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Fools and Our Money

It never gets mentioned much in the dramas about our founding fathers, but one of the big reasons for the American Revolution, was money. You see, the British Empire was about two goals; power and wealth. The American colonies represented quite a bit of each, and while the phrase 'cash cow' did not come into use until much later, it's a apt phrase to describe how the King and Parliament saw them. This, in short, meant that whenever the British government decided it needed to raise funds, an early and popular plan was to raise taxes in the American colonies. This reached a point where the colonists were angry enough to protest, and when complaints were ignored, to resist. I mention this, because our Federal government seems very much inclined to go down the same road.

A good example is the price of gasoline. There is a great deal of talk about concern for the consumer, but no serious action. Indeed, despite promising to lower gas prices to below $2 a gallon, the present Congress has sat idly by while prices instead doubled. Plans have been suggested which could address the problem, both in the short and long term, yet the government stubbornly clings to unproven hysteric theories rather than act in prudent fashion. Neither party is really addressing the problem from the perspective of the average citizen. As usual.

The federal government gets more than two trillion dollars of our money every year, yet they manage to run a deficit and to waste a lot of it on garbage projects to please their own egos. Two trillion dollars is about fifteen thousand dollars a taxpayer, every single year, not including the taxes you pay to a city, county, state or other tax authority. Leaving statistics aside, you have to pay when you get your wages, you pay every time you buy something, you pay for where you live, any nearby schools, a lot of your roads and bridges, and all sorts of fees even when you don't use what they're paying for. You get taxed on your phone - if I recall correctly, we are somehow still paying for the Spanish-American War, you get to pay taxes everytime the US government decides it wants to help someone else. That's one thing when we are helping disaster relief, but something else when we are paying folks for not working, for a politically motivated cause, or for their personal campaigns. And then, after all this paying without our consent or in many cases much informing, we get to file income tax returns, which if done wrongly will lead to threats and penalties by the government.

As we celebrate the anniversary of our independence from Britain, it might be time to notice that someone else wants to make us their colony, their cash cow for whatever they please. And perhaps it is once again time to make clear that we are the nation, not those mandarins - Republican or Democrat - who claim 'public service' but only serve their own.



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Comments (44)

DJ, I have to admit I'm a l... (Below threshold)
Gandalf:

DJ, I have to admit I'm a little disappointed in this post. While I agree with your thesis, that citizens shouldn't be viewed by our government as a "cash cow", that taxes should be severely limited, etc., I'm deeply troubled by the historical errors.

The colonists did not "rebel" against the King because he raised taxes on them one too many times. The king, in fact, had no power to raise taxes anywhere (even in England). In Great Britain, taxes had to be raised by British Parliament. That dates back to the Magna Carta, I believe (correct me if I'm wrong). In the Colonies, taxing privileges were reserved solely for the colonial congresses and was later given to the Continental Congress. But then a funny thing happened: British Parliament, who had no legal authority over the Colonies (only the British King did) decided they should tax the Colonists to help pay for the French-Indian war. Contrary to what most people thing, THIS is what eventually led to the Revolution. The Colonies did not leave the British Empire because they didn't want to pay legal taxes that just happened to be too high. They left because the taxes imposed on them were illegal to begin with, regardless of the amount.

So what's my point here? My point is this: We on the Right have a great respect for history, specifically American history. We believe it holds great lessons for us. We fear when our countrymen begin to forget history. We fear it even more when they begin to change history.

Bu that's exactly what you've done in this post, unintentionally to be sure, but no less damaging. When you assert something as historical (that the Colonists rebelled because they were taxed too much) that is not, and then proceed to draw valid points from an historical error, it only makes the final point look bad.

As I said, I agree with your final point. They way you got there is flawed.

Aside note: I think I agree with you final point, if it is that there should be some check on taxes. However be careful. The Founding Fathers would be horrified at the state of modern Libertarianism that pretends government has no authority to tax its citizens at all.

It would take a very, very ... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

It would take a very, very long post to put the historical era of the time in perspective so a very brief summation is acceptable to me as long as I get the point of the post.

Pelosi promised a few things if the democrats got into power. Two are getting right out of Iraq, and doing something about the high price of gas which at the time of the promise was more then a dollar less then today. Now, more troops in Iraq and gas is higher. Way to govern there demo's. ww

Ofcourse, I think the Found... (Below threshold)

Ofcourse, I think the Founding Fathers would find the Progressive Income Tax, despite the Constitutional Amendment, somewhat abhorrent. And the fact that it gave the Federal Government deeper pockets than the states and therefore more power.. yeah... I'm no Libertarian but that has been a recipe for increased socialism in this country...

