Massachusetts is considering a per-mile charge for highway drivers. It claims that it would be in lieu of the gasoline tax, or as a way to pay for needed highway repairs without raising taxes. Best of all, it claimed that it would ensure that road maintenance is paid for by users.
What delusions have we here? Gasoline already includes a tax, the express purpose of which is to pay for road maintenance. Given that gasoline use is directly proportional to miles driven and car weight (both of which are directly proportional to wear and tear on roads), there is little reason that the gasoline tax would not fulfill the stated purpose. Consider as well that heavier cars cause more wear and tear on the roads, it would actually achieve the goal of just apportionment of costs better than a per-mile tax.
Administratively, it is much easier to implement a gasoline tax than a per-highway mile driven tax: one need not monitor every single car that drives through Massachusetts; as of now, the state merely collects its monies from gas stations.
Massachusetts is a small state. How would a state charge long-distance truckers? Out-of-towners? Would this only be applicable to in-state residents, so that out-of-state persons would freeload? How would the state go about recording people’s driving habits? Once the door is open to GPS every single car in the state (as mandated by law), what will stop the state from using that technology to monitor speeds, lane shifting, and a host of other behaviours? Again, people, 1984 is not a how-to guide.
Finally, the idea of replacing the gasoline tax with a per-mile tax, or “needing” extra funds, is absurd. It is one of the basic functions of government to provide an infrastructure for the citizens. This money comes first, not last, out of the state coffers. If the gasoline tax is insufficient to cover the cost of road maintenance, then that tax ought to be raised. Such will have all the effects of a per-mile tax (encouraging people to carpool, reconsider their driving needs, etc) without the accompanying Nanny State.
Tieki Rae has a great post about Marion Jones’s apology for doping during the Olympic Games. Tammi pointed out that a commenter at the Huffington Post blamed her doping on…. wait for it…. President Bush.
All Ms.Jones [sic] has to say is look at America,at [sic] its political and corporate leaders,they all cheat and thats [sic] the reason they got to be No.1,by [sic] concerted “Cheating” and taking advantage of everything that might have stood in their way! Look at President Bush and the Republican Party who fixed & stole the 2004 [sic] Elections (with lots of help from the US Supreme Court!)
These people saterise themselves… but it makes it really, really hard on us to do it. How can a self-respecting conservative make a joke about the knee-jerk Bush-hating? “Ya know, I bet those Leftists are going to blame Bush for the Marion Jones debacle! Ha ha!” Then it actually happens, and the joke is ruined. ::Elephant sigh::
Now, let’s examine this claim. Marion Jones won her vaunted five medals in the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia. The women’s track events occurred between 21 September and 30 September (here). The 2000 Presidential election was held on 07 November 2000 – more than a month after Ms. Jones won her five medals.
“Logical” conclusion: Bush is so evil that his nefarious influence extends backwards in time.
Jeff Jacoby on art, MIT sweatshirts, and the inanity of the modern art world. Looks like he took his cues from the Fountainhead:
Either you are sophisticated or cynical enough to gush over the emperor’s wonderfully postmodern and transgressive new duds, or you are one of those reactionary rubes who get all hung up on the fact that the emperor actually happens to be naked. If talent and skill aren’t required to produce a work of art, if a striving for truth or excellence or beauty has nothing to do with artistic greatness, if craftsmanship and effort matter less than attitude and gimmickry – in short, if there are no standards, then why not fawn over an “artist” who “works with rubbish?”
Why not, indeed. One can hardly say that crumpled pieces of paper, trash, and Christ in urine equate to, say, Monet, Van Gogh, Picasso, or da Vinci.