Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Well, we certainly can't be expected to cut the budget!

The National Commission on Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing is the second group in a year to call for increased fuel taxes. Projected shortfalls due to reduced gas consumption led the committee to recommend an "increase of as much as 40 cents a gallon in the gas tax, phased in over five years."

This gas tax increase is being called for to make up (and I really, really hesitate to call this "lost")revenue lost due to decreased driving, more fuel efficient cars on the road and shift to other fuels.

So... on one hand the government demands that American car companies produce more fuel efficient vehicles (with corresponding taxpayer bailout) and throw more tax payer dollars into dubious "fuel technologies" such as ethanol and then seek to punish us for being more efficient and driving less?

This does not even reference the highly questionable productivity of our government's own highway construction and repair service, a department that is known to spend excessive amounts on non-essential projects to ensure their budget does not shrink. Does anyone out there have a positive anecdote dealing with road construction? Show of hands?

The commission itself is aware that this tax revenue is unsustainable. Simple economics dictates that rising gas prices (this time, artificially) will cause a reduction in gas consumption.

The solution?

"According to a draft of the financing commission's recommendations, the nation needs to move to a new system that taxes motorists according to how much they use roads."


I live in small town in South Dakota, a state known for low wages and above average fuel prices. I make a 70-mile round trip five days a week to go to work. If my wife works that same day, we're looking at 140 miles. So I buy a lot of gas. Which will increase in price. In addition, I could be taxed based on the miles travelled. I imagine there are many Americans in this situation as I can guarantee that for most people the greatest amount of miles are put on heading to work.

And as if this whole scenario weren't as infuriatingly regressive and stupid enough, they have a response for those concerned about the government tracking individual vehicles:

"Moore said commission members were initially concerned that using technology to track driving might violate drivers' privacy, but they've been assured that such a system could be designed to prevent vehicles from being "tracked in some big brotherish way."

How refreshing. A government official assuring me that the government will not overstep its bounds and abuse its power. I'm sure a system could be designed to keep Big Brother out, but not if Big Brother is helping design it.


Anonymous said...

Any government big enough to supply everything you need (like 'bailouts', so-called 'social security', and outright 'handout' through entitlements), is also big enough to take everything you have away!


Ben said...

You should consider taking the subway to work.

Tim said...

I have considered it, but the expenses of constructing it far outweigh the tax hit.