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Affluent Investor | May 28, 2017

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Highway Trust Fund: Not Just For Highways, Out Of Money So Not A Fund, And Can’t Be Trusted

Highway

My latest on Fox News Channel was on the Highway Trust Fund’s alleged bankruptcy. It’s not a bankruptcy because there are no legal liabilities, but beyond that, this is a planned crisis. Gas taxes are fairly stable and predictable revenue sources, so are tolls. If the money runs out early, it’s no accident, it’s a crisis designed to make the case for higher taxes.

This system is based on two fundamental principles: Federalism and the principle of benefits. Both come to us from the founders. President Eisenhower started this program because he learned as an officer that the US road system fell far short of the needs for logistical purposes in fighting a war, so he proposed that, since national defense was a federal — not state — function, a national trust would be created which would be entrusted to use gas taxes only for the purpose of an interstate highway system. It was to be based on gas taxes and tolls to conform with the principle of benefits as presented by Adam Smith in the Wealth of Nations published in 1776.

It no longer functions that way. It has become a congressional slush fund, in which almost half the money is ladled out through the corrupt system of congressional earmarks. The next time you drive on a highway which is named after a politician, think corruption.

Time to shut it down. The proceeds of the tax should be automatically remitted to state governments, or better yet, regional planning agencies. And regulatory barriers to privatization strategies should be repealed. We’re broke. We can no longer afford to be stupid.

If you’d like to watch my discussion with my friend Neil Cavuto on Fox News Chanel about this issue, just click here.

 

Article originally published on Forbes.com.

Jerry Bowyer is a Forbes contributor, contributing editor of AffluentInvestor.com, and Senior Fellow in Business Economics at The Center for Cultural Leadership.

Jerry has compiled an impressive record as a leading thinker in finance and economics. He worked as an auditor and a tax consultant with Arthur Anderson, as Vice President of the Beechwood Company which is the family office associated with Federated Investors, and has consulted in various privatization efforts for Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. He founded the influential economic think tank, the Allegheny Institute, and has lectured extensively at universities, businesses and civic groups.

Jerry has been a member of three investment committees, among which is Benchmark Financial, Pittsburgh’s largest financial services firm. Jerry had been a regular commentator on Fox Business News and Fox News. He was formerly a CNBC Contributor, has guest-hosted “The Kudlow Report”, and has written for CNBC.com, National Review Online, and The Wall Street Journal, as well as many other publications. He is the author of The Bush Boom and more recently The Free Market Capitalist’s Survival Guide, published by HarperCollins. Jerry is the President of Bowyer Research.

Jerry consulted extensively with the Bush White House on matters pertaining to the recent economic crisis. He has been quoted in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes Magazine, The International Herald Tribune and various local newspapers. He has been a contributing editor of National Review Online, The New York Sun and Townhall Magazine. Jerry has hosted daily radio and TV programs and was one of the founding members of WQED’s On-Q Friday Roundtable. He has guest-hosted the Bill Bennett radio program as well as radio programs in Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles.

Jerry is the former host of WorldView, a nationally syndicated Sunday-morning political talk show created on the model of Meet The Press. On WorldView, Jerry interviewed distinguished guests including the Vice President, Treasury Secretary, HUD Secretary, former Secretary of Sate Condoleezza Rice, former Presidential Advisor Carl Rove, former Attorney General Edwin Meese and publisher Steve Forbes.

Jerry has taught social ethics at Ottawa Theological Hall, public policy at Saint Vincent’s College, and guest lectured at Carnegie Mellon’s graduate Heinz School of Public Policy. In 1997 Jerry gave the commencement address at his alma mater, Robert Morris University. He was the youngest speaker in the history of the school, and the school received more requests for transcripts of Jerry’s speech than at any other time in its 120-year history.

Jerry lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, Susan, and the youngest five of their seven children.

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  • Is there any part of this out of control and broken system of thieves and criminals that can be trusted? We now live in a giant criminal enterprise called USA ? Lets take a look.

    Free markets are gone and replaced by crony capitalism that is completely controlled by gov, Fed, banks and wall street.

    Judicial system is a joke and contractual law has been proven to be non existent with all manner of favoritism and control freak domination.from the phony law makers and judges who are either partisans or greedy or both.

