Henry Lamb
July 19, 2009
Big Brother writ large
By Henry Lamb

Last week's column about the coming shift to tax-by-the-mile devices in automobiles brought many interesting letters. One writer says he was working on this project way back in the 1980s when he was building special Buicks that would run on methanol for the Department of Energy, with on-board computers to control the car's operation. By 1993, test cars in Colorado were controlled from Pontiac, Michigan. The popular "OnStar," system, promoted by Government Motors, is an outgrowth of this work.

Another writer listed 15 different possible applications, such as shutting down the vehicle when its allotted emissions cap had been reached. Why not? The current cap-and-trade bill would limit industrial emissions and force each business to pay an extra tax for the privilege of emitting additional carbon dioxide. Why not arbitrarily assign a weekly or monthly cap on auto emissions, and shut down the vehicle when that limit is reached? The new Global Positioning Satellite device would have that capability.

Every American ought to be outraged that such a system is even contemplated. This system is the tool that makes slaves of every person who depends upon a vehicle. Every person should consider just how his life would be changed if he were required to get approval from the federal government to start his car.

Another writer argues that the government has the authority and the right to impose whatever conditions it wishes, since driving on public roads is a privilege, not an individual right. His argument says the government may impose any condition it wishes on the license to use public roads.

This argument completely ignores the 4th Amendment guarantee of the right to be secure from government intrusion without probable cause and due process. Does the government's right to tax trump the constitutional right to individual privacy?

The proposed GPS road tax system could easily be programmed to listen to and record conversations inside any vehicle. It could stop a vehicle, lock the occupants inside, and notify the "jack boots" that the occupants were en route to a "Tea Party."

We would hope that the federal government would never sink to the level of paranoia that gripped Nazi Germany. But then, we also hoped that the federal government would never sink to the level of labeling legal, peaceful assemblies, such as the recent "Tea Parties," as gatherings of potential terrorists.

Who would have believed, even five years ago, that the federal government would take over GM, much of the banking industry, and appoint more than 30 "Czars" to administer government without congressional oversight? Who would have believed that Congress could be bullied into adopting a cap-and-trade program that deliberately increases the cost of energy for every American, with absolutely no offsetting benefit except increased government control over the life of every citizen?

Who would have believed that Congress would even consider allowing the government to take over the health care industry and create a system that allows government to ration health care and make life-and-death decisions for individual citizens?

The Democratic socialists who have taken control of the federal government are giddy with their power. Their view of utopia is government control of virtually everything. In Cuba, people who owe their livelihood to Castro, are not about to vote for anyone but Castro. The Democratic socialists are creating a society in which the vast majority of people are dependent upon the government for their livelihood. These are the people who are most likely to keep the Democratic socialists in power.

Opponents are increasingly labeled as "potential terrorists," and "anti-government." These are the people who are most likely to be punished.

Government control of every automobile is the perfect way to control reward or punish every citizen. This GPS road tax system is being promoted as a way for road tax revenue to keep pace with road maintenance and construction requirements. This goal can be easily achieved by simply increasing the tax rate collected on each gallon of gasoline sold. For electric cars, a tax could easily be applied at the recharger.

Tax collection is simply an excuse to put this system into every vehicle. Once in place in every vehicle, every automobile owner will be a slave to the government. By increasing or reducing the tax rate, the government can lead the automobile owner around like a dog on a leash. Should the owner become uncooperative, the government can transform him into a pedestrian in the twinkling of an eye.

Expect the Democratic socialists to promote this system as the way to end stolen vehicles. It can end dangerous high-speed chases. By monitoring in-car conversations, all manner of crimes can be prevented before they happen. By increasing the tax rate at rush hour, government can force people to take mass transit. By reducing the tax rate on GM vehicles, the government can assure the success of its auto enterprise.

There is virtually no end to the mischief the government can achieve once this new GPS system is in place. The only way to prevent it is to dump the Democratic socialists now in power, and replace them with people who understand and support the U.S. Constitution.

© Henry Lamb

 

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