Skip to comments.Stupidity Spreads
Posted on 05/15/2014 4:21:23 AM PDT by Kaslin
One thing Im fond of saying on the radio is Stupid spreads like a cold on a plane. Mostly because it does. And mostly because that stupid is generally some progressive idea of governance, some plan or proposal to fix whatever the issue du jour happens to be. Generally, its a problem government action helped create in the first place. Theres always something, isnt there?
Have you heard of the VMT? It stands for vehicle miles traveled, and it is progressives latest attempt to plug ever-growing state budget gaps caused by, alas, progressive policies.
VMT is being tested in Washington and Oregon as a voluntary alternative to state gas taxes. California is considering following suit. In exchange for a rebate of the gas taxes you paidmore than 50 cents per gallon in Californiadrivers agree to pay a per-mile tax.
There are some catches, as there always are.
First, you have to pay the gas tax when you buy your gas and wait for a rebate, which is akin to giving the government an interest-free loan till your rebate arrives. Also, at least Id imagine, you have to have a stockpile of receipts. Lose some or all of them and youre out of luck. Governments arent known for accepting the honor system when it comes to you getting your money back.
But, most importantly, you have to allow the government to track your odometer or install a GPS tracking device in your car so they can record every mile you drive, and every place. Right now its an option, but wearing seatbelts used to be an option too. Now, seatbelts are a primary offenseyou can be pulled over if police see you not wearing one. In other words, things can change.
So why the VMT over the gas tax? Well, it seems the government, which set up the gas tax to pay for road maintenance, isnt collecting enough money to meet those needs. Governments need you to buy gas, and lots of it, to cover their costs. And since the federal government is mandating ever-higher CAFE standards, this means cars go farther on less gas, which means less money to the states. Add to that state and federal incentivizing of electric and hybrid cars and you being to see the problemless revenue but the same amount of wear and tear on the roads.
Although the VMT would raise more money for states (you didnt really expect them to be doing this if it didnt, did you?), it would, quite humorously, hit the very people who have been incentivized to buy electric and hybrids in the first place.
The current gas tax in Oregon is 30 cents per gallon, and the VMT is 1.5 cents per mile. That means if your car gets 30 miles per gallon, you pay 30 cents in taxes for those 30 miles. But, under the VMT, that same driver would pay 45 cents for those 30 miles, a full 50 percent increase in the gas tax. Some people like this idea because, even though theyre paying more, the refund aspect perverts the real impact. It feels like youre getting a deal because youre getting money back, even though youre ultimately paying more. As the president is fond of saying, Its math.
Electric and hybrid cars use less gas, which means those drivers with Coexist, Obama/Biden and Love Mother Earth bumper stickers will be hardest hit. They paid a premium for those carsalbeit one for which they got a tax breaknot only so they could be green but so they wouldnt get hammered at the pump.
Meanwhile, drivers of dirty carsSUVs, Hummers, etc.would get massive tax breaks.
I imagine thats the opposite of the good karma the Greenies were looking for when they bought into the over-priced save the planet racket. Its enough to make you laugh almost.
But this is how government works. It creates a problem, then offers a solution. Meanwhile, that solution creates more problems, for which the government offers even more solutions. The ever-growing snake eats its own tail.
Theres a problem here, though. The normal solution when Democrats find themselves in this position is to blame Republicans. Its usually pretty easy considering how horrible at messaging Republicans are. But these are states controlled by Democrats. They have no one to blame but themselves.
The normal solution for this situation would be for Democrats to simply raise the gas tax. Its not like Democrats have an aversion to raising taxes. But Democrats have painted themselves into a corner on this issue.
Democrats are stuck with choices they dont want to make: 1.) Raise the gas tax, which is wildly unpopular and regressive, so it will hurt the poor and hit the hated SUV drivers, but will appease their green supporters who overpaid for their cars to save the planet. 2.) Institute a VMT and run the risk of alienating green supporters who overpaid for their cars by giving a tax break to the very drivers they most hate, and hurt the poor because they tend to have to drive to other neighborhoods for work. 3.) Let roads continue to fall apart and annoy everyone; or 4.) Cut spending and/or replenish/stop raiding transportation trust funds so maintenance can happen.
None of these options are within the natural comfort zone of Democrats, so theyre scrambling. It will be fun to watch, especially if you dont live in one of these states. But these states are not unique, theyre just first. This stupidity will spread to your state soon enough, just like bans on electronic cigarettes, trans fats and plastic bags. Just like that cold on a plane, there is no cure for the common stupid.
When it comes to stupid, no one does it better than government.
If the government is the problem in all the ways mentioned in the article, then wouldn't it be accurate to say that the problem really began with the construction of public roads in the first place? What would the author propose as an alternative?
Frankly, I expect any politician in North Dakota who proposes a VMT (except perhaps from Fargo) to be tarred, feathered, and left on foot way out in the boonies.
Perplexing to me. Why the need to install GPS devices? Everyone’s required to get their cars inspected once a year. They could record the cars mileage when the car’s inspected and compare that number next year to the number recorded in next year’s inspection. Its always seemed to me like a ruse to force GPS tracking on all automobiles.
Perplexing to me. Why the need to install GPS devices? Everyones required to get their cars inspected once a year. They could record the cars mileage when the cars inspected and compare that number next year to the number recorded in next years inspection. Its always seemed to me like a ruse to force GPS tracking on all automobiles.
Because this isn’t ONE LITTLE BIT about anything except tracking all citizens. Welcome to the leftist totalitarian fascist state.
What do you mean everyone is required to get their cars inspected once a year. We don’t have car inspections where I live and I am glad that we don’t.
Some of the vehicle miles may be out-of-state, particularly in the Northeast where the states are tiny.
The whole idea is terrible.
I certainly would never propose anything as controlling as monitoring all travel of people. Thats plain crazy. Plain tyrannical. Plain not-free.
Why have special taxes for it? Why just out of general fund? Why is the answer ALWAYS more govt and control?
Public roads/infrastructure is not of and by itself a bad thing. Granted, to have them, they must be paid for. But I’ll not be made into a slave to pay for them.
No inspections here either, and darn glad of it.
How about cutting all federal and state funding to the parasites by 5% to pay for the roads?
Probably because it is easy to set an odometer back
Also, I guess there might be a legal issue for them taxing you when you drive in another state.
Not all states require yearly inspections. In california it was a smog test but didn’t have anything to do with mileage.
Why are you so afraid of a little gps tracker in your car? If you aren’t doing anything wrong there is nothing to worry about. Right? :-)
Next to a pure toll system, VMT is the most fair way to pay for road use. But, unless the gas tax is repealed completely, I wouldn’t favor it. I don’t trust the bastards.
My question is this: If this VMT BS comes to pass, will the unconstitutional EPA rescind its unconstitutional restrictions currently in place on European-built 75 mpg diesels?
In my state one has to give mileage each year on odometer.
Yea.............where have I heard that one before.
I don’t know. I want to know how they plan on collecting this tax. Are we going to have to submit our mileage on our income taxes? What about people that don’t pay income tax and don’t file? At least now they are having to pay taxes at the pump. I am so sick of this crap.
We religiously record mileage every time we use the car. Since my husband commutes 90 miles round trip 3x/week for work, it is a deductible.
Not that I like any of this tracking/taxing stuff.