Taxes Buy Bombs

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Taxes Buy Bombs

Something like $.51 of every tax dollar goes toward our millitary right now. That's discretionary spending. Taxes really do buy bombs. And so the idea of even more gas tax sounds crazy to me. If the folks at Daily Kos think that the Dems should own the gas tax, they must hope the Republicans are going to win because there's few things Americans hate more than taxes. But let me just make a few points here. First we'll look at what Jerome Paris at Daily Kos calls four critical benefits of a gas tax:

–they increase gas prices, thus encouraging Americans to use less gas. By reducing demand, that will lower oil prices and thus both the volume and the cost of oil imports;

–they raise funds that can be used to help those Americans that will suffer from higher prices;

–they raise funds that can be used to invest in the R&D in technologies that will help find substitutes to oil;

–they can be used to make the process of increasing oil prices more predictable, which will allow to smoothen the transition.

First of all, the very notion of a gas tax to drive down demand belittles the common person. It says we're too stupid to understand that oil is running out and that we need to conserve, so we're going to impose this tax, which will of course hurt working people the most. Such a tax assumes that the rest of us just aren't smart enough to figure this out. It assumes that we must give our money to the government so they can teach us a lesson. Listen, the last thing I need is a lesson from that idiot chimp in the Oval Office.

Taxes are not teaching tools. Where did this idea come from?

The second point seems a bit strange. Somehow I'm supposed to believe that the tax revenue generated by this extra tax will be funnelled back to the poor people who need it so they can buy up more gas? Our supply of oil is running low. Why on earth would we help anybody consume more of a dwindling and precious resource unless it was absolutely necessary, like heating oil?

Americans are smart enough to figure this out. And, the mass media did it's job of informing us, they would be doing a better job at conservation right now. But have you noticed the headlines lately? Oil prices are due to unrest in the Middle East or some other political event. Just last night on the Daily Show we heard this repeated. Rarely is it mentioned that demand is outpacing supply. His third point is that the increased tax revenues could be funnelled into R&D to help find substitutes for oil. How about making these oil companies funnell a good portion of their profits into this? The government is already getting a hefty sum from us each time we pump gas. The oil companies are making the big bucks; and the solution is for us to pay more and more?

An increase in the already insane gas taxes would help make the processes of increased oil prices more predictable? Is that a joke? It's already predictable! This was predicted by an American geophysicist Marion King Hubbert in 1956. There are a ton of movies, books, and websites all predicting this and none of these people required a gas tax. In fact, just about anyone can predict that as our demand outpaces supply, prices will contiue to surge.

Don't tax me to teach me a lesson. Tax me to help redistribute wealth to the poor. Tax me to help the poor get medical treatment or education or job training. But do not tax me to help these energy companies that are making record profits screw me even harder then they already are.

What upsets me so much about these solutions is that they don't even come close to addressing the real problem: Our way of life is out of balance. We'll tax the shit out of you until we find a substitute for oil and then we'll carry on with our decadent and wasteful lifestyles, producing crap nobody wants and destroying the environment in the process.

Where did all the adults go? What ever happened to making sacrifices together? The asshole who just got a $400 million dollar retirement package, cough it up, guy. We know where you live. We live in a country with obscene wealth that is concentrated into very few hands. In fact wealth distribution is at Depression era rates. The gap between the rich and the poor is highest in any industrialized country.

A real solution to this problem must address our way of life. Like it or not, it has to change. Our wealth isn't magical; it's a direct cause of most of the poverty in the third world where we "steal" the resources and labor we need to maintain this decadent lifestyle. Walkable communities, locally grown foods, and local manufacturing are just a few of the things we must begin to implement. There should be a concerted effort by the media to explain what's going on in an honest and direct fashion. We shouldn't be hearing that this is due to political problems. The president should get on the news and let the American people know that we're not only addicted to oil, but that the source is running dry and we better kick it before it kicks us

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Published in: on April 19, 2006 at 10:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

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