:UPDATE: I got a crucial bit of information wrong in this post: the mileage for a roundtrip from Burlington to Bennington is twice what I stated below. My point is still valid, however. Please see my next post for the rest of the story.
Vermont Republicans continue to yammer endlessly about an item that wasn’t on the Legislature’s agenda this year and won’t be anytime soon: the notorious, job-killing and family-devastating carbon tax.
(Cue theremin: woooooooo-OOOOOOOO-oooooo)
This, despite the inconvenient fact that none of the Democrats running for governor or lieutenant governor actually supports the thing. (David Zuckerman does, but he’s a Prog flying a flag of convenience.)
But as outlandish as their attacks have been until now, the Republicans have outdone themselves in less than 140 characters. Behold the Tweet From Hell!
— VT Republican Party (@VTGOP) August 3, 2016
Wow. 236 dollars for a trip downstate. That’s really something. That’s…
… wait a minute.
That can’t be right.
And as a matter of fact, it’s not. Not even close.
I have no frickin’ idea how the Republicans came up with the figure; perhaps they can enlighten us. Given the fact that they’re attacking the Democrats with it, they really ought to show their work. Otherwise, they’re guilty of the dastardly D.C.-style attack politics that Phil Scott is constantly complaining about.
Caveat: I used to be really good at math. But then I matriculated out of elementary school and things have never been the same. So please, feel free to check my math and correct me if I’m wrong. But at least, unlike the VTGOP, I will show you my work.
Let’s start with the mileage. Although the Tweet says “Burlington to Bennington,” let’s give ’em the benefit of the doubt and assume it’s a roundtrip. That’s 133 miles, according to Google Maps.
You should already realize the Republicans are full of shit. How in the world could a carbon tax cost you TWO DOLLARS A MILE, for Pete’s sake? But let’s follow this trail to its inglorious end, shall we?
Here we have our prototypical Burlington family, with Mom and Dad anxious to share a little slice of Vermont history with the kids. Let’s give ’em a real nice ride: a Ford Explorer. Full-sized SUV, plenty of room for the family.
The Explorer’s kind of a gas guzzler; let’s spare no expense for Our Children. Combined city/highway mileage, real world, is about 15 mpg.
The drive from Burlington to Bennington and back, in an Explorer, will consume about nine gallons of gas.
The proposed carbon tax is 88 cents per gallon, with tax cuts to offset almost all the additional cost. But let’s stay in the Republican nightmare and condemn Mom and Dad to paying the full freight.
Nine gallons times 88 cents equals…
… Seven dollars and 92 cents.
A far cry from $236, is it not?
Okay now, to be fair, the Republicans didn’t say the outing would cost $236 in carbon taxes, merely that it would cost $236 if a carbon tax were in place.
What, then, would the total cost for gas be? Let’s round up to $2.50 a gallon and add the carbon tax. That’s $3.38 a gallon. Nine gallons will cost our family $30.42.
No, we’re still a wee bit shy of $236, aren’t we?
Well, just for the sake of argument, let’s acknowledge that gasoline is not the only cost involved in driving a car. The IRS’ current figure for depreciation is 54 cents a mile. I realize that has nothing to do with a carbon tax, but stay with me.
For 133 miles, that’s $71.82. Let’s add the cost of the gas, which brings us, barely, into triple digits: $102.24.
We’re still less than halfway to the Republicans’ figure of $236, which is looking ever more mythical. And all but $7.92 of that cost has nothing to do with the carbon tax.
But heck, if you’re gonna try to scare people, seven dollars and ninety-two cents isn’t gonna cut it.
I sincerely invite the VTGOP to show how they arrived at $236 for a family outing to Bennington. I am honestly curious, and I’m willing to admit my mistakes.
Failing that, I hereby call on Phil Scott to condemn this apparently baseless, Washington-style attack ad being promulgated by his own political party.
Meanwhile, I say we launch a Kickstarter campaign. It’s obvious that Jeff Bartley needs a new abacus.