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ObamaMiles Tax Coming Soon ^ | January 17, 2013 | Mike Shedlock

Posted on 01/17/2013 5:33:48 AM PST by Kaslin

Yet another "Trust Fund" is broke. This time, discussion involves an alleged "Transportation Trust Fund".

As with Social Security, there is no "Transportation Trust Fund", only a stack of unmarketable IOUs from one branch of government to another.

If there is any trust in the system, there shouldn't be, and soon won't be. Obama will surely see to that.

Grid Chicago reports Charging by the mile, a gas tax alternative, sees serious movement.

Because of vehicles with higher fuel efficiency, slightly less driving, and the gas tax not being changed since 1993, the motor vehicle fuel tax, or “gas tax”, has failed to pay for everything that Congress has legislated that it should pay for. The Highway Trust Fund, which includes the Mass Transit Account, has received several infusions of money from the “general revenue fund” – to the tune of over $60 billion.

But a new report from the Government Accountability Office, the congressional think tank focused on financing, past, present, and future, has made the country take a giant step forward in considering a switch to a fee that more accurately charges usage. The report, like all GAO studies, was commissioned by the House Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee.

The gas tax charges drivers based on their use of petroleum, different vehicles can go different distances on the same amount of petroleum: essentially, some pay less than others for the same use of the road. Additionally, the counts of how much people drive has decreased (called vehicle miles traveled, or VMT), yet our demand for funds to maintain and build new infrastructure outpaces the incoming revenues from the gas tax. Lastly, the federal gas tax hasn’t changed at all, sticking to a cool 18.4 cents per gallon (for non-diesel drivers) since 1993. ”While the gas tax was equal to 17 percent of the cost of a gallon of gas when it was set at its current level in 1993, it is now only 5 percent” (Streetsblog).

The Simpson-Bowles Commission, convened by President Obama to find strategies to improve the country’s fiscal situation in 2010, “called for an immediate 15 cent-per-gallon increase in the gas tax”.

An alternative to the gas tax is to charge people based on how much they drive, a mileage fee. This can be calculated in more than one way, and doesn’t require the use of a GPS system to track where people are going: pay-at-the-pump (or electric vehicle charging station), and prepaid, self-reporting system based on odometer readings.

Mindless Possibilities

Got that? Bureaucrats are actually pondering a system that would require road use prepayment based on self-reporting of miles driven.

It's always important to keep in mind that the bureaucrats have an infinite capacity to do mindless things. How many bureaucrats will it take to manage a self-reporting system? At what cost? Who will comply?

When that proposal does not work, (and obviously it won't), bureaucrats are likely to do something such as mandate devices in cars that will communicate with devices at gas pumps, tracking your every move.

Such devices will no doubt be manufactured by GE who will be the big beneficiary of it all in terms of profit. Meanwhile the actual manufacturing jobs for such devices will go to China.

Gas station owners and car manufacturers will both have to install such devices at great expense.

While pondering the ramifications of mindless possibilities, let's also take a look at proposed costs. Keep in mind things always cost more than proposed.

Scheme to Boost Taxes 250%

The Examiner reports New pay-per-mile scheme would boost taxes 250 percent

An on-again, off-again move by the Obama administration to scrap the federal gas tax in favor of a pay-per-mile fee would boost the tab to Americans as high as 250 percent, raising their current tax of 18.4 cents a gallon to as high as 46 cents, according to a new government study.

But without a tax increase, said the Government Accountability Office study, the government's highway fund is going to go dry. One reason the fund is going broke: President Obama's push for fuel efficient cars has resulted in better mileage, and fewer stops at the pump.

The GAO study is just the latest review of federal spending that paints a grim picture of the nation's infrastructure. Just keeping spending at current levels, the GAO said, would require a near doubling of the gas tax to 32 cents a gallon, and that would jump to as high as 46 cents should the federal government add spending to fix crumbling infrastructure and build new roads.

Obama Mulls Replacing Gas Tax With Hefty Mileage Tax

Political Outcast has some choice comments on the idea in Obama Mulls Replacing Gas Tax With Hefty Mileage Tax.

