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Thread: 2018 American Political Scene

  1. #406
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ironduke View Post
    Peanuts, compared to overall infrastructure needs. Something like $1/gallon would solve all funding problems.
    $1 per gallon would significantly affect transportation costs. I don't think a hike that aggressive would be economically prudent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ironduke View Post
    Peanuts, compared to overall infrastructure needs. Something like $1/gallon would solve all funding problems.
    And murder the red states.... High fuel taxes are horribly regressive. Sorry, but most of the country can't skip out on fuel taxes and take a public transit system that does not and will never exist.

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    Canada charges $1/gallon, and their median income is the same as that in the US.

    Roads have to be paid for somehow, and wishes and dreams don't pay the bills. Then again, borrowing $1 trillion from China et al in a time of economic expansion has somehow become financially prudent in 2018. Maybe fantasy alone (re Trump's proposal) can solve the looming infrastructure crisis after all. I've got some prime real estate on Ganymede I'd like to sell you too.

    TNSTAFL.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    And murder the red states.... High fuel taxes are horribly regressive. Sorry, but most of the country can't skip out on fuel taxes and take a public transit system that does not and will never exist.
    People in the great state of Kalifornia are already screaming about a $0.12 / per gallon tax increase (total state gas tax is now $0.36/Gal.) It was approved by a decent margin in the last election, but everyone is now sitting up and pushing for a repeal. I'm surprised that it made it through as the voting public here is generally not willing to vote themselves a tax increase. The opposition was muted and there was very little talk of the regressive nature of the tax hike at the time.

    I'm not as worried about the gas tax hike as I have a Sonata plug-in hybrid fed with a new solar install (but please don't ask me about the ROI or monthly loan payments 'cause I'll break out into a sweat and get depressed.)

  5. #410
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    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    And murder the red states.... High fuel taxes are horribly regressive. Sorry, but most of the country can't skip out on fuel taxes and take a public transit system that does not and will never exist.
    Murder the red states?
    The fuel price alone during the 2007 was probably higher than the price + tax now. Also, a lot of the road infrastructure will be in the red states. Seems to me that a per gallon tax (maybe not $1) would fund that nicely.
    "Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?" ~ Epicurus

  6. #411
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    yeah, "murder the red states" is hugely overstating things, especially when oil was at $145/gal in 2008 compared to $60/gal today.

    i'd probably start out somewhat lower but then tag adjustments to the price of fuel. that way if oil ever spikes, it would also act as another forcing function to get people to conserve more; and if oil ever drops, remind the government not to use the fuel tax as a necessary crutch. there's also a lot of other possibilities like giving part of it back as an income tax refund, etc etc.

    anyhow given this administration none of this will happen, of course.

    also, given the earlier talk of "infrastructure spending", Trump's budget proposal slashes $178B in transportation spending. Trump then proposes an "infrastructure plan" of $1.5 trillion involving $200B in government money and magically assuming that private companies will pony up the remainder.

    lol ok.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

  7. #412
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    Something like $1 overnight would be a pretty heavy shock. That being said, I think it would be a good idea to eventually reach something like that in graduated steps.

    But yeah, given the current political climate and the American attitude of not wanting to pay for anything, however desperately needed and reasonable, it's not going to happen.

    One of the problems we have is that we build shit roads to begin with, we opt for low quality roads that are cheap to build, with the contracts shopped out to the lowest bidder. Then we wonder why the conditions of our roads are so bad and we have to pay out the wazoo for maintenance.

    We've never had the funding mechanisms to build quality in the first place, it's a problem that gets deferred, the can gets kicked down the road. The Germans for example build their roadbeds for highways 5 to 6 feet deep and take proper precautions to mitigate water and freezing damage, in the US, our roadbeds are typically half as deep, and we don't take proper precautions to mitigate.
    Last edited by Ironduke; 13 Feb 18, at 17:47.

