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Richard230
02 December 2010, 0915
You may have heard about the various proposals to try to reign-in the federal budget (good luck with that). One item that I think should have been different is the proposal to increase the gas tax by 15 cents. I still don't get why our politicians are so worried about increasing this tax. Hardly anyone says a peep when the oil companies and refineries raise fuel prices by 10 cents overnight, or 50 cents over the previous year. But if the government wants to raise the fuel tax by a few cents, then the sky is falling. :eek: If it is going up anyway, why not use the increase to so something besides lining the oil companies' pockets, is my view?

The current gas tax amount has not been increased in years and our nation's roadway infrastructure is falling apart because of this. If the tax was raised it would not only help to convince consumers to cut back on fuel usage and to consider gas mileage when purchasing a new vehicle, thereby cutting oil imports, reducing our balance of payments with other countries and reducing pollution - to say nothing of motivating consumers to consider the purchase of electric vehicles to a greater extent than they do now. But, more importantly perhaps, it would provide additional funds to repair and maintain our roads and bridges that are crumbling all over the country much faster than they can be fixed. Even electric vehicles need good roads to travel on.

If you gave me a choice, I would prefer that the gas tax be increased, not by 15 cents, but by 50 cents - provided that these funds were actually used for infrastructure repair and maintenance, instead of being diverted to fund financially-broken social programs.

So what about you? Do you agree that the gas tax should be raised and if so by how much?

Sorry about not inquiring how you feel about gearboxes. Just one topic at a time. :D

DaveAK
02 December 2010, 0920
I've been saying that for a decade.

chef
02 December 2010, 0926
Agreed. I would go one step further and make the tax a % so that it automatically adjusts with increasing gas prices. But it smells like the politicians are too scared of losing oil & gas campaign contributions.
Or as most self-proclaimed "red-blooded Americans" would cry, cheap gas is a god-given right.

cycleguy
02 December 2010, 0942
I agree 100%, I would even go so far as to add a $1/gallon gas tax, as long as it's applied towards transportation infrastructure and alternative fuel research and development and doesn't just go into the general fund and end up in the pockets of some multi-national corporation.
The reason there is so much resistance to this tax is that for every penny of tax, is one less penny that the oil monopolies can't have for themselves. They want to keep the cost of oil as cheap as possible in order to maximize their own profits.
Additionally, the last thing they want is money going into alternative fuels that will eventually result in a drastic reduction in oil consumption.
I'm sure we would have had this tax a long time ago if the tax collected went into their pockets, so they can do their own research and development under their terms, in which case they would develop alternatives, patent protect them, and sit on them for decades unit they've sucked every last dime out of our current oil supply.

BaldBruce
02 December 2010, 1007
I agree 10000000% percent. I'm with Dave on this one. I'v been a proponent of raising the tax on gas for years. I think the way to make it palatable to our back-bone-less politicians is to phase it in over time. We do need to get the tax up to over a dollar, but a steady 10% increase year over year will be far easier to get passed because it sounds like less and will give people a chance to adapt.

I also think that this is just one of many fuel related strategies that we (USA) should be adopting. I'll give you my "short" list:
1) Raise gasoline tax to fund infrastructure, discourage use, and develop alternatives.
2) Hold tax constant on diesel, while still requiring clean emmisions to encourage this fuel usage while not hurting our transportation economy.
3) Eliminate petroleum based corporate tax credits. You guys know that Exxon/Mobil made more than 10 Billion in profit last year and paid zero tax?
4) Invest in electrical generation and distribution infrastructure.

I can dream can't I ????

electrician
02 December 2010, 1252
I do not agree with raising the gas tax. If fact they should eliminate it entirely. Reason: the problem is that the government has enough of our money and it wastes most of it. The government should be lowering all taxes and reign in wasteful spending on government bureaucracy and programs that don't work and others in which they have no business in in the first place. The US government's main job is keeping us safe from foreign governments. Not all of the things they are doing. Okay, I am jumping off my soapbox now :)

chef
02 December 2010, 1309
Speaking of waste, the govt has spent $billions on 2 highly questionable invasions and subsequent occupations. Those who cheered on those senseless wars need to take a hard look at the cost of blood for oil. But I digress...