One reason gas prices are so high is that the Feds impose a tax of 18.4 cents per gallon on gas. It’s 24.4 cents per gallon of diesel. We’ve had federal gas taxes since the 50’s to pay for highways and bridges, but since 1983, they started diverting about 20% of gas taxes to go to a Mass Transit Account that is supposed to pay for public transportation like buses and railways. So, those of us who don’t use mass transit are paying for those that do in the form of gas taxes. That’s socialism for you.

We’ve had the 18.4-cent per gallon tax since 1993 under the Clinton administration. Nowadays, with the further destruction of the dollar, that 18.4 cents just doesn’t buy what it used to. Now, the Highway Trust Fund (which includes the Mass Transit Account) is facing insolvency.

Some credit the loss of revenue to the fact that many are using more fuel-efficient cars and therefore not spending as much on gas. Isn’t that what Obama wanted? For people to use more “green” energy? And now, the Highway Trust Fund is running out of money.

That could be part of it, but billions of the gas tax revenues are used to fund pet mass transit projects, which those who drive cars generally don’t even use.

If states want to have public transportation, they should raise their own revenue and pay for it themselves instead of taking federal highway funds to build it. As for paying for highways and roads, we could cut hundreds of billions of dollars from Obama’s foreign policy expenditures and put those funds toward domestic infrastructure and not have to impose one penny of gas taxes to fund it.

Robbing Peter to Pay Paul (With IOUs of Course)

Political Outcast gets to part of the problem.

However, I am not opposed to the idea that people who use services should pay for them. But why stop at roads?

Why shouldn't people who use libraries pay for that usage, rather than everyone else? Why should Social Security recipients get out more than they paid in? Why shouldn't mass transit users be the ones to pay for mass transit?

Most importantly, why don't people with kids in the public education system pay for the cost of the schools and their kid's education?

If they did, I assure you costs would come down because people would demand more for their money.

Next Set of Questions

Before we go about charging people for miles driven, how about making sure taxpayers get their money's worth in services received?

For road maintenance, the way to do that is easy. Scrap Davis Bacon and all prevailing wage laws, then let cities and states put out bids for work at non-union rates.

If the states and federal government would scrap all prevailing wage laws and make recipients in general pay for services received, I will be more than happy to discuss better ways of making drivers (and everyone else) pay for services received.

Camel's Nose in the Tent

As an addendum, I offer reader "Lapdog" comments ... "A miles driven tax is just the camel's nose in the tent. It will ultimately be a GPS/vehicle-based system that will allow charging more based on time of day, type of road taken or where one wishes to go i.e. into downtown business districts."

Precisely. The possibilities for more taxes, and more tracking of everything you do, while under guise of making people pay for services are infinite.

Moreover, both parties want to keep track of everything you do under guise of protecting against terrorists

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Editorial
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1 posted on 01/17/2013 5:33:53 AM PST by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin; All
my FR_tagline

2 posted on 01/17/2013 5:42:57 AM PST by skinkinthegrass (who'll take tomorrow,spend it all today;who can take your income,tax it all away..0'Bozo man can :-)
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To: Kaslin

I think an elevator tax should be imposed. The more floors you go up the higher the tax! Can you imagine the out cry if another administration came after cities the way Obama is going after the rural states. We have the trump card. They still have to eat.

3 posted on 01/17/2013 5:43:34 AM PST by muskah
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To: Kaslin
based on self-reporting of miles driven.


4 posted on 01/17/2013 5:51:09 AM PST by Doogle (USAF.68-73..8th TFW Ubon Thailand..never store a threat you should have eliminated))
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To: Kaslin

Sex tax is next.

A central socialist government device will be attached to your bedsprings. It will record and report to central whenever the springs move up and down repeatedly.

A bill will be sent to your residence for the number of tiems the above occurred times whatever Obama decides is fair.

He won’t pay anything unless Moochell is out of town and Rahm or Chris drops in.

