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#19863 - 04/29/06 04:40 AM The Proposed $100 Gas Rebate
Daniel Offline
veteran

Registered: 05/23/01
Posts: 1515
I came across this Slate article with what I thought was a good line about the proposal in Congress to give every family (up to certain income limits) a $100 check to help them cope with high gas prices:

"In other words, taxpayers would borrow money from foreigners like the Saudis in order to send $100 checks to Americans so they can buy more gas from foreigners like the Saudis."

It's amazing to watch the supposedly tough, can-do Americans turn into whiny, sniveling children when gas prices go up. And it's appalling to watch our politicians turn into spineless, overindulgent parents falling over each other to placate their whiney, sniveling children.

I realize that unanticipated increased gas prices are a burden for some families. But few people seem to have the courage to state publicly that it's our own fault. Some have been preaching conservation since, oh, the Carter administration. Those warnings have been willfully ignored in favor of maintaining our gluttonous American lifestyle. And now it seems to me that most of the public wants to be spared the consequences of their own bad choices, and Congress seems only too happy to oblige.

The complete absence of leadership is astounding, if perhaps predictable given the nature of politics these days. Still, I hoped that some official would have the courage to speak the truth: higher gas prices are a good thing in the long run. They're the best incentive to use less of the stuff (far better than increasing fuel economy standards, which take years to make an impact as people slowly replace their cars). They make alternatives more economically viable. As long as gas is cheap, we'll continue to gorge ourselves on it and make ourselves more dependent on those that provide it. The best way to avoid paying a lot at the pump is to drive less if possible and get a car that uses the stuff more efficiently.

What a bunch of cowards our representatives are, refusing to tell us to take responsibility for our shortsighted decisions. If they bail us out, there is no incentive to not make more bad decisions. I'll have respect for the politician who is willing to say that perhaps some mild relief might be provided for the summer season, but after that, we should have to live with the choices we make. Maybe then we'd start making better ones. But talking tough to the public doesn't seem to be on either party's agenda. And staying away from what I suppose they see as political losers will make us all economic and evironmental losers in the long run.

Republicans, the party of personal responsibility, have totally caved on this issue. The Democrats, as usual, have failed to provide real, tough leadership. Is there anything we can do?

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#19864 - 04/29/06 11:20 AM Re: The Proposed $100 Gas Rebate [Re: Daniel]
oenophore Online   confused
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/24/01
Posts: 5978
Loc: 212 land
I'll agree with the above and offer my unsolicited opinion. For most of us, one of the great priorities in life is keeping one's job. In the case of legislators, it surpasses the need to pass good legislation -- re-election by hook or crook comes first. For many of us, we try to do the best we can employmentwise, and this oft entails long commutes, practical only by auto.
We all know the American way of dealing with a national problem is to largely ignore it until it becomes critical, then launch a costly crash project to deal with it. We await the latter.
_________________________

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#19865 - 04/29/06 02:15 PM Re: The Proposed $100 Gas Rebate [Re: oenophore]
Mike Rawdon Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/29/99
Posts: 4276
Loc: Poughkeepsie
$100 "gas rebate"?

BRILLIANT !!!!

If the gov't pays me back some of what I'm spending, then

a) I'm not as alarmed by high energy prices, because
b) energy is no longer as expensive, really, so
c) I can keep driving my gas guzzler, which only proves
d) that it's all the oil companies' gouging that's behind this.
e) in collusion with the Bush administration, of course.

Wow, talk about bad politics. Which political 'bags are behind this? (Yes I'm too lazy to read the article)

Edit - OK I checked. It's our good friend Bill Frist. Figures...


Edited by Mike Rawdon (04/29/06 02:18 PM)

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#19866 - 05/01/06 12:42 PM Re: The Proposed $100 Gas Rebate [Re: Daniel]
chazman Offline
old hand

Registered: 02/07/02
Posts: 944
I just spent $44.90 to fill a Honda Accord... this $100 payoff/bribe is such a joke. I'm guessing a mid-sized SUV probably tops off at around $65/tank... forget about the land yachts (Excursions, Hummers,...). The originator of this little brainstorm should be immediately kicked in the ass and stamped "idiot" on his/her forehead. Plus... we're in a deficit... where is this money coming from? It's essentially a loan that we will pay back in taxes in the coming years.

And to think… 3 years ago today W was riding so high as he touched down on that aircraft carrier with “Mission Accomplished” hanging behind him in his full flight gear proclaiming:

Quote:

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all very much. Admiral Kelly, Captain Card, officers and sailors of the USS Abraham Lincoln, my fellow Americans: Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed. (Applause.) And now our coalition is engaged in securing and reconstructing that country.
In this battle, we have fought for the cause of liberty, and for the peace of the world. Our nation and our coalition are proud of this accomplishment -- yet, it is you, the members of the United States military, who achieved it. Your courage, your willingness to face danger for your country and for each other, made this day possible. Because of you, our nation is more secure. Because of you, the tyrant has fallen, and Iraq is free. (Applause.)



