Friday, May 1, 2015

Gas Tax for SC? Hell No, Say Kochs

You may not be surprised to find that the Kochs and their right wing organization, Americans for Prosperity, don't think we South Carolinians should be funding infrastructure projects.  Not that the roads and bridges don't desperately need improvement.  The Kochs just don't think tax dollars should pay for it.

And their campaign to stick their nose in our business in order to prevent this increase in the gas tax is all over the place.  When I googled Americans for Prosperity and SC gas tax, the first four websites were by AFP, with the very first one headed:  South Carolina Opposes Proposed Gas Hike.  Well, hold on a minute --  that sounds like the "Americans are against Obamacare" gambit.  And it is.  The article, full of lies and blazing rhetoric, states in no uncertain terms that even a five cent increase would kill "nearly 1,000 jobs," destroy investment and small businesses, and drive every one of us South Carolinians into poverty and ruin.

If only we were able to tell the truth with as much passion.

In fact, South Carolina has come together in a way that is rarely seen, in agreement that our roads and bridges need attention immediately.  With the lowest gas prices in years -- and before the Kochs and their ilk are able to figure out how to get them back up over $3 a gallon -- now is the ideal time to raise the tax without doing economic damage.

But as far as the Kochs are concerned, money that goes to pay taxes is money that isn't going into their pockets.

So they have used their great brains and deep pockets to do an all-out ad campaign, far beyond the big google website manipulation.

In a well-publicized publicity stunt in Greenville and Summerville, Americans for Prosperity covered the federal and state gas tax for anyone lining up to buy tax-free gas.  And line up they did.  Here's a situation where people just didn't know they couldn't afford to pay tax on gas until they found out how much it cost when the taxes were deducted.  Thanks to alerts from AFP, the media was all over it.  Brilliant.  If only they could use these great minds to educate our kids.  (Wait a minute, they are:  they are "generously" funding our South Carolina colleges in order to have free reign to indoctrinate students on right-wing economic dogma.)

But while all the attention is on the gas tax, let's not imagine they would forget public transportation.  Lies about your tax dollars being spent frivolously, loud lies, repeated lies.

Americans for Prosperity, American Legislative Exchange Council (A.L.E.C. -- which calls itself "non-partisan"), State Policy Network, and who knows how many other fronts for right-wing, anti-American, pro-corporate interests, especially the richest of the rich, the Kochs and Koch Industries.

Why, we wonder, would the wealthiest pair in the world, be so focused on each and every attempt we make to improve our communities by raising a tax?  For gods' sake, this isn't even an income tax, some right wingnuts might even call it a "fair" tax.

The answer has to do with strangling government.  The more our infrastructure crumbles, the more our schools fail, the more we risk bankruptcy and poor health because our health care system has failed, the more secure will be the Kochs.  Not because they need the money.  What they need is the power.  They know that if we ever figure out their game, our government will begin to regulate their enormous excesses.  So keep making the government evil, by pointing out not the services we need, but that we are paying to get government services.  Cut those taxes, make the services suffer, and then tell us how bad government really is.

They are expert in engendering fear, but also holding the carrot out in front of us, as they did with the tax-free gas gimmick.

But here in Charleston, and I'm sure in other communities, our progressive leaders are working just as hard to educate the public by pointing out the lies.

You can help by getting on social media and spreading the truth.  Share and retweet articles that point out the fallacies and the damage being done by Americans for Prosperity.  Lies that assert that we all will suffer if gas goes up a nickel a gallon, that CARTA is spending your tax dollars frivolously, that all of South Carolina is against a gas tax.  Call bullshit on these creeps.

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