This excerpt from Washington state’s The Olympian makes me laugh. (Thanks to Mark Perry for posting.)

Turns out that WA state is seeing a decrease in gas tax revenues from people who have fuel efficient cars. In order to recoup the “lost” revenue they’re imposing a surcharge on vehicle registration fees for those driving fuel efficient vehicles.

This entire story is ripe with unintended consequences and the stupidity of doing things like subsidizing fuel efficient cars and searching for “lost” tax revenue. (Note the “friction” in the tax code when you have a subsidy at the Federal level (and maybe also at the state level) for a vehicle which is ultimately going to be taxed at the state level for a completely orthogonal reason. That friction causes $1 in tax revenue to be worth actually much less than $1. As I’ve written before, the complexity of the tax code makes collecting taxes very expensive! That expense does only one thing: pay the salaries of the tax collectors; not a very worthwhile thing to be spending money on.) Underlying everything on the surface is enormity of government and the failure of government to do anything reasonable because of that very enormity. Now somebody please tell me why anybody thinks that government is a good thing?

-JD Cross

 

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