Politics

06.26.12

And Now For Something Completely Different

I'm tired of the Court for a while. Let's write a post about something else entirely. Two things, just for the heck of it.

One: Were you aware that childhood poverty in the United States rose by 41 percent from 2000 to 2010, and that nearly one-quarter of American children now live in poverty? So writes Zeke Emanuel in the Times. By the end of Clinton's term, childhood poverty was, well, not nearly eradicated, but something two or three ticks away from that. It was down to about 14 percent. Now it's 22 percent. Some of this rise correlates to the recession, but only about half of it.

A UNICEF report that came out last month puts the United States second among developed countries in childhood poverty. Just as we West Virginians learned to say "Thank God for Mississippi!", we Americans may now thank Her for Romania.

I guess, like this Daily Kos diarist, that our children are 41 percent lazier than they were a decade ago. And as we know they're about to get lazier. The budget cuts that are coming next January are going to send even more kids into poverty. That'll teach 'em. With any luck some court case will come along and Nino and the gang can bring back poorhouses.

Two: Do you have any idea what the federal gas tax is? Any? It's 18.4 cents a gallon (22.4 on deisel, less on ethanol and those other things). Do you know when that tax was set? Guesses? In 1993. It has not gone up since. Congress won't raise it.

Every cent the gas tax is raised would generate $1.8 billion in revenue, say the experts. A dollar in 1993 is worth about $1.50 today. If the tax had gone up alongside inflation, the tax would be around 27 cents today and, while gas would obviously cost nine cents more than it does now, we'd have $16 billion in revenue this year and something on the order of $100 billion over the years.

But why repair bridges? We're far better off giving that money to millionaires.

Hey! Follow me on Twitter at @mtomasky will ya?