Â Perhaps you have heard about this –
The Obama administration has floated a transportation authorization bill that would require the study and implementation of a plan to tax automobile drivers based on how many miles they drive.
Among other things, CBO suggested that a vehicle miles traveled (VMT) tax could be tracked by installing electronic equipment on each car to determine how many miles were driven; payment could take place electronically at filling stations.Â Â Â Â Â Â
Constitutional conservatives that you are, that probably kind of frosts you, kind of makes the hackles stand up under your collar, doesn’t it? Makes you want to spit and cuss. Why those flaming libtards!! Want to install Big Brother right there in my car!
The CBO report was requested by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), who has proposed taxing cars by the mile as a way to increase federal highway revenues.
Kent Conrad is not what is considered a flaming libtard. Kent Conrad is considered one of those congenial guys that a solutions-oriented Senator, as a bipartisan kind of problem solver, dontchaknow?, can reach across the aisle to in order to “get things done”. He has a mixed voting record on both fiscal and social issues, and also on national security and military matters.Â Also,Â youÂ constitutional conservatives,Â being on top of such things, probably recall another interesting revenue- related proposition put forth by Conrad just about 18 months ago ago:
Searching for ways to â€œget a handle on the federal deficit, the top Democrat and Republican on the Senate Budget Committee are expected on Wednesday to announce an agreement for a bipartisan commission that could recommend spending reductions and revenue increases aimed at bringing the deficit under control,â€ the New York Times reports.
Senator Kent Conrad, the North Dakota Democrat who chairs the panel, and Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, the senior Republican, have, according to officials, reached an agreement for an 18-member commission, with 16 of those members coming from Congress and two from the administration. The Congressional membership would be evenly divided by party.
If 14 of the 18 members of the commission could agree, their recommendations would be submitted for a vote in the House and Senate after the 2010 elections. Approval would require a supermajority.
And, yes, that’s our man Judd Gregg joining forces with Conrad on this novel plan to tackle the nation’s revenue woes.Â Yes, there is a blurb in there about spending reductions, but the key phrase is ‘revenue increases’.Â Further, what is left out of the discussion, or was at that point, is this:
Sure, the Constitution could have been worked around, and acommodations and arrangements made, but there is so much wrong with the Conrad-Gregg proposal on so many levels, from splitting the makeup of the commissionÂ down the line, thus further alienating the will of the people, to including the executive branch in the mix, to just completely ignoring the vast apparatus that already exists in the Congress to deal with revenue issues, that it’s not funny.
Â Â Â Â The takeaway from that little episode, though, is that these men, these ‘moderates’ found it so necessary to raise revenue, to not consider reducing the size of government but to seize on extra-constitutional artifices to forge ‘bi-partisan solutions’, that they joined forces to push for a construct that would, if of any usefulness whatsoever,………….relegate the People’s House and the People’s Representatives to a mere rubber-stamping body. And there is no doubt that both men thought they were being patriotic in so doing. And there is absolutely no doubt that these men thought they had sired a brilliant contrivance – we watched on C-Span as theyÂ congratulated each other profusely in their committee hearings.
Â Â Â Â The Conrad-Gregg Plan did not find it’s way into the lawbooks as a methodology for raising revenue.Â When it did not, the President Obama assembled his own ‘deficit commission’Â to make recommendations to Congress.Â Some of those recommendations are being haggled over now.Â And do not worry, the Conrad plan to put Big Brother in your car will be DOA when it reaches Congress as well.Â What machinations the President uses to revive Conrad’s dead horse is, as you can imagine, quite possiblyÂ another matter.
Â Â Â Â As to Conrad and Gregg, as Senators, well, we won’t have them to kick around anymore, not that we ever kicked them too hard anyway, for they were ‘moderates’, do tell.Â Conrad is retiring and will not seek re-election in 2012 and Gregg did not run for another term in 2010.Â
Â Â Â Â We almost forgot to include one other small item.Â Judd Gregg more than seriously considered an opportunity to serve in the Obama administration as Secretary of Commerce.Â He removed his name from consideration at the last moment, after first indicating he would support Obama’s stimulus bill, then seeming to recant, then proposing that opposition to Obama’s plans for the Census BureauÂ was at issue.Â Whatever.Â WeÂ could report that Judd Gregg is not running for President.Â He is not formally doing so, though when he left the Senate, he left the door open to serving if duty should call.Â So we wonder, as the generally recognized field seems not soon to be going to sort itself out, if there is the possibility in 2012 of a compromise candidate, someone who is pleasingly moderate, can ‘reach across the aisle’, recognizes a revenue shortfall when he sees one, might attract some pastel blue Democrats, is fiercely independent but possibly willing to suppress any right-wing tendencies that might pull at him from time to time, a straight-talker on the need for bi-partisan solutions and compromises, and recognizes that government is the driver of a positive GDP.Â Could Judd GreggÂ be our man when all is said and done?
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â No, not really.Â And this post wasn’t really about Judd Gregg, either, and only incidentally about Kent Conrad.Â Â Your Constitution, and your freedoms, and your natural rights,Â and your preferences as expressed at the ballot box, are under assault, from every side of the aisle you could possibly imagine, by people of whatever ideological stripe, who think they know more and better than you.Â Courage.