Unfortunately, whether or n... (Below threshold)
BPG:

Unfortunately, whether or not the British felt this way (it was possible), most elected officials do look at the American as a 'cash cow'. Or, probably a bit more accurately, a 'bottomless pit'.

State governments are just as guilty of this - as a former resident of NY and NJ, and a current resident of Taxachusetts, they make the Federal government almost bland by comparison. (Except for the Department of Energy, Education, Health & Human Services, etc)

"A good example is the pric... (Below threshold)
Herman:

"A good example is the price of gasoline. There is a great deal of talk about concern for the consumer, but no serious action. Indeed, despite promising to lower gas prices to below $2 a gallon, the present Congress has sat idly by while prices instead doubled. Plans have been suggested which could address the problem, both in the short and long term, yet the government stubbornly clings to unproven hysteric theories rather than act in prudent fashion." -- D.J. Drummond

Typical, short-sighted conservative response, blaming the government rather than himself.

CONSERVATIVES-WHO-WON'T-CONSERVE:

Have you so little education that you are unfamiliar with the economic laws of supply and demand??? We can't do much about the long-term supply of oil, an unrenewable resource (foolish attempts to despoil the environment notwithstanding), but WE CAN DO SOMETHING ABOUT DEMAND:

CONSERVE, DAMN IT, CONSERVE!!!

Uh, that means no SUVs for your Bush-Cheney bumperstickers, and using a nonpolluting lawnmower if you don't like the height of your grass. Too freakin' bad!!!

Ten years ago, Osama been Forgotten (remember him?) stated that a barrel of oil should cost $144. ( http://thinkprogress.org/ ) Thanks to your spendthrift ways and to your opposition to increased fuel-efficiency requirements for cars, OSAMA'S WISH HAS COME TRUE: a barrel of oil is now $145.

Happy now, conservatives?

No SUVs Herman? Ok... (Below threshold)
Jamie:

No SUVs Herman?

Ok...how do I transport my family? I'm married with six children, so whatever you propose needs to have seating for at least eight, and cargo space sufficient to at least carry luggage for a long weekend.

I have an idea for you, Herman. Why don't you conserve some of the quality air, food, and water we now enjoy? It'll make more available for all the rational humans.

Herman,Go tell it to... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

Herman,
Go tell it to Al Gore, Leo DiCaprio and the Kennedy Clan.

DJ Drummond<blockquot... (Below threshold)
stan25 Author Profile Page:

DJ Drummond

You get taxed on your phone - if I recall correctly, we are somehow still paying for the Spanish-American War, you get to pay taxes everytime the US government decides it wants to help someone else.

I heard somewhere that the phone tax was finally repealed a couple of years ago. Need to check to make sure of this. Ok I found the info:

Several recent federal court decisions have held that the tax does not apply to long-distance service as it is billed today. The IRS is following these decisions and refunding the portion of the tax charged on long-distance calls. The IRS is also refunding taxes collected on telephone service under plans that do not differentiate between long distance and local calls including bundled service.

The telephone tax continues to apply to local-only service, and the IRS is not refunding taxes charged on local-only service.

http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=161506,00.html

It's appalling just how muc... (Below threshold)
COgirl:

It's appalling just how much of our money goes towards paying taxes of some sort. There are hidden taxes everywhere. I don't mind paying for services and things necessary to keep our country safe. But what I get really upset about is that the government abuses my hard earned money.

In my personal life, when my income drops or when my expenses go up, I back off on my spending. When that happens to the government, they raise my taxes. I'd like to see a little fiscal discipline.

Sen. John Warner sugg... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Sen. John Warner suggested Thursday [July 3] that Congress might want to consider reimposing a national speed limit to save gasoline and possibly ease fuel prices. Warner cited studies that showed the 55 mph speed limit saved 167,000 barrels of oil a day, or 2 percent of the country's highway fuel consumption, while avoiding up to 4,000 traffic deaths a year.

The prospects of bringing back the national 55 mph seed limit infuriate me for a number of reasons. First, if you live or drive out west you know how boring and tiring it is to poke along at 55 when all you can see is open road stretching to some hill on the horizon and when you get to that hill you see noting but open road stretching to some hill on the horizon. Repeat that for a few hours and you get a sense of the wide open spaces that define much of the west. On most of the western interstates the speed limit is 75 mph, but Texas has a stretch of freeway where they upped the speed limit to 80 mph because it was safer than at 75. Turns out most people are wide awake and paying attention to the road at 80 mph and attentive drivers are the number one requirement for safety.