  8. #413
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    Quote Originally Posted by citanon View Post
    In other news, the Obamas unveiled their final Whitehouse atrocity:

    https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/pol...veiled-n847111

    At least Barry's portrait looks like him. Michelle's portrait looks like a younger woman who might be her sister.

    Oh CNN, you try so hard, and shill so obviously:

    https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/12/polit...ait/index.html
    Since when did a mere presidential portrait become an “atrocity” ?
    Since the alt-right was told by the Russians and domestic unnameable rightists to think of anything — even the most trivial traditions — as SAD, but if— and ONLY if — a Democrat is involved.
    Trust me?
    I'm an economist!

  9. #414
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    Quote Originally Posted by citanon View Post
    $1 per gallon would significantly affect transportation costs. I don't think a hike that aggressive would be economically prudent.
    Except, the hard evidence doesn’t provide a shred of evidence to back up that ludicrous claim.
    Trust me?
    I'm an economist!

  10. #415
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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    yeah, "murder the red states" is hugely overstating things, especially when oil was at $145/gal in 2008 compared to $60/gal today.

    No its not overstating things. $1 a gallon equals $44 a barrel in federal taxes, add in state and local taxes and that barrel of $60 oil now costs $120 to the consumer. It would nearly double the price of gas. Not a big deal in an urban environment when you can catch a bus or a train, ruinous if town is 15 miles away. It would probably cost me an extra $1500 a year in fuel costs. It would disproportionately target rural and suburban citizens who have to drive to live. Now the ATA wants a fuel tax increase on big trucks and I am ok with that, its industry lead and impacts the consumer equally regardless of location since we all depend on trucks for everything in our lives. My problem is using a gas tax to punish red states and a regressive tax is a punishment on consumption. I guarantee you would not be OK with tacking on an extra $1500 to the federal tax bill for every blue state resident to make the tax burden even. Hell blue staters pitched a tantrum when their special tax breaks were taken away by the recent tax law change.

    i'd probably start out somewhat lower but then tag adjustments to the price of fuel. that way if oil ever spikes, it would also act as another forcing function to get people to conserve more; and if oil ever drops, remind the government not to use the fuel tax as a necessary crutch. there's also a lot of other possibilities like giving part of it back as an income tax refund, etc etc.

    anyhow given this administration none of this will happen, of course.

    also, given the earlier talk of "infrastructure spending", Trump's budget proposal slashes $178B in transportation spending. Trump then proposes an "infrastructure plan" of $1.5 trillion involving $200B in government money and magically assuming that private companies will pony up the remainder.

    lol ok.[/QUOTE]

  11. #416
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    Quote Originally Posted by DOR View Post
    Except, the hard evidence doesn’t provide a shred of evidence to back up that ludicrous claim.
    You might want to take that up with James Hamuilton. BTW, do you ever get tired of being wrong?

    http://econweb.ucsd.edu/~jhamilto/

    http://www.nber.org/papers/w7755

  12. #417
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ironduke View Post
    Something like $1 overnight would be a pretty heavy shock. That being said, I think it would be a good idea to eventually reach something like that in graduated steps.

    But yeah, given the current political climate and the American attitude of not wanting to pay for anything, however desperately needed and reasonable, it's not going to happen.

    One of the problems we have is that we build shit roads to begin with, we opt for low quality roads that are cheap to build, with the contracts shopped out to the lowest bidder. Then we wonder why the conditions of our roads are so bad and we have to pay out the wazoo for maintenance.

    We've never had the funding mechanisms to build quality in the first place, it's a problem that gets deferred, the can gets kicked down the road. The Germans for example build their roadbeds for highways 5 to 6 feet deep and take proper precautions to mitigate water and freezing damage, in the US, our roadbeds are typically half as deep, and we don't take proper precautions to mitigate.
    We built shit roads becuase federal law has incentives for road building but not road repair. If we would simply stop building out and be willing to go back to gravel and seal coat for more rural areas we would have the money for maintenance. Everyone driving trucks in the South is a left over of the gravel/seal coat days that has become a part of the culture. I live in a rural state and thanks to federal incentives we've paved roads that may only see a dozen cars in a week.

