Highway robbery? I'll say! We're looking at a deal where it's "Heads - They win, Tails - We lose." The government seems to have us from either side of the coin. You'll see what I'm talking about in the two videos that I'll provide below.
On the one side of the coin, we have the various state governments desperate for financing needed work on the infrastructure, especially when it comes to transportation needs. The roads need maintenance, whether it is filling pot-holes or plowing snow and salting the streets. And yet, states are asking the Federal government for financial assistance, but not for the needs of maintainence of our existing roads or building new ones.
But wait, what about all the money they are collecting from us in the present gas taxes? Not enough? We all pay a federal gas tax, and then the states collect their cut, too, in varying amounts. Apparently, it is no longer enough, even for just normal road maintenance.
So, then, what about the fact that President-(S)elect Obama wanted to spend a lot of money on improving our infrastructure? Did he somehow forget to mention that the money for that would have to come out of our pockets, in the way of higher gas taxes? In addition to the income taxes and all the other taxes we pay?
I can easily illustrate the point I'm trying to make by providing the following video clip for you to view:
And then, there's the other side of the coin.
There may be a reason that the government is no longer getting the needed funds from us in the way of gas taxes. That's right: They have been wanting us to drive more fuel efficient vehicles, both because of trying to decrease energy usage and carbon emmisions. However, because of the very high fuel prices we paid at the pump last summer, people did cut down on driving when possible, we bought less gas, and because gas taxes were tied to the number of gallons, the gas tax revenues went down, down, down.
Wouldn't you think that the government could afford an economist that would have figured that out? I digress.
So, because gas tax revenues fluctuate, and are most likely still falling just because the economy is down, the government needed to find another way to get their sticky fingers on our money. Would a smart idea occur to them, as in charging a percentage of the sale price - like sales taxes - or, would they come up with something very lame? If you guessed the latter, you would probably be right. Here is the latest ingenious idea from the people we pay to represent us:
Oregon looks at taxing mileage instead of gasoline
Associated Press, January 2, 2009
PORTLAND, Ore. – Oregon is among a growing number of states exploring ways to tax drivers based on the number of miles they drive instead of how much gas they use, even going so far as to install GPS monitoring devices in 300 vehicles. The idea first emerged nearly 10 years ago as Oregon lawmakers worried that fuel-efficient cars such as gas-electric hybrids could pose a threat to road upkeep, which is paid for largely with gasoline taxes.
"I'm glad we're taking a look at it before the potholes get so big that we can't even get out of them," said Leroy Younglove, a Portland driver who participated in a recent pilot program. [Continue reading]
Oh, definitely, I can tell you about these "pilot programs," but it'll have to wait. The following video explains a lot more about what they have come up with now:
If you ask me, I'm thinking that being tracked where ever we go will not be something to make Americans a bunch of happy campers. It's pretty insidious, as Rick pointed out. Oh, what's he know? He's just the weather guy...
Of course, we would never think that the government would ever have a need to invade our privacy by accessing the GPS data that is collected in measuring our driving distances, right? And I just can't help wondering how they will bill you for those taxes, what happens if you cross state lines, or if the government officials that came up with this "brilliant" idea even asked any of the questions most of us want to ask? I have a lot of questions!
Now that you know about this ridiculous idea, don't you have to just wonder, "What are they thinking?" Or, maybe we should be wondering, "Is this a plot - sorry, I mean a pilot program - to erode our rights even further?"
Further highway robbery by the government may be just the least of our concerns.