Saturday, February 21, 2009

The LaHood Bus Toss

Cap'n Ed railed on the Obama folks yesterday, accusing them of tossing Trans Secry Ray LaHood under the bus for proposing mileage taxes using Orwellian GPS tracking devices...
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood got tossed under the bus by his boss after suggesting that the Obama administration would roll out a mileage tax on American drivers. The White House hurriedly denied any intention of pursuing a mileage tax...

...LaHood apparently didn’t check with Obama before shooting off his mouth.
Sounds that way on the surface but are we sure? The previous Transportation Secretary, Mary Peters, also floated this same idea, albeit quietly, as reported right here last year. Most of the government websites on that effort are now blank (the Wayback Machine still has trace evidence). But it's a legitimate debate, and a problem without an easy solution.

So, while it certainly could have been a screwup of communication in the White House there are equal chances it was a new and bigger trial balloon sent up to gage public reaction, with any negative feedback pre-arranged to hit LaHood and not the boss. That would leave it more of "taking one for the team" moment. Downright cheesy politics, but the bottom line is the blowback was received loud and clear.

Now they'll either go to plan B or kick plan A further down the road, which is a good thing since using GPS tracking to render taxes on personal vehicle owners is perhaps the biggest assault on personal freedom to ever come down the pike.

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