    Our system of governance has been turned on its head like an imperial power by the current regime and prior regimes. The undermining of constitutional precedents is basically out of control and far more damaging than most realize.

    And all is possible because of the power of PRAVDA/MSM to dictate all dialogue, commentary, and public information.They actually set the stage and the players play out the parts as necessary. Thus we get massive illusions that we all live in here in USSA . And all are simply control mechanisms !

  • Joseph Mertens

    The failure of the US is not capitalism as we have adopted the Ten planks of the Communist manifesto in whole or majority it is the failure of Socialist /Communist principals.

    First Plank: Abolition of property in land and the application of all rents of land to public purposes. (Zoning – Model ordinances proposed by Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover widely adopted. Supreme Court ruled “zoning” to be “constitutional” in 1921. Private owners of property required to get permission from government relative to the use of their property. Federally owned lands are leased for grazing, mining, timber usages, the fees being paid into the U.S. Treasury.)

    Second Plank: A heavy progressive or graduated income tax. (Corporate Tax Act of 1909. The 16th Amendment, allegedly ratified in 1913. The Revenue Act of 1913, section 2, Income Tax. These laws have been purposely misapplied against American citizens to this day.)

    Third Plank: Abolition of all rights of inheritance. (Partially accomplished by enactment of various state and federal “estate tax” laws taxing the “privilege” of transferring property after death and gift before death.)

    Fourth Plank: CONFISCATION OF THE PROPERTY OF ALL EMIGRANTS AND REBELS. (The confiscation of property and persecution of those critical – “rebels” – of government policies and actions, frequently accomplished by prosecuting them in a courtroom drama on charges of violations of non-existing administrative or regulatory laws.)

    Fifth Plank: Centralization of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly. (The Federal Reserve Bank, 1913- -the system of privately-owned Federal Reserve banks which maintain a monopoly on the valueless debt “money” in circulation.)

    Sixth Plank: Centralization of the means of communications and transportation in the hands of the State. (Federal Radio Commission, 1927; Federal Communications Commission, 1934; Air Commerce Act of 1926; Civil Aeronautics Act of 1938; Federal Aviation Agency, 1958; becoming part of the Department of Transportation in 1966; Federal Highway Act of 1916 (federal funds made available to States for highway construction); Interstate Highway System, 1944 (funding began 1956); Interstate Commerce Commission given authority by Congress to regulate trucking and carriers on inland waterways, 1935-40; Department of Transportation, 1966.)

    Seventh Plank: Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State, the bringing into cultivation of waste lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan. (Depart-ment of Agriculture, 1862; Agriculture Adjustment Act of 1933 — farmers will receive government aid if and only if they relinquish control of farming activities; Tennessee Valley Authority, 1933 with the Hoover Dam completed in 1936.)

    Eighth Plank: Equal liability of all to labor. Establishment of industrial armies especially for agriculture. (First labor unions, known as federations, appeared in 1820. National Labor Union established 1866. American Federation of Labor established 1886. Interstate Commerce Act of 1887 placed railways under federal regulation. Department of Labor, 1913. Labor-management negotiations sanctioned under Railway Labor Act of 1926. Civil Works Administration, 1933. National Labor Relations Act of 1935, stated purpose to free inter-state commerce from disruptive strikes by eliminating the cause of the strike. Works Progress Administration 1935. Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, mandated 40-hour work week and time-and-a-half for overtime, set “minimum wage” scale. Civil Rights Act of 1964, effectively the equal liability of all to labor.)

    Ninth Plank: Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries, gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equitable distribution of population over the country. (Food processing companies, with the co-operation of the Farmers Home Administration foreclosures, are buying up farms and creating “conglomerates.”)

    Tenth Plank: Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labor in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production. (Gradual shift from private education to publicly funded began in the Northern States, early 1800’s. 1887: federal money (unconstitutionally) began funding specialized education. Smith-Lever Act of 1914, vocational education; Smith-Hughes Act of 1917 and other relief acts of the 1930’s. Federal school lunch program of 1935; National School Lunch Act of 1946. National Defense Education Act of 1958, a reaction to Russia’s Sputnik satellite demonstration, provided grants to education’s specialties. Federal school aid law passed, 1965, greatly enlarged federal role in education, “head-start” programs, textbooks, library books.

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