Sunday, May 4, 2008



An Open Statement Opposing Proposals for a Gas Tax Holiday

In recent weeks, there have been proposals in Congress and by some presidential candidates to suspend the gas tax for the summer. As economists who study issues of energy policy, taxation, public finance, and budgeting, we write to indicate our opposition to this policy.

Put simply, suspending the federal tax on gasoline this summer is a bad idea and we oppose it.

There are several reasons for this opposition:

First, research shows that waiving the gas tax would generate major profits for oil companies rather than significantly lowering prices for consumers.

Second, it would encourage people to keep buying costly imported oil and do nothing to encourage conservation.

Third, a tax holiday would provide very little relief to families feeling squeezed.

Fourth, the gas tax suspension would threaten to increase the already record deficit in the coming year and reduce the amount of money going into the highway trust fund that maintains our infrastructure.

Signers of this letter are Democrats, Republicans and Independents. This is not a partisan issue. It is a matter of good public policy.

Henry Aaron
Senior Fellow
The Brookings Institution

Gilbert E. Metcalf
Professor of Economics
Tufts University

Joseph Stiglitz, Columbia University (Nobel Prize in Economics, 2001)

James Heckman, University of Chicago (Nobel Prize in Economics, 2000)

Daniel Kahneman, Princeton University (Nobel Prize in Economics, 2002)

Roger Myerson, University of Chicago (Nobel Prize in Economics, 2007)

Eric Maskin, Institute for Advanced Study (Nobel Prize in Economics, 2007)

William Sharpe, Stanford University (Nobel Prize in Economics, 1990, President American Finance Association, 1980)

Angus Deaton, Princeton University (President-elect, American Economic Association)

Charles Schultze, Brookings Institution (President of the American Economic Association, 1984, Chairman Council of Economic Advisers 1977-1981)

Alice Rivlin, Brookings Institution (President of the American Economic Association, 1986, Director of O.M.B. 1994-1996)

Peter Diamond, M.I.T. (President of the American Economics Association, 2003)

Jeffrey Frankel, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University (member of Council of Economic Advisers, 1997-1999)

Richard Schmalensee, M.I.T. Sloan School of Management (member of Council of Economic Advisers, 1989-1991)

Michael Jensen, Harvard Business School (President of the American Finance Association, 1992)

Clyde Prestowitz, President, Economic Strategy Institute (Counsellor to the Secretary of Commerce, Reagan Administration)

Robert Shapiro, Sonecon, LLC (chief economic advisor to 1992 Clinton Campaign)

Sheldon Cohen (Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, 1965-1969)

