Problem

Currently the United States is the world's leading consumer of oil. While many complain about how expensive our gas is, increasing demand and finite supply will only cause the price to go up in the long run. Most other industrialized countries are ahead of us in using non-oil means of meeting energy demands. Even China is more aggressively looking at conservation methods than we are.

From a political conservative's point of view: our dependence on foreign oil weakens us as a nation. 60 percent (and rising) of our oil is imported from foreign countries. With China aggressively pursuing new oil rights, we are setting ourselves up for confronation with the planet's most populous country. On the supply side, many OPEC countries range from non-democratic to despotic. Our dependence weakens our ability as a nation to deal with these countries. It is rare to find a heroin addict who can reliably tell their supplier what to do. How can we hold these countries accountable for supporting, or promoting anti-American propaganda (that means you Saudi Arabia) if they control a vital part of our economy?

From an enviro-liberal point of view: oil refinery, car, and power plant emissions create health and environmental problems. Continued evidence of global warming is mounting as the polar ice caps are starting to shrink and global temperatures start to creep up. In many areas, polluted air aggravates respiratory problems like asthma.

While many people will debate different claims in each of these arguments, they combine to make a powerful argument to kick our oil habit. The question is, "How do we best approach the problem"? While many economists promote increasing the gas tax, many people oppose it. Instead, they avoid using the market to spur innovation and instead invest public money to fund research or projects by politically jasmin live groups.

There are good reasons not to raise the gas tax.

Like all regressive taxes, it hurts the poor the most.

It is politically non-viable. People are already angry about the current gas prices (of course the current energy bill is estimated to raise them 3 cents a gallon), and a substantial increase may result in a political blood letting.

It angers the oil industry which is well represented in the Administration

Concerns over economic problems is another, less convincing, counterargument. At some point we are going to suffer economic consequences for our oil dependence. It is better to kick the habit sooner than later. Also, recent history has shown that our economy is not as affected by oil prices as we once thought. Recent massive increases in oil prices have not caused a serious slowing of economic growth. In fact, reduced oil consumption can help close our enormous trade deficit.

Substantial increases in oil prices in the 1970's held down oil consumption for years. Resultant technological changes reduced American oil consumption until the mid to late 1990's. Given this, it seems that we have more success with a demand driven approach to oil conservation than the supply driven approach currently proposed.

Proposed Solution

Alaskan citizens happily receive an "oil dividend" check each year. The state collects money from groups looking to exploit oil rights and puts it into some form of investment account which pays out a yearly dividend to Alaska residents. While the program is not uncontroversial, it is fairly popular among most Alaskans

What I propose is something similar, but working in reverse. A Citizen's Dividend. Essentially, we would add a 2-dollar tax to each gallon of gas sold in the United States. Those taxes are collected into one giant pool, and once a year every American receives an equal share of the whole pool. If you are an average gas user, your rebate equals the amount you pay in taxes. If you use less than the average amount of gas, you actually make money on the tax. If you use above the average amount, you lose money. This creates a financial incentive to use less gas, and creates a downward trend in oil consumption.

This is not an ideal solution, and there are some modifications that can help make the idea more practicable:

State Managed Plans: Under the initial proposal some states will benefit more than others. Larger, less urbanized states will end up paying out more money than smaller urban states. If the tax is structured to include heating oil, Chaturbate people living in colder states may end up paying more than people living in more temparate climes. States tend to be more homogenous in terms of climate and lifestyle than the country as a whole. There is also the problem of administering the plan. Some people maintain that it is difficult to mail out all those checks. If each state maintaned its own pool, this would help alleviate some of the problems. The state could choose whether to send the rebate to all licensed drivers, to all residents, to all adult residents, depending on their records. Unlike "No Child Left Behind", this is not an unfunded mandate. The (minor?) costs of administering the program could be pulled from the dedicated revenues. Tourists and illegal aliens probably contribute enough in revenues (that they can't reclaim) to offset the cost of running the fund.

