Three weeks after the general election we're still waiting for Ohio to finish counting its vote, much less get around to the recount demanded by the Green and Libertarian presidential candidates who spotted enough flaws in the process to pony up $150,000 after John Kerry conceded with at least 155,000 votes remaining to be counted.
The Election Incident Reporting System (voteprotect.org) collected more than 24,000 reports of election fraud and other problems but the "mainstream" corporate media were quick to dismiss questions about the electoral problems as the work of "conspiracy theorists" and ill-informed webloggers.
Keith Olbermann was one of the few mainstream journalists to report on the e-vote anomalies on his MSNBC show, which caused some of the conspiracy-minded critics to jump to conclusions when Olbermann was missing the following week. But Olbermann posted an explanation on his weblog on msnbc.com to assure his viewers that he really was on a long-planned vacation.
Alan Waldman wrote in Orlando Weekly (11/18/04) that the Bush administration's "fix" of the 2000 election debacle (the Help America Vote Act) "made crooked elections considerably easier, by foisting paperless electronic voting on states before the bugs had been worked out or meaningful safeguards could be installed."
Waldman noted that four companies that control the US vote count -- Diebold, ES&S, Sequoia and SAIC -- are all hard-wired into the Bush campaign and power structure. Diebold chief Walden O'Dell is a top Bush fund-raiser. According to "online anarchist community" Infoshop.org, "At Diebold, the election division is run by Bob Urosevich. Bob's brother, Todd, is a top executive at 'rival' ES&S. The brothers were originally staked by Howard Ahmanson, a member of the Council For National Policy, a right-wing steering group stacked with Bush true believers. Ahmanson is also one of the bagmen behind the extremist Christian Reconstruction Movement, which advocates the theocratic takeover of American democracy." Sequoia is owned by a partner member of the Carlyle Group, which is believed to have dictated foreign policy in both Bush administrations and has employed former President Bush for quite a while.
Waldman noted that all early indicators on election day predicted a Kerry landslide. Zogby International (which predicted the 2000 outcome more accurately than any national pollster) did exit polling that predicted a 100-electoral vote triumph for Kerry. He saw Kerry winning crucial Ohio by 4 points.
As the first election returns came in, broadcasters were shocked to see that seemingly safe Bush states like Virginia, Kentucky and North Carolina were being judged as "too close to call." At 7:28 EST, networks broadcast that Ohio and Florida favored Kerry by 51% to 49%.
In 10 states where there were verifiable paper trails -- or no electronic machines -- the final results hardly differed from the initial exit polls, Waldman noted. In non-paper-trail states, however, there were significant differences. Florida saw a shift from Kerry up by 1 point in the exit polls to Bush up by 5 points at close of voting. In Ohio, Kerry went from up 3 points to down 3 points.
In close Senate races, changes between the exit poll results and the final tallies may have cost Democrats anticipated seats in Kentucky (a 13% swing to the GOP), Alaska, North Carolina, Florida, Oklahoma, South Dakota and possibly Pennsylvania -- as well as enough House seats to retake control of the chamber, Waldman reported.
Center for Research on Globalization's Michael Keefer stated, "The National Election Pool's own data -- as transmitted by CNN on the evening of November 2 and the morning of November 3 -- suggest very strongly that the results of the exit polls were themselves fiddled late on November 2 in order to make their numbers conform with the tabulated vote tallies."
Thom Hartman wrote 11/18 on CommonDreams.org that Bev Harris of blackboxvoting.org along with people from Florida Fair Elections reportedly found election officials at Florida's Volusia County throwing away printouts from optical scan machines. When Harris and an associate compared the discarded, signed, original tapes with the recent printouts submitted to the state and used to tabulate the Florida election winners, Harris said a disturbing pattern emerged, with anomalies of hundreds of votes in each of the precincts they examined. Harris added, "The pattern was very clear. The anomalies favored George W. Bush. Every single time."
The League of Women Voters called for election officials to fully investigate concerns about voting irregularities through open and public processes and fix what's wrong. Common Cause is also asking questions about electronic voting machines and is requesting a recount in Ohio, where, President Chellie Pingree said, thousands of ballots were discarded as "spoiled" and thousands of Ohio citizens reported difficulties and barriers in casting their vote.
