House Minority Leader B. Patrick Bauer said there’s a quick way to knock about 18 cents off every gallon of the increasingly pricey gasoline Hoosiers pump: Eliminate the sales tax. Bauer, D-South Bend, called on Gov. Mitch Daniels to declare an energy emergency and immediately suspend the sales tax on gasoline. Next year, he said, the legislature should make that permanent by eliminating the tax.

We’re a short attention span, me now, service me and my needs sort of society.
-I wanted to take a family vacation. Now!
-I wanted to be able to run around in our minivan. Now!
-I need to be able to come and go as I please, on my timetable. Now!

So if government cared, since we’re prone to putting emotions on big impersonal institutions, of course they might consider tax relief. On the surface, it’s a nice-looking short term solution. (We’ll conveniently ignore two things: 1) it’s our money in the first place that they are talking about not taking; 2) even if they do give up the chance to take more of our money – regardless of party, mind you, which goes against its institutional nature – they will have to make up the budgetary shortfall somehow. Or not. As long as a problem is dealt with Now!, who cares what the long term consequences might be.)

If we wanted to think long-term, however, let the high gas prices continue. We’ve always had pretty low gas prices, especially consider prices some are paying in other parts of the globe. We’re just now inching towards/passing the (inflation adjusted) gas prices highs of 1981. Let’s face it, oil is not a renewable resource. From 1975-now, fuel efficiency has improved about 10 miles per gallon. Thirty years of technological advancement has only eked out an extra 10 miles per gallon. We need to be developing alternatives, seriously pursue other technology, and since we’re short-term thinkers, we don’t unless we have to.

So yeah, we’ve had to cancel some vacations and find other ways to slow down. Yeah, we’ve had to drive our minivans less. Car pool more. Take mass transit more. We had to cut back spending in other areas. Is that so much of a sacrifice? For that matter, is that so bad at all?

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