Streetwise Professor

May 6, 2011

Control Freaks?

Filed under: Energy,Politics,Regulation — The Professor @ 8:48 pm

The administration is floating–re-floating, actually–a proposal to levy a tax based on mileage driven.  From an economic perspective, this is a puzzler.  If the objective is to reduce CO2 emissions or pollution, it would be far preferable to do so via fuel taxes because (a) pollution is a function of fuel consumption, and (b) fuel consumption depends not just on mileage driven, but on vehicle size, age, maintenance, etc.  Any system that attempts to adjust the tax rate based on vehicle type and weight, etc., would still be less effective at taxing pollution than a fuel tax.  Not to mention that this would require an entirely new monitoring and enforcement mechanism that isn’t free.  All this isn’t that hard to figure out.  So what gives?   Social control comes to mind.  Any other suggestions?

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  1. Pretty hard to justify additional fuel taxes while complaining of, and “investigating” to high a gas price 😉

    Comment by Steve — May 6, 2011 @ 11:19 pm

  2. If they realize their dream of getting all fossil-fueled cars taken off the road, then they won’t get the tax money anymore. I think it suddenly dawned on them and now they have to find a new way to gouge us.

    Comment by Howard Roark — May 6, 2011 @ 11:40 pm

  3. I’d be very happy to see cars vanish off the streets.

    Cities will become actually livable in again.

    Everyone will travel by bicycle, tram, metros, bouncing shoes, skateboards, parachuting off tall buildings, and other cool transportation methods.

    Comment by Sublime Oblivion — May 7, 2011 @ 2:34 am

  4. Uhm, S/O. Gas prices in Europe are far higher than in the US, and their public transportation is typically far superior, and cars haven’t disappeared. Ever tried to find a parking space in Paris, Madrid, Frankfurt, etc.? That’s because people value highly the flexibility and autonomy that autos provide.

    But we can’t have that, can we? The left hates automobiles. Yes, a lot of that hatred is traceable to environmental concerns (and neuroses). But a lot too stems from the fact that cars give people personal autonomy that progressives just can’t abide. Any emergent order gives the left fits: they like planning, control, hierarchy. Automobiles have contributed to the creation of an emergent order that drives the control freak left to paroxysms of fury.

    Good luck using “cool transportation methods” to get to your favorite recreational activity. Which raises the questions: why aren’t you using them now? What’s stopping you?

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — May 7, 2011 @ 8:19 am

  5. But ironically, the left also bailed out the big auto and Detroit.

    Comment by Surya — May 7, 2011 @ 9:22 am

  6. What could possibly be less deferential to planning, control, and hierarchy than parachuting off the top of very tall buildings?

    Comment by Sublime Oblivion — May 7, 2011 @ 7:15 pm

  7. In answer to your question-because they hate US culture. It is not nearly elite enough for their tastes. The common folk should be hoofing it or packing together on public transportation as they drive past in their Volga limos.

    Comment by pahoben — May 7, 2011 @ 7:55 pm

  8. Who knows what kind of vile things might be carried in those cars. There might even be the great enemy of our complete socialist victory in the United States-firearms.

    Comment by pahoben — May 7, 2011 @ 8:35 pm

  9. @pahoben–yup, the progs’ greatest fear: cars w/gun racks.

    Speaking of guns . . . twice in the last week I’ve rec’d the bomb swab test at the airport. I haven’t been to the range lately. I wonder if you have gunpowder residue on your hands you’ll turn up positive on one of those things.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — May 7, 2011 @ 8:57 pm

  10. Professor,
    I am not an expert in this area but I my opinion is that it would be possible if you went directly from the range to the airport without washing your hands. As I understand it the TSA equipment is calibrated for nitrogen and there could be an excess of nitrogen in gunpowder residue. I know of no case when the TSA has successfully identified an explosive device headed for a plane from swab testing.

    I spoke many years ago with a guy from British counter-terrorism about the measures the IRA took to eliminate risk from canine detection of explosive material. By the use of intermediary handling it is easy for a sophisticated operation to subvert even canine detection. The swab tests are just more BS.

    When the Soviet Union went south good people without firearms became easy prey for predators and that continues even today. The advantage in the US in similar circumstances is that good people are well armed. In the US the good guys will not be easy prey for thugs and opportunists.

    I worry about the Small Arms UN Treaty that would require only 67 in the Senate to approve. If it looked as though it might be approved I hope that all hell will break loose.

    The gun crime in both Britain and Australia have increased materially after severe gun control legislation was enacted. This is another area where the progressive agenda and reality are in 180 degree opposition. The old adage about criminals having guns when it is not legally possible to own a gun has been proven true repeatedly.

    Comment by pahoben — May 8, 2011 @ 12:28 am

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