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mtsalmela80

gas prices

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Originally Posted by k-troop

We as Americans tend to think that we are the only relevant breed on this planet.  We pay 1/2 to 1/3 of what the rest of the world pays for gas, excluding petrodictatorships.


can't argue with that.   Always amazes me what gas costs when I travel to Canada for fishing trips.     I work with guys from the UK that are amazed how cheap our gasoline is by comparison ...

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It will make the people who are just getting by, or just doing a little better than that go belly up. The very rich would still not have any problem paying for the gas. They are immune to fuel price changes. The problem is we have a president who claims to be fighting for Joe Everyman, but his policies are putting Joe Everyman right into the poor house. If he really wanted to fight for the poor, he would institute a sliding scale price system for gas based on income and assets.

Originally Posted by inthehole

You see just as many SUV gas guzzlers on the road today as you did 10 years ago.     $5 a gallon isn't enough to truly hurt the average person & change their habits & vehicle selection.    When gas gets to $7 or $8 a gallon, then, and only then will you see the overwhelming majority of people look for economical vehicles.      Maybe, its a good thing - I never liked the idea of a soccer mom driving a GMC Yukon or Ford Excursion because "its safe", with absolutely no concern for the poor bastard driving a Honda Civic that she would obliterate in an accident.      Higher gas prices would put most everybody on an even playing field...



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Yeah those countries are socialized, have free medical care, and a other innumerable benefits coming from the government. That's what their gas taxes are paying for, along with their 50% income tax. They also have a fraction of the population of the United States, which makes systems like that viable.

That is unless you want to adjust to the living style of the average Chinese man...but if you want that just move to China.

Originally Posted by k-troop

We as Americans tend to think that we are the only relevant breed on this planet.  We pay 1/2 to 1/3 of what the rest of the world pays for gas, excluding petrodictatorships.



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Care to give any reason why population size matters? Other than the fact that is harder to maintain tribe loyalty in large groups it shouldn't.  Tax rates are tricky and the numbers don't mean much unless can figure out the what is being taxed and how easy it is to avoid. And in this case you have to factor in what you get. If instead of paying 5k in taxes you pay 5k in health insurance, your tax rate is lower but the money in your pocket is the same. Some groups (i.e. the rich guy were 5k of 500k is 1%) win big with our system while other lose (5k for the guy it McDonalds would be like 1/3 of his salary). And finally ignoring tax rates, those countries have largely decided to spend money on social programs instead of military spending.  The US spends 2k a year per person. France spends 932, Germany spend 558, and the UK spends 922.  I wouldn't care to guess which one results in a happier society.

Originally Posted by mtsalmela80

Yeah those countries are socialized, have free medical care, and a other innumerable benefits coming from the government. That's what their gas taxes are paying for, along with their 50% income tax. They also have a fraction of the population of the United States, which makes systems like that viable.

That is unless you want to adjust to the living style of the average Chinese man...but if you want that just move to China.



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Originally Posted by x129

And in this case you have to factor in what you get. If instead of paying 5k in taxes you pay 5k in health insurance, your tax rate is lower but the money in your pocket is the same.


Logic has no place on this forum.

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If I need to explain to you why its more difficult to give quality health care to 320,000,000 people vs 10 million or 50 million, then I'm afraid this argument will go no where.

Originally Posted by x129

Care to give any reason why population size matters? Other than the fact that is harder to maintain tribe loyalty in large groups it shouldn't.  Tax rates are tricky and the numbers don't mean much unless can figure out the what is being taxed and how easy it is to avoid. And in this case you have to factor in what you get. If instead of paying 5k in taxes you pay 5k in health insurance, your tax rate is lower but the money in your pocket is the same. Some groups (i.e. the rich guy were 5k of 500k is 1%) win big with our system while other lose (5k for the guy it McDonalds would be like 1/3 of his salary). And finally ignoring tax rates, those countries have largely decided to spend money on social programs instead of military spending.  The US spends 2k a year per person. France spends 932, Germany spend 558, and the UK spends 922.  I wouldn't care to guess which one results in a happier society.



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Europe has 700 million people (i.e. 2x the us) and somehow they almost  all have quality universal health care. In the US 40 million of the worst patients all seem to do ok with our socialized health care.  But lets not let facts mess up  your world beliefs.

Originally Posted by mtsalmela80

If I need to explain to you why its more difficult to give quality health care to 320,000,000 people vs 10 million or 50 million, then I'm afraid this argument will go no where.



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Your argument would make sense except that Europe is a continent, and is split up into more manageable units called COUNTRIES. For example, Sweden is barely 10,000,000, thus they have pretty good health care. UK is far larger than that, and their health care is not as good.