Agreed that gas tax funds should definitely go into infrastructure and energy research, not the general slush fund.

Skeezmour
02 December 2010, 1312
Ok fuel for the fire.....How would you maintain infrastructure? Has to be paid for and managed somehow.

Richard230
02 December 2010, 1533
Well, while we were discussing an increase in the gas tax, my local Shell station raised its gas prices by 5 cents a gallon. When I left for a ride today, the price was $3.20 a gallon. By the time I returned from a 3 hour ride, it was $3.25 a gallon. So who should get the increase? Big Oil or Big Government. The choice isn't yours......

DaveAK
02 December 2010, 1601
$3.75/gal here in Alaska. :(

larryrose11
02 December 2010, 1807
I have heard so much noise about cutting taxes out of people, but when it come to specifics, most fall flat on specifics. Government are bureaucratic messes, slow to react and change. The US founders wanted it that way for a reason: the pendulum cant swing too fast. The people I most vocal about taxes and Gov waste also seem to treat the Military, which is over 40% of the EPIC us budget, as some sacred cow.

On this case specifically, there is a way to do accomplish both goals of cutting Gov spending and raising consumer fuel costs:
eliminate the Oil subsidy.

BaldBruce
02 December 2010, 1932
I have heard so much noise about cutting taxes out of people, but when it come to specifics, most fall flat on specifics. Government are bureaucratic messes, slow to react and change. The US founders wanted it that way for a reason: the pendulum cant swing too fast. The people I most vocal about taxes and Gov waste also seem to treat the Military, which is over 40% of the EPIC us budget, as some sacred cow.

On this case specifically, there is a way to do accomplish both goals of cutting Gov spending and raising consumer fuel costs:
eliminate the Oil subsidy.

I agree with almost every point you make. Only nitpick is the misrepresentation of the military portion of the budget. It is less than half of the percentage you portrayed and is now second in spending to Social Security. Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_United_States_federal_budget
if you would like to review the gory details for 2010.

larryrose11
03 December 2010, 0643
BaldBruce,
Thanks for keeping me honest! 18.4% is is, according to the link. I appreciate constructive criticism whenever I can get it. I need people to reel me in sometimes.

electrician
03 December 2010, 0806
Ok fuel for the fire.....How would you maintain infrastructure? Has to be paid for and managed somehow.

The infrastructure would be paid for by the US federal government just like the Roman created a worldwide road system centuries ago for their armies. As part of our national defense Dwight D. Eisenhower created the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways same as the Romans did. I still say that the primary job of the US government is for national defense. The States should take the bulk of needed functions that the feds are doing now.

chef
03 December 2010, 0858
Interstate highways do not cover state and local roads. The money doesn't just magically appear, it has to come from somewhere. Pay with gas taxes or pay through income taxes, it's a zero-sum game. Sounds like someone's burying their head in the sand.

Unless of course you're of the mindset that all roads should be privatized (e.g. toll roads). Evil socialist public roads!

Richard230
03 December 2010, 0922
Or pay by selling Treasury bonds to China and by printing more money......

No one wants to pay more in taxes, but everyone wants more services, public improvements and free handouts.

Like they say: don't tax you, don't tax me, tax the guy behind that tree. The trouble is that that guy behind the tree is starting to disappear.

billmi
03 December 2010, 1052
The infrastructure would be paid for by the US federal government just like the Roman created a worldwide road system centuries ago for their armies.

Slave labor and seizing the assets of conquered countries, that's the way to do it! :-)


As part of our national defense Dwight D. Eisenhower created the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways same as the Romans did. I still say that the primary job of the US government is for national defense. The States should take the bulk of needed functions that the feds are doing now.

Yep, but the money still has to come from somewhere to do it. Even if we raise the gas tax, that's only going to last as long as gasoline does, and then gives governments (state and federal) reasons to encourage greater gasoline use, so they have greater revenues.

