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mtsalmela80

gas prices

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Sure except we have an anti-oil anti-energy president who wants to drive up the price of fuel, as if that's going to somehow make us quicker to develop alternative energies. In the mean time, every middle class Tom Dick and Sue who has to pay a few hundred dollars a week for gas is going to go into the poor house.

If he really wanted to help the middle class, he would make the rich pay more per gallon for gasoline than the poor and middle class.

What the president does not understand is as he drives up the price of fuel, the oil executives only make more money. The "99%" continue to delve deeper into depression and destitution.

Originally Posted by k-troop

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.



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Originally Posted by newtogolf

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.


1&2: You don't know the difference between communism and socialism. Socialism means the government provides services, such as healthcare, rather than leaving them to the private sector. The money for this is taken from taxes, and it can range from a large amount of social programs to just a few. Communism is when every dime is redistributed by the government. If you take 20% from the income of the wealthy, you're not legislating them out of prosperity. I'm sure they'd rather have a million dollar income over 800,000, but then again the guy making 20 grand at McDonald's needs the 4,000 he pays much more, since he has no disposable income. In a communist system, both would make a meager living, let's say 30 grand. There's a huge difference between higher taxes and communism, even if the tax rate is 90% the rich would remain rich.

3: I don't disagree, but it seems to me there are people with a lot more than they really need, and people with a lot less than they need. Rich people aren't necessarily entitled to be rich, and the poor don't all deserve to be poor.

4: Empty rhetoric. Ever hear of investments? What about a person hiring workers so his business makes a steady profit? Or the interest that magically accrues on loans? The truth is, you can't multiply wealth by letting it sit in a vault, and you can't do anything with it unless you spend or invest it.

5: First of all, it was never halves. Let's get that straight. Second, to say that one half is so lazy they won't work is a load of crap. In a socialist system, not communism, those who don't work aren't living as well as the workers. Socialism might reduce the salary a bit, but the money you make will still be proportionately the same relative to others, and many of the essential expenses  like healthcare would be taken care of either in part or entirely. So everyone would mainly have about the same disposable income they do now, since government run healthcare would be cheaper, more ethical, and not corrupt as it is now. The wealthy like to threaten to filibuster, but they're just trying to get appeased. Besides, with the poor having a bit more disposable income, wouldn't the owners of businesses get more business, thus making the rich rich again? The real reaction in the communist system wasn't the wealthy trying to get a free ride; they said "hey, the only way we can be richer than the others is to be corrupt!". How about social security and pensions? That's a lot closer to one half taking care of another. What if I became president and said: "Everyone pulls their own weight. If you're under 16, your parents have to feed you or you starve. If you're too old or sick or lazy to make a living, we'll send a crematory truck round your house and euthanize you". That would be the extension of that argument; those that don't work would need to be forced to work or they'd die. Certainly that would get the unemployment rate down to 0, but it's absurd.

I don't believe that every industry should just be run by the government, but many are too important to let greed and bullshit get in the way. The private sector only cares about money and self preservation, while the government workers operate on a different set of ethics. In the private sector, you're encouraged to make as much money for the firm as possible, and if you displease the boss you can be fired for almost any reason. There's very little protection of your job, due to competition, and therefore you risk being fired if you refuse an unethical order, for example. In a state job, you're a bureaucrat who is tenured if you've been with the department for any decent amount of time, so if your boss asks you to do something unethical, you can tell him to kiss your ass and get him busted, get the union involved, etc. Also state workers have benefits even at low levels of service, so it's a much more livable position than most private sector jobs.

Most people who have problems with so called "big government" are either rich, opposed in principle, or they have never heard of local government and have never had a relationship with them.  It's easy to dislike the Feds, but remember there are a large number of good jobs at the state and local level, most of which are filled with good public servants who serve your own community.

@ mtsalmela80 The president doesn't exactly have any control over oil prices. The idea that you could base gas prices on income would only work if you nationalized the industry, then gave every American a gas card, and had a government agency manage the distribution. There'd be rationing, lawsuits, and fraud.

Anyway, the rich do pay extra; they have to put premium into the tank instead of regular.

