Bad Mileage Tax Idea Resurrected

if you drive a car – I’ll tax the street;

if you try to sit – I’ll tax your seat;

if you get too cold – I’ll tax the heat;

if you take a walk – I’ll tax your feet.

– Lyrics from the Beatles song Taxman


President Obama and the Congressional Budget Office both recently have resurrected the idea that motorists could be taxed on how many miles they drive as reported by computerized satellite GPS systems.


Yet several decades ago government-employee unions opposed the installation of simple low-tech computerized Fast Lane toll-booth systems because… they would take away toll-collector jobs.


So the equation is this: People on the left think only about one thing – getting more and more money to keep them in their overpaid government jobs.  And then they talk about how greedy everyone else is in order to shift the spotlight from their own compulsive monetary appetite.


Now look at this statement by Democrat US senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota about a potential new VMT (vehicle miles traveled) tax: “Do we move to some kind of an assessment that is based on how many miles vehicles go, so that we capture revenue from those who are going to be using the roads who aren’t going to be paying any gas tax, or very little, with hybrids and electric cars?”


This is a completely preposterous statement, typical of today’s clueless legislators. The existing gasoline tax already reflects how many miles people drive, senator. In other words, senator, if you buy a lot of gas you obviously are driving a lot of miles.


And now Conrad wants to potentially find a way to tax hybrid cars. Yet all this time the do-gooders like EnviroCrat Conrad have been telling us to buy hybrid cars to use less gas. But now he is trying to figure out how to tax those who are saving energy in hybrid cars.


This is dumb. But then again this is our government at work.


Here is what thehill.com reported about the potential for a VMT tax (italics added for emphasis):


‘CBO’s report stressed it was making no recommendations but seemed to support a (vehicle miles traveled) tax as a more accurate way of having drivers pay for the costs of highway maintenance. The report said miles driven is a larger factor in highway repairs than fuel consumption and suggested that having drivers pay for the real costs of highways “would involve imposing a combination of fuel taxes and per-mile charges.” (end of excerpt)


Note that the government wants to impose VMT per-mile charges on top of existing gasoline taxes. They have an endless appetite for money. It never stops.


In short, the Democrats have no rational solutions for our national debt crisis. For decades the money was rolling in as our economy expanded and they spent every penny they could get, putting us deep into debt. But today we are in a globalized world and we must compete in the world market. And we cannot compete against nations with cheap labor unless we make our industries and our economy competitive.


The only way to do that is to put the government on a diet and allow the free market to create wealth. Meanwhile the Democrats are going in the opposite direction. They want more and more taxes on everything.


In the 1990s, Bill Clinton and his enviro cronies proposed a BTU tax or a ‘carbon tax’, i.e., a tax on every unit of carbon energy (coal, oil, natural gas) consumed. This would have been imposed not only on your gasoline costs and heating costs, but your electricity bill would go up too if your utility used coal as a fuel. And for those utilities using nuclear power, well, they would just have to be taxed as well just to make it fair.


The BTU tax did not get imposed directly, but the Democrats have never stopped talking about taxing energy. And the goal is, in the case of cars, to first make gasoline expensive so that you find it cheaper to use overpriced mass transit, and then to build huge new passenger railroad systems that will be massively expensive to construct and operate. Because all construction, maintenance and operation would be done by… drum roll please… unionized government employees.


Our current government-owned intercity rail-passenger railroad Amtrak is wasting huge amounts of money because it is not a railroad at all but a national political football. It loses large amounts of money and wastes vast amounts of fuel on long, cross-country runs with low ridership, passing through various states in order to satisfy political demands by legislators in those states. Yet people like Kent Conrad have no big plan to fix Amtrak’s inefficiencies which would be a simple matter.


Meanwhile most Americans fly when they need to travel long distances. It is much more efficient to fly because you avoid days of tiring travel and have no infrastructure to maintain (roads, train tracks etc.) except airports on each end. Meanwhile our private-sector airline-passenger system sells about 750 million tickets per year compared to Amtrak which sells only about 28 million tickets per year. Yet those airlines compete in a free market and get people from coast-to-coast in six hours with the government playing no role.


The politicians should stop legislating America into oblivion. Our free-market economy can do wonders if left alone by people like Kent Conrad & Co.


Please visit my website at www.nikitas3.com for more. You can read excerpts from my book, Right Is Right, which explains why only conservatism can maintain our freedom and prosperity.