President Obama believes that he can micromanage the behaviors of Americans to such an extent, that he can actually tax you into using “green” public transportation.
President Barack Obama is about to unveil an ambitious plan for a “21st century clean transportation system.” And he hopes to fund it with a tax on oil. Obama aides told POLITICO that when he releases his final budget request next week, the president will propose more than $300 billion worth of investments over the next decade in mass transit, high-speed rail, self-driving cars, and other transportation approaches designed to reduce carbon emissions and congestion. To pay for it all, Obama will call for a $10 “fee” on every barrel of oil, a surcharge that would be paid by oil companies but would presumably be passed along to consumers.
There is no real chance that the Republican-controlled Congress will embrace Obama’s grand vision of climate-friendly mobility in an election year—especially after passing a long-stalled bipartisan highway bill just last year—and his aides acknowledge it’s mostly an effort to jump-start a conversation about the future of transportation. But by raising the specter of new taxes on fossil fuels, it could create a political quandary for Democrats. The fee could add as much as 25 cents a gallon to the cost of gasoline, and even with petroleum prices at historic lows, the proposal could be particularly awkward for Hillary Clinton, who has embraced most of Obama’s policies but has also vowed to oppose any tax hikes on families earning less than $250,000 a year.
…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.
Of course, oil companies won’t actually absorb the costs of the $10 per barrel tax. They will simply pass the costs onto the consumer through higher gas prices. The only people who would actually take a financial hit from this program are the middle class and the low income Americans who can barely afford to pay transportation costs as it is.
Obama’s tax plan doesn’t stand a chance this year, but it will be ready to hand over to the next Democratic president in line. Voters have a clear decision to make in November, and if they choose Bernie or Hillary they can certainly expect to pay more at the pump.