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View Diary: Let's speak about energy (and a gas tax) now (91 comments)

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    •  great diary but (4+ / 0-)

      I don't think you show a spine by backing something unpopular. Bush tried that with the war. I'd rather tax the shit out of the oil companies for their windfall profits. People like my grandmother would be hurt by a gas tax.

      Recipe For America - A people-powered movement to take back our food system

      by OrangeClouds115 on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 04:58:47 AM PST

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    •  The CATO argument is essential (5+ / 0-)
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      Devilstower, Colman, antifa, kd texan, A Siegel

      Democrats know they are accountable for any government spending because they are responsible and consider that such government spending needs to be covered by taxes - thus spending is lower, and taxes are ultimately lower.

      In the long run, we're all dead (Keynes)
      Read more on the European Tribune - bringing dKos to Europe

      by Jerome a Paris on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 05:01:04 AM PST

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    •  Suggestion for diary title (2+ / 0-)
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      Whimsical, Joelarama

      "How to propose things that will throw you out of power for another 12 years"

      'Events are in the saddle and ride mankind.' Emerson

      by deepsouthdoug on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 05:01:10 AM PST

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      •  You seem to be confusing policy and politics (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dvx, tzt, BalkanID

        The diary did not, in fact, sketch out how to propose it.

        For example, should it be proposed like Hillary proposed Health Care reform? Well, no, of course not.

        If it is going to get up, it will have to be part of the recomendations of a bipartisan Energy Independence Commission. That's a given. The job of progressive democrats would be to know enough about the issues at hand to know how to set the terms of reference of the commission to get an outcome in the ballpark of what they want.

        There has to be something in the package that builds support in inner and middle suburban districts to counter the opposition created.

        Oh, and it is best accompanied, though there is no need for it to be part of the integrated package, with a reform of Congressional districting.

        OH15: IN: Kilroy for Congress. OUT:Deborah Pryce

        by BruceMcF on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 08:52:23 AM PST

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    •  Jerome, you need to come to Los Angeles . . . (0+ / 0-)

      and see how poor people and the working poor barely get by.

      These people can hardly pay for the gas already.  They live far from where they work.  The public transportation is absurd and even where it exists, Los Angeles sprawl is totally unsuited for public transportation.

      Say you take a bus up Ventura Blvd. You get off the bus, you're still nowhere near where you're going.

      Isn't a gas tax highly regressive? You need to make some sort of dramatic financial disincentive for the idiots who still buy Hummers. But inflicting more pain on the poor and working poor just doesn't strike me as reasonable public policy.

      But I may be missing something--am I?

      •  You don't actually read these do you? (7+ / 0-)

        I love your medicine pieces, but stop with this, please. From the diary:

        Over the long term, a gas tax allows to stabilise demand, and to capture revenues for us - revenue that can be used for two things:

        • pay for the various parts of the energy plan that require funding, and/or
        • pay for transfers to poor and middle-class households to help them cope with the increased gas prices

        That can be done by tax breaks (the gas tax would thus be a tax transfer, not a tax hike) or by specifically targetted financial assistance mechanisms, to fulfill two goals:

        • not penalize financially the poor, even if they drive
        • incentivize all drivers, including the poorest ones, to use less gas

        If they get a compensation equal to the cost for them, with their current vehicle and driving habit, of the gas tax increase, it will be neutral for them even if they continue to drive the same car. If they change their car or their driving habits, and use less oil, they will then

        Now, you can argue the implementation of this, or that it's too socialist for America or whatever, but it's an integrated plan, not just a tax hike.

        •  Colman, of course I read Jerome's diary . . . (1+ / 0-)
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          My point was that implementing a gas tax or whatever you call it, in a way to avoid inflicting further pain on the poor and working poor is going to be a huge hurdle to overcome.

          Particularly in a place like L.A. where public transportation is bad, the sprawl is enormous and already gas prices are taking a huge toll on those least able to pay.

          This was my point.

      •  A tax swap, (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nyceve, Colman, tzt, A Siegel

        to reduce the burden on the working poor, makes sense to me. Eliminate all or part of the payroll tax and replace it with a tax on fossil fuel energy including a gas tax.

        •  There are problems with a direct tax swap ... (0+ / 0-)

          ... since it ties the gas tax rates to the amount needed to be raised in the payroll tax, and also because it tends to hide the payback part of the system, since nearly half of payroll taxes do not appear on the paystub.

          OH15: IN: Kilroy for Congress. OUT:Deborah Pryce

          by BruceMcF on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 09:01:23 AM PST

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      •  A gas tax on its own it regressive ... (1+ / 0-)
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        ... it is regressive in the same way as any other consumption taxes, and moderately regressive among consumption taxes.

        Its not, mind you, as regressive as a per-person lump sum tax, but the tax incidence is regressive.

        But the spending of large amounts of public funds to subsidize the automobile transport system is also regressive, since once you have completely marginalized all other forms of transport, then it is the people on the margin who tend to be taking other forms of transport.

        However, the purpose of a gas tax in a policy for Sustainable Energy Independence is to raise the price, not to raise revenue. So there are a large number of ways to distribute that revenue that tend to help low-income people, and that can easily make the gas tax  system progressive.

        Take the simplest approach, where you just hand the money back. If the money is a pure Social Dividend, handed back fortnightly in equal shares to every resident citizen, then since higher income people tend to spend a larger total amount per person on gas, the gas tax system becomes progressive.

        OH15: IN: Kilroy for Congress. OUT:Deborah Pryce

        by BruceMcF on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 08:58:51 AM PST

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