If you have a pot of boiling water and you throw a frog in, he is going to feel the hot water and jump out. So how do you cook a frog?
I'm glad you asked. I know you've been dying to know.
You put down a pot of warm water and put the frog in. He will be comfortable and will not try to jump out. Then you raise the temperature a little at a time until the water is boiling and he's cooked.
Why do you care? Because the Toll Road part of Route 147 doesn't affect you all that much.
When the powers-that-be created a toll road along Rt 147 south of I40 for just a little ways, you didn't think much about it. You would either get a pass, which is not too much, or you would pay the bill when it arrives in the mail.
You see, it works like this: If you have a pass, you stick it in your window. If you don't, they take your license plate and send you a bill, thereby sticking it to you. But it's not enough to be uncomfortable and besides, there are still side roads to be considered. In other words, the water is warm so you're happy.
It has recently been announced that “sections of I40” might also be turned into a toll road. Oh, well, that is a different kettle of frog! But it still might not affect you. You might drive south of the toll part, or north. And there are side roads that could be used – maybe. If you have ever tried to circumvent I40 on side roads, you know the frustration of small, country roads.
This is what people talk about when they use the term “slippery slope.” Once you set foot on a slippery slope, your next step could be the one that takes you all the way to the bottom. First it's a little-used part of one small road, just for a test. Then it's “sections of” another road, more traveled. Soon, every major road in the state is a toll road, with cameras tracking our comings and goings, billing us for the trip unless we have a pass – but taking our picture anyway.
There are two (at least) points to be considered. One is the concept that we are spied upon when we take the toll road, the picture of our car, our plate, perhaps our face, logging where we drive and when. The other is that we are charged yet another tax for driving on the road.
Now, think. Have you ever heard of a toll road that finally paid for itself and no longer needed to be a toll road? Have you ever heard of a tax that was put in place to pay for a project that was later dropped because the project was paid for? It is unlikely that once a tax is in place it is ever dropped; the money is simply diverted to other projects, or someone's pet project, or a slush fund for whatever comes up. That's how politicians pay for trips to the Bahamas with their secretaries.
Here is my point. Let us all be aware of what is happening around us, to be cognizant of the little steps in the grand scheme of things. One small toll road is not one small toll road, but a step in a longer plan to have toll roads wherever we go. Each toll is a tax on your freedom to travel. Each tax is one more until you are paying a dollar in tax for every dollar you earn, 100% tax.
When 30% goes to the IRS in April, 12% to the state, 7% for everything you buy, taxes on our cars, on our homes, on our phone, internet and television services, hidden taxes in our gas, food and other consumables and now on the road we travel – how long until you must pay every dollar you earn?
A little more each time is how you cook a frog.