The Dust Bowl

By Lloyd the Idiot

Ken Burns’  The Dust Bowl aired over the last two nights on PBS (yes, I watch PBS, but I still don’t want my taxes paying for it).  It was, not surprising, a compelling documentary as Burns’ films usually are.  Burns portrayed FDR literally as a savior of the downtrodden Dust Bowl farmers and their families, which, again, is not particularly surprising given Burns’ strong Democratic ties.  I have to admit it, though, it did give me a greater appreciation for the safety net we now have —  particularly when you hear the stories of those who otherwise would have starved to death without the New Deal programs. 

As a granchild of one of them, the film also gave me a great apprecation for the “Okies” who migrated to California.  Although my grandfather often referred to himself as one, I never knew that it was such a perjorative term nor did I know of the mistreatment they received from their fellow Americans.  Californians were not a particularly welcoming bunch in the ’30s and ’40s.


  • Eric the 1/2 Troll says:

    “If you’re going to toss around insults, at least get the date right!”

    What did you find insulting, ND?

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    Good for you, bend! Were your eyes shut?

  • edmundburkenator says:

    Evidently, pointing out pre-election Unicorn sherbert shirt stains is now an insult.

  • Eric, what about my answer did you not understand?

    “Therefore the answer to your question is, ‘no’, I will not be collecting either.”

    You see, I know that Social Security and Medicare are paid from current tax revenues, there is no “lock box”, meaning that all my contributions over the years have been spent on other things, the surplus collections of our generation handed over to the treasury in exchange for an IOU to be paid back by my two daughters, their grandchildren… and theirs. For me to take that money in the future would be to be taking it from them, which will only be possible with confiscatory tax rates that will keep them enslaved to our generation for their entire working lives and long after we are dead.

    Unlike you and yours who apparently do not care who pays for the largess you lavish upon yourselves as long as it is not you, who are the first generation that seems to care not or strive not for their children to have a better future than theirs, I am unwilling to do that to the next generation. If somehow a law is passed compelling me to take the checks under threat of penalty I will endorse them over to my children.

    Oh, and Eric, I and one of my daughters were not the beneficiary of a free public school education, we both went to private schools, my parents and I both paying for an extra seat in the public schools via school taxes, so your thanks for our subsidy is accepted.

    Finally, Eric, you talk of oil and gas “subsidies” as if the government is shelling out bucks to oil and gas companies. That is a myth unless you, as most liberals do, consider any money not confiscated from the taxpayer to be money “spent” by the government… so called “tax expenditures”. Those oil and gas “subsidies” are the government saying, “If you take some of your profits or capital and risk them on oil and gas exploration we will not confiscate a portion of that investment or the return on that investment, if any.” If you drill a dry hole and all that capital is lost, the government is not sending you a refund check, but if you strike a gusher you will have profits that will be taxed.

    That is just the government correctly figuring that if they incentivize production it will lead to more tax revenue, and in the case of oil and gas it does, big time, at least when you have an administration that encourages production rather than curtailing it wherever possible. Windmills, solar panels and electric cars? No, because those investment credits do not result in significant, if any, concomitant tax or royalty revenue to the government, rather they represent a reduction in tax revenue and economic efficiency in exchange for implementation of a social or environmental agenda.

    But those two examples are a far cry from directly handing out billions of bucks in cash to failed companies run by campaign donors where not only is all the taxpayer money lost but there is no possibility of future tax revenue, either. That is what you can truly call a subsidy because it is disbursement of cash from the Treasury, not simply extorting taxpayers and inducing them to do things with their own money that otherwise would be economically senseless to do… like a fifty year old male with major medical insurance either spending an extra six grand a year purchasing “minimum” health insurance with mandated pregnancy coverage or instead paying a $2,000 fine.

    I don’t know about you, but I do not consider it a “subsidy” or a “loophole” when the government threatens that unless I buy something I don’t need from somebody they approve and that I was not required to buy before, it is going to fine me…. I consider that extortion.

  • Ben Dover says:

    T. Doom – A serious question: Are you a Prepper?

  • BD, only to the extent that I have always assumed responsibility for my own future and have never believed that the government will be able to provide for my needs in my declining years, in fact to the contrary I assume that anything that the government gives will be taken away in a “time of need” whether it be so-called tax free retirement investments or health care. When IRA’s first were introduced I warned that some day the politicians would see all those trillions saved up at reduced tax rates, all those “IRA millionaires” and decide to break the bargain and raise the taxation of distributions or outright confiscate those funds and fold them into a “single payer” government retirement fund just as they are doing with health care, and there are indeed bow-tie schemers who work in the present administration who have proposed that in their writings.

    As a result I have always planned my “retirement” based upon revenue streams from multiple sources such as business and intellectual property holdings, royalties, commissions, consultation fees and such, avoiding “tax advantaged” investments, investments in companies dependent upon government largess in the form of grants or contracts, or where the government has an ownership stake and arbitrarily restructures the equity distribution without regard for established law to reward political supporters, such as with GM.