There are couple countries with populations larger than the united states that have national health care. China and India. If you think they have adaquate health care, then you can continue your argument for the same health care system in the united states/

Originally Posted by x129

Europe has 700 million people (i.e. 2x the us) and somehow they almost  all have quality universal health care. In the US 40 million of the worst patients all seem to do ok with our socialized health care.  But lets not let facts mess up  your world beliefs.



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Originally Posted by x129

Europe has 700 million people (i.e. 2x the us) and somehow they almost  all have quality universal health care. In the US 40 million of the worst patients all seem to do ok with our socialized health care.  But lets not let facts mess up  your world beliefs.


Now you're going to bring up the fact that the Swiss, French, and Canadians all live longer than we do, and pay less per person on health care than we do?  Seriously?  Why don't you just tell me that clubhead speed is a good indicator of driving distance or some other completely fantastic and irrelevant "correlation"?

(BTW that was sarcasm for anyone who was confused.)

Originally Posted by mtsalmela80

Your argument would make sense except that Europe is a continent, and is split up into more manageable units called COUNTRIES. For example, Sweden is barely 10,000,000, thus they have pretty good health care. UK is far larger than that, and their health care is not as good.

There are couple countries with populations larger than the united states that have national health care. China and India. If you think they have adaquate health care, then you can continue your argument for the same health care system in the united states/


The economic theory "economy of scale", a fairly uncontroversial and universal theory, dictates that larger systems (efficiently managed) produce lower cost per unit/person.  Your conclusion about quality of care might be correct if the only common constraints are total cost (not $/unit) and central management, but clearly those are not the only factors to consider in a large system.

China and India may have "national health care" and poor quality.  They also spend far less per person than any European country--an unsurprising revelation given that their populations are over 3x the US population and their GDPs are smaller than the US.  There are also social and cultural issues specific to China and India (which are a sidebar and likely to lead to unnecessary arguments, so I won't elaborate) which impede the effectiveness of a universal benefit system.

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I'm totally fed up with people (let's just call them "the electorate") being spoon-fed conclusions by so-called news networks (Fox or MSNBC, take your pick) without really looking into the underlying data, learning a little bit about how a particular system or issue works, and drawing their own conclusions.  Facts are so irrelevant these days.

This is a global comment, but the health care issue brings up a good example.  The counter-arguments to health care are so cherry picked.  (There may be valid counter-arguments, but they're not occupying mainstream discussion.)

--It's socialist.  Who cares?  Call it "banana boatastic" for all I care.  Labels are stupid.  Stick to facts.

--It costs more.  Can you get more vague?  What part costs more?  Are there offsetting costs?  Will you actually be getting something of value for this "cost increase?"  If the government is providing you something that you would otherwise pay for on your own, are you considering the savings on the other end?  How do you explain that all of those sorry socialist bastard countries pay less per person for total health care than we do?  And my favorite, how do you explain that they pay like 1/4 what we do in Canada for the exact same drugs?

--They're robbing medicare.  This one is brilliant.  Of course they're robbing medicare--if there is one UNIVERSAL system, then there's no need for medicare.  That's not to even mention the monumental hypocrisy of attacking a gov't funded health care program, which you oppose on principle, because it undercuts another gov't funded health care program.

--It provides worse care (global argument).  The WHO lists the US as like 30th in total overall quality of health care.  The measure life expectancy, access to care, vaccines, drugs, etc., pre/neo-natal care, and all kinds of useless information.  The top-10 countries:  all of those socialist bastards with universal systems.  Damn them.

--It provides worse care (seniors and end-of-life argument).  This is a discussion that must be had.  A real, cost/benefit discussion.  Simply giving this issue a super scary label (death panel) and telling seniors that the President wants to murder them is so unacceptable.

--They're robbing doctors.  This one could be factually accurate, but probably moreso as it applies to private hospitals and insurance companies.  In order to work, a centrally managed universal system would have to have cost controls.  Right now, a highly intelligent and science-minded young person can go to 4 years of Med School, then suffer through a teeth and ball-kicking 5 years of residency/fellowship, only to be rewarded with $300k to $1M salaries on the back end.  Not to mention the billions being raked in by insurers, hospitals, and med mal lawyers.  We would be (hopefully) staunching this flow of cash, but let's at least be honest about what our beef is.

--The "market" is the only way to encourage innovation in medical science and technology.  Really?  Tell that to Galileo, Pasteur, etc.  Tell that to university research centers, or the thousands of doctors every year competing for genius grants and other small-potatoes prizes for innovations in science and research.  BTW those are the people really looking to cure diseases.  Merck and Pfizer are expending a substantial amount of research dollars trying to make your hard-ons bigger and more predictable, or to help you lose weight without actually having to do anything.

