The Democrats are hot on the trail of another crisis that they don’t want to let go to waste. You may have noticed a slew of stories about states implementing pilot programs or talking up the idea of charging a Vehicle Miles-Traveled Tax (VMT), a new tax based on how many miles we drive.
It’s nothing new to watch bureaucrats scrambling around trying to figure out how to squeeze more tax blood out of the rock of the American people, but this little scheme is about much more than money– it’s a pretext with which to monitor your travel, opening another door to controlling our movement.
The news coverage in general discusses how this idea is “growing in popularity” (it’s not), or how much better it would be than the gas tax (it’s not), and how it’s no big deal and you won’t even feel it (it is and boy, you will). Reports from the ‘conservative’ media have understandably focused on the tax aspect which itself should make this a non-starter. Yet, it is especially concerning that the coverage has rarely glanced at how this new tax would require the government knowing all the details of your movement in your car or truck.
This new little scheme about taxing us per mile is outrageous, but they say we have to do it because a crisis is looming for the Highway Trust Fund. You see, all of the work to create fuel efficiency, and allegedly due to the tiny percentage of people who are now driving electronic vehicles, the tax revenue that comes in from the gas taxes is beginning to slow down.
Currently three states– Oregon, Utah, and Virginia, have implemented “Road usage charges.” Hawaii is set to become the fourth.
According to Americans for Tax Reform the VMT became a federal darling with Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill which throws $75 million in grants to state local and regional transportation departments to set up pilot programs, and it spends $50 million creating a national VMT pilot program.
If you think this is going to be a self-reporting type of situation, think again. The ATR notes specifically that “the bill lays out the various ‘vehicle-miles- traveled-collection tools’ that would be used by the federal government to track drivers. These tools include third-party onboard diagnostic devices (GPS tracking devices), smart phone apps, data from auto makers and data obtained by car insurance companies.”
It’s arguable that the specifics were in the bill because that is really the issue here. This is codifying having hardware and computers and satellites tracking the movement of average Americans. This is impossible using the basic gas tax. It also inculcates Americans, at least that’s what they hope, with the idea that the federal government has an overriding interest in knowing where you’re driving and how much you’re driving because of the infrastructure crisis, and eventually they’ll weave climate change into the emergency need to stalk you. If they convince the majority of Americans that this must be done, then we will indeed eventually bow our heads and get on our knees when they tell us when we can drive and how far.
This fits within the “equity” disaster brought by the Marxists leading this country. In fact, Biden’s bill also created a federal advisory board to be stacked with special interest groups lobbyists and woke activists. This new advisory board specifically requires including “advocacy groups focused on equity.” That means leftist activist groups. This is another woke dive-bombing on American freedom in general.
What the government is doing now is meant simply to nudge us into accepting this power grab pretext. Fox News quoted a man called Doug Shinkle, saying the “transportation program Director at the nonpartisan national conference of state legislatures, predicts that after some 20 years of anticipation more than a decade of pilot projects and years of voluntary participation, making programs mandatory is the next logical step. ‘The impetus at this point is less about collecting revenue then about establishing the systems, working out the kinks, getting the public comfortable with it…'”
I wonder if Doug got in trouble for saying the quiet thing out loud?
Tracking our every move isn’t a new dream for the bureaucratic state; the potential of COVID-19 brought the obsession back into the open. The Center Square reported that late last year at the G20 meeting President Joe Biden signed a declaration agreeing to adopt vaccine passports to “facilitate” all international travel. And never forget the effort to nudge us into accepting “contact tracing”massive surveillance in the name of stopping COVID. The good news is, we said no, because of trust issues. But that was a voluntary, opt-in scenario. The lesson the government learned was to make their stalking mandatory.
Meanwhile, while the insatiable federal government plots on how they can tax money out of people combined with a pretext of controlling our lives, the money the government loses track of is incomprehensible. Just this week the Small Business Administration watchdog revealed that more than $200 billion of COVID relief funds went to fraudsters.
On lost tax payer money in general, in April CNBC reported, “Improper payments, which refer to payments that are made incorrectly by the government, cost the U.S. $247 billion in 2022, according to the Government Accountability Office. The U.S. government has lost almost $2.4 trillion in simple payment errors over the last two decades, by GAO estimates. “’The government has just lost, as if you dropped it on the sidewalk, trillions and trillions of dollars over the last few decades,’ said Richard Stern, a budget and spending expert from the Heritage Foundation. ‘That is money that was stolen from hardworking Americans to just simply get wasted.’”
Billions here, trillions there… all lost. But they insist they need to track every move we make in order to avert a new tax crisis that just happens to involve installing movement trackers in our cars. Now is the time to remember First Lady Nancy Reagan’s rallying cry—Just Say No. Again and again and again.