NUMBER-CRUNCHERS SPOT VOTE PROBLEMS. Dr. Steven Freeman of the University of Pennsylvania examined exit poll data that was at variance with vote counts in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania and found the exit poll data that predicted John Kerry victories in those states was fundamentally sound. But the polls appeared to be at the extremes or beyond the margin of error when compared with the "official" vote totals. In every case, the discrepancies favored Bush. Freeman's analysis put the chances of that happening as 1 in 250 million. A link to Freeman's 11-page report is available in PDF format from BobHarris.com for Nov. 12. Freeman's summary follows:
"My purpose in this paper ... has not been to allege election theft, let alone explain it. Rather, I have tried to demonstrate that exit poll data is fundamentally sound, that the deviations between exit poll predictions and vote tallies in the three critical battleground states could not have occurred strictly by chance or random error, and that no solid explanations have yet been provided to explain the discrepancy. In short. I have tried to justify the discrepancy as a legitimate issue that warrants public attention.
"The unexplained discrepancy leaves us with two broad categories of explanations: the polls were flawed or the count is off. The most important investigations concern verification of the tallies and allegations of fraud on one side; and examination of the exit poll's methodology and findings on the other. Some useful statistical analyses would compare the 'shift' in battleground states vs. non-battleground states, and in states, counties and precincts where safeguards are strong vs. those where they are suspect. Obviously, if the polling consortium would release their data, that would allow us to do more definitive analyses.
"Given that neither the pollsters nor their media clients have provided solid explanations to the public, suspicion of fraud, or among the less accusatory, 'mistabulation,' is running rampant and unchecked. That so many people suspect misplay undermines not only the legitimacy of the President, but faith in the foundations of the democracy.
"Systematic fraud or mistabulation is a premature conclusion, but the election's unexplained exit poll discrepancies make it an unavoidable hypothesis, one that is the responsibility of the media, academia, polling agencies, and the public to investigate."
Dr. Freeman is on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania; his areas of expertise include resilience, innovation, and research methods. He obtained his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Contact him at stfreema©sas.upenn.edu.
SCIENTISTS SPOT FLORIDA FLAWS. In Florida, where Bush is credited with about 310,000 more votes than John Kerry, Barry Sussman of the Nieman Watchdog Project at Harvard University noted that a study done by doctoral students in sociology at the University of California at Berkeley, in collaboration with Michael Hout of the UC Berkeley Survey Research Center, suggests that 130,000 votes credited to Bush were really cast for Kerry. That would be a swing of 260,000 votes -- not enough to change the result, as Bush's margin in Florida would still be approximately 51,000, but given the other questions about the Florida electoral process it would further cloud Bush's electoral legitimacy.
The Berkeley researchers used "multiple regression analysis," a standard but high-powered statistical technique, to study results in heavily Democratic counties of Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade where touch-screen machines were used. After allowing for an individual county's voting record in both the 2000 and 1996 elections to check the "Dixiecrat" effect, and compensating for issues such as the varying Hispanic populations, median income, voter turnout change and the different numbers of people voting in each county, they reported "irregularities associated with electronic voting machines may have awarded 130,000 excess votes or more to President George W. Bush in Florida. We can be 99.9 percent sure that these effects are not attributable to chance."
Sussman noted that the Berkeley group also studied Ohio voting results but found no such irregularities there.
The UC Berkeley report has not been peer reviewed, but a reputable political scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology succeeded in replicating the analysis Nov. 18 at the request of the Oakland Tribune and the Associated Press. He said an investigation is warranted. "There is an interesting pattern here that I hope someone looks into," said MIT arts and social sciences Dean Charles Stewart III, a researcher in the MIT-Caltech Voting Technology Project.
QUICK START FOR GOP. The first act of the Republican House after the election was to relax its rule requiring members to give up leadership posts when they are indicted, in expectation of the imminent action by a Texas grand jury against Majority Leader Tom DeLay. The DeLay Amnesty was approved by the GOP caucus in a closed session and perhaps not surprisingly members were reluctant to disclose how they voted.