I remember one trip I took out west during the 55 mph speed limit. I had a big van that I hauled my motorcycle in (I don't like riding in the rain and it always rains when I ride long distances). Anyway, I was so bored that I put it on cruse and tied ropes to the steering wheel and sat in the back using the ropes to steer the van. Stupid? You bet, but not as stupid as letting myself fall asleep behind the wheel, which too many people have done. That 20 second trick kept me awake for a long time first thinking how funny it was and then thinking how stupid it was. Well, I was just on that same road two weeks ago and cursing at 78 mph (per GPS) and I didn't feel the least bit sleepy or bored even after 10 hours on the road. Some forks were passing me doing at least 85 mph pushing the leniency of the local highway patrol, but I bet they were really alert.

Anyway, it seems saving 167,000 barrels of oil a day is pointless as long as anyone is making the argument that a million barrels a day from drilling in ANWR would be pointless. If by some unexplained means saving 167,000 barrels a day did lower prices, then people would drive more and consumption would go up. The high price of gas has already done far more to conserve fuel than a 55 mph speed limit can. It has also reduced the miles driven and less miles means less accidents. It's just hard for some politicians to accept the idea that the market if far more effective in dealing with this issue than imposing stale ideas from the past.

Now if politicians feel they have to do something to conserve fuel one idea is to impose a selective speed limit. The principle is to slow down only the least fuel efficient passenger vehicles. The idea is that more fuel would be saved by getting people out of their full sized SUV's and pickup trucks than by slowing down everyone. The reason that works is because a 55 mph speed limit has no effect in built-up areas where the speed limits are already low. It's also were most fuel is used and untouched by the 55 mph speed limit. If you can get people out of their full sized SUV's and pickup trucks than fuel is saved both on the open highway and even more so in built-up areas. High gas prices are doing that, but if politicians need to tamper then a selective speed limit makes sense. That's because some people make so much money that even $7 gas is not going to get them out of their large SUVs. However, make them spend their time driving 55 while more fuel efficient vehicles go 75 and they are going to change their ways quicker than by high gas prices alone. Also, I find it unfair to impose the same gas saving speed limit on someone driving a 40 plus mpg vehicle as someone driving a 12 mpg vehicle. One driver has already done their part and is using far less fuel at 80 mph that the other uses at 55 mph.

The way this would work is that the next time a low mileage passenger vehicle's registration is due the owner would be given special 55 MPH stickers to place on the front and back bumpers. If they didn't comply there would be a substantial fine. Vehicles with such stickers would be limited to a maximum speed of 55 MPH even if the posted speed limit is higher. This law wound not apply to commercial vehicles that need to haul goods, tools or equipment as large vehicles are needed for such purposes. Some will claim that it would be too hard to enforce, but I don't think that's a significant issue. Such vehicles are easy to spot just by their size and the special stickers could be designed to reflect certain wavelengths of lasers so that they could be detected from great distances. The sticker would also be far cheaper to implement than changing the speed limit signs (again) and states could pass the cost on to the owners of such vehicles. Another advantage is that the minimum mileage to avoid the 55 MPH designation could be raised every year. It could be a simple formula like EPA highway mileage needs to be greater than 12 plus the last two digits of the year until 2020.

The more large vehicles off the road the safer it will be for drivers of fuel efficient vehicles. Sure there are always going to be 18 wheelers on the road, but even your super sized SUV is no match for them in an accident. Need to haul lots of people, get a minvan. Toyota Sienna hauls eight passangers in more comfort than any SUV and is rated 26 mpg on the highway by the EPA (Consumer Reports got 28 mph and this is with a 266 HP V6 that does 0-60 in 7.8 seconds. You can get it in AWD but give up 3 mpg highway).

Unfortunately such out of the box ideas are also likely out of the realm of political possibility.

Mac, judging from some of y... (Below threshold)
Jamie:

Mac, judging from some of your other posts, I'm guessing your ignorance on the SUV question is unintentional...you generally seem more rational than that.

SEATING for eight does not make it work. Sure the cute lil Sienna can seat eight people, but if you're headed on vacation, you'd better be planning on a clothing-optional resort, as you won't be able to carry much more than a toothbrush for everyone with all the seats in "passenger" position.