5 posted on 01/17/2013 5:51:54 AM PST by IbJensen (Liberals are like Slinkies, good for nothing, but you smile as you push them down the stairs.)
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To: muskah

I never thought of the fact that it is a hit on the mid-west and western states. It could end up costing them a bundle. I just don’t see how this would work anyway. I can immediately see some innovative business savvy person finding a way to roll back the electronic mileage tracker. Fraud would DEFINITELY be part of it and hard to control. Maybe they are just talking and it will never be implemented.

6 posted on 01/17/2013 5:55:26 AM PST by napscoordinator (GOP Candidate 2020 - "Bloomberg 2020 - We vote for whatever crap the GOP puts in front of us.")
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To: Kaslin

But sir I’m already paying a gas tax.

7 posted on 01/17/2013 5:57:50 AM PST by McGruff (No New RINOs!)
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To: muskah

An excellent idea, that way the lazy folks will be paying their fair share. Of course the energitic and healthy folks can still take the tax free stairwells. H’mmm, will have to have a disability category for those who can’t do the stairs due to wheel chairs. I know. have folks to carry them to the top.

8 posted on 01/17/2013 6:00:38 AM PST by GreyFriar (Spearhead - 3rd Armored Division 75-78 & 83-87)
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To: muskah

This is how an insane government destroys an economy.
What will this do to those areas whose economy totally relies on the willingness of VISITORS to drive their cars to vacation locations? Drive 400 miles for our annual stay at way.
What will this nonsense do to the cost of that must be transported over the highways to the market you try to shop at? Does the government think of that-—right!!
What will this do to the cost of EVERYTHING we require to live that is manufactured over 5 miles away?
Will you be able to continue the daily round trip drive to your “well paying” job 50 miles away, when a huge chunk of your salary goes to another increased tax?
In this, one of the largest countries in the world, families live miles apart. What will be the damage done to family unity, when even a Sunday visit becomes a financial burden?
Lord, please keep the government of the United States-——FAR AWAY FROM US.

9 posted on 01/17/2013 6:01:36 AM PST by CaptainAmiigaf (NY TIMES: "We print the news as it fits our views")
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To: McGruff

The system is already being used by the military. When you fill up you have to enter the odometer reading. It’s supposed to prevent theft. They have an electronic key that activates the pump.

10 posted on 01/17/2013 6:02:28 AM PST by USAF80
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To: napscoordinator

That will just help with “Project 21” and force people to move from rural areas into the cities. And then we can take the train from city to city; and build new train tracks to link more cities; think of the govenment jobs that will create to build new railroads.

11 posted on 01/17/2013 6:03:50 AM PST by GreyFriar (Spearhead - 3rd Armored Division 75-78 & 83-87)
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To: Kaslin

Once again the oh so compassionate Democrats will tax the poor. When it comes to Dems. my motto is:
Don’t pay any attention to what they say, watch what they do.

12 posted on 01/17/2013 6:05:15 AM PST by Wiser now (Socialism does not eliminate poverty, it guarantees it.)
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To: Kaslin

“Transportation” spending has turned into a huge scam. The administration and press claims the nations “infrastructure” is “crumbling” as if roads are filled with potholes and bridges are collapsing, but if you look around your community, you will see that most “transportation” projects have a lot of unnecessary extras.

In my area, there are now sidewalks everywhere where people do not walk. One goes along about a mile stretch of fields and I never see anyone walking on it.

We also have had about five fancy electronic billboads added to the highways that probably cost a couple million. Are they nice? Yes. But are they worth running up trillion dollar deficits to have? No.

The number of road signs has tripled too. Its as if they can’t make them fast enough for our DOT to put up. Its crazy how many mile markers, turn signs and other road signs they can put up.

This is all crap that is not necessary. Add on top of it the fact that the DOT workers get paid premium wages and you see why transportation spending is so high. Probably about a third to half of it really isn’t necessary.