    But no, retreating in defeat to a well provisioned and armed cabin in Wyoming or joining ex-pats in Central America and caring not what happens to my progeny is not in the cards for me. Do I think that at some point I may have to relocate to another region of the country that still believes in individual liberty after Connecticut commits suicide? Probably, because at some point all those producers in “flyover country” will get tired of being dictated to and punished by the coastal elitists, a federal bailout of California or New York being the final straw, and I will want to be living among other productive, responsible citizens willing to fight for their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

  • NateDogg614 says:

    “Do I think that at some point I may have to relocate to another region of the country that still believes in individual liberty after Connecticut commits suicide?”

    I know, seriously what is the deal with Connecticut?? Why don’t they (and CA, IL, MD, etc.) realize that they are shooting themselves in the foot? Raise taxes, create a bigger deficit, so raise taxes some more and the deficit gets bigger. When does it stop?

  • Nate, it stops when they run out of other peoples’ money… or other people, me being one of them.

    Where I live in Fairfield County, virtually every small business owner I talk to is disgusted with Obama and the socialists and many will not survive or will relocate over the next few years. On the other hand we have scores of wealthy elitists who live here but whose hearts and jobs are in New York. They have no more respect for their local fellow citizens than they do for the chambermaid at their weekend Bermuda resort, much in the same way that New Hampshire has been infected by Massholes flowing over its southern border to escape the taxation of their own failed policies and are now turning the state once known for it’s motto, “Live free or die” into yet another bankrupt, socialist nanny state. My dad retired to northern NH thirty years ago when he saw what was happening to our native Pennsylvania, yet once again the advancing disease has caught up with him. In the end I think the only place where the Declaration and the Constitution will mean anything will be in Wyoming or Texas.

  • NateDogg614 says:

    And yet, Connecticut had a chance to put a couple of credible Republicans in Congress and Linda McMahon seemed to have a shot at winning this time. Nothing doing. Thankfully the GOP controlled the governor’s mansion for 16 years between Rowland and Rell.

    Where in Fairfield Co, btw? I have family who live in the Town of Fairfield itself.

  • NateDogg614 says:

    Ah, speaking of which, right on cue from Gov. Malloy’s office:

    Any chance that he could be a 1-termer?

  • No, I think the good citizens of CT, just like their countrymen will need much more punishment before they see the folly of their ways. The so-called “fiscal cliff” we are looking at would not be mortal, the benefit of sequestration somewhat offsetting the increased tax drain of the private sector. Until certain death is assured by the much bigger and inescapable cliff looming in about five years the politicians will continue to kick the can down the road, with much higher tax rates continuing to pour cold water on the economy and yielding lower revenues while borrowing and spending continuing unabated.

    I live in Stamford, having moved here over thirty years ago when I was launching a new division of a company down in Long Island. We moved here because at the time there was no income tax, then Mr. Weicker came back like Lazarus by campaigning that instituting an income tax would be “like throwing gasoline on a fire” and then after elected refusing to accept ANY budget that did NOT include a new income tax… not unlike BJ Clinton promising a middle class tax cut and then retroactively raising taxes on everybody for the year prior to him gaining office. That’s why liberals running for office and in need of centrist or conservative votes can never be trusted when it comes to financial promises, they always lie and their real objectives are never what they claim them to be.

  • Eric the half a troll says:

    “Therefore the answer to your question is, “no”, I will not be collecting either.”

    The way you answered you said you do not EXPECT to collect either. That is not the same as returning a benefits check. So now you say you will not keep a benefit check. Somehow I doubt it. I do note that at least one of your children received a public school education. Did your parents? Do you not think that free education enabled them to pay for your elitist private schooling?

    As to you oil and gas subsidies, what do you consider our military prescence in the Middle East keeping oil shipping lanes open for our oil companies. Why don’t tha oil companies pay for their own private protection for their ships in the region? A security surcharge on every barrel imported by oil corporations should be implemented to reimburse us for these subsidies. Further, as long as you use gasoline at this subsidized price, YOU are freeloading on everybody else who does not burn the gas you do.

  • In order… I, my parents and their parents have all been property owners and have all paid for what “free” public education we and ours have enjoyed. I have to laugh at how you liberals always seem to think that everything coming from the government is “free”… as if there are none of your fellow citizens paying taxes to foot the bill, but there again if you do not believe in personal property rights, that all money and wealth belong to the government and whatever we manage to keep for ourselves is “free” or a “tax expenditure” by the government, I suppose you would think that way.

    Second, you as all liberals have no idea what “companies” and “corporations” are and how they function, otherwise you would realize that all costs to a corporation or business, including taxes or “private protection” for tankers, ultimately are assumed by the customer, meaning you and me. Corporations do not “pay” taxes, they apply them as well as other costs against their revenues and earn a profit which is taxed twice.. first at the corporation and again when dividends are distributed to the shareholders. When taxes go up, prices go up and/or services go down in order to maintain profitability, meaning viability, of the enterprise.