GOP TAX SNOOPS THWARTED. As Republicans planned to dump a 3,000-page, $388 billion omnibus spending bill onto the House and Senate for final passage, somebody tucked in an obscure provision to allow House and Senate chairs or their "agents" to access individual income tax returns and do with them what they will, with no restrictions whatsoever. The provision nearly slipped through undetected as the bill was rushed to a Nov. 20 deadline for passage, but an aide to Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., discovered it in time for Democrats to raise holy hell.
At first Sen. Ted Stevens, the appropriations chair, blamed a staffer and claimed he knew nothing about it, but it turned out the provision came from Rep. Ernest Istook, R-Okla. Democrats were not notified and Senate Republicans insisted they knew nothing about it until Conrad pointed it out on the Senate floor.
The Senate went ahead and passed the spending bill, but added a resolution that the tax snoop provision would not take effect and agreed not to send the bill to the White House until the House also stripped the tax snoop provision. House Speaker Dennis Hastert promised that the House would take up the resolution when it came back to town.
Istook claimed 11/21/04 that the Internal Revenue Service drafted the language, which would not have allowed any inspections of tax returns. "Nobody's privacy was ever jeopardized," his statement said. John Scofield, spokesman for the House Appropriations Committee, told the New York Times (11/22/04) that the purpose of the provision was to allow investigators for the top lawmakers responsible for financing the IRS to have access to that agency's offices around the country and tax records so they could examine how the money was being spent. There was never any desire to look at anyone's tax returns, he said.
TalkingPointsMemo.com's Josh Marshall noted the actual text Istook inserted into the bill:
"Hereinafter, notwithstanding any other provision of law governing the disclosure of income tax returns or return information, upon written request of the Chairman of the House or Senate Committee on Appropriations, the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service shall allow agents designated by such Chairman access to Internal Revenue Service facilities and any tax returns or return information contained therein."
Marshall added, "Abuse of power or poor reading comprehension? We report; you decide."
He also contacted IRS spokesman Terry Lemons 11/22/04, who provided this statement: "The Commissioner [Mark W. Everson] was unaware of this provision until after it was already approved. He strongly supports the measure being deleted from the final bill."
In addition to the aborted attempt at snooping on tax returns, the spending bill took money away from college student aid but pays for a presidential yacht. It makes it easier for hospitals and insurance companies to refuse to provide abortions or abortion counseling. It opens more government jobs to the private sector. It includes $577 million in funding for a controversial nuclear waste site at Yucca Mountain in Nevada, but that's $303 million less than the Energy Department requested. Subsidies in the main Small Business Administration loan program were jettisoned. The EPA was cut back $612 million and federal aid to rural communities and Indian tribes for water and sewer improvements were slashed by $518 million, Reuters reported.
Also, The American Prospect noted 11/22/04, the bill included a provision by Sen. Judd Gregg, incoming chairman of the Senate budget committee, that would halt US funding to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development unless the Paris-based OECD stops pressing tax-haven countries in the Caribbean and elsewhere to share information on companies that may be attempting to evade taxes.
CONGRESS MULLS FAST-FORWARD BAN. Among the outrages being considered in the lame duck congressional session is a new copyright and intellectual property bill that could make it illegal to fast-forward through commercials on a TV program you've recorded. Eric Hellweg writes in Technology Review (technologyreview.com) Nov. 19 that the fast-forward ban is only one provision of an Intellectual Property Protection Act (HR 2391) that is pending in the Senate. Sen. John McCain, an opponent of the bill, cited the anti-commercial skipping feature: "Americans have been recording TV shows and fast-forwarding through commercials for 30 years," he said. "Do we really expect to throw people in jail in 2004 for behavior they've been engaged in for more than a quarter century?" Other provisions would make it a felony to record a movie in a theater for distribution over the Internet. It would also criminalize the currently legal act of using iTunes, Apple's popular music software program, to share a playlist with others on their network. IPPA doesn't differentiate this innocuous -- and Apple-sanctioned -- act from the promiscuous sharing that happens when someone makes a music collection available to millions of strangers.
IRAQ WAR COSTS 50% MORE. The Pentagon is spending more than $5.8 billion a month on the war in Iraq, UPI reported 11/18/04, citing top generals. That is nearly a 50% increase above the $4 billion-a-month benchmark the Pentagon has used to estimate the cost of the war so far. Since 2003, the Pentagon has received some $160 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in supplemental funding -- that is, in addition to its annual budget. It will request another multibillion-dollar supplement early next year to cover continuing costs of the war.