13 posted on 01/17/2013 6:05:43 AM PST by Opinionated Blowhard ("When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.")
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To: Kaslin
This type of tax is so stupid on so many levels, it's hard to believe anyone with one neuron still firing would consider it. The major issue is how to enforce and collect the tax. Does anyone really believe self reporting is the way to go? Second, because self reporting won't generate the expected income, another bureaucracy similar to the IRS on a smaller scale will be added. That means part of the funds generated have to be sucked off to pay the new federal employees.

A much simpler solution is to do what many states have done: make the tax a percent of the product price. Sure, revenues will swing up and down, but within a predictable margin. The main advantage is that the mechanism to collect the tax is already in place and the need for a new agency is killed before it starts. Congress, however, won't go for this plan because it doesn't increase the number of federal employees as much as a "measure mile" tax would.

14 posted on 01/17/2013 6:09:22 AM PST by econjack (Some people are as dumb as soup.)
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To: Kaslin
President Obama's push for fuel efficient cars

Apparently, there is someone giving credit to the fuhrer for the better gas mileage in vehicles. Never mind that, to develop better gas mileage cars takes a lot longer than the mere 4 years Bozo has been in office.

However, there is a big flaw in the part which states the reasons for people driving less.

My take, and I'm pretty sure that I'm not wrong, is that, with a lot more people not working because of jobs losses, and many taking 2 years vacations (via unemployment benefits), and millions more deciding to retire early because there are no jobs for the more mature workers, and because millions more have decided to just collect welfare and other benefits, and because it's gotten very expensive to get around, people have decided to drive less. It's not because they wanted to drive less or because people were getting better gas mileage; it's because it was forced on them and many wanted to save money in a horrible economy, and many decided that, living with government support was better than going to work. Gas mileage is part of it, but, when people decide to drive less and people don't need to drive as much, there will be a drop in the usage of gasoline. Simple as that.

All of that can easily go into hundreds of millions of fewer miles driven, perhaps billions, which means less need for gas, which means less taxes collected. But, no!, it had to be because of Obama's insistence on better gas mileage cars.
15 posted on 01/17/2013 6:09:50 AM PST by adorno (Y)
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To: Kaslin

Ummm, how about spending less? Living within a set budget? Crazy talk, I know.

16 posted on 01/17/2013 6:12:45 AM PST by PilotDave (No, really, you just can't make this stuff up!!!)
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To: Wiser now

“Once again the oh so compassionate Democrats will tax the poor. When it comes to Dems. my motto is:
Don’t pay any attention to what they say, watch what they do.”

We live in very strange times. Stupid Americans wait for the media to tell them what they should think. So, as the Democrats continue to hurt the lower class, the media will tell them things have never been better, and fairness has come to America. Stupid Americans will eat it up like candy.

I’m glad to see these crushing taxes. I want them to come fast and furious. That is the only chance of having even a small percentage of the American cattle begin to wonder about their savior. It will hurt me, but I’ll survive it. The people who will notice most who are lower middle class who are pushed into government dependency.

17 posted on 01/17/2013 6:14:15 AM PST by brownsfan (Behold, the power of government cheese.)
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To: Kaslin

Isn’t a Northwestern State beta testing this? Washington, Oregon?

Cut back on electric usage, power co.s raise the rates. Cut back on water usage, they raise the rates.
IOW it’s a zero sum game. The companies/government want a certain income.
One way or the other they’ll get it.

If Zer0 wants to kill the economy, institute this tax.

18 posted on 01/17/2013 6:16:39 AM PST by Vinnie (A)
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To: Kaslin

In 2012 the Fed standard mileage rate (for IRS deductions)was 55.5 cents per mile. This year it’s going up to 56.5.

What will that deduction be if they get away with this?,-Medical-and-Moving

19 posted on 01/17/2013 6:17:37 AM PST by libertarian27 (Check my profile page for links to the 2011 & 2012 FR Cookbooks- Enjoy)
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To: Kaslin
If this tax were put in place, it would be the final nail in the coffin that is my husband's business.
20 posted on 01/17/2013 6:18:46 AM PST by liberalh8ter (If Barack has a memory like a steel trap, why can't he remember what the Constitution says?)
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