Perhaps the only decent recent journalism I’ve seen on issues under discussion in the presidential campaign has explained that Clinton and McCain’s proposed gas-tax moratorium is a bad idea. Obama opposes the moratorium because the gas-tax funds our highway infrastructure. Many in the GOP agree with Obama.
Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said only that the idea was “worthy of consideration,” during a Thursday press conference.
Other Republicans were less obscure. “Hate it,” said Rep. Steven LaTourette (R-Ohio), an early McCain supporter. “It has some attractiveness but the difficulty is that by [draining the highway trust fund] it will make the problem worse.”
If roads and bridges fall into further disrepair, lengthening traffic delays and wasting more gasoline, the fuel problem will get worse, he said, and then taxes would have to rise again after the holiday.
It’s important that journalists report on this because the moratorium is a feel-good proposal that promises immediate tax-relief to an electorate suffering from high cost of living increases.
Clinton, McCain, and Obama continue to use the issue and the price of gasoline to hammer away at each other on the presidential campaign trail.
It was two weeks ago that McCain first suggested suspending the 18.4 cents-per-gallon federal gas tax this summer, during peak driving months, as a way to give drivers a break. Clinton quickly endorsed the idea, and now both McCain and Clinton are sharply criticizing Obama’s opposition to it.
The media has been no help to Obama in providing balance and context to the avalanche of recent attacks. But at least on the moratorium, they have done their part to educate the public. And, for the record, the moratorium is a bad idea but at least Clinton proposes to find off-setting funds to maintain our highways. McCain does not.