Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Miles And Miles Of Taxes (And Control)

As time and technology march inexorably forward, change is seen in exponential increments, matching the imagination of man. It seems that whatever man imagines is not only possible, but happening. Some may view this as progress and therefore good, but some also equate it only with science. Those who neglect the truth that the principle also applies to politics do so at their own peril. When science and politics converge in the culmination of the fruits of the fertile imagination, disaster awaits. In other words, the dreams of the inventor become a nightmare when grasped by devious hands.

So it is with the invention of the Global Positioning System (GPS), and the plans our government has in store for its utilization in further taxing the citizenry. The University of Iowa is already field testing a system that would use GPS transmitters - which would be built into every new car - to track a driver's miles travelled and send a tax bill to the owner of the car.

As fuel consumption by the American people has waned due to high prices and lower incomes, the federal government complains that funds for highway and transportation projects have fallen behind and cannot keep up with demand for maintenance and road building. After a two-year study, the 15-member National Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing Commission - a federal commission - decided unanimously that a by-the-mile tax was the best course to travel.

Interestingly, and at least thus far, there is no mention of a graduated per-mile tax based on the size of the vehicle. (Shh, keep this idea between us!) Which means that if the gas tax is removed in lieu of the per-mile tax, one could afford more gas without the added cost of the exorbitant tax and drive whatever type or size car they want, only concerning themselves with distance. This, of course, may solve the highway funding problem, but it will only exacerbate the global warming problem of which we are warned ad nauseam.

Naturally, the government will devise an added tax on the initial purchase of larger vehicles, thereby making them less attractive to the consumer. Those who are well enough off will continue to buy the larger vehicles, contributing to the coffers of the government. Those who are forced to buy cars only approved by the government will eventually drive as little as absolutely necessary in order to save a buck, and when the highway funding inevitably begins to fall short as a result, the government will simply start taxing gas again.

And the vast majority of the American electorate will complain bitterly to friends or loved ones during commercial breaks while watching Entertainment Tonight or American Idol.

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