Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Car Talk Guys: Gas Tax

Car Talk Guys Want 50 Cent Gas Tax Hike, and More Radio, Radio

Ray Magliozzi of NPR's "Car Talk" (pronounced "CAH Tawk") wants a 50 cent gas tax hike:

Ray: When gas was four bucks a gallon, everybody cried.
Tom: Naaah, I just siphoned it outta your cah.
Ray: No wonder I was getting 3 miles a gallon.

More seriously -- and they always get to the point after goofing around:

"Gas is less than two bucks a gallon. There's never been a better time to do this. If we added a 50-cent national, gasoline tax right now, and gas cost $2.50 a gallon, would that be the end of the world? Hardly."

"This new tax would generate between 50 and 100 billion dollars every year for the treasury. That money could be used to help rebuild our crumbling roads and bridges, and develop new technologies for more fuel-efficient cars... further decreasing demand for oil. This is a way for us to get on the wagon, and stop sending money to countries that don't like us. We could become energy independent."

Sorry, couldn't get the famous Saturday Night Live clip. (Anyone else catch Costello yet on the Colbert Christmas show?)

Also on the radio, radio, Iowa Liberal looks at this New York Times article and cloncludes, "Democrats gave the public serious candidates, Republicans gave them future talk-radio hosts."

Media reform is an up and coming issue on the left (says this Blog for Iowa post) and a bugaboo on the right, as Rush et al. whip up their audiences over an alleged return of the "Fairness Doctrine," abandoned back in the Reagan era. Personally, I think that's a straw man, right up there with "Barack wants to take your gun away."

There's more than one progressive way to look at this issue, and I find myself more in agreement with Jon Stinton of Air America, under the deliberately provocative headline that plays off Rush's own slogan, "Limbaugh Is Right on the Fairness Doctrine ":
"The conventional wisdom is that Rush's success depended on the 1987 repeal of the Fairness Doctrine. Some say that if he had to make time for opposing opinions, Rush would have flopped. Personally, I think he is most entertaining when he is dismantling opposing arguments. He's successful because he is a superior entertainer.

It never occurred to me to argue for reimposing the Fairness Doctrine. Instead, I sought to capitalize on the other side of a market the right already had built."

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