DaveAK
03 December 2010, 1104
Slave labor and seizing the assets of conquered countries, that's the way to do it! :-)
But undeniably they had great roads.

electrician
03 December 2010, 1247
We are taxed enough. There is more than enough of our money flowing into Washington to take care of the military and an expanded infrastructure for military purposes. If the government would cut spending, not increase taxes, there would be a surplus in Washington. They waste billions every day. And don't get me started on the bail outs, that weren't needed in the first place.

chef
03 December 2010, 1349
I agree that spending should be reigned in. There's alot of waste, especially in the Afghan campaign and other parts of the military (anyone remember the $1000 toilets?). Show us some numbers such as which programs are the most wasteful. Otherwise you're just speaking in vague general terms which doesn't help focus in on a solution.

Economists generally agree that the bailouts helped prevent the downturn from spiraling into full blown depression. It was unfortunately the best option out of all the bad ones. What information, evidence or experience do you have to prove otherwise?

electrician
03 December 2010, 1644
The bailouts did nothing to help. It would have been better if the banks failed, GM and Chrysler failed. weed out the weak. the strong would have survived. That's good old capitalism. We would have been out of the "depression" by now.

As far as government waste goes here are a few examples:
Here is a website with a small run down of a few:

http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2005/04/top-10-examples-of-government-waste


Here are a few more examples of government waste (Note, both Republicans and Democrats are guilty, I take no political sides in this:

The Stimulus Plan The National Institutes of Health spending more than $400,000 in taxpayer money by paying researchers to cruise six bars in Buenos Aires to find out why gay men engage in risky sexual behavior while drunk -- and just what can be done about it.

The U.S. government is spending $2.6 million to make sure prostitutes in China consume less alcohol while working. As part of the five-year study that the National Institutes of Health bankrolled, researchers are visiting more than 100 houses of prostitution to monitor their employees, designated as FSWs, or female sex workers.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is funding a study on the use of ecstasy, LSD and other “party drugs” in Porto Alegre, Brazil. To do this, U.S. taxpayers will invest $117,876 for the three-year study, conducted by researchers from the University of Delaware, who will work in collaboration with researchers from Brazil's Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul.

Federal employees wasted at least $146 million over a one-year period in business- or first-class airline tickets bought in violation of travel policies, congressional investigators say.

It looks like Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., is going to get his wish – $2 million in taxpayer funding for a library commemorating his 37 years in the House of Representatives. The Charles B. Rangel Center for Public service will serve as a repository for his "papers," and the congressman will have his own office in the Harlem complex.

The earned income tax credit (EITC) provides $31 billion in refundable tax credits to 19 million low-income families. The IRS estimates that $8.5 billion to $9.9 billion of this amount—nearly one-third—is wasted in overpayments.

A recent audit revealed that between 1997 and 2003, the Defense Department purchased and then left unused approximately 270,000 commercial airline tickets at a total cost of $100 million.

Since World War II, the U.S. has spent $1.2 trillion on foreign aid to 70 countries – and all are worse off than they were in 1980, according to the U.N.

For the Department of Commerce for giving the City and County of Honolulu $28,600 in 1981 to study how they could spend another $250,000 for a good surfing beach.

For the Health Care Financing Administration for Medicaid payments to psychiatrists for unscheduled, coincidental meetings with patients who were attending basketball games, sitting on stoops, etc. -- the cost of which was between $40 and $80 million from 1981 to 1984.

The National Endowment for the Humanities for a $25,000 grant in 1977 to study why people cheat, lie and act rudely on local Virginia tennis courts.

The Office of Education for spending $219,592 in 1978 to develop a curriculum to teach college students how to watch television.

The Environmental Protection Agency for spending an extra $1 million to $1.2 million in 1980 to preserve a Trenton, NJ sewer as a historical monument.

In 2005 - $469,000 for the National Wildlife Turkey Federation in South Carolina

In 2005 - $100,000 for the Punxsatawny Weather Discovery Center Museum

In 2005 - $350,000 for the Inner Harmony Foundation and Wellness Center in Scranton, Penn.

