Like sending a check to Putin
In the days after Russia invaded Ukraine, there was a lot of talk about how America needed to stand shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine, supporting them any way that we could short of direct military action. That mood doesn’t seem to have lasted very long.
Today, politicians in America seem obsessed with shielding consumers from the impact of high oil prices. For instance, Maryland and Georgia recently paused their gasoline tax.
It’s difficult to think of a more counterproductive policy at this moment in time, even putting aside the impact on global warming. High gasoline prices are not a problem; they are a solution to the scarcity of oil created by the war in Ukraine. Tax cuts on gasoline have the effect of boosting global oil prices, which hurts almost everyone except the major oil exporters. Higher crude oil prices put money right into the pocket of Vladimir Putin, which helps to cushion the blow from economic sanctions.
PS. California has its own plans:
Californians could receive $400 per vehicle for a maximum of $800 for two vehicles. Eligibility would be based on vehicle registration, not tax records, to be sure the money reaches those who don’t file tax returns. Electric vehicle owners would be eligible. The money would come on debit cards, and would cost $9 billion total.
Newsom would pause part of the sales tax imposed on diesel fuel and an annual inflation adjustment to the gas and diesel excise tax this year.
Is this the best possible use of $9 billion?