” I think most energy experts think that the price would end up very close to where it would have been if the gas tax hadn’t been abated. ” - Leonard Burman, Director, Tax Policy Center, treasury official in the Clinton and Reagan administrations.
Presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and John McCain have offered different proposals for a summer suspension of the federal gas tax. Barak Obama has questioned the effectiveness of a “short-term solution.” In this video report, we hear from the candidates, then from a tax policy expert analyzing whether the gas tax holiday is politically or economically feasible.
The rising price of gas is on everyone’s mind and tailor-made for engaging classroom investigations. How is the current and projected rising cost of gas affecting your students’ daily lives or plans for the summer? Analyze the supply and demand economics of gas prices; categorize what your dollars spent at the pump actually pay for. What about the idea that “the best antidote to high gas prices is high gas prices”? What does that mean, do your students agree?
How are gas prices linked to issues of global warming and energy independence? Compare the political solutions offered by the major presidential candidates. Do your students agree with Leonard Burman that the tax holiday will have minimal or no effect on the price of gas? What is his argument? What would your students advise the president to do about the price of gas? What can your students do right now?.
Below are some additional resources related to this issue.
Gas Tax Holiday Plan Provides Fodder for Campaigns, Economists Alike
Candidates Squabble Over McCain’s Gas Tax Holiday Plan
ConocoPhillips CEO Defends Oil Company Profits
NewsHour Extra Record High Gas Prices Await Travelers in 2004 prices surpass $2
NewsHour Extra Lesson Plan: Automobile Choices and Alternative Fuels
Urban Institute and Brookings Institution: Tax Policy Center Great site!
NPR: Q&A: What’s Behind High Gas Prices?
Washington Post (Reuters) Clinton-McCain gas tax holiday slammed as bad idea
Washington Post (AP): Fact Check: Obama and the gas taxes
TAXsites.com links to federal & state tax resources, public & economic policy