Of the tools in the President's purview
To cheapen our gas,
Cheaper gas isn't what would best serve you."
"If to prices in Europe we liken it,
We should surely impose a tax hike in it,
For unless it is dear,
We're too cavalier
For pooling or busing or bikin' it."
"The high price of gasoline" has loomed as a political theme this year, as sharply rising fuel prices have coincided with the US Presidential primaries. And yet, most economists agree that the problem with American gasoline prices is that they are too low, and encourage an excessive level of consumption. Noted behavioral economist Richard Thaler, in a New York Times op-ed piece entitled "Why Gas Prices Are Out of Any President’s Control," argues for higher gasoline taxes and points out that Greg Mankiw, advisor to Mitt Romney (and former advisor to George W. Bush), is among the prominent advocates of this policy. A gradual hike in gas taxes would give drivers the right incentives and help to reduce the federal budget deficit. However, in a political season in which one Presidential candidate - with a straight face - claims that his policies could bring about $2.50-a-gallon gas, no other candidate, whether incumbent or challenger, can safely endorse a sensible gasoline tax policy.