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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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To: IbJensen
Sex tax is next.

As accurately predicted by Monty Python's Flying Circus in 1970.

" will certainly make Chartered Accountancy a much more interesting profession!"

21 posted on 01/17/2013 6:18:46 AM PST by Buckeye McFrog
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To: GreyFriar

who can’t do the stairs due to wheel chairs. I know. have folks to carry them to the top.

But, the disabled could be taxed on how many times their wheels on their wheelchair turned. Hey, they have to pay their fair share too./s

22 posted on 01/17/2013 6:27:24 AM PST by Bitsy
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To: sickoflibs
*trust fund* pingy...

couldve sworn bambam said that anybody making less than 25K would never see a tax increase ???

his *opponents* are chompin at the bit for more slushies too...

23 posted on 01/17/2013 6:29:22 AM PST by Gilbo_3 (Gov is not reason; not eloquent; its force.Like fire,a dangerous servant & master. George Washington)
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To: napscoordinator

“Isn’t that what Obama wanted? For people to use more “green” energy?”

I think what he really wants is for people to move in closer to urban centers—that will make it easier for him to round up the people and use them to work for the government in “camps”. Think China

24 posted on 01/17/2013 6:30:35 AM PST by freeangel ( (free speech is only good until someone else doesn't like it)
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To: Kaslin
bureaucrats are likely to do something such as mandate devices in cars that will communicate with devices at gas pumps, tracking your every move.

I'd have any such device in my vehicle disabled right quick.

25 posted on 01/17/2013 6:34:32 AM PST by Bloody Sam Roberts (Humans have eliminated natural selection. Morons are now a protected species. They breed and vote.)
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To: Opinionated Blowhard

Supermarket is 2 blocks away. Gas station is 4 blocks away. Water Plant I work at is 6 blocks away. My 2001 Highlander has 50,000 miles on it. They’ll probably tax me for not driving enough!

26 posted on 01/17/2013 6:38:25 AM PST by Dr. Bogus Pachysandra ( Ya can't pick up a turd by the clean end!)
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To: CaptainAmiigaf
Lord, please keep the government of the United States-——FAR AWAY FROM US.

I knew it was you before I even finished reading that line.

27 posted on 01/17/2013 6:38:43 AM PST by Bloody Sam Roberts (Humans have eliminated natural selection. Morons are now a protected species. They breed and vote.)
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To: Wiser now

“Don’t pay any attention to what they say, watch what they do.”

I say pay very close attention to what they say and then assume that they will do the opposit of what they are stating are their objectives!

28 posted on 01/17/2013 6:41:07 AM PST by CSM (Keeper of the Dave Ramsey Ping list. FReepmail me if you want your beeber stuned.)
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Comment #29 Removed by Moderator

To: GreyFriar

Agenda 21?

30 posted on 01/17/2013 6:43:45 AM PST by upchuck (America's at an awkward stage. Too late to work within the system, too early to shoot the bastards.)
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To: obama


31 posted on 01/17/2013 6:54:31 AM PST by tomkat ( .. shall not be infringed)
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To: Kaslin

They make cars more gas efficient, people buy the cars, then get taxed for driving them. Brilliant!

32 posted on 01/17/2013 6:55:25 AM PST by Terry Mross (People who hate me read my posts and get angry. Yet they can't look away. hee hee)
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To: liberalh8ter

Same here. I drive from job site to job site. most of my jobs are 15 minutes or less. So the bulk of my day is seat time in my own car. 4 years ago I traveled in a full size van with all the tools I needed. As pay went down, costs went up I was forced to park the van and start driving a 30 MPG car with just enough tools. I spend 15-20 minutes every morning going over the days jobs and loading the needed tools in the car.

Start taxing me by the mile to pay for some starbucks sipping liberal loosers bus? I’ll quit if I can’t raise my rates to cover it.

33 posted on 01/17/2013 7:00:25 AM PST by cableguymn (The founding fathers would be shooting by now..)
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To: Kaslin

This is what we get with our KNEE-JERK reaction to increasing the gas tax...and not even letting it keep up with inflation.

I sure hope all you people are happy now - YOU’RE GETTING WHAT YOU DESERVE

34 posted on 01/17/2013 7:01:27 AM PST by BobL
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To: Kaslin

If this involves a GPS unit in the vehicle, it will DESTROY the privacy of travel. We can be assured by “strong laws” but government always gives itself a pass somehow. The only way to protect the privacy of travel is to never allow government the means to violate our privacy in the first place.

35 posted on 01/17/2013 7:05:50 AM PST by theBuckwheat
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To: theBuckwheat

This isn’t the 70’s, your privacy of travel has been long gone.

In every major city today there is at least one patrol car with high res cameras recording (and logging) every license plate of every car on the road, both coming and going.

Facial recognition software has been merged with all the drivers license photos, guess who deploys it and on whose orders.

There is also automatic pollution monitoring equipment that can analyze your exhaust and record the reading along with your license tag.

Use your credit card to buy gas, tracked.

Toll roads are now handled with transponders issued to the vehicle owner, they track when and how often the vehicle passes the receiver.

If your car (more than 1/2 the new cars sold in the last 2 years ) has GPS capability, addition of a $25 transponder turns it into a mileage tracking and auto recording system.

I am not kiddin, this stuff is out there now, and it is where we are heading.

36 posted on 01/17/2013 7:27:33 AM PST by wrench
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To: Kaslin

This mileage tax will serve one purpose. Another opportunity for busybody bureaucrats to intrude in our everyday lives and more red tape. The current model of the gas tax based on per gallon is easy. Gas station sells a gallon, taxes are paid. And the driver just pays the tax at the pump and he is done. No paperwork, no reporting requirements, just drive.

One thing, this is done with truckers already with the fuel tax. And truckers are burdened with a lot of rules and regulations. The CDL which is intrusive enough where even a parking ticket can affect your driving privileges. And then there is the paperwork that has to be done for each state traveled through like for fuel taxes. Even if you fill up in State A with very little taxes but then drive mostly in State B, you will have to pay fuel taxes to State B for the portion driven there.

Kind of funny, back in the late 1980’s, I live in far Southern Indiana and Kentucky had very cheap gasoline taxes compared to Indiana and I would drive to the Kentucky side to fill up. It was like 20 cents difference at the time.

37 posted on 01/17/2013 7:29:06 AM PST by CORedneck
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To: CaptainAmiigaf
This is how an insane government destroys an economy.

Oh, they're quite sane... just diabolical. States like Virginia that thrive on out-of-state tourists will suffer greatly, while democrat-run, urban, rotting hellholes will all benefit from it.


38 posted on 01/17/2013 7:31:25 AM PST by ScottinVA (More dizzying than a Tilt-a-Whirl is an around-a-circle argument with a liberal about gun control.)
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To: upchuck

something I heard Beck mention one day when I was channel surfing. One of Bh0’s buddies has published a book about the need to force people back into central cities. One way will be to pass state laws and or to get big cities to annex more and more suburbs, and then raise taxes on those folks, so it is cheaper to move into empty apartment buildings in the cities. And it is also justified as a “Green” initiative.

39 posted on 01/17/2013 7:40:12 AM PST by GreyFriar (Spearhead - 3rd Armored Division 75-78 & 83-87)
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To: Kaslin

What Obama has in mind is mandating all vehicles be equipped with GPS and sensors so that a tax can be leveled not only on miles driven, but also speed and the type of vehicle with “gas guzzlers” being taxed more. As an added bonus Big Brother would also be able to track our every movement in case we might go to some clandestine gun show or TEA party meeting.

40 posted on 01/17/2013 8:03:52 AM PST by The Great RJ
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