    In your example you imply that if it were not for “big oil” we would have no military presence in the Middle East, which is debatable since there are other goods in global trade that flow through the Suez Canal and one of the Constitutional requirements of our government is to defend our interests, which among other things includes keeping shipping lanes open for American flagged vessels and protecting from piracy. I can just imagine how you would be going non-linear if in addition to all your other maligned views about corporate duplicity and greed you found out that big oil companies hire their own private, global paramilitary forces for protection, which is what you are proposing because no doubt they could obtain that protection on the open market far less expensively than they could by paying the entire cost of the US military presence in the area.

    So when you go out and target all those evil corporations and industries you so despise, corporations that in large part are owned not by Dr. Evil or Dick Cheney but millions and millions of your fellow Americans, you are simply aiming the gun at yourself and any other citizens who want or need to buy goods and services that particular corporation or industry brings to your doorstep. You don’t like big oil? Go find and drill your own. You don’t like the utilities? Try flying a kite and a key. You hate the banks? Bury your cash in the back yard and pay that utility bill in person at the office.

    You hate coal? Fine. If you target the coal industry for destruction you do not harm the shareholders of those corporations, over time they divest themselves of those investments at little to no loss, the companies go out of business and the only people who are hurt in the end are the coal miners, truck drivers and steel workers you claim to be aligned with. Go knock yourself out… literally.

  • Elder Berry says:

    Can you read TDP, or not. I myself have started and operated businesses. I am part-owner of a business now. I’ve worked with REAL venture capitalists, not vulture capitalists like Romney.

    And yes, I’m a liberal and my business provides health insurance for its employees just like it does for me. I’m not aiming a gun at anyone, I’m a job creator.

    A business does not need to run roughshod over the environment or the customer to be profitable. CEOs do not need to make 500 times what their employees make. I just watched a TV program about Frick and Carnegie and all the robber baron industrialists. Do you think we should go back to that? Do you want serfs instead of a middle class in this country? Did you ever know anyone who lived in a “company house” or had to shop in a “company store”? I did. Unfettered unregulated capitalism is usually pretty darn ugly. It has no goal but profit; it has no moral center (that’s what government regulation is supposed to provide.)

    Regulation does not have to be destruction. Maybe if the hostess CEO hadn’t given himself a 300% pay raise Hostess might still be making Twinkies. Socially responsible business can be and often is profitable for EVERYONE.

    Sorry, you’re just beyond understanding.

  • Elder Berry says:

    Linda McMahon? Nate you are also beyond understanding.

    Next you’ll tell me Carly Fiorina is a successful businesswoman and would be a viable candidate somewhere.


  • Barbara Munsey says:

    elderberry, if you think government regulation provides “a moral center”, no wonder you punctuate with OMG.

    Seriously, you look to government for morals, bartered by politicians and tended by bureaucrats?

    Your church IS the state?

    84, then. Rather, ’84.

  • Eric the half a troll says:

    So, TBP, you think governmental programs like public schools are just fine as they are paid for by the recipient. That is exactly how things like Social Security and Medicare are set up. Why do you have such a problem with them but you are fine taking advantage of our public school system. Why the discrepancy?

    As far as big oil having their own security, that is exactly what they should do and pass the costs on to the customers. Until they do, they are being HEAVILY subsidized and you are freeloading off me as a taxpayer when you tool down the road burning $3.89 gas that really costs $10 a gallon to produce.

  • EB, if your business model supports generous benefits and wages to attract and retain employees while providing an income to YOUR needs that is great… for you. But in a free country you do not get to decide what is right for everybody else. Other businesses may be in more price competitive markets or require greater capitalization to remain competitive. If you had a combination convenience store and gas station that paid triple the minimum wage to yourself and all your employees along with comparatively lavish health and retirement benefits, you would not be able to get a quarter more per gallon of gasoline or milk over the other guys at the intersection even if you had a sign announcing you had the highest compensated Pakistani employees in history.

    To suggest that all these large, failed businesses would have ultimately survived if upper management had forgone all their pay to the workers is simply naive. Yes, it does not look good when they pack their own Golden parachutes, and in the case of corporations it is incumbent upon the board and the shareholders to rectify such situations if they feel it is required for survival, otherwise competition and the consumers will assure the outcome.

    If you and a group of your VCs think that Hostess had greedy and incompetent management (as I certainly do) and that a much more viable business model exists that can keep them alive to once again prosper (as I am less certain), I think you should buy up those assets and show us all how to do it right like Ben & Jerry did… But wait a minute… those greedy capitalists sold their altruistic experiment to a big food conglomerat. Anyway, to suggest that if the CEO of Hostess and a few others had forfeit even ALL their pay it would have somehow saved the company is as nonsensical as thinking that you can balance our federal budget simply by raising taxes on the $250k and up income “millionaires and billionaires” that you apparently feel we have too many of in this country.