The ONLY vehicles that have sufficient passenger AND cargo room for a large family are the extra-large SUVs, and those of us who truly need the extra room are already being penalized pretty harshly, thank you.

Your idea is about as "out of the box" as the 55 mph proposal...still more government doing things that "feel good" but won't make two sh*ts worth of difference. Still stuck on the "punish the SUV owners" meme.

Oh, one more point re: Sien... (Below threshold)
Jamie:

Oh, one more point re: Sienna vs. SUV

When real-world road tests on the Sienna show around 17-18 mpg, exactly why should I give up the extra room, convenience, and safety of my Excursion for 2-3 mpg (if that much after one puts 900-1000 lbs of people in the Sienna)?

Gandalf, I did say b... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Gandalf, I did say both money and power. I left off the power part, because that's worth quite a few posts on its own.

Jamie,I don't know... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Jamie,

I don't know what real world tests you are referring to, but Consumer Reports does controlled and instrumented real world tests and they got 28 mpg for the Toyota Sienna on the highway. The now discontinued Ford Excursion got 13 mpg. That means you're paying over $14.50 more for each 100 miles you drive on the highway. I just did a 2800 mile vacation trip with lots of 78 mph driving and got an averaged of 26.9 mpg. You would spend an extra $400 in gas driving your Excursion. Now I'm sure that's unimportant to someone who can afford six kids. However, the minivan is statistically safer than your SUV. I don't expect you to agree, I didn't when I was driving a V8 4x4 pickup truck, but overall minivans are the safest passengers vehicles on the road apart from a commercial tour bus.

A person could tow a trailer behind a Toyota Sienna if they needed more room for luggage and they would still get better highway mileage than your Excursion. Then get double the mileage of your Excursion in everyday use. That's more than a $2,100 savings over 15,000 miles.

It's not about hating SUVs, it's about reducing demand for fuel and there's usually an valid higher mileage vehicle that will do the job. If not, you can drive 55 MPH, which is better than all of us driving 55 MPH. I've already done my part.

Jamie, my Sienna has averag... (Below threshold)

Jamie, my Sienna has averaged 21 MPG so far in the two years I have been driving it... not too bad...

Duncan, what kind of terrai... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

Duncan, what kind of terrain do you drive vs. Jamie. How much is commuting just yourself vs. the whole family.

The acronym YMMV exists for a reason.

"Ok...how do I transport... (Below threshold)
Herman:

"Ok...how do I transport my family? I'm married with six children, so whatever you propose needs to have seating for at least eight, and cargo space sufficient to at least carry luggage for a long weekend." -- Jamie

Conservatives, sometimes it seems as though you have no ability to go out and find information yourself. Jamie, it's quite simple:
Just get yourself two of these
here:

(not surprisingly, the solution comes from Canada). And yes, cargo trailers can be acquired for what's in the picture.

Alas, the link didn't work,... (Below threshold)
Herman:

Alas, the link didn't work, Jamie. Try this one instead.
http://communities.canada.com/shareit/photos/bicycles/picture64837.aspx

And, Jamie, one more thing.... (Below threshold)
Herman:

And, Jamie, one more thing. Having six children truly is quite excessive, unless, of course, most or all were acquired through adoption.

Conservatives, the world's population WILL continue to rise sharply at least until the middle of this century. Already, there are reports that the North Pole might soon completely melt. Something for you to think about.

Herman, you're on the line ... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Herman, you're on the line again. This is not your soapbox, and I am in the mood to exercise a virtual Rottweiler or two.

You have no place to tell someone how many children they may have, and Climate Change is for the Chicken Little page, not here.

Capisce?

Hey, Herman, if you can tel... (Below threshold)

Hey, Herman, if you can tell Jamie how many children he/she should have (sorry, Jamie, but you have one of those androgynous names) out of concern for natural resources, can I tell welfare recipients how many children they can have out of concern for my own financial resources -- whose affect is a hell of a lot more immediate and verifiable?

J.

Six fellow employees and my... (Below threshold)
RicardoVerde:

Six fellow employees and myself recently drove an XL version of an expedition on a trip and averaged 18 MPG. A good portion of the trip was on Interstate at 75 miles per hour. My Mazda will do twice the MPG on the road, but not with four adults on board. We saved fuel by driving the big SUV.
At one time I owned a larger minivan. We basically wore it out and decided to trade it in on an expedition on our way home from vacation. All of the stuff that we carried inside the minivan wouldn't fit inside the 'larger' vehicle so we had to tie some of it on the rack.