  13. #418
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    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    We built shit roads becuase federal law has incentives for road building but not road repair. If we would simply stop building out and be willing to go back to gravel and seal coat for more rural areas we would have the money for maintenance. Everyone driving trucks in the South is a left over of the gravel/seal coat days that has become a part of the culture. I live in a rural state and thanks to federal incentives we've paved roads that may only see a dozen cars in a week.
    Have much the same in Australia, I spend a lot of time regionally in some extremely sparsely populated areas and its rare I'll find a road that isn't bitumen/asphalt, even on the kind of rarely used roads that are only ever used to get out to tiny sattelite hamlets or joining towns with populations of less than a thousand. The thought that always goes through my head is how the hell are we able to pay for maintenance effectively when our landmass is the size of the USA and our population a tad over half of California.
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  14. #419
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    Quote Originally Posted by chakos View Post
    Have much the same in Australia, I spend a lot of time regionally in some extremely sparsely populated areas and its rare I'll find a road that isn't bitumen/asphalt, even on the kind of rarely used roads that are only ever used to get out to tiny sattelite hamlets or joining towns with populations of less than a thousand. The thought that always goes through my head is how the hell are we able to pay for maintenance effectively when our landmass is the size of the USA and our population a tad over half of California.
    Long term you can't and rural populations in both our countries are used to gravel and didn't need nor ask for paved but federal money is use it or lose it.

  15. #420
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    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    We built shit roads becuase federal law has incentives for road building but not road repair. If we would simply stop building out and be willing to go back to gravel and seal coat for more rural areas we would have the money for maintenance. Everyone driving trucks in the South is a left over of the gravel/seal coat days that has become a part of the culture. I live in a rural state and thanks to federal incentives we've paved roads that may only see a dozen cars in a week.
    Disagree. And I work for a county government agency. Federal money only goes to build/maintain Federal roads (Interstate...) State money pays for State roads. Plus Fed and State collect tax money in which portions are assigned to each county/city based on population and amount of tax raised in each location.. Want to pave a county toad? Then you can apply to the State for matching funds to your county road tax/gas tax. Each grant comes with the knowledge that "We will help build it, but you pay for upkeep"

    Federal money is only used for local roads if that road serves as a Hurricane Evacuation Route

    Those rural roads are payed for through State and local funds, not Fed. And contrary to what you believe paving a road with asphalt saves the municipality money. Dirt/gravel roads in our county take far more man hours for upkeep, and take more money than our asphalt roads. Every time it rains, hunting seasons all require graders, patch trucks and work crews out fixing those roads. Its a daily routine and its labor intensive. Not to mention the insurance costs saved from less claims against the county for vehicle damage due to roads.

    Gas taxes aren't going to help, unless we go way above a dollar a gallon. And that's never going to happen. We have discussed this before. My State is already looking at replacing the gas tax with a "Road Use" tax. Each year when you renew your vehicle tags, they will take your odometer reading and charge you according to miles driven. Its already being worked on, the catch is determining how much of a share the city/County/State gets. Because you cannot determine who owned the roads for each mile driven.
    But the State is working on a compromise.

    In 1993 the gas tax was raised to its current rate of $0.18 a gal. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics the avg fuel efficiency of a new 1993 passenger car was 28.4MPG. In 2014 (last year for stats) the avg passenger car fuel efficiency was 36.4 MPG. Without inflation, you are loosing a lot of revenue due to more efficient car=less gas. My 2015 vehicle averages 41MPG in the city and over 60mpg highway. To figure out how much tax I should be paying in 2017, based the same percentage of road use as I had in 1993 and accounting for inflation, I would need to stay at a Holiday Inn Express for a few days.

    With the introduction of more efficient vehicles, EVs, fuel cells and hybrids, the way we think about paying for roads will have to change.
    Last edited by Gun Grape; 14 Feb 18, at 04:53.
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