    Eric, did I ever say I was against public education? All I was saying is that for me and my family it was not “free”, in fact unlike the taxpayers whose kids went to public school who got alleged value for their money we paid for but did not receive those educational services so that others like you could get it for “free”. Again, your thanks have been accepted.

    As to your war on oil, with equal validity (which is none) I could argue that by NOT securing our borders and imposing high costs in crime, education and health care throughout the border states, they are subsidizing your addiction to drugs and cheap lawn care.

    Might I point out that half that $3.89 per gallon I am paying is in the form of taxes to your beloved government, which earns roughly eight times the profit per gallon that the oil companies do, most of which goes to the “highway trust fund” that instead of being used for roads and bridges has routinely been raided to help defray the costs of your social programs… which are a direct subsidy and not one of your imputed subsidies. (Sorry, look up the business definition of “imputed”) But hey, Obama already said he wanted to eliminate coal and see to it that utility rates “necessarily skyrocket”, so if you and the Democrats want to double down by increasing the federal fuel taxes by another $8 per gallon (and many of them would be delighted to see that happen), go right ahead and do it… who do you think that will hurt the most; the oil companies, the government, or your fellow citizens?

    But I really like your mercenary suggestion. I can’t wait to see those Chinese frigates or Somalian pirates contracted to escort tankers laden to the gunwales with American oil, oil that but for your policies we could be drilling here, through the Straits of Hormuz. I can understand why you liberals turn a blind eye to “outsourcing” when it keeps the price of your iPhones down… but now you want to outsource our military and make sure our money goes to foreign soldiers and sailors instead of Americans. What a great guy.

  • Ed Myers says:

    Very few (private) schools are funded completely by parents. Usually at least the cost of the infrastructure and often some of the operating costs are funded from donations. Education is a shared expense and only the home schooled can claim they did it without the support of the community.

    The market is good at redirecting resources. The cost of the military and foreign aid to keep the middle east safe for oil shipments should be added to the cost of oil so we naturally gravitate to a more stable energy source. A carbon tax that reflects the cost of global warming back onto the industry will shift energy usage from fossil fuels to sustainable ones better than subsidies. Eliminating oil and gas tax subsidies will help too.

  • Eric the half a troll says:

    “Yes, it does not look good when they pack their own Golden parachutes, and in the case of corporations it is incumbent upon the board and the shareholders to rectify such situations”

    The workers can and should as well.

  • Eric the half a troll says:

    “Eric, did I ever say I was against public education? ”

    No, I took it that you approved of public education because it is a service which is paid for. Go back and re-read. You obviously missed my point.

  • Eric the half a troll says:

    Ed, top benefited from public schooling as well. Best as I can tell at least his parents and one child attended (if anything he/she says can be believed).

  • edmundburkenator says:

    “Education is a shared expense and only the home schooled can claim they did it without the support of the community.”

    Hmm… the homeschoolers I know make great use of libraries and other public facilities — and should.

  • Eric the 1/2 Troll says:

    “Might I point out that half that $3.89 per gallon I am paying is in the form of taxes to your beloved government”

    Bull shit…the United States federal excise tax on gasoline is 18.4 cents per gallon. According to this chart:

    Which was put out by Chevron, the average state tax is 48.8 cents per gallon. That means on your $3.89 gas about 17% is tax. Even at the highest state tax level, that tax on a gallon of gas is 22%.

    Now it just so happenes that I know one of the reasons for one of those state taxes (in Va anyhow). You see for most of its existence, the oil industry stored its gasoline in the cheapest vessel it could come up with. That was a bare steel tank that they buried. Low and behold, those tanks tended to corrode underground and sprang leaks (like swiss cheese). Gasoline leaked into our drinking water pretty much everywhere in the US. Do you know what the oil industry did (instead of paying for the cleanup themselves)? They lobbied your legislators to pass a special gas tax to fund the cleanup. Then they put the control of those funds into the hands of the very regulators who are directing the remediation and held them responsible for not spending it (rather than focussing on actually cleaning up the mess). This is a classic conflict of interest but the oil industry was perfectly happy with the solution they devised and largely walked away from the whole mess scott free – with a new million dollars per occurence pollution liability insurance policy in their back pockets. Wham, bam, thank you maam..

    One small (yet dramatic) example of how the oil industry (and your gas consumption) is subsidized by taxpayers. At LEAST, this time, they tied it to consumption – otherwise the whole deal stank.