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Originally Posted by mtsalmela80

Sure except we have an anti-oil anti-energy president who wants to drive up the price of fuel, as if that's going to somehow make us quicker to develop alternative energies. In the mean time, every middle class Tom Dick and Sue who has to pay a few hundred dollars a week for gas is going to go into the poor house.

If he really wanted to help the middle class, he would make the rich pay more per gallon for gasoline than the poor and middle class.

What the president does not understand is as he drives up the price of fuel, the oil executives only make more money. The "99%" continue to delve deeper into depression and destitution.



Anti-energy?  What is he Amish?

And, do you seriously think that a sitting president hoping to get re-elected would want to drive up gas prices?

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I didn't write it, and take no reponsibility for its content other than I posted it here.  As for the rest of your response, I have one question, are you a student?

Originally Posted by LuciusWooding

1&2: You don't know the difference between communism and socialism.



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Originally Posted by mtsalmela80

Sure except we have an anti-oil anti-energy president who wants to drive up the price of fuel, as if that's going to somehow make us quicker to develop alternative energies. In the mean time, every middle class Tom Dick and Sue who has to pay a few hundred dollars a week for gas is going to go into the poor house.

If he really wanted to help the middle class, he would make the rich pay more per gallon for gasoline than the poor and middle class.

What the president does not understand is as he drives up the price of fuel, the oil executives only make more money. The "99%" continue to delve deeper into depression and destitution.


I'm not sure whether you're being sarcastic about the part in red.  Based on your other posts I suspect you are, but I will give you the benefit of the doubt.  It is an interesting concept.  In the alternative, we could tax oil company profits the same way we do everyone else, and redistribute that in the form of a subsidy on consumption.  Either method would be a half-measure:  you simply can't make somehting a half-public/half-private good.  All of the incentives have to be aligned or it doesn't work.

As for the entire statement, you are vastly overstating what the President can actually do.  How is he supposed to "make the rich pay more per gallon" than the rest of us?  Shall we pass a law that says "no person whose AGI is under $100,000 shall pay more than $2/gal for regular unleaded gasoline"?  How about "no person whose AGI is over $250,000 shall pay less than $50/gal for regular unleaded gasoline"?

Also, "the President" is not personally driving up the price of gas (or the oil from which it is derived).   Those prices are set by a global market and are being influenced upward by demand spike from India/China (which cannot be relieved or reversed) and panic from speculative investors (which can).  The "panic" (maybe not the best word choice) is a function of many things, including the uncertainty about overall global supply, overall global demand, and whether oil will be the energy of choice in 20 years.  Mostly, though, it's about uncertainty.

The only thing that the President can actually influence WRT oil is whether or not US Federal lands are opened for exploration.  He cannot control how that additional oil will affect the global market.  The influence that additional supply will actually have on the global market is under-analyzed and overstated in political discourse.  The reality is that the VAST MAJORITY of this additional supply simply is not profitable if the price/bbl at the wellhead is under $50, which is approximately the price for $2/gal gas.  Therefore, the market, even if given the opportunity, simply will not produce this oil at "cheap gas" prices.  Further, even assuming that all of this oil is produced, it will not significantly change the supply/demand curve (by significantly I mean enough to cut the price of gasoline 50%).  This oil is not a US commodity but a global commodity.  While it could influence the US supply/demand curve drastically, companies will not sell on a US market at $40/bbl when they can get $80/bbl on the global market.  The demand explosion from India/China over the last 10 years is a new phenomenon, and isn't going away--it's going to get worse.  The global demand for oil over the next 10 years will probably double or worse as the growing consumer culture of China and India add 5-10 US'es worth of cars and factories.

One thing the President can do is incentivize entirely new technologies.  A new technology might not be subject to the same commodity-based market forces that drive oil.  A new technology, once discovered, might be something that simply requires us to build infrastructure and then it will produce as much energy as we need.  We don't really know, because this "new technology" doesn't exist yet.  Research grants, tax incentives for new technologies, a "jackpot" or "grand prize" for the first company to prototype a scalable product, are all options that the President might have to influence this new technology.  Another way is to make the old technology (oil) sooooo expensive that no one can afford it anymore, so the "market" is forced to solve the problem on it's own (this is basically what you're describing, and it has a kernel of truth).

In any of this, the President and Congress must be working together. Really neither of them can "do" anything alone.  Alone, they can only "not do" things.  And your "anti-oil anti-energy" President hasn't actually done anything, because Congress won't let him.


