Sunday, January 4, 2009

Happy About Lower Gas Prices? INC Increased Gas Taxes.

Panel Urges 50% Gas Tax Increase

Due to the economic recession and the decrease in overall gasoline usage, gas prices are at about a 5 year low currently with the USA national average at ~$1.65/gal. This has brought much needed relief to "middle-class" America who are facing increasing debt and decreasing job security. This also has provided a relief to American companies whose sales have been dropping off (due to the recession) because they no longer have huge shipping costs for both raw materials and shipping their product to customers. Although oil companies are still pretty high on people's "I SWEAR I'D KICK THAT CEO'S ASS IF I SAW HIM AT THIS BAR" list, it has at least lowered some of the hatred.

Of course things this good cannot last long. The linked article above describes the current lobbying of The National Commission on Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing to increase gas taxes for funding purposes. Said commission states that "the current 18.4 cents a gallon gas tax and 24.4 cents a gallon diesel tax fail to raise enough to keep pace with the cost of road, bridge and transit programs." The recommendation is to increase the national gasoline tax by 10 cents a gallon and to raise the diesel tax by 12 to 15 cents a gallon. This means they want to increase the gasoline tax by 54%, which would raise the current tax to be 16.2% of the total gas cost ($1.65 average + additional 10 cent a gallon basis). Additionally, "the commission will recommend tying the fuel tax rates to inflation." This means that when inflation goes up therefore hiking up crude oil and gasoline prices up, the tax could increase even more.

Now backing up from the "I hate all taxes" stance, an increase of 10 cent a gallon really isn't too much of a deal breaker. I would actually be for this tax if the money would be used efficiently to increase the quality of roads and rail transportation (the future of the American economy IMO). The two things that WOULD majorly piss me off about this kind of a tax are 1) the government spends a ridiculous amount of money on the stupidest shit. I don't need to go into too much detail on the things I believe to be retarded; everyone has their list. Most people do agree that money is being spent in retarded places. How about we take some of that stupid money and re-allocate it to transportation (and other important things LIKE SCHOOLS). The second thing that would piss me off is, the people who improve the transportation systems in America are seriously idiots. How long did it take the Virginia DOT to finish the construction on I-64 west from Norfolk to Williamsburg? There is still construction going on here in Houston from the FIRST DAY I ARRIVED HERE IN 2005. AND TRUST ME IT ISN'T HARD STUFF. My feeling is that the state governments give the construction contracts to companies who do NOT deserve them. Most of them milk the government for more and more money while the people who approve these contracts get nice dinners and "gifts" from the head of said companies.

This means that you and I pay for "improving transportation" that could be paid for by smart government investing and improving the efficiency of construction. I don't necessarily blame the commission for wanting some money to compensate for the slowing economy. They definitely are not going to get it from the upcoming administration who is promising to cut taxes and is forced to bailout the increasing number of American companies. They have to turn to increasing the tax on the one thing we are all thankful that the price is finally going down for. This should concern all of us because this could be an increasing trend of increasing prices due to the recession (hello supply and demand). The worst example of this is the increasing cost of college tuition (which I hope to write about in the future). Do you think an additional 10 cent/gallon is a big deal or not much of anything?




Aside: this blog was more of a rant than anything revolutionary and was not really well written. I just wanted to get something down to increase the traffic of the blog (like Boski mentioned) and also get some of the small beef off my chest.

Also, cool website I found of historical gas prices when I was looking for how low the current gas prices are: http://www.massachusettsgasprices.com/retail_price_chart.aspx
Interesting to see how gas prices have tracked with crude prices.

20 comments:

Staboski said...

I'm not opposed to taxes. I know they are there to keep the company running, however I am on the fence on this tax increase. I think its pretty slick to try and sqeeze it in now while the gas prices are low. A few months ago people would be saying no way, now since they are just getting used to paying $1.60 a gallon from around $4.00 a $.10 increase doesn't seem like much. But when gas prices go back up what will we be saying then. And to tie it into inflation???? I think it should be tied into gas pricing. If the price of gas goes up the tax goes down, and vice versa. That way we won't feel like we are getting screwed. Its like you said though I mean how long have past road "improvements" been going on??? Better management will lead to more cost efficient projects. And don't get me started on where the tax dollars are going. In VA they are talking about cutting back school funding to help get us out of debt....now to me that would be one of the last palces you cut cash from.

nyphon said...

Aren't gas prices and transportation costs (roads, bridges, etc) State regulated? Is this tax for Virginia only? If so I'll just buy my gas in Maryland :p

term said...