EASY FIXES FOR SOCIAL SECURITY. Edith U. Fierst, a member of the Clinton administration's Social Security Advisory Council, proposed "easy fixes" for Social Security in the 11/18/04 *Washington Post*. She wrote that the projected Social Security deficit is small enough -- 1.89% of payroll under the Social Security trustees' intermediate assumptions (neither optimistic nor pessimistic) -- that the deficit can be remedied with a few relatively minor changes. The first is to raise the earned income on which the Social Security payroll tax is assessed from the current maximum of $87,900 a year. A second proposal is to keep the tax on estates worth $3.5 million and more and dedicate the proceeds to Social Security. A third change would be to bring all newly hired public employees under mandatory coverage of Social Security. She also recommends adoption of the formula for cost-of-living increases designed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These recommended changes would save over three-quarters of the projected deficit -- which in any event won't threaten payments before 2042, she noted. If lower deficits estimated by the Congressional Budget Office are right, they would wipe it out, without raising the retirement age or scaling back benefits, as Republican privatization schemes would require.
TAX 'REFORM' TARGETS WORKERS. Max Sawicky (11/18/04) noted that the Bush administration's vision of tax "reform" features ever-increasing cuts to the point of vanishing of taxes on dividends, capital gains and probably interest, as well as the elimination of estate and gift taxes and the Alternative Minimum Tax, which mainly hits corporations and higher income individuals. To pay for the tax cuts, the tax writers could eliminate the deduction for state and local income taxes (which mainly benefits blue states anyway) and employer-paid health insurance. "Broadly this package is part of the trend from income to wage taxation. But that would be too optimistic. It's actually worse than that. The evolving system will favor high- over low-wage workers. High-salary executive types will be able to shelter their compensation in the firm, safe from the increasingly leaky corporate income tax. They will have access to sophisticated tax avoidance techniques not available to regular folks. They will be able to use tax-deferred savings gadgets that end up being tax-forgiven. They will also be aided by increasingly lax enforcement of the tax code, except for recipients of the Earned Income Tax Credit, for whom the opposite will be true."
But Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, the Senate's top tax-writer, expressed doubts about a major overhaul of the tax code. "I'm not one to spend a lot of time tilting at windmills," he told *USA Today* (11/17/04). Grassley favors more incremental changes: making the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts permanent, closing loopholes, shielding middle-income Americans from tax increases, and reducing the tax burden on savings and investment. Bush should have talked more about tax reform during the campaign, Grassley said.
SATIRE STRUGGLES TO KEEP UP. The satirical newspaper The Onion (onion.com) on 11/18/04 "reported" that Republicans, citing the "extreme inefficiency" of this past month's US presidential election, were calling for future elections to be conducted by the private sector. "When the average citizen hears the phrase 'presidential election,' he thinks of long lines at polling places and agonizing waits as election results are tallied," *The Onion* quoted US Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.). "Putting the election of our public officials into the hands of private industry would motivate election officials to be more efficient." US Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.) called for an end to "big government overseeing the election of big government." It's a funny story, but it clearly shows that satire has a hard time keeping up with the real world events.
US RUNS TORTURE FLIGHTS. The Sunday Times of London on 11/15/04 reported that an executive jet is being used by US intelligence agencies to fly suspected terrorists to countries that use torture in their prisons. The Times reported that it had copies of confidential logs of a Gulfstream 5 leased by CIA and Defense Department agents that covered more than 300 flights to countries with poor human rights records such as Egypt, Syria and Uzbekistan. A similarly anonymous-looking Boeing 737 also reportedly has been used. The logs have prompted allegations from critics that the agency is using such regimes to carry out "torture by proxy," a charge denied by the US government.
