It's hard to know where to begin in responding to Mike Jackson's call for increasing gasoline taxes (Comment, Oct. 3), but a few observations are in order:
Increased gasoline prices have already had a dramatic effect on consumer behavior; witness the decline of more than 50 percent in the September sales of large SUVs (such as Ford Expeditions and GMC Yukons).
Automakers already have high-mpg vehicles slated for introduction (Nissan Versa, Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit).
Thus, gradual increases in gasoline taxes will not have further effect, except to give a profligate government even more of our hard-earned resources, which is on the order of giving car keys to drunken teenagers.
And Jackson's use of Europe as an economic model is akin to using Typhoid Mary as the poster child for good hygiene. "Old" Europe has barely created a new job in almost 30 years. Indeed, virtually all new job and investment growth is occurring in low-tax countries such as Slovakia and Ireland. Using "high-tax" Europe as a model for the United States seems a bit fatuous.
Finally, Jackson suggests implementing an annual energy tax credit for low-income consumers. Well, that's just what we need -- higher taxes and added complexity to an already convoluted tax code that only tax attorneys and Rube Goldberg could find appealing.
I suppose Jackson's ideas have great appeal at The New York Times and in the halls of Harvard, but that's precisely the reason they ought not have any appeal in the real world.