There are both state and federal taxes. The print at the bottom of the chart shows the federal tax rate of 18.4 cent/gal which is in addition to the state taxes listed.

http://www.gaspricewatch.com/usgastaxes.asp

Prime said...

quick note on boskis point about va cutting back tax dollars to schools....this is because we have the worst governor probably in the country. anyone who voted for this guy should have known that all of our tax dollars would be put into welfare and everything else was going to suffer...

im pretty much strongly opposed to any additional taxes in this country. i dont have the knowledge to factually back up my views, but its pretty obvious that our taxes for the most part are poorly used. there is just too much greed in politics, and the country in general, for tax dollars ever to be fully used to improve society.

if we are going to increase taxes tho, i would just jack up taxes on companies who outsource work out of our country. you want to make your cars in china and sell them in the US? ok fine, but your going to have to pay an outrageous tax fee to do this. dont know how feasible this is, but that is the kind of route i would take if we absolutely have to boost taxes

term said...

You have to be careful about taxing imports highly. All this ends up doing is making the consumers (you and I) pay extraordinary prices for goods because companies who produce in the US can afford to be less efficient.

I definitely see your point when it comes to using cheap labor in other countries though. Maybe forcing these companies to pay the difference between their workers actual wages and the US minimum wage to the government could work.

All in all this kind of tax goes against most things I believe in, which is best product gets the business (lowest price/best quality). Of course this leads to our current status of the US, which is we have EXTREMELY weak manufacturing business. Pair this with our ever growing cost of college and declining funding for public schools and you get the potential for the recession to last a long time. I think within a month I may drop my all-out capitalist philosophy.

Staboski said...

How long have I been saying Communism works. And I maybe taking that to an extreme but thats just my thought. Especially in countries that have small populations. I think we need to adopt some form of Socialism in this country. I hear what Prime is saying on taxing products made outside of the US in order to increase US jobs and economy but it is a fine line that you have to walk when doing that. A good example would be the tariff on ethanol. If the US would have lifted it, or even reduced it during the summer when gas was $4 a gallon we would have seen a bit of a help at the pump. But instead we kept there to encourage US farmers to increase their production and profit on corn when we could have been importing Brazilian sugar cane which is easier, cheaper, and faster to grow then corn and produces more ethanol.

nyphon said...

whoa whoa whoa....communism works? what are you smokin bosk? how about you go to school for 10 more years and work 80 hours a week to finally become a doctor and then give all of your wages to the govt so they can give you the same life as a guy who drops out of high school and becomes a trash man. doesn't sound very fair to me.

Staboski said...

You are taking communism to the limit on that scenario, but i'll accept it and give you my rebutle. Basically if you want communism to work you have to step out of the capatilistic mind set, which I won't lie, I have right now basically because I live in the US. You have to embrace your country for communism to work. You have to think what I am doing is not for me it is for the greater good. Myself and Pex discussed this breifely regarding health care here vs. goverment controled type. Basically you go to school for 10 more years and work 80 hours a week because you want to help people and you want the country to achieve all that it can. I actually pull a quote from Star Trek, they go back in time to the mid 21st century and bring someone who was living then on their ship. She asked how much did this thing cost to make, Cpt. Picard says money has no meaning in the future. She responds with "what you mean you don't get paid?" He says "We work to better ourselves". This is what you have to believe for communisum to work. That the doctors are working hard and my job as a garbage man I need to work just as hard. Now look, getting this to work is next to impossible. Greed is powerful human emotion and getting everyone to come together is not going to happen, history for the most part has shown that. Thats why I was saying heading toward something more in the Socialism realm might be more applicable.

nyphon said...

i don't even know where to start. take 100 people doing the same job (let's say manufacturing cars). you work your ass off to put together 8 cars during your shift; however, you notice others are only making 6 cars during their shift. after a while, the guy making 8 cars is going to get pissed b/c he gets the same rations as everyone else, thus he starts slacking. people lose motivation and rightfully so. where as capitalism rewards those who put forth the effort and give people the hope that they can achieve anything they put their mind to.

what happens if the person in charge of the nation sucks? are you going to want to work as hard as everyone else to "better the country" considering you don't agree with who is in charge and/or their ideals?

i'm also not sure if i agree with free health care. free health care = run by the gov't = no right to choose. would you sacrifice your right to choose the doctor/facility/drugs for coop and jack to have free health care? i don't think i'm ready to give up that right.

pex said...

communism would be best but only in a perfect world. the type of utopia where everyone has a job and performs it to the fullest of their ability. obviously that isnt the case though, so capitalism seems like the least horrible option until something else comes along.

Staboski said...

I hear you nate, i'm obviously taking an extremist veiw. But to address your question about the guy who drops production down to 6 cars it simple, you force him to make 8. Everyone has to understand it is for the greater good, if not then they are drag on the country and need to be delt with. Like Pex said its pretty much impossible unless in a perfect soceity. Look at any communist nation and the way you back it up is by force, now is that the best way, probably not. But just because capitalism normally rewards hard work how many people do you see slacking? I see plenty. The system is not without flaws, but no system is perfect. Capitalism doesn't offer all these great opps like you are saying.

