Does President Trump want a Democratic majority in Congress? Because endorsing an unpopular 25-cent gas tax is one surefire method for Republicans to lose control.
Axios reports that Trump floated the idea during a bipartisan meeting with senior administration officials and a bipartisan delegation of lawmakers. He isn’t sold on the idea completely, the report says, but he is open to it. But that extra quarter and that kind of talk won’t come cheap.
When the Chamber of Commerce floated this same idea earlier in the year, Republicans cringed. With over 222 million drivers on the road and, at an average 2017 gas prices of $2.49 per gallon, the average automobile owner spent about $1,570 on gasoline. Tag on a gas tax increase and the consumer will pay $157 each year, giving voters even more reasons not to keep rewarding Republicans with the majority.
Hiking taxes for commuters after slashing them for corporations won’t be a winning message. As Axios and others noted, the gas tax will burst into flames before it reaches the House floor. But that doesn’t mean the fumes won’t make Republicans smell toxic to the voters they need in November.
Even if it isn’t a smart idea, time spent talking about the gas tax, an unpopular idea, is time not spent talking about tax cuts, a popular achievement. The only thing worse would be if Republicans literally doused the wallets of Trump voters with gasoline and lit them on fire.