  • Eric the 1/2 Troll says:

    “But hey, Obama already said he wanted to eliminate coal and see to it that utility rates “necessarily skyrocket”…”

    Psssst….might want to look at natural gas prices, bucko. Then take a look at what the electric industry is doing in response…just saying…

  • Eric the 1/2 Troll says:

    “…so if you and the Democrats want to double down by increasing the federal fuel taxes by another $8 per gallon…”

    While such a move would make an interesting economic experiment, this is not the point of the discussion. What I want is for you to understand that your entire life has been and will continue to be subsidized via wealth redistribution funded through the taxpaying public. You have no problem accepting these handouts yet you vilifiy others who need some help and the programs designed to help them even though they are exactly the same thing (only on a MUCH smaller scale).

    To add insult to injury, you expect me to continue to subsidize YOUR lavish lifestyle (No New Gas Tax, No Military Cuts, Deregulate my Cash Cow, Cut my Company’s Taxes, Eliminate the Minimum Wage, clearly your mantra) yet you think you should not have to pay a dime more to provide a basic safety net for those who need it (Cut School Funding, Slash Welfare, Reform [one of my favorite words} Medicare and Social Security – more rightwing mantra).

  • FedUp says:

    “…$3.89 gas that really costs $10 a gallon to produce.”

    Really, $10? Can you point to a study that adds military costs, tax breaks, etc. to the current market price? You renewable energy proponents also need to realize there are a lot of byproducts of oil and natural gas that would be hard to live without, such as plastics and fertilizers.

    How many home-schooled and privately-schooled children in Loudoun? Maybe 15,000? How much would that increase the tax rate if they all went to public schools? Seems to me that in effect the taxpaying parents of those children subsidize public schools.

  • Eric the 1/2 Troll says:

    “Really, $10? Can you point to a study that adds military costs, tax breaks, etc. to the current market price?”

    It was $10 in 2006 – BEFORE the outlays for the resulting prolonged occupation of Iraq. Accounting for increased crude prices and inflation, it could easily be about $20 today.

    “To put the figure in further perspective, it is equivalent to adding $8.35 to the price of a gallon of gasoline refined from Persian Gulf oil. This would raise that figure to $10.73, making the cost of filling the gasoline tank of a sedan $214.60, and of an SUV $321.90.”

    So in 2006 dollars this was roughly a 8-10X fold subsidy (I remember filling up my minivan for $25, don’t you?)

  • Eric the 1/2 Troll says:

    “You renewable energy proponents also need to realize there are a lot of byproducts of oil and natural gas that would be hard to live without, such as plastics and fertilizers.”

    I agree 100%. Again, I am not saying the subsidies are unwarranted. One can argue that they are indeed. But at least recognize that everybody benefits in some way from our system of taxation. In many ways, you and I benefit FAR greater than those on food stamps and subsidized housing. As you note, if you did away with government subsidies (ALL of them) the world would be a very different place.

  • Eric the 1/2 Troll says:

    Also, FU, given how much we (you and I ultimately) pay to prop up fossil fuels use in the US, do you not think it makes economic sense to shift to renewable energy use instead? Clearly our taxes would drop since we would not have to subsidize fossil fuels at a 8-10X level. Additionally, when demand on fossil fuels drop, prices of gas and oil will drop which in turn will be fed back to us in lower consumer goods prices (packaging, food, transportation, etc). Does it not make good economic sense to invest heavily in this goal? Please note, I am not suggesting NOT producing fossil fuels, I am saying invest/subsidize renewables to shift OUR fuel usage to renewables and then become a net exporter of fossil fuels and their products. Doesn’t that make good economic sense?

    If one spends some time analyzing the US oil production/usage/import data, you will note that our leverage on the world oil stage in terms of pricing is in reducing our usage NOT increasing our production. I’ll provide the data if you wish but it is clear. Doubling US oil production only adds to the world supply by 10%. Reducing US demand in half increases world supply by 30-40%. Do both, sure, but heavily fund oil demand reduction as that is where the biggest bang for the proverbial buck lies.

  • Sorry, Eric, I was guesstimating based upon the price of gas when your Messiah took office, but I definitely nailed it when I identified you as a fossil fuel industry hater, huh?

    I’m not going to waste much more time on you because one thing you just asked of FU says it all:

    “…do you not think it makes economic sense to shift to renewable energy use instead?”

    My answer is that only a mastermind like you could know in advance. Left to the free market and not the agenda interventionists like you, at some point in the future it may indeed make “economic sense” to transition to renewable fuels. But there again, if the energy market is controlled by supply and demand instead of masterminds like you, other more abundant and reliable forms of alternative energy may be innovated and developed. You’ve had two chances to make pinwheels and hot plates competitve, first with Carter back in the late 70’s and then the tax credits of the last decade… in both cases the economics have not been able to compete even at current high energy prices and with the tax credits and refunds that amount to as much as half the investment or more… the only thing we have to show for it is a large diversion of both private and public capital for non market based reasons and virtually no contribution to our overall energy needs.

