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Opening Arguments

Every mile you drive

Just in case you thought only Democrats could come up with bad big-government ideas, Bill Shuster has a whole new tax he'd be delighted to share with you:

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster said he favors user fees including a vehicle miles tax to pay for a long-term U.S. highway bill that would extend for at least five years.

Shuster rejected the idea of raising the nation’s 18.4 cents-per-gallon gasoline tax, now the primary method of paying for road, bridge and mass transit projects.

[. . .]

A vehicle miles tax has never been considered on the federal level because of objections to the concept of tracking how many miles people drive to assess and collect the levy. There have been some state- and local-level experiments.

The government already knows just about everything there is to know about me, probably including what I had for breakfast today, so I suppose it's silly to object to them knowing how many miles I've driven, not to mention where). So call me silly. I object.

This puts it well:

A GPS-based tracking system appeals to the authorities for obvious reasons:  It knows exactly how much you’ve driven, and in which states, making it easy to apportion revenue.  It frightens privacy advocates and creeps out ordinary Americans for pretty much the same reason:  It knows exactly how much, and where, you’ve driven.  One of the great things about driving a car is the freedom that it involves, and part of that freedom is the ability to go anywhere without buying tickets, checking in, or otherwise operating under someone else’s nose.  

That freedom would disappear with a GPS-based mileage tax.  In fact, since such systems would probably be accessible wirelessly, they might even allow authorities to locate you in real time, or be alerted immediately if you’re speeding.  Promises that that capability wouldn’t be abused are likely to ring hollow to many.  (They certainly ring hollow to me).

Yes, "creeped out" is exactly right.

(via Instapundit)