisenhower’s creation of the interstate highway system, as well as an aspirational next step for a climate-conscious president who has already ratcheted up fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks, doled out unprecedented green energy subsidies, cracked down on carbon pollution from power plants, and pushed through a global climate deal in Paris. They said that transportation accounts for 30 percent of U.S. emissions, and that Obama’s plan would boost spending on green transportation infrastructure by about 50 percent. They also argued that the U.S. transportation system, long the envy of the world, has become an economic drag that imposes $160 billion in hidden taxes on businesses and commuters while stranding Americans in traffic for 7 billion hours every year.

Former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell, who was briefed about the plan in his role as co-chair of the pro-infrastructure group Building America’s Future, called it the boldest transportation blueprint since Eisenhower envisioned the interstates.

“Since then we’ve just been bumping along, doing short-term fixes, and I give them a lot of credit for laying out this kind of long-term investment,” said Rendell, a Democrat who has been a frequent Obama critic. “I also give them credit for having the guts to say how they would pay for it all. That’s very unusual in this area.”

The biggest chunk of Obama’s proposed new spending, about $20 billion a year—roughly equivalent to the EPA and Interior Department budgets combined—would go to “enhanced transportation options,” especially alternatives to driving and flying. That would include subways, buses, light rail, freight rail modernization projects, and a major expansion of the high-speed rail initiative that Obama launched in his 2009 stimulus bill.

Thirty years ago, funding mass transit made a lot of sense. It was a cheap, affordable way to move a lot of people around a crowded city. 

But today, mass transit unions have forced cities to cut service and raise fares to unaffordable levels for the poor. When bus drivers make as much as stock brokers, you know the system is broken.

Needless to say, any money spent on high speed rail is a waste - and a fraud. And so-called "light rail" projects appear affordable on the surface, but rarely fulfill their promise of providing service at reasonable prices.

Offering rail freight companies loans at a reasonable rate to fix the national system is fine - as long as the government isn't picking winners and losers. We certainly don't need a $10 per barrel oil tax to fund it.


 

The Obama administration is proposing a tax of $10 on each barrel of oil consumed in the US. The $300 billion raised over 10 years would be used to fund the president's green transportation plan, funding mass transit, high-speed rail, self-driving cars, and other transportation white elephants that are supposed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and relieve congestion.

Politico:

Two senior administration officials authorized to discuss the plan described it as a sharp departure from unsustainable asphalt-driven Washington policies that date back to President Eisenhower’s creation of the interstate highway system, as well as an aspirational next step for a climate-conscious president who has already ratcheted up fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks, doled out unprecedented green energy subsidies, cracked down on carbon pollution from power plants, and pushed through a global climate deal in Paris. They said that transportation accounts for 30 percent of U.S. emissions, and that Obama’s plan would boost spending on green transportation infrastructure by about 50 percent. They also argued that the U.S. transportation system, long the envy of the world, has become an economic drag that imposes $160 billion in hidden taxes on businesses and commuters while stranding Americans in traffic for 7 billion hours every year.

Former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell, who was briefed about the plan in his role as co-chair of the pro-infrastructure group Building America’s Future, called it the boldest transportation blueprint since Eisenhower envisioned the interstates.

“Since then we’ve just been bumping along, doing short-term fixes, and I give them a lot of credit for laying out this kind of long-term investment,” said Rendell, a Democrat who has been a frequent Obama critic. “I also give them credit for having the guts to say how they would pay for it all. That’s very unusual in this area.”

The biggest chunk of Obama’s proposed new spending, about $20 billion a year—roughly equivalent to the EPA and Interior Department budgets combined—would go to “enhanced transportation options,” especially alternatives to driving and flying. That would include subways, buses, light rail, freight rail modernization projects, and a major expansion of the high-speed rail initiative that Obama launched in his 2009 stimulus bill.

Thirty years ago, funding mass transit made a lot of sense. It was a cheap, affordable way to move a lot of people around a crowded city. 

But today, mass transit unions have forced cities to cut service and raise fares to unaffordable levels for the poor. When bus drivers make as much as stock brokers, you know the system is broken.

Needless to say, any money spent on high speed rail is a waste - and a fraud. And so-called "light rail" projects appear affordable on the surface, but rarely fulfill their promise of providing service at reasonable prices.

Offering rail freight companies loans at a reasonable rate to fix the national system is fine - as long as the government isn't picking winners and losers. We certainly don't need a $10 per barrel oil tax to fund it.