Replace Ethanol Subsidies

Currently billions of dollars are dumped into farm states in the form of ethanol subsidies. This is ironic because there is little evidence that gas mixed with ethanol is environmentally better than regular gasoline. If the law was structured so that gas mixed with ethanol was taxed less than regular gasoline (if 20% of a gallon of gas was ethanol than the tax would be $1.60 instead of $2.00), then the mixture could compete on price instead of relying on wasteful subsidies. Politically this is nice because having the lobbying benefits of Archer Daniels Midland and Midwestern Legislators can make a big difference in whether the idea has a chance at all.

Prefunding the Return: I'm more ambivalent about this one, but this tax would be hard on poor Americans during the initial start-up year. If a partial (or complete) rebate was paid up front, they could use that money to cover the increased costs of goods and gas, or to invest in things to reduce energy consumption. Assuming that demand would be constant (an incorrect assumption), that would amount to 680 billion dollars of up-front debt to cover the 340 billion gallons of gasoline consumed in a year. If you could float a low interest bond, you could use revenues to repay it inside a year or two and then continue handing out the dividends afterwards.

Phasing the Program In: If a $2.00 increase is too much, a 50-cent a year phase-in would also work. This would give people more time to adjust, and you could fix bugs in the system without risking as many billions of dollars.

This is by no means a perfect idea, and more details need to be ironed out. For instance, where do we tax the goods? Do we tax it at the barrels of oil level or at the pump? This is good for the ethanol idea, but it may negatively affect certain oil heavy segments of the population, as well as hurt people who rely on fuel oil, etc.

What about the transportation industry? Airlines will probably suffer under this, and they are already in financial distress. Will this cause them to refuel in Canada, after all they already use non-union labor in Latin America to service their planes. This will mostly be a problem with international flights as domestic refueling may hit all airlines equally.

It is unclear what domestic auto manufacturers will think of this. According to this article both Ford and GM would like to see gas taxes go up. I can't say that I fully understand their logic since SUV's and light trucks are their bread and butter, but getting their support would be great.

Like any useful piece of legislation, there will be Livejasmin winners and losers from this proposal. Those of you who just bought an H2 will be the biggest losers of all, but we need to suffer some pain in order to reduce our dangerous dependence on foreign oil I recognize that this proposal is a total longshot at this point, but right now I'm more concerned with the question of "Should this pass?" than "Will it pass?"

This is the why

The problem with telling Republicans and Libertarians that they have to do something is that most of them will ignore the warning, or pulverise the person warning them. Oh, they'll also blame both the warner AND the Government for doing nothing, when the climate does go completely out of control.

One of the problems with Global Warming is that it is non-linear. An N% increase in a specific gas will not necessarily result in an N% increase in global temperature. This makes it hard for non-mathematicians to understand what the problem is. For that matter, it makes it hard for mathematicians, too. Non-linear systems with feedback looks have a nasty tendancy to turn chaotic. By which, it is meant that the system can reach a critical point and then accelerate from one state to another, with no further input.

The next problem is that the sinks for various gasses are also non-linear. This is why a volcano can vent far more CO2 and SO2 than industry, and yet not roast the planet. Volcanos vent a great deal, but over a relatively short timeframe and with a relatively small initial point.

Industry, on the other hand, has not only barely stopped in the past 100 years, but has actually increased output at a fantastic rate. It is also distributed evenly over virtually all industrial nations, and all shipping lanes and flightpaths used by those industrialized nations.

The way the CO2->ocean sink works relies on the CO2 being absorbed by the sea water, becoming carbonic acid, and eventually getting deposited as calcium carbonate. However, the volume of the oceans is irrelevent, as you can only absorb CO2 at the surface, and the more H2CO4 you have dissolved in the water, the less CO2 that can be dissolved.

Now, this is further complicated. Oil spills, oil leaks from bilges, particles from burned and partially-burned fuel reduce the surface area of the ocean that CO2 and SO2 can be dissolved in. Not by a vast amount, but it's non-zero and rising. That makes it much harder to calculate how much CO2 will remain in the atmosphere, or over what timeframe.