Hey, Herman is just being a... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

Hey, Herman is just being a good little socialist, just like the Party back in China. Enforced birth control, scrape out any baby beyond the quota.

Jay, "He" would be the corr... (Below threshold)
Jamie:

Jay, "He" would be the correct pronoun.

I'm getting 15 on my daily through-the-country commute in my Excursion. I get around 18 on the highway. I'd be dubious on 28 mpg on the Sienna...that's higher than the EPA estimates by a significant percentage, although 21 sounds reasonable for a V-6.

And Mac, be careful with that "doing my part" bombshell. How would you feel if only hybrids were allowed on interstate? If you still feel like dictating how someone else should drive based upon some holier than thou bullshit yardstick, then kindly fuck yourself. Idiotic ideas like yours are what stands in the way of the free market correcting itself.

Herman, you sad little fuck, I'll be damned if you have any place telling me how many children I should have. Pseudo-liberals like you make me realize all too well why our country seems to be circling the drain. I pity your miserable existance, waiting on Big Brother to tell you when how, and how often to wipe your diaper-rashed ass.

Mac, with all due respect, ... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

Mac, with all due respect, the selective speed limit would wreak havoc on our highways. We're simply not set up for that. As it is, we can't get a Prius doing 50 out of the fast lane of a 70 mph highway to allow others to pass. We'll have to start ticketing anyone not in their properly assigned lane as well.

A few years ago I bought a Tahoe because I was hauling quite a lot of stuff around town. Things have recently changed for me and I no longer have to, but I'm stuck with it. I can't even give it away. Never mind being able to afford another car payment. My husband drives the more economical car to work. So I do my best to conserve and don't drive it unless I have to. (Here's where I tell Herman, "Cram it where the sun don't shine, you pompous ass. Why don't you conserve and quit making trees work so hard to provide the oxygen you're so obviously squandering?")

Furthermore, my Tahoe is in top-notch condition and isn't spewing the noxious fumes and gases my holier-than-thou neighbor's gas efficient, 1985 Nissan is as he smokes his way out of his driveway and down the street bragging about how he's "not supporting those nasty Arabs" but robbing his neighbors of clean air.

Jamie,And... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Jamie,

And Mac, be careful with that "doing my part" bombshell. How would you feel if only hybrids were allowed on interstate?

That's a straw man argument. Nothing in my plan would prevent you from driving your super sized SUV on the interstate.

If you still feel like dictating how someone else should drive based upon some holier than thou bullshit yardstick, then kindly fuck yourself.

I'm not dictating anything. Try reading what I wrote before making such foolish and emotional comments. You'll see that I oppose Congress imposing the dreaded 55 MPH speed limit again, but the possibility is real.

Idiotic ideas like yours are what stands in the way of the free market correcting itself.

Once again, I stated I would rather let the free market work, but as you can see from my link, Congress may not allow that. You really need to work on your reading comprehension before commenting on my posts as such obvious mistakes make you look stupid.

My objection is that a blanket 55 MPH imposed to save fuel treats all vehicles the same and that's an idiotic idea. It makes no sense to impose the same fuel conserving speed limit on the guy driving a Toyota Prius as on someone driving a super sized SUV. Far more fuel is saved by getting people out of their super sized SUVs and a differential speed limit is just another incentive for them to do that.

I understand you really need your super sized SUV as do people who tow large boats or other RVs, but many people also have smaller vehicles that they could drive at the full speed limit under a selective 55 MPH speed limit. Isn't that better than being limited to 55 MPH all the time? Or are you one of those selfish individuals who thinks that if they have to drive their super sized SUV at 55 than everyone should have to drive at 55 even if they're getting 40 mpg on the highway?

Mac, with all due ... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
Mac, with all due respect, the selective speed limit would wreak havoc on our highways. We're simply not set up for that. As it is, we can't get a Prius doing 50 out of the fast lane of a 70 mph highway to allow others to pass. We'll have to start ticketing anyone not in their properly assigned lane as well.

The solution is lane discipline, which the Germans have proven works. Yes it has to be enforced just like any other traffic law. I would rather Congress not impose a 55 MPH speed limit, but if they feel they must, then I'm making the case that a selective speed limit would be better at saving fuel as it adds a non-monetary incentive to move to fuel efficient vehicles. These fuel efficient vehicles save fuel even in urban areas where the 55 MPH limit has no effect.

The last time the 55 MPH limit was imposed it was in effect for over 20 years. Long before that amount of time passes you'll be out of your Tahoe, so a selective 55 MPH speed limit could still benefit you and have little downside for you if you don't drive much on roads with higher than 55 MPH limits. Even if you do, it costs you nothing more than time.

