Half and Half
To the Editors of The Crimson:
The dissenting opinion supporting Rep. John Anderson's 50-50 gas plan never mentions the people for whom this harebrained scheme would prove an absolute disaster. Above all this plan would attack those who depend on gasoline for a living: salesmen, drivers, deliverymen and cabbies--to name just a few. There is no way a flat reduction in Social Security (SS) taxes would be enough to compensate these people.
Nor would SS tax reductions do much to help people who pay little or no such tax: independent tradespeople, people who are paid in cash, people dependent on various forms of public assistance, and the many millions who only work part-time and thus pay little into SS.
The biggest reason this plan reflects a crackpot mind is that while "50-50" sounds cute, it may end up bankrupting the SS system and depriving the elderly. How does John Anderson know that a 50-cent tax will produce the exact same revenue in dollar terms to match a 50-per-cent reduction in taxes? Given the editors' ability to quote absolutely opposite predictions on how much gas use would drop with a higher price, even the economists could not make it balance. The SS system is already shaky, and only the unfortunate elderly folk would bear the burden if Anderson's "miscalculation" happened to topple it.
Gas rationing is not a pleasant option, but it is the most sane and equitable way to reduce oil dependence. Andy Kahn