Trump aide Gary Cohn, "raised the possibility of increasing the federal gasoline tax next year to help pay for the administration's $1 trillion infrastructure plan," Bloomberg News reports, adding:
Representative Mike Simpson, a Republican from Idaho, said he would support an increase.
"It's a user fee," Simpson said. "We've got to convince people that the money goes to roads and bridges and not all the other bull."
People are going to have a hard time being "convinced" of that so long as it isn't true. I don't know Mr. Simpson or his constituents but it's either insulting or comical that he thinks that they can be so easily conned by the semantics of renaming a tax a "user fee."
On another front, Congressional Republicans are also reportedly toying with a stratagem called "Rothification," which would lower the limits on the amounts people could contribute annually to tax-deferred retirement accounts such as 401K accounts. That would bring in more federal income tax revenue short term and help "pay for" rate reductions, in Washington accounting logic.
I can see the policy arguments over whether the U.S. tax structure is too heavily tilted toward income and not consumption, or whether the retirement account setup works to widen inequality. And I get the idea of "broadening the base" by "closing loopholes" as you lower rates. But as a political matter, could you come up with any better way to breed cynicism about politicians than to have a bunch of Republicans finally take power of the White House and both branches of the legislature, and then turn around and devise ways not to cut taxes, as they promised, but rather to raise taxes, which is the opposite of what they promised? If the Republicans aren't careful, they will do what George H.W. Bush did, and dull the effectiveness of tax cutting as a political weapon for an entire generation of Republican politicians, because voters just won't believe that the Republicans actually mean what they say. As a political matter, if the Republicans want the gas tax raised or retirement account limits reduced, they would be much, much wiser to let Democrats take the lead on those fronts, because voters are not going to be happy about them.
The Republicans seem panicked that if they cut tax rates, the federal government might somehow wind up with less money. But if individuals and families wind up with more money and politicians in Washington wind up with less to spend, that might not necessarily be such a bad thing.