During the Great Depression, in an effort to help farmers, the FDR administration got legislation passed that put a floor under the prices farmers could collect for their produce. At roughly the same time, in order to help out the working man in a time of enormous unemployment (ranging from nearly 16% to over 25%), FDR got legislation passed that put a floor under the prices a man could charge for his work. With this combination of artificially inflated food prices and a unemployment exacerbated by artificially inflated labor prices, it became exceedingly difficult for Americans to buy food for their families.
The FDR administration “cured” this, not by removing their harmful pricing controls, but by inventing and issuing food stamps—subsidies for purchasing food.
Fast forward to the present, and look at Oregon. In an era of government mandates for fuel efficiency in our cars (not all of which originated in Oregon, to be sure), governments are seeing falling tax revenue from decreasing private sector fuel purchases. In Oregon, in particular, though, folks are buying fuel-efficient automobiles, with some vehicles getting over 55 mpg. The Oregon state government is looking at “curing” this, not by stimulating its economy tax and spending reductions, but instead at creating a new tax.
Beaver State lawmakers, in their upcoming session, are expected to consider legislation that would impose a charge on vehicles that get at least 55 miles per gallon of gasoline, in an effort to make up for lost gas-tax revenue[.]
After 2015, owners of these high-efficiency vehicles would either have to pay an undetermined per-mile tax calculated by GPS technology, or some alternative flat rate option.
Any excuse to grow government, it seems, is a good excuse to grow government.