Other particulate pollutants add their own problems, and the destructions of other CO2 sinks makes things worse.

The whole thing is rapidly getting out of hand - assuming it isn't already. If we've cut the timeframe from centuries to decades, then maybe it is not because of incorrect data, but rather because something has already gone critical and is escallating exponentially.

If this is the case, then within 4-5 years, we might discover that "decades" has been reduced to months.

Veggie Tales

The American Family Association chairman, Don Wildmon, defended his organization's position: "Nobody I know has a problem with teaching children to be respectful and tolerant. It is wrong, however, to use such concepts to open the door to a secondary jasmine live discussion about a controversial subject like homosexuality." In other words, boys should respect and tolerate different lifestyles, as long as the AMA doesn't find them "icky". In that case, individuals living these lifestyles should be mercilessly berated and frequently reminded of the eternity awaiting them in hell.

He continued: "If you are a person who accepts the homosexual lifestyle, then you are tolerant. If you don't, then you are a bigot who is motivated by ignorance and hate." (I couldn't agree more.)

This is of course not the first time the Religious Right has aimed its unrelenting gaydar at cartoon characters. In 1999, Jerry Falwell accused Tinky Winky of acting as a gay role model--a charge that the purple purse-toting Teletubbie has yet to refute.

More surprisingly, the Religious Right may have allowed the most obscene children's cartoon around to fly under their gaydar. Veggie Tales has remained a staple to Christian audiences for years, despite the claim that a vast majority of its characters are ostensibly phallic.

Tolerance: what are YOUR limits?

A bananna? Gee, dude, you need to work on that "humor" thing. This article could have been funny, but YFI. "Op Ed" would have been a better tag. But yeah, I know, nits...

So homosexuality is ok? In my book (Knig James), sucking cock and buttfucking are very minor sins. My participation in the Vietnam war (and today's armed forces folks in Iraq and Afganistan; indeed, everyone part of the war machine) are far worse sinners than a bunch of limp wristed sissies. All of us commit far worse sins than homosexuality, including the so-called "Christians". Hell, sodomy isn't even one of the "big ten". Personally, what you and your fag friends do in the privacy of your own bedrooms is none of my damned business.

However, in no way will I go as far as to say that anybody who thinks homosexuality is "icky" or a "sin" is intoerant.

I think you fags need to have a closer look at the dictionary rather than attempting a rewrite it every 10 years. You coopted "gay," now you want to change the meaning of "tolerance."

Tolerance and acceptance are two different things. I tolerate long lines at Wal-Mart, but in no way do I accept them. I tolerate them. I bitch and moan and grumble, but I tolerate it... most of the time. Some lines are intolerably long, and I abandon my cart and shop elsewhere.

Are you willing to tolerate bestiality? The folks at PETA don't. In fact, they are intolerant of any carnivorous activity. Do you have the same disdain for them as you do for the idiot Wildmon?

I'll make you a deal- you get society to tolerate my drunkenness, get society to tolerate gambling, drugs, and prostitution, and admit that what you do, whether I tolerate it or not, is neither normal nor natural (as opposed to, say, drinking, smoking dope, or renting a hooker's cunt) and that I don't have to accept your activities to be tolerant of them, and we'll have a consensus.

I mean hell, you want sodomy, I want a hooker. Both are sins. You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours.

I find it hilarious about the New Jersy married fag polition who got caught sucking guys off. The homosexuality was minor- there is no "thou shalt not suck cock" engraved on Moses' tablets. There is, however, a "Thou shalt not commit adultery." Yet these so-called "religious" folks completely bypass the adultery and zero in on the sin of homosexuality. My reaction is "huh?"

As to Don Wildmon, he should find Jesus before Wildmon rots in hell. My sins and your sins are nobody's business but God's. I would like to quote Jesus Himself to the incredibly sinful and stupid Wildmon: "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." In short, he should STFU.