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#19867 - 05/01/06 01:59 PM Re: The Proposed $100 Gas Rebate [Re: chazman]
Smike Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/01/01
Posts: 3143
Loc: in your backyard
It would be good to read some of the various documents that go over the 'facts' as to why gas is so expensive (in contrast to recent prior pricing) to understand what actions should or shouldn’t be taken.

http://www.ethanol.org/documents/WhyThreeDollarGas_000.pdf (Link to a PDF)

From: http://www.ethanol.org/

http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2006/02/exxonmobil.html

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#19868 - 05/01/06 03:37 PM Re: The Proposed $100 Gas Rebate [Re: Daniel]
Kevin Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 11/17/99
Posts: 201
The media has reported that this will possibly go to 100million people... Since this is in response to raising gasoline prices in a direct connection to autos... is the money going to go JUST drivers or everyone under the clip level... What gets me is that it seems that they are going to give this 'rebate/joke' to everyone... Not to be rude, why should someone that does not have a car be allowed to receive this $100?

I only ask this because Bush said that is a 'refund' to help drivers cope with rising gasoline costs... He did not care about giving anyone a rebate when home heating oil went up last fall... No 'refund' then... My rent went up because of rising costs to the landlord... No 'refund' then...

I hope you get my point... And who is really going to pay for this... I love it when they (be it any politician righty or lefty) comes out these ideas and does not really think about who will really benefit... Not the consumer by a long shot.

This is another car trick to make the masses forget the guy behind the curtain... So many damn smoke and mirrors with this crew, makes you wonder if they hired some guy from Times Square to teach them how to play 'Three Card Monty' with the US.

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#19869 - 05/01/06 03:59 PM Re: The Proposed $100 Gas Rebate [Re: Kevin]
Smike Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/01/01
Posts: 3143
Loc: in your backyard
One element that is not in question is that the $100 will not solve the problem of Gas prices being at the rate they are due to the evolution of the oil market to what it is today (Fewer competitors, plus using spot pricing to gouge consumers)

Some will argue the higher prices are a good thing for environment, but right now the only beneficiaries of high prices are windfall record profits.


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#19870 - 05/01/06 04:24 PM Re: The Proposed $100 Gas Rebate [Re: Smike]
Daniel Offline
veteran

Registered: 05/23/01
Posts: 1515
right now the only beneficiaries of high prices are windfall record profits.

Well, I don't want the government determining how much profit constitutes a "windfall." Absent collusion, if prices are high for a commodity, then I don't see why the producers shouldn't get the benefit. Some politicians have talked about instituting an excess profits tax and putting the proceeds into an alternative energy fund. But how much profit is "excess"? Prices aren't determined by what constitutes a reasonable profit (whatever that is). It's determined by what people are willing to pay, supply, demand, and competition. Someone who makes something that people really, really want can charge a high price, even if it's pretty cheap to make.

What we should not do is subsidize that benefit. Instead of using an excess profits tax to fund alternative energy development, I think we should stop the subsidies to the oil and gas industries and put that money into alternative energy development. I just don't see any public policy reason why these companies should be supported with tax dollars. And I think smart politicians should expand that argument to the pharmaceutical industry (how many billions are wasted because Medicare is prohibited by law from bargaining for prescription drug prices?), agribusiness, and other forms of corporate welfare. It's an argument that could be embraced by conservatives and liberals, if only someone had the courage to make it, instead of pretending that low gas prices is a long-term good thing.

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#19871 - 05/01/06 04:53 PM Re: The Proposed $100 Gas Rebate [Re: Daniel]
Smike Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/01/01
Posts: 3143
Loc: in your backyard
Absent collusion, if prices are high for a commodity, then I don't see why the producers shouldn't get the benefit.

I agree 100% in a fair competitive market, but if you take a look at the 1st link I posted, it points out that profit % (or differential between true unit costs of oil vs. unit price of gas excluding taxes and certain regionally mandated fuel additives such as ethanol) per gallon of gas have far exceed the percentage of price increase in the true cost of oil in the last 4 months.

It’s apparent that the data in the report shows that profits jumped 48% over the increase in the price of oil since Jan 06. Slice it any six ways from Sunday and it all amounts to the driving public getting the shaft at the pump.

If this were ice cream at the supermarket then it would be a simple matter of cutting out ice cream from peoples diet, but to most working families driving to work is only way they can make a living, and the privilege to making that living has been IMHO unfairly gouged. If the electric company increase profits 48% via price increase in less then 4 months company execs. would be on trial.

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#19872 - 05/01/06 06:55 PM Re: The Proposed $100 Gas Rebate [Re: Smike]
ScottR Offline
journeyman

Registered: 05/27/05
Posts: 99
True cost of oil ??? What exactly is that ? Do you honestly expect any company to charge you 0% above their cost of exploration, extraction and delivery ? What does the true cost have to do with anything. That is like going to a landlord and saying you aren't going to pay anything above their "true" carrying cost. The only relevant fact is, whoever pays $73 a bbl wants it more than the guy who is willing to pay $72 a bbl and it gonna get it.

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