In 2005 - $1,430,000 for various Halls of Fame, including $250,000 for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, Tenn., and $70,000 for the Paper Industry International Hall of Fame in Appleton, Wis.;

Medicare, the U.S. health-insurance program for the elderly and disabled, erroneously paid out $19.9 billion during fiscal 2004, up from $19.6 billion a year earlier, because of mistakes, waste and fraud, a government report said. In most cases, hospitals and doctors billed for medically unnecessary services or didn't provide proper documentation to support the fees for services.

The GAO estimated that between 1997 and 2003, the Defense Department spent an estimated $100 million for airline tickets that were not used over a six-year period and failed to seek refunds even though the tickets were reimbursable.

While Andrew Cuomo was HUD Secretary under Bill Clinton, the agency set up a "Creative Wellness" program that spent $1,100,000 million taxpayer dollars on “gem” bags and taught public tenants to burn incense.

The study, titled "Status/Dominance and Motivational Effects on Nonverbal Sensitivity and Smiling," attempts to find out if it's really true that women smile more than men, and if people of higher status smile less. Judith Hall, a highly respected researcher at Northeastern University in Boston, is conducting the smile study — and it is not her first. Since 1993, she has been awarded more than $500,000.

A National Science Foundation study looking at whether White House reporters have become more adversarial sounds a bit strange to reporters and critics. Even more surprising: the study cost taxpayers $180,000.

In 2001 more than $600,000 in tax money was spent on researching the sex lives of South African ground squirrels.

The head of the IRS sent out a notice to every person advising them that they would be receiving a tax refund in 2001 - the estimated cost $30,000,000.

In 1998 more than $800,000 was approved for a coal library in Pennsylvania. Defenders staed that it would provide historical insight into a very important part of Pennsylvania and history.

In 2001 the U.S.. Government gave $5,000,000 to the University of Alaska, North Pacific University, and the Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation to fund the "stellar sea lion recovery plan."

In the year 2001, Congress appropriated $340,000,000 in federal tax dollars to PBS (Public Broadcasting Services).

In 1999 the U.S. government spent $500,000 for a Mississippi research project on "manure handling and disposal".

In 1999 the U.S. government spent $1,500,000 million to promote silk production in Laos

In 1999 the U.S. government spent $1 ,000,000 for the "eradication of Brown Tree Snakes" (Hawaii).

In 1999 the U.S. government spent $1,000,000 to "develop and train Alaska natives for employment in the petroleum industry."

In 1999 the U.S. government spent $500,000 for water taxis in Savannah (Georgia)

In 1999 the U.S. government spent $200,000 for a transit center for the Toledo Mud Hens minor league baseball team.

In 1999 $1,200,000 million to subsidize a park on the Galapagos Islands.

In 2000 the U.S. government spent $100,000 to study the causes of sediment buildup at a Santa Cruz, New Mexico dam.

In 2002 the U.S. government spent $50,000 for a tattoo removal program in San Luis Obispo, California.

In 2002 the U.S. government spent $400,000 for the Montana Sheep Institute to improve the profitability of the state's sheep industry.

In 2002 the U.S. government spent $273,000 for the Blue Springs (Missouri) Youth Orchestra Outreach Unit for educational training to combat Goth culture

In 2003 the U.S. government spent $1,000,000 appropriation for the Center for Public Service and the Common Good (a think tank) at the University of San Francisco.

In 2002 the U.S. government spent $400,000 for manure management research at the National Swine Research Center.

In 2002 the U.S. government spent $1,100,000 for the MountainMade Foundation in Thomas, West Virginia for business development and the education of artists and craftspeople.

In 2002 the U.S. government spent $4,000,000 to implement the forest and fish report of the Washington State.

In 2002 the U.S. government spent $500,000 for exhibits on the Sullivan brothers at the Grout Museum in Waterloo, Iowa.

In 2002 the U.S. government spent $61,000 for the State Historical Society to archive the history of Iowa workers.

In 2002 the U.S. government spent $1,200,000 for the Ohio Arts Council to expand international programs.

