AGREES WITH GAS TAX INCREASE
If I were running for office, supporting the proposed state gas tax increase likely would doom my chances. Nonetheless, a gas tax increase at this time makes great sense and definitely is justified. The gas tax hasn’t been increased for almost 30 years, (and the same for the federal gas tax, for that matter) yet road construction and maintenance costs in that same period have more than doubled. So we users of our roads and streets should be willing to take on an increased share of those costs, via a higher gas tax.
This is an ideal time to do so, when the cost of gas is very low. Even with the proposed doubling of the gas tax, the overall cost of gas still would remain much less than what it was just a few years ago.
For folks who would argue that the revenue from a higher state gas tax would just be used for non-transportation-related projects, in 2016 the legislature passed the so-called “lockbox” amendment, which was specifically designed to prohibit this from happening. Also, I would think that any legislator who went along with diverting the gas tax revenues for non-transportation use, with all those potholes and pavement cracks, would not be treated kindly by constituents in the next election.
INCREASE MINIMUM WAGE
In regards to Don Tate’s letter (Illinois Times, April 11) asserting that a minimum wage increase would hurt seniors collecting Social Security, it’s ironic that many of those seniors are old enough to remember that the U.S. had arguably the best economy after President Truman doubled the minimum wage.
True, data sources of that era don’t allow for the kinds of analyses economists use to evaluate the impact of more recent minimum wage increases, and correlation does not equal causation. Also, while only 2.5% of the workforce back then saw their wage change, a whopping 42.2%-plus make less than $15 an hour today.
Meanwhile, inflation takes its toll on everyone.
“Well, somebody has to suffer, and it isn’t going to be us seniors!” Congratulations, pal, you’ve just played into the hands of the people in power, enemies of essential unity which is the best hope for a long-suffering humanity, manufacturing conflicts between different groups to enrich themselves and maintain power.
Sure, let’s forget all about the far more blatant and detrimental effects on the economy, such as the $21 trillion the Pentagon has squandered in the last 17 years, the $639 billion in unnecessarily huge military spending last fiscal year, greater than the next 10 countries combined, the more than $600 billion in multinational corporate profits shifted to off-shore tax havens, the outrageous malfeasance of current tax law enriching the wealthy, mega-business CEOs giving themselves exorbitant pay raises, other CEOs seeking wealth by deliberately bankrupting their businesses, disenfranchising their workers and nabbing their pensions. The eroding middle class, still well-insulated by their wealth, honestly don’t give a damn – all driving an even deeper wedge in the gap between rich and poor. Colossal wealth mounts while poverty grows ever more dire, extreme capitalism being the polar opposite of the equally devastating extreme socialism, while the most prosperous economies in the world tend to be mixed and balance the two.
We’re all in this together. And the more we hate the people we’re supposed to hate, the louder the true tyrants and culprits laugh all the way to the bank.
Thomas W. Yale