The point is, people should be making their own conclusions.  If you want a health care system that leaves open an avenue for Doctors and insurance companies to rake in bucks, and gives you a massive boner on demand, then great.  But be honest about it.  If you want to talk about the real decisions that would have to be made in a universal system (i.e. what to do about the 1/3 of total-system money spent on end-of life care that extends, but doesn't improve, life) then let's actually talk about it, but don't give it a super-scary label (like death panel) and then have Rush Limbaugh call anyone who wants to have a real cost/benefit discussion a murderer.

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France has 65 million people(a few million more than the UK) and has better healthcare than the UK and Sweden.  Breaking large problems into small ones is not hard.

And yeah it isn't surprising that poor countries have worse health care than rich ones. But look what that socialized health care did for their GDP growth compared to ours.

US 3%

India 8.8%

China 10.4%.

No reasonable person could dispute that if the US switched to socialized heath care we would more than double oure GDP growth right?   Please feel free to add the sarcasm tag if you need them.

Originally Posted by mtsalmela80

Your argument would make sense except that Europe is a continent, and is split up into more manageable units called COUNTRIES. For example, Sweden is barely 10,000,000, thus they have pretty good health care. UK is far larger than that, and their health care is not as good.

There are couple countries with populations larger than the united states that have national health care. China and India. If you think they have adaquate health care, then you can continue your argument for the same health care system in the united states/



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LOL. So what we need here are fields of factories full of people working in filthy conditions earning pennies on the dollar? There is a reason China produces all the world's cheap goods, and all of Americans companies are fast tracking all our jobs to India.

Originally Posted by x129

France has 65 million people(a few million more than the UK) and has better healthcare than the UK and Sweden.  Breaking large problems into small ones is not hard.

And yeah it isn't surprising that poor countries have worse health care than rich ones. But look what that socialized health care did for their GDP growth compared to ours.

US 3%

India 8.8%

China 10.4%.

No reasonable person could dispute that if the US switched to socialized heath care we would more than double oure GDP growth right?   Please feel free to add the sarcasm tag if you need them.



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Originally Posted by mtsalmela80

LOL. So what we need here are fields of factories full of people working in filthy conditions earning pennies on the dollar? There is a reason China produces all the world's cheap goods, and all of Americans companies are fast tracking all our jobs to India.



Yeah, the reason for India and China getting all our jobs is that it's more profitable for corporations. They hardly pay taxes as it is, they evade what they are supposed to pay, and they get the tax breaks because they supposedly employ American workers and give a trickle down effect. The problem is, the wages go to India and China while US workers sit on their hands. So really it's no surprise those countries have all that growth.

If we had a larger government with more social programs, we'd pay more taxes. Corporations would not be as profitable, and would likely be forced to pay higher taxes as well. But we'd have better healthcare than the private sector or our laughable government programs can provide, a lot more jobs in the bureaucracy (like several million), better pensions and social security, much better education funding, and the quality of life for our 100 million poorest citizens would improve by a whole lot. Who's opposing that again?

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So all we have to do is throw more money at Uncle Sam and he can fix everything? Wow, never knew it was so simple...

Originally Posted by LuciusWooding

Yeah, the reason for India and China getting all our jobs is that it's more profitable for corporations. They hardly pay taxes as it is, they evade what they are supposed to pay, and they get the tax breaks because they supposedly employ American workers and give a trickle down effect. The problem is, the wages go to India and China while US workers sit on their hands. So really it's no surprise those countries have all that growth.

If we had a larger government with more social programs, we'd pay more taxes. Corporations would not be as profitable, and would likely be forced to pay higher taxes as well. But we'd have better healthcare than the private sector or our laughable government programs can provide, a lot more jobs in the bureaucracy (like several million), better pensions and social security, much better education funding, and the quality of life for our 100 million poorest citizens would improve by a whole lot. Who's opposing that again?



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Originally Posted by LuciusWooding

If we had a larger government with more social programs, we'd pay more taxes. Corporations would not be as profitable, and would likely be forced to pay higher taxes as well. But we'd have better healthcare than the private sector or our laughable government programs can provide, a lot more jobs in the bureaucracy (like several million), better pensions and social security, much better education funding, and the quality of life for our 100 million poorest citizens would improve by a whole lot. Who's opposing that again?


Thankfully, a lot of people...

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Thought this might be applicable to the discussion

An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before, but had recently failed an entire class.

That class had insisted that Obama's socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.

The professor then said, "OK, we will have an experiment in this class on Obama's plan". All grades will be averaged and everyone will receive the same grade so no one will fail and no one will receive an A....

(substituting grades for dollars - something closer to home and more readily understood by all).

After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy. As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little..

The second test average was a D! No one was happy. When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F. As the tests proceeded, the scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else. To their great surprise, ALL FAILED and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great, but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed. It could not be any simpler than that.

These are possibly the 5 best sentences you'll ever read and all applicable to this experiment:

1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.

2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.

3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.

4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it!

5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation.

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Originally Posted by TitleistWI

Ok, so how did we go from whining about gas prices to whining about health care, taxes and Uncle Sam? LOL


Two reasons.

