Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Driven


A few months ago, I wrote a post called, "The CBO is Driven".  The subject of that post involved a CBO recommendation that the Federal Government begin monitoring the miles you drive in an effort to increase revenue available for highway construction, improvements, and those bright orange vests for men 'not working' to wear as they stare at you as you attempt to drive by.

Here's where it gets interesting:  

Check out the following headline from 2009...

  


Fast forward to May, 2011 and...

"This is not an administration proposal," White House spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki said.  "This is not a bill supported by the administration."  

Okay, so why do they keep talking about it? 

Maybe this is government's 'New Car' conversation I sometimes have with my wife: 

"You know, if I had a 'newer' car, we could save a lot of money on repairs, I'd get better gas mileage, and I'd have a much more reliable vehicle so I can make calls to my customers.  Maybe in another car the air conditioning would work?"  I have this part of the conversation committed to memory and it never varies much...

"Ah yes, but unless you find a 'FREE newer car' we can't afford it.  And why would you need air conditioning in a car in New York State?  We're in the place furthestmost from the sun.  Weren't you the one who told me that we have nine really excellent months for snowmobiling and three 'not quite as good'?" She asks.

"So, you're saying I can get a snowmobile?"  I ask, slightly more optimistically.  "It'd be cold, but at least I can get up this dang hill we live on in the winter."

"'Sure you can get a snowmobile!  Right after you get that new car you keep yammering about."

"But you just said, umm, I couldn't get the car," I protest.

"That's right.  You cannot now get a new, or even a 'newer' car."

"But why?" I ask, almost pleading.

"Because the economy stinks, neither of us knows for sure if we're going to have jobs in six months, and we've got kids to put through college." She says.

"Will I ever be able to get a new car?"

"No.  This does not mean, however, that you are not loved.  Instead, it means that the Universe wants you in that Chrysler Cirrus for 'a long time'.  Who are we to argue with the Universe?"  She says. 

"Well, I guess if it's up the Universe and all, I guess I could go another year in the Chrysler, huh?" 

"No.  The Universe is thinking more like another 24 months."

"The Universe is stupid", I say as I walk back out to the driveway to polish the rust on the hood of the Cirrus.      

"Oh no, the Universe is not stupid - we're just not smart enough to understand what it wants from us."  My wife utters this last comment down to me through the open Living Room window.  Then the 'Cooking Channel' turns on as I begin the process of 'buffing rust' for the umpteenth time...

"Stupid Universe."

From far above a voice whispers in response, "Stupid man".  It may be my wife taunting me from upstairs, but if it's the Universe, I figure I'd better keep my trap shut.  You can't mess with the Universe.  You can't mess with your spouse.  And you sure 'as heck' had better not mess with lany logic coming out of your government. 


Okay, so the preceding has nothing to do with the CBO, Congress, any actual conversation I had with my wife, but it did provide a useful distraction so I could better position the following logic with you...

LOGIC ALERT!!!
  1. The Federal Government created the Cash for Clunkers! program to get you out of your lower MPG vehicles in an effort lower our collective national fossil fuel useage.  They PAID a lot of people, on average, $4,209, to have their existing vehicle DESTROYED by the car dealership at the behest of the US Congress.
  2. The Federal Government has set CAFE standards requiring that an Automobile Manufacturer's average vehicle MPG increase from its current 27.5 MPG to 34.1 MPG in 2016.
  3. The Federal Government's Tax Code provides incentives for consumers to buy Hybrid, Clean Diesel, Electric vehicles, and other alternatively-powered vehicles which get better fuel economy.  They PAY consumers to buy certain types of vehicles which use less fuel. 
  4. A side benefit to the Clunkers program (in addition to those promised 'incredible fuel use reductions') was to drive Americans en masse to GM, Chrysler and Ford to prop up the 'Big Three' automakers while 66% of them were taking BILLIONS of dollars in government-backed loans to keep the lights on. 
The end result, by the numbers?


How do you like the logic so far?

Because the US Government has 'meddled' in the automotive marketplace by:
  • Providing incentives for you to purchase more fuel-efficient cars, vans, trucks, and SUVs
  • Dictating higher CAFE Standards required for an automobile manufacturer to be 'allowed' to sell in the United States
  • Using the IRS Tax Code to influence your behavior

Tax revenues are down because...

a.)  YOU bought a more fuel-efficient vehicle (Seriously, what were YOU thinking?)

Or perhaps, since fuel prices are $1.00 per gallon on average over what they were one year ago...

b.)  YOU are driving less (If paying taxes is Patriotic (according to Joe Biden) YOU are not patriotic enough -- drive baby, drive!)  

In either scenario, you are not paying enough in Fuel Taxes to meet the needs of your government's cash flow 'issues' relating to highway maintenance. 

In the end, YOU are the problem.  The people who asked you to NOT drive so much - No, they are not the problem.  It's all YOU.   

The solution from the government which set this chain of events into motion? 

Find, Create, or Save 'other' taxes.

Now US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is looking for additional sources of revenue because... 

The government has aggressively taken action to reduce the amount of revenue that they collect.

LOGIC ALERT ENDS!!!

Yes, you did what you were told. 

You drove less, you traded in your Mack Daddy big honkin' SUV for a Toyota Prius, and you drive less because, well, it costs a lot MORE to drive somewhere today than it did one year ago. 

Now the government thinks that it would be just great for you to install a GPS system in your vehicle to track your mileage in an effort to pay your 'Fair Share' of highway use. Because in the end, there's a solution for every revenue shortfall.

There's (always) YOU.  The American 'CarDrivin' TaxPayer!

Oh, and there's one more thing.  (Seems like there's always 'one more thing' lately, doesn't it?)

Could it be that the incursion into your private automobile is just one more step on the trail to changing how you live? 

If I were a consipiracy guy, I might think that it has something to do with an overall Declaration of War against the automobile.  With your private automobile you are (at least today) able to go where you want, when you want.  It's your call.  

But what if someone wanted to take those pesky decisions away from you?

What if...  Obama seeks billions more for LaHood's war against cars

High speed rail baby!  Dig it...

Or else. 

Coming soon to a transportation center by you!  Ready or Not, here it comes...
President Obama, Joe Biden, and US Transportation Head Ray LaHood
"Yeah, you could say we know what's best for you..."
Oh boy...




  
 



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