Apparently, word has now begun to percolate as far away as Ontario, Oregon that maybe - just maybe - government might be looking for a new source of revenue. Some months ago, folks around this particular water-cooler were discussing the fact that since the feds have been mandating greater fuel efficiency and pushing electric cars in order to Save The Planet from man-made global warming, casualties will necessarily ensue. One of those, of course, involves the amount of revenue taken from us at the gas pump.
Who'd ever have thunk it? If you force people to buy less gas, then you lose tax revenue. Oh, the feds tried to get some of it back by mandating that you burn food as part of the fuel mixture - it being well-known that ethanol degrades performance and mileage, but it hasn't worked out as well as they hoped. And only in a governmental mind can one mandate increased mileage in order to Save The Planet - and then turn right around and degrade mileage in an effort to recoup some of that "lost revenue".
So now the plan is to monitor your mileage and require you to pay per mile driven. As some folks who claim to be Republicans, such as state Rep. Cliff Bentz, R-District 60 are quick to note, "It's only fair".
Never trust a politician who starts talking about fairness. First of all, they have no concept of what the term means; secondly, if you've been following Democrat lingo for any time at all, then you know that "fair" is simply a code term that translates roughly into "hang onto your wallet".
As usual, Clifford and the bureaucrats haven't quite thought the cunning plan through, and there are a lot of problems with a per-mile tax, especially when you start tossing terms like "fair" around: drivers in some parts of the state are likely to have to drive further to get from point A to point B. City slickers may not drive as far, but are likely to do so more often. Given that an average city slicker's drive is likely 10 miles or less, they're actually putting more wear and tear on urban roads than your average cattle rancher puts on the rural routes. What's "fair" about charging the rancher the same per-mile rate as the city boy?
And what about the folks who spend a fair amount of their drive in Washington, Idaho, Nevada, or (ptooey!) California? Is it "fair" to tax them for wear and tear on Oregon roads when they aren't driving on them? Oh, sure - the answer there will be to install some gps system with an algorithm to deduct miles driven on out-of-state roads. And you can rest assured that government would never - Scout's honor - tap into those data records for any other reason.
How would you like to buy some great view property?
And still, Barky and the gang keep dumping billions into "green energy" and electric cars, and watching them fail. No worries - it's your grand-kids' money.
Leno: President Obama met with tribal Indian chiefs the other day. They gave him his own Indian name: "Running Deficits."