Michael Greenstone, M.I.T.
John Shoven, Stanford University
Wallace Oates, University of Maryland
Barry Bosworth, The Brookings Institution
Bob Bixby, Concord Coalition
Alan Auerbach, University of California, Berkeley
Jonathan Skinner, Dartmouth College
Diane Lim Rogers, Concord Coalition
Martin Weitzman, Harvard University
Lawrence Goulder, Stanford University
Austan Goolsbee, University of Chicago, GSB
Gerhard Glomm, Chairman, Economics Dept. Indiana University
Roger Morris, Indiana University
Willard Witte, Indiana University
Elyce Rotella, Indiana University
Eric Leeper, Indiana University
Arlington Williams, Indiana University
Susan Monaco, Indiana University
Robert Campbell, Indiana University
Michael Alexeev, Indiana University
Robert McIntyre, Citizens for Tax Justice
David Cutler, Harvard University
Martha Blaxall, George Washington University
Jeffrey Liebman, Kennedy School of Government Harvard University
Seema Jayachandra, Stanford University
Frank Ackerman, Tufts University
Ken Cordell, University of Georgia
Catherine Wolfram, University of California, Berkeley
Julie Nelson, Tufts University
Nancy King, Yale University
Richard Howarth, Dartmouth College
Jeff Romm, University of California, Berkeley
Joseph Cortright, Impresa Inc.
Beth DeSombre, Wellesley College
David Lindauer, Wellesley College
Jan Kregel, Levy Economic Institute
John Gowdy, R.P.I.
Alan Krupnick, Resources for the Future
Winston Harrington, Resources for the Future
Tim Wolf, Global CFO, Molson Coors Brewing Company
Nancy King, Yale University
Gloria Helfand, University of Michigan
Ulla Grapard, Colgate University
Susan Feiner, University Southern Maine
Robert Schwab, University of Maryland
Marilyn Power, Sarah Lawrence
Andrea Cohen, Tufts University
Paul Courant, University of Michigan
Chris Avery, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
Robert Stavins, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
Alan Deardorff, University of Michicagn
Rebecca Blank, University of Michigan
James Galbraith, University of Texas
Loretta Fairchild, Nebraska Wesleyan University
Roger White, Frankliln and Marshall College
Anne Mayhew, University of Tennessee
Gillian Hewitson, Franklin and Marshall College
William Waller, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Adriana Lleras-Muney, Princeton University
Myra Strober, Stanford University
Marcellus Andrews, Barnard College
Noelwah Netusil, Reed College
Yannis Ioannides, Tufts University
Jim Levinsohn, University of Michigan
Richard Thaler, University of Chicago, GSB
Chih Ming Tan, Tufts University
Thomas Swartz, University of Notre Dame
Todd Easton, University of Portland
Duncan Foley, New School for Social Research
John Weyant, Stanford University
Charles Wilber, University of Notre Dame
Adam Jaffe, Brandeis University
Ian Parry, Resources for the Future
Dani Rodrick, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
Jon Faust, John Hopkins University
Paul Portney, University of Arizona
Stephen Cohen, University of California, Berkeley
Joel Darnstadter, Resources for the Future
Ilyana Kuziemko, Princeton University
Ron Stanfield, Colorado State University
Paul Davidson, The New School
David Popp, Syracuse University
Haynes Goddard, University of Cincinnati
Robert Gertner, University of Chicago, GSB
Stanley Black, University of North Carolina
Patrick Conway, University of North Carolina
Buck Goldstein, University of North Carolina
John Akin, University of North Carolina
Wojciech Kopczuk, Columbia University
Mary King, Portland State University
Jesse Rothstein, Princeton University
Leemore Dafny, Northwestern University
Erin Mansur, Yale University
Jeff Zabel, Tufts University
Gar Alperovitz, University of Maryland
Harley Shaiken, University of California, Berkeley
Michael Haneman, University of California, Berkeley
Jeffrey Perloff, University of California, Berkeley
Sheila Olmstead, Yale School of Forestry and Environment Studies
Edward Barbier, University of Wyoming
LeRoy Hansen US Dept. of Agriculture
Shanna Rose, New York University
John Weyant, Stanford University
A. Myrick Freeman III, Bowdoin College
Michael Bernstein, Tulane University
Richard Revesz, New York University
Immanuel Wallerstein, Yale University
Jonathan Isham, Middlebury College
Wayne Gray, Clark University
Radhika Balakrishnan, Marymount Manhattan College
Charles Kolstad, University of California, Santa Barbara
Erzo Luttmer, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
Randall Dodd, Johns Hopkins University
Todd Schatzki, Analysis Group
Lori Bennear, Duke University
J. R. DeShazo, U.C.L.A.
Hilary Sigman, Rutgers University
Marianne Ferber, University of Illinois
Joshua Fischman, Tufts University
Martha Campbell, SUNY Potsdam
Sanford Jacoby, U.C.L.A.
Bruce Kogut, Columbia Business School
Jaime Ros, University of Notre Dame
Arleen Leibowitz, U.C.L.A.
Daniel Mitchell, U.C.L.A.
Eban Goodstein, Lewis & Clark College
Milton Lower, retired
Thomas Power, University of Montana
Lloyd Orr, Indiana University
Sarah Reber, UCLA
Margaret Levenstein, University of Michigan
Linda Wilcox Young, Southern Oregon University
James Sweeney, Stanford University
Mark Lemley, Stanford University
John Tschirhart, University of Wyoming
Jerry Nickelsburg, UCLA
Richard Gilbert, University of California, Berkeley
David Kiefer, University of Utah
Diana Strassmann, Rice University
Stephanie Seguino, University of Vermont
Patricia Koss, Portland State University
Gregory Rosston, Stanford University
Barry Bosworth, Brookings
Barbara Hopkins, Wright State University
Enrico Spolaore, Tufts University
Brigitte Madrian, Harvard University
Erich Muehlegger, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
Ernst Berndt, Sloan School, MIT
Mark Kleiman, UCLA
Jo Beth Mertens, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Wojciech Kopczuk, Columbia University
Mir Ali, University of Toledo
Marianne A, Ferber, University of Illinois
Victor Niemeyer, economist, San Jose, California
Jennifer C Olmsted, Drew University
Steven Clemons, New America Foundation
Christopher Carroll, Johns Hopkins University
