How Super is Paying Taxes?

This cartoon was published by WUMO in 2015,

Superman is arguing that he does not want to pay taxes for roads since he flies everywhere!  (I think he probably filed under Clark Kent, but that is another story.) Superman’s complaint is that he should only pay for what he uses reflects the question of public sector spending and how that ties into each individual person uses/requirements.  (In fact, the gas tax is indirectly based on usage- you drive more, you pay more tax- here is a good discussion on the history of the gas/fuel tax.)

While most spending on highway infrastructure is funded by the Federal Gas tax, there are funds (such as from the general revenue) that support infrastructure investment.  (Missouri did a good citizen’s guide to transportation that is worth a look-!, as well as a New York Times editorial on New Jersey’s gas tax and the associated comments  While gas taxes cover other activities, such as the gas tax pays for transit programs, there remain expectations that a consistent system lies outside one’s front door.

Everyone requires different transportation needs, based on location, access, but even driver patterns change over a lifetime (  Like all taxes, the linkage between transportation taxes and investment is not equitable, not is there any way to really make such taxes neutral to all parties.  Although Superman can fly, he needs access to goods and other services. (I wonder if Batman pays fuel taxes for the Batmobile.)  Someone made Superman’s costume (Edna Mode, or maybe he bought it online!)  As such, Superman enjoys the benefits of public investment in infrastructure, even if he does not drive, and thus does not pay any fuel taxes.