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Originally Posted by newtogolf

I didn't write it, and take no reponsibility for its content other than I posted it here.  As for the rest of your response, I have one question, are you a student?


I know you didn't write it, my comments are directed as a rebuttal to the writer.

I am a college student, yes. I've heard of the "experiment" before, but I've yet to see a source. I think it might be BS, unless someone knows the school and teacher it came from. Also, college students and grades aren't exactly a good analogue to actual work. The students who are laziest often get decent grades, and the hardest workers often suck at test taking or just need to work harder because they're not as smart. Then there's the fact that the teacher wanted to prove himself right, so I have no doubt he would have made the tests unfair as well.

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It is actually half as in half of the US population did not pay federal income tax last year, which means the half that did is funding the entire government with the possible exception of social security and medicaid.

Originally Posted by LuciusWooding

5: First of all, it was never halves. Let's get that straight.



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Originally Posted by LuciusWooding

1&2: You don't know the difference between communism and socialism. Socialism means the government provides services, such as healthcare, rather than leaving them to the private sector. The money for this is taken from taxes, and it can range from a large amount of social programs to just a few. Communism is when every dime is redistributed by the government.


Originally Posted by newtogolf

I didn't write it, and take no reponsibility for its content other than I posted it here.


Whether or not this "experiment" actually happened, the parable does illustrate the problem of communism quite well.  I also agree that's not what we're talking about here, and it's a common misconception.  Call it a "scary label" that politicians use to keep us from talking about the real issues in a rational way.

What we are talking about is the role of government in providing public goods.  Once society decides that a certain good cannot be denied to someone (such as health care, energy, basic subsistence), how is the best way to provide that good so as to eliminate unnecessary free-riding and self-dealing.

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Originally Posted by newtogolf

It is actually half as in half of the US population did not pay federal income tax last year, which means the half that did is funding the entire government with the possible exception of social security and medicaid.



I'm surprised to hear that, but remember that there are other sources of taxation besides income tax, so to say that only those who are paying income tax are funding the government isn't accurate.

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No offense to you and this in fact may never apply to you, but when I was in college I was also very idealistic.  As I've spent more time working and now owning my own business where I employ over 50 people I've become much less idealistic in my thoughts and beliefs.  Life and reality have a way of changing how you see things.

It would be unfair to you and, if you're like I was, fruitless for us to spend time debating the points I disagree with you on as you need to experience life on your own and draw your own conclusions.  After you have been in the business world you may see things differently especially after you've had an opportunity to observe what I have.  IMO the way the current government is structured there's no amount of money that can fix the problems they and past administrations have created.

Originally Posted by LuciusWooding

I know you didn't write it, my comments are directed as a rebuttal to the writer.

I am a college student, yes. I've heard of the "experiment" before, but I've yet to see a source. I think it might be BS, unless someone knows the school and teacher it came from. Also, college students and grades aren't exactly a good analogue to actual work. The students who are laziest often get decent grades, and the hardest workers often suck at test taking or just need to work harder because they're not as smart. Then there's the fact that the teacher wanted to prove himself right, so I have no doubt he would have made the tests unfair as well.



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You're right, but that's why I left Medicaid and social security out, as people with jobs may not pay income tax but must contribute to social security and medicaid regardless of income levels.

Originally Posted by LuciusWooding

I'm surprised to hear that, but remember that there are other sources of taxation besides income tax, so to say that only those who are paying income tax are funding the government isn't accurate.



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Sure except we have an anti-oil anti-energy president who wants to drive up the price of fuel, as if that's going to somehow make us quicker to develop alternative energies. In the mean time, every middle class Tom Dick and Sue who has to pay a few hundred dollars a week for gas is going to go into the poor house. If he really wanted to help the middle class, he would make the rich pay more per gallon for gasoline than the poor and middle class. What the president does not understand is as he drives up the price of fuel, the oil executives only make more money. The "99%" continue to delve deeper into depression and destitution.

You could say that the last President was pro-oil, yet gas prices rose steadily throughout his presidency, even relative to inflation. (That wasn't meant to be a shot at George Bush, if I wanted to attack him for something, gas prices would be low on the list, same for Obama.) There are simply way too many factors involved.

