Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Gas Tax Debate Matters

Paul Krugman says that the Clinton / Obama division on the gas tax holiday doesn't matter. Clinton sides with John McCain in proposing a temporary reduction in the gas tax. Obama sides with economists in suggesting that its a silly idea.

There were three stages of importance to Obama's rejection of the gas tax and at each stage I was impressed and drawn to the Senator.

1) Obama was willing to go against both the conservative notion that taxes should be cut anywhere and always and the liberal notion that anything which on first blush would seem to lower costs for poor people is good. This says a lot about his efforts and forging a new kind of governance. Efforts that I was largely cynical about -- until now.

2) He was able to explain the gist of a relatively complicated (for TV) economic concept so that it was accessible to the average American.

3) He actually won with it. The gas tax debate did not seem to hurt in the polls and of course he won a commanding victory in NC. This means that he spoke truth to the laity and wasn't crucified for it. If nothing else this is talent.

I am intrigued and looking forward to seeing what else this man can do.