Eileen Appelbaum, Rutgers University
Peter Dorman, Evergreen State College
Anne Case, Princeton University
Donald A. Coffin, Indiana University Northwest
John Adams, University of Virginia
Rosanne Altshuler, Rutgers University
Tomasz Zylicz, Warsaw University
Robert H. Frank, Cornell University
Gary Biglaiser,University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Randy Albelda, University of Massachusetts, Boston
Howard Shelanski, University of California, Berkeley
Jeffrey Vincent, Duke University
George Norman, Tufts University
Carl Shapiro, University of California at Berkeley
Kade Finnoff, University of Massachusetts Amherst
John F. Stewart, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Maggie McMillan, Tufts University
Ray C. Fair, Yale University
Faye Duchin, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Alexander Rist, Economist, Seattle, WA
Dean Baker, Center for Economic and Policy Research
Mark A. Peterson, UCLA School of Public Affairs
Herman B. Leonard, Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Business School
John Agnew, UCLA
Frank Levy, MIT
Jens Ludwig, University of Chicago
Laurence J. Kotlikoff, Boston University
Kevin Miller, University of Michigan
Alexander Pfaff, Duke University
William Brainard, Yale University
Ernest Bartell, University of Notre Dame
Michael O'Hare, University of California, Berkeley
Ben Zipperer, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Matthew D. Shapiro, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Gary D. Libecap, University of California, Santa Barbara
Sabina Shaikh, University of Chicago
Stephen W. Salant, University of Michigan
Harold Pollack, University of Chicago
J. Bradford DeLong, U.C. Berkeley
Douglas Rediker, New America Foundation
John Fitzgerald, Bowdoin College
Mark Thoma, University of Oregon
Cyrus Ramezani, California Polytechnic State University
Billy Pizer, Resources for the Future
James Barrett, Redefining Progress
Laurence Seidman, University of Deleware
Susan Ariel Aaronson, George Washington University
John Connor, Purdue University
Mike Moffatt, Richard Ivey School of Business
Ann Velenchik, Wellesley College
Tran Huu Dung, Wright State University
James D. Hamilton, University of California, San Diego
Rudy Fichtenbaum, Wright State University
Alex Tabarrok, George Mason University
Thomas Palley, Economics for Democratic & Open Societies
Josh Hendrickson, Wayne State University
Michael A. Stoll, UCLA Mir Ali, University of Toledo
Richard F. Kosobud, University of Illinois at Chicago
John E. Murray, Univ. of Toledo
Justin Wolfers, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
Jonathan Wiener, Duke University Law School
Scott Barrett, Johns Hopkins SAIS
Richard McIntyre, University of Rhode Island
John K. Horowitz, University of Maryland
John Irons, Economic Policy Institute
Erik Brynjolfsson, M.I.T. Sloan School of Management
John C. Brown, Clark University
Hong Yan, University of South Carolina
Paul Shea, University of Kentucky
Art Woolf, University of Vermont
Donald J. Harris, Stanford University
Ranjit S. Dighe, SUNY College at Oswego
Betsey Stevenson, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
Jeremy Sandford, University of Kentucky
Thomas Shea, Springfield College
Arik Levinson, Georgetown University
Toni Whited, University of Wisconsin, Business School
William Craighead, Miami University
Barry Mishra, Anderson School of Management, UC Riverside
Philip Rothman, East Carolina University
William Polley, Western Illinois University
Hisham Foad, San Diego State University
James Morley, Washington University, St. Louis
Christopher Flinn, New York University
Dan Richards, Tufts University
Monica Singhal, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
Chris Udry, Yale University
Hank Farber, Princeton University
Jens Hilscher, Brandeis University
Chris Knittel, University California, Davis
Gbenga Ajilore, University of Toledo
Rachel McCulloch, Brandeis University
Chad Brown, Brandeis University
Kathryn Graddy, Brandeis University
Richard Weil, Brown College
Valerie Bencivenga, University of Texas
Anne Carter, Brandeis University
George Hall, Brandeis University
Lynne Kiesling, Kellogg School, Northwestern University
Gary Jefferson, Brandeis University
Andrew Seltzer, Brandeis University
Barry Ickes, Pennsylvania State University
Jonah Gelbach, University of Arizona
Michael Coiner, Brandeis University
Alfonso Canella, Brandeis University
Elif Sisli Ciamarra, Brandeis University
Catherine Mann, Brandeis University Business School
Peter Mann, Texas Tech University
Mark Witte, Northwestern University
J. Barkley Rosser, Jr., The James Madison University
John Whitehead, Appalachian State University
Thomas Masterson, Levy Institute, Bard College
Robert Guttmann, Hofstra College
Laurence J. Malone, Hartman College
Stephan Hamilton, Cal Poly
Yilma Gebremariam, Southern Connecticut State University
David A. Poyer, Morehouse College
Michael R. Butler, Texas Christian University
Can Gerbil, Brandeis University
Allen J. Scott, UCLA
Martin Heintzelman, Clark University
Edward D. Letterman, Augsburg College
John Gilbert, Utah State University
Roy Weinstein, Micronomics
Gernot Wagner, Environmental Defense Fund
Douglas Diamond, University of Chicago
Edward Sullivan, Portland Cement Association
Robert Amstrong, Consultant, World Bank
Sherrilyn M. Billger, Illinois State University
Karl Seeley, Hartwick College
Gorm Kipperberg, Colorado State University
Marty Finkler, Lawrence University
Lawrence Christiano, Northwestern University
Mirko Wiederholt, Northwestern University
Chris Goemans, Colorado State University
Peter Meyer, University of Louisville
Stacy Sneeringer, Wellesley College
Roberton Williams, University of Texas
David Gold, The New School of Social Research
Roxana Julia, Skidmore College
John Messier, University of Maine at Farmington
Peter Williams, University of North Alabama
Ikuho Kochi, Colorado State University
Ezra Friedman, Northwestern University School of Law
Rick Fenner, Utica College
Atanu Dey, Chief Economist Netcore Solutions