In 2002 the U.S. government spent $2,900,000 for the Mountaineer Doctor Television program at West Virginia University;

In 2002 the U.S. government spent $2,000,000 for an educational mall at the Raleigh County Commission in Beckley.

In 2002 the U.S. government spent $2,000,000 for West Virginia University to establish a Center on Obesity.

In 2002 the U.S. government spent $260,000 for asparagus technology in the stae of Washington.

In 2002 the U.S. government spent $1,200,000 for music education at the GRAMMY Foundation

In 2000 the U.S. government spent $50,000 for the development of a Welcome Center Facility City for Enumclaw, Washington.

In 1997 - $4,000,000 for the Gambling Impact Study Commission.

In 1997 - $330,000 for Stellar Sea Lion research of the North Pacific Universities Marine Mammal Consortium.

In 1997 - $785,000 for bluefish/striped bass research by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

In 1997 - $2,700,000 added by the Senate for the Animal Resource Wing at South Dakota State University

In 1997 - $4,000,000 added in conference for the Discovery Center of Science and Technology.

In 1997 - $19,600,000 added by the House for the International Fund for Ireland, a program that tries to aid the peace process in Ireland by paying for golf videos, pony trekking centers, and sweater exports.

In 1997 - $16,369,000 added by the Senate for public library construction.

In 1997 - $9,469,000 added in conference for Migrant Education programs including: $7,441,000 for the High School Equivalency Program; and $2,028,000 for the College Assistance Migrant Program

In 1997 - $3,100,000 added by the Senate for the National Writing Project.

In 1997 - $8,200,000 for a new classroom building at the Rowley Secret Service Training Center in Beltsville, Maryland, which is the district of House Treasury, Postal Service and General Government Appropriations subcommittee member Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and the state of Senate appropriator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.).

In 1998 - $220,000 added by the Senate for lowbush blueberry research in Maine.

In 1994 - $221,000 for lowbush blueberry research at the University of Maine in the state of Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell (D-ME).

In 1998 - $150,000 added by the House for the National Center for Peanut Competitiveness.

In 1998 - $127,000 added by the Senate for global marketing support services in the state of Senate appropriator Dale Bumpers (D-Ark.). According to testimony, the goal of this research is to identify “potential foreign markets for Arkansas products….”

In 1998 - $32,000 added by the Senate for the Center for Rural Studies in the state of Senate appropriator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). A portion of this grant money is used for analytical reports to guide the development of Vermont retail shopping areas

In 1998 - $500,000 added by the House in the district of House appropriator Richard Durbin (D-IL) for the construction at the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, Illinois, of Chalres Corneau’s house, a neighbor and friend of Abraham Lincoln.

In 1998 - $10,912,000 added by the Senate for foreign language assistance.

In 1994 - $200,000 for locoweed research at New Mexico State University in the state of House appropriator Joe Skeen (R-NM). Since 1992, $716,000 has been appropriated, and there is no expected completion date for this research.

In 1994 - $1,000,000 added in the Senate for the Multispecies Aquaculture Center in the state of Senate appropriator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)

In 1994 - $19,600,000 added in the House for the International Fund for Ireland. The conference report “restores language stricken by the Senate and appropriates up to $19,600,000 for the International Fund for Ireland.” In the past, this program has used American taxpayer dollars for a golf video and pony trekking centers.

In 1993 - $19,704,000 for the International Fund for Ireland requested, according to committee sources, by House Speaker Thomas Foley (D-WA).

In 1993 - $9,170,000 added in conference for the Southwestern Pennsylvania Heritage Preservation Commission in the district of House appropriator John Murtha (D-PA)

In 1992 - $2,000,000 added in conference by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) for a New York Bight Center for undersea research.

electrician
03 December 2010, 1645
BTW - And as far as $1000 toilets and $1500 wrenches, that is all fabricated to hide black projects.

DaveAK
03 December 2010, 1652
Good old capitalism AKA take the money and run.

electrician
03 December 2010, 1753
lol, that's the downside of capitalism.