Fallacies in the arguments against raising the gas tax [Letter]

December 14, 2013

I have seen several letters posted in response to The Sun's recent advocacy for an increase in the federal gas tax ("The toll on America," Dec. 5).

All of them contain amusing fallacies. One fellow wants to abolish the federal gas tax and simply rely on state taxes to fund roads. I'm wondering if he thought of the federal-state start-up formula for road projects, which now requires the feds to pay 80 percent of the cost. Clearly that policy could not be in effect if the federal government no longer collected gas tax revenues.

Another opponent of raising federal gas taxes should have quit while he was ahead, before accusing The Sun of socialism. Does he think that the tooth fairy built all of these roads? Every public road was government conceived, but he seems to be quarreling with the concept of "socialized" roads.

A third opponent of the gas tax apparently believes all government revenue collections, including federal gas taxes, are inherently bad and compares them to the rollout of Obamacare as an example of government ineptitude.

But doesn't there come a time when not accepting federal largesse, such as the expansion of Medicaid, becomes self-defeating for even the most zealous of the anti-tax folk?

The citizens of the states that have rejected the expansion of Medicaid will be paying federal taxes that go, in part, to Medicaid expansions elsewhere that they won't see any benefits from. Meanwhile, hospitals are closing in those same states because they can't keep affording to provide uncompensated care.

Paul R. Schlitz Jr., Baltimore

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