    Artificially driving the price of “bad” things up or “good” things down for a worthy cause through punitive taxation or generous incentive is about as non-economic as you can get. The only lasting effect is to get the ever growing government hooked upon yet another revenue or vote stream, and when they see that stream threatened they will optimize (meaning lower) the rate to maximize revenue or find some new demon to punish. If every smoker in New York decided they would no longer purchase any tobacco in New York, the first thing you would see happen is New York suing it’s neighbors to try to get some of the tax revenue back, then failing that they would lower their own taxes or create a new sin tax on fast food.

    When Florida started all the tobacco suits years back, if the industry had announced, “Due to the ongoing litigation and threat of liability exposure we will no longer be selling any tobacco in Florida” you would have seen all those silver retirees screaming, border states making a killing and that same attorney general who was suing big tobacco for selling the product would be launching another action suing them for NOT selling the product.

    Just let the market find the best, cheapest, cleanest sources of energy as you continue to preach global warming and such. Do it by convincing your fellow citizens, not by trying to use the bludgeon of government to enslave them to your scientific views or ideology. And by the way, no real scientist would ever say that anything is “settled science”, so don’t even try that one when it comes to alleged man-caused global warming.

  • Eric the 1/2 Troll says:

    “Artificially driving the price of “bad” things up or “good” things down for a worthy cause through punitive taxation or generous incentive is about as non-economic as you can get.”

    So why do you support such efforts on fossil fuels? If the true cost of fossil fuels could be realized (or renewables could be subsidized equally) renewables would win hands down. The oil industry lobbyists know this. I have demonstated it to you here yet you continue to bash renewables as economically unsound. This demonstrates one of two things either you are a complete idiot and have no idea what you are talking about OR you are completely and totally intellectually dishonest (and a hypocrite to boot).

    Not sure which is worse.

  • Eric, “If the true cost of fossil fuels could be realized” you would find that your numbers are not even within an order of magnitude of being correct… Even if you were to make the absurd argument that the only reason we have a military at all is to prop up the oil business, your numbers are not even close.

    For example, the budget for the entire defense department at its peak in 2010 was 700 billion (it’s more like 600 billion now) and the driving pubic consumes 3 trillion gallons of gasoline per year, which means an additional tax of just 23 cents per gallon would pay for not just the cost of operations in the Middle East but everywhere. Adding 23 cents to the cost of gasoline will not suddenly put hybrid and electric cars on an equal footing even WITH the generous tax incentives they presently enjoy.

    So that takes care of your defense argument, next you will move to the less tangible, like arguing that we would not need pipelines, railroads or highways but for the transport of oil… then you will claim that the interstate highway system subsidized the use of a transportation infrastructure dependent upon oil, petro chemical engineers who benefited from publicly funded education, etc., as if all these things inure to the benefit of oil companies at the expense of… the consumer? Following this line of cherry-picking you could make any argument you choose about any despised industry you choose, from agriculture to zoology, and in the end be arguing that none of these things would exist if not for the country… and you would be precisely correct. And that is the point.

    The question is, what is the alternative… A different country? A country where consumers do not have the liberty to purchase a gasoline powered car, light bulb not containing mercury, or soft drink larger than 16oz? A country where masterminds like you take your “settled science” and “social justice” ideology, peer into your crystal ball, devise and implement master plans that leverage punishment and reward to guide all the rest of us? The rest of us who are obviously so less enlightened and unable to act in our own best interests or suffer the consequences of our decisions?

    That’s not the America I grew up in, and that’s not the American Contract set forth in our Declaration and Constitution, bequeathed to future generations by our founders and that every President and patriotic American has sworn or pledged to protect and preserve.

  • Eric the 1/2 Troll says:

    “So that takes care of your defense argument…”

    I think you should go actually READ the document I posted above. Then come back with a little more than back of the envelope scratchings (unless you can’t be bothered). These are not my figures but figures put forward in two studies by the National Defense Council Foundation. It accounts for FAR more than simply the defense expenditures involved with keeping our mideast oil supply flowing. Go back and read if you want to debate facts.

    “That’s not the America I grew up in…”

    This is the point of this whole exercise. The fact of the matter is this IS INDEED the America you grew up in. Winners and losers have been picked by government subsidies pretty much from day one. You are a beneficiary of wealth redistribution as much as any single mom on food stamps but in your case your leeching is supercharged.

    “The question is, what is the alternative…”

    What is the alternative, indeed. Now you sound like the dependent freeloader you truly are.

  • I read that “document” and it includes all the grab bag stuff that I said you would include, most of those imputed values considering a static state of affairs against intangible alternatives, but not for the reasons you portend. It is a worst case, trumped up argument against IMPORTED oil, not ALL oil, and the only conclusion I could draw from that paper is the same that the author is suggesting… that we should be drilling for all of our oil here instead of importing any from the Middle East, of which I am in total agreement.

