Sunday, February 22, 2015

Skeptic

I attended Michael Shermer's lecture yesterday and truly enjoyed it.  He is the publisher of Skeptic Magazine.  Some comments on my posts say he is nothing more than a libertarian, but if he is, it didn't really come through in his talk yesterday. He summarized his book, "The Moral Arc."  Essentially he says things are better now in almost every category on earth as far as freedom and democracy are concerned.  Things are better mostly because of the application of science and reason.  Even rank and file republicans believe that and are now concerned about climate change.  They are coming around.

Pols and bloggers, of which I have done both, are usually in the business of saying how bad things are, but if one really does look back at history of the human race, its obvious things are better than they used to be.  His examples included the phenomenon of the acceptance of gay marriage.  Ten years ago everyone was aghast at the notion.  Now it just elicits a shoulder shrug in most nations.  Live and let live grows.

Now, back to reality.  Things could be better in New Mexico if the legislature and Governor could just go ahead and raise the gas tax.  Senator John Arthur Smith said in a Journal oped this morning that is the only way to plan a highway rehab effort.  And I agree.  Now is the time to do it.  The Governor's plan to borrow money through a bond issue is not sensible and is a one time shot.  It would have New Mexicans pay all the bills while truckers and tourists don't pay their fair share for using the roads.

2 comments:

Bubba Muntzer said...

I paid about 6 percent of my gross income last year in straight road taxes, which is mostly from a 48 cents per gallon tax at the diesel fuel pump (shared by state and federal) and a smaller proportion from the New Mexico road tax, which they call a Weight-Distance Tax. I also pay a flat annual federal heavy vehicle road use tax of a few hundred and part of my personal income tax goes to fund roads, you could argue, but you pay that, too.

Even counting all of it I pay no more than a 10 or 12 percent road tax, but the thing is, trucks cause almost all the wear and tear on the roads. If you ever happen to stop beside an interstate or major highway you can see the "groove' left in the travel lanes by truck tires. A fully loaded semi weighs 80,000 ponds, an average personal vehicle about 3,000.

Every few years every mile of road traveled by trucks has to be resurfaced. Roadways traveled only by cars last practically forever if they are made right. Even the street outside your house, which has nowhere near the underlying base of a highway, lasts a long time. But you also pay a road tax at the pump and you pay other taxes that go to highways, and since you're not causing the damage to the roads you're actually subsidizing the trucking industry -- and, I might add, the businesses we haul for. That's all figured into our rates. Remember we're getting all Wal Mart's and Smith's and Walgreen's and everyone else's things to market and also bringing them all the raw materials they use, and of course under Reaganomics they've all been let off the hook and we the people pay most of the money governments spend to maintain infrastructure, which businesses and corporations mainly profit from.

In other words, the governor's bond plan is a plan to maintain the business infrastructure at your expense.

New Mexican said...

I have always enjoyed Michael Shermer's lectures, I used to listen to them on tape in the late 1990's as I hiked New Mexico trails. I would sometimes listen to the same lecture several times as they made so much sense and were so interesting. He has made a difference, I also enjoy the Skeptic magazine, the debunking they do there..