Friday, May 20, 2011

A Preposterous Proposal

This is one of the most ridiculous ideas I’ve ever heard of. Some lawmakers are proposing that taxpayers pay more of their fair share of road construction costs by taxing them on the amount of mileage they’ve driven. The idea came about in response to lower tax revenues due to higher fuel efficiency in newer cars. The way it would work is that there would be a GPS device in stalled in your automobile that would track the amount of mileage driven and that info would be transmitted back to the government.

I think I’ve done a good job above of making it sound as if it isn’t that far out an idea. But this is an incredibly convoluted and overly complicated ‘solution’ to a very simple problem. Sure, it makes sense on the face of it to tax people based on their usage. That part makes sense, although it is a bit of a regressive tax idea. But to actually try and track something like driving distance using a government owned GPS system is nutty. First of all, there’s the obvious privacy issues. Some people don’t think it’s the government’s right to know what they’re doing and where, at all times. Secondly, there’s the cost and hassle of having everyone install these devices, which will surely be a headache. Thirdly, this is going to set a bad precedent as far as the government taxing us on activities they categorize as falling a 'user tax' situation. The possibilities are endless.

There are tons of gaping loopholes in the current tax code that, if closed, would provide huge windfalls for the government and wouldn’t require anything but a vote and a signature. I always feel that if an idea seems too complicated for it’s own good, it probably is, and this one falls in that category.

1 comment:

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