BROKAW IN '08? Ken Bode, in an 11/19/04 column for the *Indianapolis Star*, proposes South Dakota native Tom Brokaw as a Democratic candidate for president in 2008. The NBC anchor is taking early retirement this year. "Why Brokaw? Because he has been a firsthand witness to world history for the past 40 years. He is good on his feet, speaks well and has reported on every issue on the national agenda. His roots and values are genuine Midwestern. He has moderate views and a strong family, and his success is self-made. He's handsome and emanates authority," said Bode, a classmate of Brokaw in the University of South Dakota class of 1961 who was national political correspondent for NBC News from 1979-89. Bode, who now teaches journalism at DePauw University, said some friends looked into running Brokaw as a write-in in New Hampshire this year. "But he said, 'No thanks. Politics is a noble calling but not for me.' So Brokaw surrenders the anchor chair at NBC to make documentaries, climb mountains and do some fly-fishing. He will have time to think. So think it over again, Tom. In 2008, you will still be much younger than Ronald Reagan when he was elected."
LET GOP CLEAN IT UP. Daniel Gross wrote for Slate.com 11/4/04, "The only solace for sullen Democrats is that now Republicans might have to clean up their own fiscal mess. The fiscal record of the past four years has been one of unmitigated -- and seemingly intentional -- irresponsibility. A Republican Congress working with a Republican president created the massive new Medicare prescription-drug entitlement, passed a new, subsidy-crammed farm bill, committed hundreds of billions of dollars to war efforts, and loaded up on pork-barrel spending. Meanwhile, taxes were reduced -- on wage earners, investors, and companies. The end result: We collected about the same amount of taxes in fiscal 2004 as we did in fiscal 1999. But we spent 34% more. The total national debt has risen 30% in the past four years. The fiscally conservative Clinton administration had committed government to restraining spending. But now a massive structural gap has opened up between the country's financial inflows and outflows. It's only the willingness of the Chinese and Japanese central banks to buy our debt that keeps us afloat." And after the election, the lame-duck Congress raised the statutory debt limit to more than $8 trillion.
KERRY FLUSH WITH CASH. Some Democrats wondered why John Kerry ended his presidential campaign with more than $15 million in the bank, money that could have helped Democratic candidates across the country. ''Democrats are questioning why he sat on so much money that could have helped him defeat George Bush or helped down-ballot races, many of which could have gone our way with a few more million dollars," the AP's Ron Fournier quoted Donna Brazile, campaign manager for Al Gore's 2000 presidential race. Kerry campaign officials noted that Kerry's campaign committee donated an estimated $40 million to various party committees to help the Democratic ticket in congressional and state contests. The funds were left over from Kerry's privately funded campaign for the Democratic nomination, when he raised about $215 million, a record for a Democrat. Kerry accepted $74.6 million in federal funds and was restricted to that amount for the general election campaign. Stephanie Cutter, a Kerry campaign spokeswoman, told AP after the campaign's bills are accounted for, Kerry is committed to giving the remaining balance to other Democratic funds and candidates.
LATE SCORES. As we went to press, in the Washington race for governor, Dino Rossi (R) held onto a slim 42-vote lead over Christine Gregoire (D) after the first recount of the 2.8 million votes cast. But Gregoire refused to concede and called for a third recount.
Democrats picked up another US House race when Brian Higgins (D) claimed victory over Nancy Naples (R) in the open 27th District in New York, where Rep. Jack Quinn (R) is retiring. In Indiana's 9th District, the State Recount Commission approved a recount of the vote where Mike Sodrel (R) led Rep. Baron Hill (D) by 1,485 votes in the unofficial tally, after questions arose over whether optical-scan voting systems recorded straight-party votes erroneously.
There will be two runoffs in Louisiana on Dec. 4. Charlie Melancon (D) faces Billy Tauzin III (R) in the 3rd District for the seat given up by Rep. Billy Tauzin Jr. Willie Mount (D) faces Dr. Charles Boustany Jr. in the 7th District for the seat given up by Rep. Chris John (D). Both districts are said to be competitive.
SENATE OUTLOOK. With 33 senators up for re-election in 2006 and Democrats needing to pick up six seats to regain control of the chamber, the odds aren't with the Dems, as 17 of their number are up, as well as Dem-leaning independent Jim Jeffords. LiberalOasis.com noted that three blue-state GOP senators are up -- Lincoln Chafee in Rhode Island, Olympia Snowe in Maine and Rick Santorum in Pennsylvania. They should be targets, as well as five other GOPers in states with Dem governors -- John Kyl in Arizona, Bill Frist in Tennessee, George Allen in Virginia, Jim Talent in Missouri and Conrad Burns in Montana. But after Sen. Tom Daschle's defeat in South Dakota, Republicans seeking a filibuster-proof Senate are expected to target the five red-state Dems (Bill Nelson in Florida, Ben Nelson in Nebraska, Kent Conrad in North Dakota, Jeff Bingaman in New Mexico and Robert Byrd in West Virginia).