The health care debate is really another post all together. I'm limited to the doctors I choose by my insurance provider. Do you know how much Boski even pays in health insurance for myself and my two children????? Just a shade under $12,000 a year. Yes thats right $12k of my salary goes to health care. As long as a doctor is in my group I can go to it, but what if the best doctor in the world is not in my group????? I'm covering all those cost myself. No help from my insurance, which on special visits, etc. only covers 70%, which is great. But when Coop/Jack had their problems when they were younger I was paying out some heafty bills even after insurance helped.

nyphon said...

if communism is based on working the best of your ability, some people aren't physically able to make 6 cars, so how can you force them?

no system is perfect, i agree. with communism everyone is equal, but there will still be slackers. there are slackers in capitalism as well, but at least you aren't trapped on the same level as the slackers. capitalism allows you the opportunity to better yourself and your children.

finally, who is to say communism "would be best" even if it was a perfect world? maybe in terms of everyone being equal, yeah. but what about from an economic view? if you had 2 islands (one communist and one capitalist) i'd argue that the capitalist island would be best from an economic standpoint. Privatization breeds competition.
Plus, if you start throwing tons of people in a factory, you will start producing products at a slower rate with less quality (pretty much the exact opposite of economies of scale), which is what happened to the ussr

term said...

I agree with Nathan.

"But just because capitalism normally rewards hard work how many people do you see slacking? I see plenty."

Don't use modern day United States as a model for capitalism. I would argue that we are more socialist than capitalist. That is why lazy fucks get handouts from the government and continue not to try. In the 'ideal' capitalist universe these people would not be able to feed their family so they would either try harder or die (since we are talking 'ideal' worlds here).

"Privatization breeds competition."

Amen.

And Boski, are you are forced to use Grand furniture's health care? I thought people have the option to go on their own and get an individual coverage?

pex said...

about your 2 islands argument. obviously this is only theoretical and so neither of us will be right, but i argue that the communist island would be better off. like boski says, communism is about the betterment of the whole. so if everyone is doing the best that they can at all times how would a capitalist island be better? sure capitalism breeds competition, but if everyone is working together as hard as they can towards the same goal it seems to me that they would be pretty dominant

term said...

Good point, but I believe that it is simply against human (or any animal) nature to work just as hard for a group than for themselves; meaning the capitalist island would see more productiveness per person than the communist island.

I guess that semi-breaks the whole theoretical point of the argument? Is that the wrong way to respond to your point?

Staboski said...

To answer your question Term no I am not required to use the company backed health insurance. And in fact as I look at other options and quote this out it looks like it is going to be more cost effective to get it directly from the insurance provider. Again thats another debat all in itself.

For the communist scenario to work you need to throw competition out the window as a motivating factor. Competition is a strong motivator, THE motivator in a capitalist society, but is it really the best? It leads to lies, cheating, stealing, pain, suffering. It does alot of good to, but what wouldn't it (again in a pefect world) be better if everyone wanted to work and achieve more because we are betterin humanity. Boon says it would suck if you were working in a communist country and you were a doctor and were treated the same as a garbage man. Lets look at Paris Hilton....what has she done in her lift...not much of shit other than party, drink, suck dick, and show up on tv. She'll spend more money in one shopping spree then we make in a year. In a communist world she would be working or would be out.

Look don't get me wrong for this to work it would require something that is virtually impossilbe to happen. And am I opposed to Capitalsim? No I am not. Trust me when I work hard I want to be rewarded for it, I want a fucking ferrari. I would only be willing to change if everyone else was ready for that change. To finish up term's question about human nature (or animal) in regard to the greatest good. It happens all the time in the animal world. Look at Bees and Ants. I'm sure you'll remember this quote....

"Sacrafice, to some it just a word...to others it is a code! What matters is the colony. He's willing to live for the colony, to fight for the colony, to die for the colony."

nyphon said...

haha nice find bosk. Here are some other quotes I pulled...

"Capitalism and communism stand at opposite poles. Their essential difference is this: The communist, seeing the rich man and his fine home, says: 'No man should have so much.' The capitalist, seeing the same thing, says: 'All men should have as much.' "
–Phelps Adams

"Communism doesn't work because people like to own stuff."
–Frank Zappa

Staboski said...

^lol. Oh and BTW boon, on my island everyone has a mansion, a ferrari, aston martin, a boat, a wife and two girls on the side strictly for sexual pleasure.

Prime said...

just something i wanted to share with the group but didnt want to make an actual post, i was just driving home and heard that rock band song, "your so very special, i wanna be special" and laughed uncontrollably because it sounded exactly like when boon sang the song on the game. very humorous, i hope that ended up in a 100% or the game has flaws, because it was dead on now that ive heard the real song

nyphon said...

haha nice. i think maybe you are referring to creep by radiohead