Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Oregon to Enlist Big Brother

No government currently active in the world will ever say "we are getting enough money from the taxpayers." This fact is being slammed home in the state of Oregon, which is planning on enlisting Big Brother to extort more money from its citizenry.

Citing loss of revenue from fuel taxes--the high price of gas and energy consciousness have resulted in lower fuel sales--the money grubbing bureaucracy in Oregon has proposed taxing its citizens on highway mileage. This would be done by installing tracking devices in privately owned vehicles and using GPS linked computers to keep track of the distance traveled on Oregon's public roads. The government claims that the whereabouts and destinations of the vehicle would not be tracked, but this claim is questionable, as it would require the ability to detect that the cars are within state lines.

It could be argued that this technique could be useful in tracking potential terrorists and drug trafficers, but only vehicles owned by residents and private business would be tracked, so this would not be a very effective tool. It is merely a system from which to get more money.

Anyone not living in a cave is aware that a government contract to repair roads is much more costly than any private construction contract would be, if the roads were privately owned. In a government contract, not only may the contracter claim inflated costs--which may be legitimized by the fact that government contracters are required to pay a higher minimum wage--but those in the government who negotiate the contract and oversee the construction, traffic control, etc, have to get their take in the deal. Such is bureaucracy, which in general has rarely been for the public good. This is why the state of Oregon feels it cannot afford to be energy conscious without additional revenues.

This is indeed counterproductive to the trend to resist high energy costs. American consumers are not rewarded for cutting back on demand, but are further penalized by additional taxes. It is sickening to see what a government will result to for the purposes of extortion.

No to Federal Funding of Private Industry

Once again, Congress is barking up the wrong tree. As I write this, the House of Representatives is debating granting Federal funding to stem cell embryonic research. It is not the moral issue compelling me to rail against this; rather it is the questionable practicality of using public money to fund any scientific research.

Stem cell research is important in advancing medical science, and should not be curtailed by law. However, there are plenty of private organizations and trust funds that can adequately fund this type of research. If such research is in the best interest of pharmaceutical companies, which it would seem to be, the pharmaceutical companies should fund it. American Cancer Society and other organizations collect millions of dollars in private funding which could be used for stem cell research. Insurance companies, which are already heavily subsidized by the government, may also find such interest in the research. The fact is that the pharmaceutical and insurance industries record profit percentages five times that of the oil companies. They do not need the taxpayers' help in increasing their profits by reducing research costs.