MORAL VALUES DEVALUED. When the Pew Research Center polled 1,209 voters after the Nov. 2 election, the Washington Post noted 11/14/04, given the same options that exit pollsters gave voters on Election Day, 27% listed "moral values" as most important, 22% said "Iraq," 21% chose "economony and jobs," and 14% chose "terrorism." Nov. 2 exit poll results were 22% "moral values," 20% "economy and jobs," 19% "terrorism," and 15% "Iraq." But when Pew's post-election pollsters let voters offer any answer, results were starkly different: 25% cited Iraq, 14% moral values, 12% economy and jobs, and 9% terrorism. The biggest category, at 31%, was "other," which included "honesty," dislike or like of Bush or Kerry, and so on. If Iraq and terrorism are combined as one issue -- which is how the Bush campaign portrayed them -- it easily tops the list under either method of framing the question (36% and 34%, respectively).
VOTER SUPPRESSION SUCCEEDED. Chris Bowers of MyDD.com 11/22/04 notes the pattern of minority disenfranchisement in Ohio that does not require belief in conspiracies or college degrees in statistics or computer science. "Specifically, in Franklin County, even though voter registration had dramatically increased from 2000, the number of voting machines did not. Further, in Franklin County, which includes the city of Columbus, while extra voting machines were dispatched to heavily white suburbs, the number of voting machines placed in many heavily minority precincts was actually decreased from 2000."
He cites Bob Fikrakis of FreePress.org, who wrote 11/22/04 that, according to the Franklin County Board of Elections, in the city of Columbus, where voters waited in heavily Democratic wards two to seven hours to cast votes for John Kerry, voter turnout was 52.7%. In more affluent white suburbs of Columbus, with more voting machines available, the turnout figure was 76.15%.
"This isn't a conspiracy of vote counting, although there is more to be told on that front," Bowers concludes. "This is, instead, a case of voter discouragement that remains all too typical in this country."
TARGETS FOR '06. Among Republican House members who were re-elected with 55% or less and who should be vulnerable in 2006 are David Dreier in CA 26, 54%; Marilyn Musgrave, CO 4, 52%; Bob Beauprez, CO 7, 55%; Rob Simmons, CT 2, 54%; Christopher Shays, CT 4, 52%; Chris Chocola, IN 2, 52%; John Hostettler, IN 8, 53%; Mark Kennedy, MN 6, 54%; Heather Wilson, NM 1, 55%; Jon Porter, NV 3, 54%; Charles Taylor, NC 11, 55%; Jim Gerlach, PA 6, 51%. Republicans won 12 of the 18 closest races that featured incumbents. Other incumbents who had close races included Henry Hydge, who won with 55.5% in IL 6 and Tom DeLay, who won with 55.1% in TX 22. And in IN 9, Mike Sodrel (R) led Rep. Baron Hill (D) by 1,485 votes, subject to a recount. "We were beaten, but in the House at least it would appear that we have nowhere to go but up," Chris Bowers wrote in MyDD.com 11/9/04, citing results from *Hotline*.
MILEAGE TAX PROPOSED. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed a new Department of Motor Vehicles director who advocates taxing motorists for every mile they drive -- by placing tracking devices in their cars, the *Los Angeles Times* reported (11/16/04). Under the plan, the state gas tax -- now 18 cents a gallon -- would be replaced with a tax on every mile traveled by each car and truck. One way of tracking mileage is to put a device in everyone's car to allow tracking by GPS satellites. Schwarzenegger has not endorsed the proposal, but it is gaining acceptance among transportation and budget experts. As Californians drive increasingly more fuel-efficient cars, state officials are alarmed that the gasoline tax will not raise enough money to keep up with road needs. Charging people for the miles they drive also worries some owners of hybrid cars, because it could wipe out any gas-tax savings they now enjoy. Drivers of non-hybrid cars have said it's unfair to pay the larger burden of gasoline taxes.