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Jamo is correct, the President doesn't control gas prices.  What the President does control is foreign policy and that does influence what happens within OPEC nations.  It might not be coincidence that gas prices have been elevated since we initiated military activities in the middle east.

Originally Posted by jamo

You could say that the last President was pro-oil, yet gas prices rose steadily throughout his presidency, even relative to inflation. (That wasn't meant to be a shot at George Bush, if I wanted to attack him for something, gas prices would be low on the list.) There are simply way too many factors involved.



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Originally Posted by newtogolf

No offense to you and this in fact may never apply to you, but when I was in college I was also very idealistic.  As I've spent more time working and now owning my own business where I employ over 50 people I've become much less idealistic in my thoughts and beliefs.  Life and reality have a way of changing how you see things.

It would be unfair to you and, if you're like I was, fruitless for us to spend time debating the points I disagree with you on as you need to experience life on your own and draw your own conclusions.  After you have been in the business world you may see things differently especially after you've had an opportunity to observe what I have.  IMO the way the current government is structured there's no amount of money that can fix the problems they and past administrations have created.


I agree people in college are usually more idealistic, but my own views are in large part due to both my parents being union members, and my mother being a state employee for the last 20 years. So there's a difference between what's putting food on our tables, at any rate. There is also a big difference between the small business world and corporations. And as a fellow Long Islander, I appreciate that we pay a large amount of taxes and have a high cost of living, but don't exactly get a lot in return. Government of any type needs to be done well in order to work, I think we can agree on that.

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Agreed, and as a Long Islander with two hard working parents you know they send a lot of tax money to Albany only to see a very small percentage of it back.  Our local property taxes keep increasing to fund an inefficient and disfunctional city who's political leaders don't understand that if you chase out all of the tax payers by constantly increasing taxes there eventually will be no one left to foot the bill for those you wish to cater to.  New York is the perfect small sample set of the problems facing this country, and those in government have no clue on how to fix it.

Originally Posted by LuciusWooding

I agree people in college are usually more idealistic, but my own views are in large part due to both my parents being union members, and my mother being a state employee for the last 20 years. So there's a difference between what's putting food on our tables, at any rate. There is also a big difference between the small business world and corporations. And as a fellow Long Islander, I appreciate that we pay a large amount of taxes and have a high cost of living, but don't exactly get a lot in return. Government of any type needs to be done well in order to work, I think we can agree on that.



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The amusing part is that reason for the increase in the amount of people that don't pay income tax is a combo of 2 things

1) The recession. If your unemployed, you don't pay taxes

2) The bush tax cuts. Not so much the rates which get all the press but the huge tax credits for families. I didn't remember anyone complaining about that redistribution of wealth.

You have to remember that there has always been a base line of people that will owe nothing since their income is either nonexistant or tax exempt (Social security).

As far as where the federal government get's its money it is a combo of income tax (personal+corporate), payroll taxes, and borrowing in roughly (+-30%) equal chunks. The rest (excise, estate, dutites,...) is noise.

Originally Posted by LuciusWooding

I'm surprised to hear that, but remember that there are other sources of taxation besides income tax, so to say that only those who are paying income tax are funding the government isn't accurate.



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The two items you listed is part of the reason, but are not the only ones.  Don't you find it interesting that Obama, Buffet and others that claim to be willing to pay higher taxes haven't written a check to back their statements up?  I don't want to pay higher taxes but if they do, they should write those checks today, so why aren't they?

Originally Posted by x129

The amusing part is that reason for the increase in the amount of people that don't pay income tax is a combo of 2 things

1) The recession. If your unemployed, you don't pay taxes

2) The bush tax cuts. Not so much the rates which get all the press but the huge tax credits for families. I didn't remember anyone complaining about that redistribution of wealth.

You have to remember that there has always been a base line of people that will owe nothing since their income is either nonexistant or tax exempt (Social security).

As far as where the federal government get's its money it is a combo of income tax (personal+corporate), payroll taxes, and borrowing in roughly (+-30%) equal chunks. The rest (excise, estate, dutites,...) is noise.



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The govt would be prohibited by law from accepting those checks. And if even a single D in Congress voted for the bill to accept such a check, the "Democrats vote to increase taxes by 3000%" headlines would drown out the airwaves for months.

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