    But you don’t want us to drill here, either. No, you want us to try to harness a weak, diffuse and intermittent source of energy that requires as much CO2 production in its fabrication and deployment as it saves over its useful lifetime, at which point there is an incredible and widespread cost for decommissioning over a huge environmental footprint. And what is that energy source? Pinwheels to power your electric cars.

    I once pointed out that by example, you would need a non-stop line of windmills, two per mile along the Blue Ridge that you could view from I-81 as you drove from Wilkes Barre to the Tennessee border just to replace the base generation capacity of the average two-reactor nuclear plant. Each of those turbines would contain at least a hundred tons of steel and 500 to 1000 tons of concrete, all hauled from great distances, up roads cut through the wilderness along with power lines and other infrastructure, etc. I was very interested in that business for many years having deployed such technology myself without regard to economics, but with the possible exception of off-shore development that even the Kennedys don’t want in their back yard, both the economic and environmental numbers have yet to make sense and in the case of wind probably never will, which is why when artificial tax credits dry up that industry tanks every time.

    Now to your other accusation, that “You are a beneficiary of wealth redistribution as much as any single mom on food stamps but in your case your leeching is supercharged.” As a member of the hated “top five percent” I have probably paid more in taxes than you have ever earned, so the only appropriate response I can think of to that vituperative attack is, “Fuck You”.

  • Cato the Elder says:

    “As a member of the hated “top five percent” I have probably paid more in taxes than you have ever earned, so the only appropriate response I can think of to that vituperative attack is, “Fuck You”.”

    Of course it is. There’s nothing left to say to these people. The problem in this country is not that it’s too polarized. The problem is that it’s not polarized enough, at least not yet.

    But at least you’ve come to the realization that there’s no negotiation with them. And that’s a start.

  • Oh, Cato, I’ve always known there is no negotiation with the ideologue, it’s just a matter of drawing them out and separating them from those who are fellow concerned citizens of a differing point of view or experience interested in having a healthy and informative debate. As the ideologues’ arguments are systematically dismantled their true character is always revealed.

    The principle difference between ourselves and Mr. Troll is that we trust in the collective wisdom of countless individual decisions by the many, whereas they believe in the enlightened genius and rule by the few, which is why they are always running to politicians and judges to enforce their will rather than trying to convince their fellow citizens. If you believe electric cars will save the planet, make the argument to me and persuade me to go buy one, don’t just punish me if I don’t. The least civil society I can imagine living in is one where neighbors only converse via the ballot box, court documents and the force of law, but that seems to be the way these folks want it.

    I was once a member of a church packed with liberal Stalinists. They were always arguing about interpretations of the by-laws, scheming against “the others” (primarily newer members who wanted to try new things), calling meetings and emergency elections on short notice and when few but they could attend, then constantly crowing “majority rules”. It was an amazing thing to see… the church was dying and going broke, the old guard didn’t want anything to change but they were constantly lamenting the lack of new members, meaning revenue to reduce their own share of the tab.

    After they drove away all the undesirables and got down to their “pure” half dozen, they were forced to rent the church to another congregation due to lack of funds, themselves of course not contributing any. So they have their little meeting every Sunday the hour before the paying congregation, no choir, no pastor, no future, and their coffee and doughnuts afterward. It was a microcosm of what we see in our country… people who want their own way but for somebody else to pay, and if the whole country goes down in a swirl of debt and destitution they could care less as long as they are in control.

  • FedUp says:

    Troll, that study you point to says the hidden cost of oil is $825 billion a year and of that, $137 billion for defense costs. I don’t know about that. That was like over 25% of the defense budget back then, and all just to defend Persian Gulf oil imports? I stopped reading at that point.

  • FU, that report was only about the costs of imported oil… if you tally up the total cost of fossil fuel use, impact on the environment, opportunity costs due to lack of investment in renewable energy from bat guano, etc., it exceeds the total GDP of the Solar System. Unless we get off fossil fuels immediately, or at least let the tax revenues from their use fund the entire government, the world as we know it is going to collapse like a house of cards.

    BTW, speaking of a house of cards, by chance your real name isn’t Francis Urquhart, is it?

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    “Artificially driving the price of “bad” things up or “good” things down for a worthy cause”

    TDP, congratulations–you’ve just defined the modern meaning of “sustainability”!

    (but you already knew that–well said!)

  • Eric the 1/2 Troll says:

    “…that we should be drilling for all of our oil here instead of importing any from the Middle East, of which I am in total agreement.”

    As we are and, as I said above, as we should be, dolt. But we should be INVESTING in renewables and reduction of oil consumption (read tax subsidies). For the economy.

    But the fact remains, a huge part of your gas consuming lifestyle is subsidized. Sorry that pisses you off. But you are a leech. You use public schools to get to maintain your place in life. You are a leech. You rely on a public police force and fire department. Leech. You WILL be perfectly happy accepting your SS and Medicare benefits because you will think you are DUE them. Leech.

