Money's No Good – On the Roads, That Is
It says on
our Fed Funny Money that "this note is legal
tender for all debts, public and private." Except for paying
tolls on government roads.
In which case,
take your money. But they will force you to cart around an
"easy pass" electronic receiver to pay your toll automatically.
A transponder/receiver that identifies your car, notes its passing
and sends you the bill (or debits an account). A receiver that also
has the capability to track your vehicle as well as monitor its
speed. They're not – yet – using these "easy passes" to do more
than collect tolls, but that doesn't mean they won't, especially
as the financial pressures on state and local governments mount
and the search for new revenue sources intensifies.
Bet your bippie
part is that just like trying to fly without being gate raped, in
states that have these systems in place – Florida, for example –
there is no opting out. If you want to use the Florida Turnpike
you can't use cash. You must have a transponder. If you don't
have one and run the road, they're ready for you. The state is rolling
out a license plate recognition system that will automatically cuff
n' stuff you – or at least, send you a bill for using the road.
Plus a "processing
recourse – and no appeal. Other than simply staying home.
is an example of the left-statist "nudge" (at gunpoint) advocated
by the loathsome coercive utopian Cass
Sunstein, mentor to his Obamaness but by no means a phenomenon
exclusive to the political left. The right is just as thuggish –
witness the TSA and its low-rent Stalinism. They both have the same
objectives: Power and control for them; powerlessness and submission
for you and me.
is by no means unique. Indiana is another state that has adopted
a nearly identical measure on some of its toll roads. Same deal.
They not only won't take your money – that is, your allegedly "legal
tender for all debts, public and private" cash money – they
have taken down and removed any possible way to pay except via the
"easy pass." Or the plate reader that sends you (well, the registered
owner of the vehicle) the bill.
Some are pushing
a class-action suit has been filed that accuses the government –
and the private contractor, the sickeningly named Faneuil, Inc.
(our Founders are rolling at high RPMs in their graves) of unlawfully
detaining motorists who wish to pay with cash – which, after all,
is still legal tender.
Or so it says
on the stuff.
And of violating
their Fourth Amendment rights:
four years, FDOT and Faneuil have engaged in a practice of detaining
motorists and their passengers on the Turnpike System until such
motorists provided certain personal information in exchange for
their release," attorney James C. Valenti wrote on behalf of the
plaintiffs. "The motorists and passengers have been detained without
their consent and without legal justification."
tried to pay with cash – remember, "legal tender for all debts,
public and private" – were detained and required to fill
out a Bill Detection Report that included such information as the
driver's name and address, the make/model/year of vehicle, license
plate number and so on. Motorists captured in this gantlet – literally,
there was no escape; the toll operator would not open the gate and
if a motorist tried to back out, it would be "reckless driving,"
an arrestable misdemeanor offense – effectively had no choice. Fill
out the form.
Valenti, more than 250,000 people have been detained by FDOT
and its corporate henchmen at Faneuil, Inc., merely for trying to
use American currency to pay a toll. Or rather, for declining to
carry the "easy pass" electronic transponder.
In this upended
version of America, people just trying to go about their business
– whether by plane or car – are to be forced to submit to an ever-increasing
array of humiliations and perpetual monitoring.
It's not just
that the government wants to "reduce operating costs," as claimed
by FDOT and Faneuil, Inc. It's that they want to have the ability
to identify and track every car on the road, for purposes that will
become apparent as time goes by. The shyster insurance cartels have
been drooling like Pavlov's dogs for years at the prospect of being
able to know, in real time, just exactly how fast you're driving
– and (super chubby here) debit you every single time you "speed"
or otherwise give them an excuse to jack up your rates. Meanwhile,
the state will take its cut – withdrawing the funds from your account
automatically. Due process, schmoshes. If we want your money,
we'll take your money.
Can't you hear
it? Speeding is illegal – and unsafe. We want to make
our roads safer. This technology will save lives.
It's been done
with red light cameras – already a billion-dollar industry. Bet
your bippie it will be done here too.
what about this "legal tender" business? Is money no longer money?
Perhaps Valenti will see an opportunity to press the question. We
already know our Fed Funny Money is just that – scraps of increasingly
time to make it official.
[send him mail] is an
automotive columnist and author of Automotive
Atrocities and Road Hogs (2011). Visit his
© 2011 Eric Peters
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