Obama, Please Impose a Gas Tax: Friedman

'Systemic approach' essential for environment, economy
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Dec 28, 2008 10:07 AM CST
We need a systemic way to slice demand for gas-guzzlers, Friedman writes.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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(Newser) – It may be hard to sell, but a gas tax would be a “win, win, win, win” move—for the environment, the economy, the war on terror, and America’s standing in the world, Thomas Friedman writes in the New York Times. Barack Obama still has the popularity to impose such a tax—and offset it by lowering payroll taxes—but so far looks like President Bush, who "wimped out and would not impose a tax when prices were low."

Why a gas tax? It would reduce oil demand, boost green industry, cut funding to terrorists—and press Americans to buy fuel-efficient cars at a time when Washington is giving automakers billions to make them. "I know it’s hard," writes Friedman, "but we have got to stop 'taking off the table' the tool that would add leverage to everything we want to do at home and abroad."