One, because I injected a long rant about the healthcare argument as a point that debates on real policy issues are more about labels these days than facts.

Two, because they're all related.  The common denominator for any "worthy" public expenditure is whether the commodity is a public good or private good.  Public goods are those which are provided centrally and consumed by all (none can be excluded).  From a purely economic theory standpoint, they also have to be of a nature that consumption by one does not reduce the quantity of the good available.  Politically, we treat things as public goods that do not meet this characteristic (education).

(This argument is not about what is defined in economic theory as a pure public good.  It's more about how does our social and political structure treat things as "public" or "private".)

National (or global) defense is a pure public good, because the only successful implementation strategy is deterrence.  Law enforcement is more localized, but still very much towards the public end of the spectrum, at least in any one discrete area.

Energy and health care are viewed as private goods, but they have public good aspects.  (Education has nearly identical attributes as energy and health care, but is treated as a public good.)  One of the defining characteristics, as mentioned before, is that none can be excluded.  Certain aspects of our society can not be denied health care:  elderly, disabled, and very poor people all have specifically targeted programs.  This is not due to the nature of the good itself:  we could say "no one gets health care unless they can pay for it."  We don't, however--our system says that if you are young and physically able, then you're on your own.  Another attribute of health care that pushes it towards the "public" end of the spectrum is how we pay for it.  The vast majority of people who receive treatment don't pay for it directly--the insurance company pays and spreads the cost out among it's risk pool (kinda similar to the way the Gov't pays for schools and teachers and spreads the cost among the tax base).

Energy is the same way, kinda.  Everyone agrees that the Gov't has a role in ensuring access to energy.  If you disagree with this statement, then ask yourself what would happen if the country simply went black one day.  Or why aircraft carriers park in the Persian Gulf and near the Strait of Hormuz.  Or why generators and air conditioners are provided to the sick and elderly every summer in Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, Southern Cal, etc.  Or why the corrupt energy trading practices of Enron and its affiliates were so clearly wrong and warranted swift government response.

From another perspective, public goods are not optional:  everyone needs them, and no one can survive without them.  Energy and health care are both "public" in this regard.  From an energy perspective, oil specifically is "mandatory" because there is no viable alternative.

It's very hard to explain this argument and these principles in a short forum post.  However, consider this one thing.  If energy is truly a free market, then why does the government spend billions every year ensuring that the oil market continues to exist?  Why not just let Iran close Hormuz, and tell the Saudi Kings and Princes to go f@(# themselves (and bomb the Wahabbi bastards into oblivion)?  If energy is really a free market, then the free market should be able to figure out a solution and get us back on track, right?

The answer is because the "mandatory" nature of oil gives it public good qualities that can't be ignored, and must be paid for, by the Government.

Effectively managed, the gov't should be able to do both at least as well as the "market" can.  (Note:  I'll argue that from a Defense perspective, we don't do the best possible job at this.  We spend a lot of money that has no impact on our "bottom line.")  The "market" is exceptionally good at regulating price and consumption of optional goods; but, as I said, neither health care nor energy are "optional" for people who want to survive in the modern world.  Thus, the government expends billions every year protecting the "market's" access to oil.  Likewise, the government artificially (and ineffectively) tries to execute public health care programs through the "market."

Basically, our government, and social/political systems, recognize the public good aspects of energy and health care.  However, we are unable to actually treat them the way that you would normally treat a public good:  centrally funded, scoped, planned, and managed.  We approach them from a hybrid government/free market screwdangle that is inefficiently ineffective.

Note to people who use words like "Socialist" and still think gas is too expensive:  the surest and most efficient way to ensure (for the long term) low gas prices in the USA would be to nationalize the oil industry.  The Gov't can control production and refining, and we could get all of our oil at home.  The two factors that most directly affect prices at the pump are the market price of crude and refining capacity.  If we allow the "market" to increase domestic production, then all that oil goes onto the global market which is, and will continue to be, driven way up by the demand spike from India/China (and market speculators).  (Not to mention that most of the vast stores of unexploited American oil is only profitable--and therefore will only be drilled--at prices exceeding $80/bbl.)  We have enough oil at home to satisfy our oil needs for 100 years, if we just kept it all here--but the market specifically impedes this.  If domestic production costs (ie the increased cost of extracting shale) are above $50/bbl at the well head--the approx. price needed for $2/gal gasoline--then we can subsidize the cost by cutting CENTCOM's budget (which basically only exists to protect Middle East oil).  Likewise, the market impedes increasing refining capacity.  Basically, you're asking gasoline producers to expend billions upgrading and expanding refining capacity so that they can charge less for their products, all the while no one is sure how long gasoline will still be the energy of choice.  The Government could overcome such impediments and uncertainties.

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Note: This thread is 2590 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

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