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Again, Big Brother Is Here

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Bloviating Zeppelin: Again, Big Brother Is Here

Bloviating Zeppelin

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Again, Big Brother Is Here

First, your car is chipped.

Answerable with information stored by your local, state and federal governments.

Think that's fantasy? It's already starting in the state just north of Fornicalia. Read on:
A year ago, the Oregon Department of Transportation announced it had demonstrated that a new way to pay for roads — via a mileage tax and satellite technology — could work.

Now Gov. Ted Kulongoski says he’d like the legislature to take the next step.

As part of a transportation-related bill he has filed for the 2009 legislative session, the governor says he plans to recommend “a path to transition away from the gas tax as the central funding source for transportation.”

What that means is explained on the governor’s website:

“As Oregonians drive less and demand more fuel-efficient vehicles, it is increasingly important that the state find a new way, other than the gas tax, to finance our transportation system.”

According to the policies he has outlined online, Kulongoski proposes to continue the work of the special task force that came up with and tested the idea of a mileage tax to replace the gas tax.

The governor wants the task force “to partner with auto manufacturers to refine technology that would enable Oregonians to pay for the transportation system based on how many miles they drive.”

The online outline adds: “The governor is committed to ensuring that rural Oregon is not adversely affected and that privacy concerns are addressed.”

When the task force’s study and test were in the news in 2006 and 2007, critics worried that the technology could be used to track where vehicles go, not just how far they travel, and that this information would somehow be stored by the
[of course those are valid concerns; it's a small box affixed to the vehicle's electronic system: how would you know?]

Here's the long and short of it: because, as a good driver, you're doing as you're told -- that is to say, driving less and using less fuel, producing less carbon -- you're also strangling a governmental source of revenue. So, to make up for this shortfall because you, the citizen, are doing the so-called "right thing," it's time to remove more of your privacy and liberties by chipping your car, so that you can be taxed further.

I should like to point to another example: back east, when citizens used less power in a community, as the government has been asking via public service announcements for years, the local power generation utility began losing revenue. Therefore, though the citizens were using less power their rates went up.

Further, if Oregon is thinking of this strategy, you know other states are also. Let's also do what I call the Logical Extension: if the government is monitoring you via electronic nanny for mileage, the insurance companies will demand access to whatever information is collected as well, and the states will take their cut of cash for providing this information, against you, to your insurer.

And what if your car is hacked by someone wishing to have less mileage? What happens if, when a person is chipped, your entire life is hacked?



Blogger LoneRider said...

I have been paying attention to this as well. In my mind, the logical extension is to raise gas taxes for gasoline vehicles and then add black boxes to anything that is outlet rechargeable. That black box would then report *only* the number of miles driven based on electricity from the electrical grid.

My biggest issue is simply that I will be paying the same road taxes whether I am driving my Suburban or my KLR650, and that is just wrong. We should continue to have the economic incentives to save gas.

Other mechanisms from home based bio-diesel would also have to be created. I don't like Europe's answer, which is to just make it illegal.

I don't think I have a problem with a black box that only ensures one can not modify the odometer readings of the vehicle. But once you go GPS based, and there is the ability to track location I think we are quickly sliding into privicy issues.

Now I am sure they are going to use "Driving is a privilege and not a right" argument. Thus implying if you don't want people to know where you are going walk.

Hopefully the Brits will form a set and start protesting their surveillance society, it has soundly been proven to not make anything safer.

Mon Dec 29, 09:16:00 AM PST  
Blogger LoneRider said...

BTW, "The gas tax would stay in force — Kulongoski has proposed that it be raised 2 cents — for vehicles not equipped to pay the mileage tax."

I hate to say it, I am all in favor of just raising the gas tax by 2 cents. That would cost me about $14/yr.

And that change would not cause any infrastructure or bureaucracy expenditures. I am curios to see how much that black box and collection of taxes would cost. Probably more than $20/yr I am thinking. And that is for a truck, car (wife) and motorcycle.

The only way they can massively make transportation more expensive is to change the taxation paradigm, and that is what this is.

Mon Dec 29, 09:24:00 AM PST  
Blogger shoprat said...

I have been concerned about the use of surveillance technology for some time.

The technology exists and it's going to be used regardless of the philosophy of the governing party or parties.

The best realistic solution is to get people in power who respect privacy, will make sure the information does not fall into the wrong hands and will avoid using it themselves.

Not likely. The best way to control it is to control big brother ourselves and that's going to be tough.

Mon Dec 29, 09:57:00 AM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

LoneRider: but no one is doing ANY thinking with regard to this. There are so MANY "unintended consequences" to this. Let's say we "Go Green" and hybrids turn to pure rechargeables, and outlets are everywhere. Where is the infrastructure to support this? States are already going brown and black each summer when household and commercial demand goes up. Now, add electric VEHICLES to the equation?? This is ENTIRELY unsupportable and highly illogical. WHERE will we find the power? How many plants are even in the PLANNING stages at this point?

I can easily counteract the "privilege" argument: then expect to KILL the economy further when people lose jobs because they cannot afford to transport themselves to work. Because we, as a country, have built an entire SYSTEM on mobility of the individual.

The infrastructure required to kill the car -- and its associated costs -- is beyond comprehension. Because, after all, light rail and such works ONLY in highly concentrated and populated areas. The "flyover states" can just suffer and go to Hell, then?

Big Brother. Here he comes.


Mon Dec 29, 11:05:00 AM PST  
Blogger Rivka said...

The same ninny's who were outraged by the 'invasion of our privacy' via warrentless wiretapping of our ENEMIES, are now putting this major invasion of privacy up? This slippery slope of a huge invasion??

How crazier can things get?

Mon Dec 29, 12:42:00 PM PST  
Blogger LoneRider said...


The good news is, I don't think we will have to wait long to find out how crazy things could get.


Completely agree with you. And to further your point, some of HSO new cabinet jesters would be happy to see a reduction in traditional power sources (coal, gas, nuclear ...).

It just drives me nuts knowing that we have really good solutions at hand, I mean *REALLY* good, practical, money making, proven technology in place, solutions that this country is ignoring.

Argggggggg......... makes my mind hurt.

BTW. Thanks again to all y'all out there who take the time and effort to blog. BZ, TexasFred WarningSigns, American&Proud to name the first to mind, just could not list all of the blogs..

I really enjoy the discussions that ensue from many of your blogs/articles!

Mon Dec 29, 01:14:00 PM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Rivka: that's an excellent point.

LoneRider: thanks for the kudos, I'll keep on keepin' on.

Makes my brain explode also.


Mon Dec 29, 02:28:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Exactly what LoneRider said, the more you drive the more gas you use and the more tax they'd get. if you drive less, then you don't use as much road and gas. Shove the chip, as far as i'm concerned.

Where i go, when i go, how i go is my busines.

Mon Dec 29, 03:22:00 PM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

MKS: I am a very private person and share your views. Keep the damned government OUT of my business.


Mon Dec 29, 03:44:00 PM PST  
Blogger Gayle said...

I agree, BZ. Keep the damned government out of my business too!

Wed Dec 31, 06:46:00 AM PST  
Blogger Average American said...

A little common sense thrown in tells me that just maybe the tax could be added to the tires??? All cars have them no matter what fuels them. But NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, that would be to simple.

Sat Jan 03, 12:43:00 AM PST  

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