    And now you claim (even though I suspect you lie through your teeth) to be one of the 1% which means you don’t even pay your fair share of taxes. You are not just a leech, you are a lowlife and a leech.

    And now you will cry about how much taxes you pay compared to me even though you have no idea how much I currently pay in taxes or have paid historically (I will give you a hint, I have owned my fair share of businesses – but I have NEVER paid capital gains rates on my “S” Corp income.) You are the leech here.

    Come cry to me when you pay the same tax rate that your cleaning lady who scrubs your toilet for you pays.

  • Eric the 1/2 Troll says:

    FU, this item may help explain the defense numbers:

    “The [2003] analysis concluded that the fixed costs of defending Persian Gulf oil amounted to $49.1 billion annually. These estimated, however were based on data compiled prior to the initiation of Operation Iraqi Freedom. As a result, in 2006, the Foundation revisited the issue to take into account any additional outlays that could be reasonably assigned to the protection of oil supplies.

    Based on a review of current circumstances, the initial estimate was increased to $137.8 billion.”

  • Eric the 1/2 Troll says:

    BTW, T Dolt Pickens, if you had been here for more than a few days spouting off at the mouth, you would know that I adore the oil industry as I work for the oil industry and have for going on 30 years now. You would also know that I support nuclear power expansion in this country, even though I lived at ground zero during TMI.

    Further I support development of unconventional oil and gas resources domestically (as I pointed out above) along with investment and subsidies for renewables. So stop being such a douche (along with being a lowlife leech).

  • Eric the 1/2 Troll says:

    “TDP, congratulations–you’ve just defined the modern meaning of “sustainability”!”

    Nothing “modern” about the concept of using tax subsidies to “Artificially driving the price of “bad” things up or “good” things down”, Barb. You going to claim your housing deduction this year?

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    Eric, I know it is useful to jump from the general to the specific as needed to continue to “debate” Forrest Gump ping-pong practice style, but I liked what he said because those who preach “sustainability” (to somehow be achieved by unsustainable {true meaning} government) never actually define the word or their concept. They just attack whoever is asking pesky questions as some kind of planet-raper.

    My father noted that those who use it in lobbying and policy have switched the modifier to the modified (“sustainable growth”).

    My take has always been that those who know best establish an artificial mean, and whatever needs to be done to maintain it is what is pushed–no matter how high a price or a tax rises, no matter how low a service or benefit falls. Hence my agreement with TDP.s choice of words.

    He’s right–in the real world–as opposed to any number of individual postmodern “reality bases”.

  • edmundburkenator says:

    “I know it is useful to jump from the general to the specific as needed to continue to “debate” Forrest Gump ping-pong practice style…”

    Most of us know you know all to well.

    TDP, you sound like you’re getting your rave back on. I’m sorry you experienced the Clinton years and it rendered you — well, in the top 5 percent? Did you drop out of the 1 percent then or was it later?

    “The problem in this country is not that it’s too polarized. The problem is that it’s not polarized enough, at least not yet.”

    Cato… always looking for a revolution. Remember, Javert, in the end, takes his own life when he sees the immorality of his beliefs.

  • Cato the Elder says:

    EB, you’re down with relative morality, right?

    Besides, Javert actually had morals. I believe only in survival. It makes the calculus much easier.

  • edmundburkenator says:

    “I believe only in survival.”

    And, apparently, melodrama.

  • EB, I like to say 5% because it makes me feel like I am part of a larger group with people like you. You know… those one in twenty of us who foot half the bill while the others claim we are not paying our “fair share”.

    Speaking of fair shares, I am sure you, Barb and Cato will find this study interesting. It shows how “we” basically have been paying the same rate since 1979 regardless various attempts at punishment. An excerpt:

    “Hence, the net effect of all the adjustments to the tax code since the early 1980s has been to significantly reduce the effective tax rate for households in the bottom 80 percent of the income distribution, while leaving the average tax rate for those in the highest quintile of household income essentially unchanged.”

    Note the chart on page two.

    This in a very graphical way demonstrates what I have always been pointing out that the leftists seem to ignore… the producers are, after all, the producers, the innovators. They have the means and capability to control their own lives and it is within their power to see that the government does not confiscate from them unreasonably. If capital gains rates rise too high, they don’t realize any. If income tax rates rise too high, they don’t bother earning the extra money, so all that happens when you try to punish them is their capital and disposable income ceases to flow into and within the market, which is precisely why there has been no economic recovery and why there will not be one for at least four more years.

    The only difference this time around is that the flow of capital has been damped not because of the current tax rates, but rather the fear of what is certain to come, so all those nuts are going to stay buried until that fear has been removed. The business and investor class does not trust Obama and the Democrats, and that distrust is well deserved.

  • Eric the half a troll says:

    The economy has not bounced back because the housing market has not recovered from the assault carried out on it by the developers last go round. The money is sitting on the sidelines because demand is still low and no other reason.

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