... are you one of... (Below threshold)
Jamie:
... are you one of those selfish individuals who thinks that if they have to drive their super sized SUV at 55 than everyone should have to drive at 55 even if they're getting 40 mpg on the highway?

No, I'm one of those "selfish" individuals that don't believe in further penalizing those who are already more under the gun than others.

I'm one of those "selfish" individuals who believes that what goes for the goose goes for the gander. The percentage of savings quoted in the 55 mph proposal isn't proportional to the miles-per-gallon of the vehicle in question.

I'm also one of those "selfish" people who don't think that the solution to more government intrusion lies in pushing that intrusion towards "someone who isn't me."

Don't accuse me of not reading your post, Mac. I'm calling you to task because you propose the solution is still more government, but you've weaseled your way out of the line of fire. To me, that's worse than a 55 mph national speed limit being resurrected. Of course, I don't live in an "so long as it won't affect me, fuck those who it will" universe.

Driving 55 is not only dang... (Below threshold)
stan25 Author Profile Page:

Driving 55 is not only dangerous here in the western United States, but highly inefficient -- due to the high mountain passes that we must travel over to get anywhere. It takes more fuel to pull the grades than to coast up most of them. Driving 55 in the congested major metropolitan areas is feasible, because of all of the traffic, but out on the long open stretches of highways and freeways out here in the West where there is an excellent chance of getting bored and falling asleep at the wheel.

No, I'm one of tho... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
No, I'm one of those "selfish" individuals that don't believe in further penalizing those who are already more under the gun than others.

I had nothing to do with you being more under the gun. I was also driving a gas hog, but decided it wasn't in my interest to do so. Maybe you don't have that option right now, but my driving a high mileage vehicle at 55 does nothing to elevate your situation. Why then do you think everyone should drive 55?

I'm one of those "selfish" individuals who believes that what goes for the goose goes for the gander.

Herman could use that line to argue that if some limit their reproduction then all should. I agree with DJD that that is your choice, just don't try to impose the costs of your choice on others.

The percentage of savings quoted in the 55 mph proposal isn't proportional to the miles-per-gallon of the vehicle in question.

You are making my point. Getting someone out of their super sized SUV and into a higher mileage vehicle saves far more gas than a one-size-fits-all 55 MPH speed limit. That works because most of the miles most people drive with their super sized SUV are in city or mixed driving where something like a minivan gets way better mileage than a super sized SUV.

I'm also one of those "selfish" people who don't think that the solution to more government intrusion lies in pushing that intrusion towards "someone who isn't me."

We have many laws that discriminate between vehicles such as the license taxes. You benefit from not paying the same tax as large trucks. What, you think the tax should be the same for all vehicles? Do you ever use high occupancy lanes? The reality is that laws do discriminate and are used to change behavior. I'm proposing nothing out of the ordinary.

I'm calling you to task because you propose the solution is still more government, but you've weaseled your way out of the line of fire. To me, that's worse than a 55 mph national speed limit being resurrected. Of course, I don't live in an "so long as it won't affect me, fuck those who it will" universe.

And yet you like the safety of your super sized SUV knowing that it comes at the expense of the occupants of any smaller vehicle you squash. And you likely claim the income tax exemptions of all six of the kids who you use as an excuse to drive a super sized SUV. Well, that makes you a hypocrite by the standard you would judge me by. You just can't stand the ideal of people who have made other choices having some advantage, yet you take every advantage you can find for the choices you have made.

You're exactly the type who needs to be in the right lane doing 55 in your super sized SUV while fuel efficient vehicles wiz past at 75. You'll have time to contemplate switching to a minivan, and even if it doesn't get much better mileage fully loaded, you'll be able to join the 75 MPH club on those vacation trips.

Two points to consider;... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Two points to consider;

1. Are freight trucks designed to travel 55 mph, or 70+?

2. Which is more polluting, a 385-mile trip which takes five-and-a-half hours at 70 mph, or seven hours at 55 mph?

1. Are freight tru... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
1. Are freight trucks designed to travel 55 mph, or 70+?

In my long winded post #10, I said "This law wound not apply to commercial vehicles that need to haul goods, tools or equipment as large vehicles are needed for such purposes."

I figure such vehicles are sufficiently motivated by the market to use the best combination of fuel efficiency and labor costs. Given the limit of how long a driver can drive a commercial vehicle before taking a substantial rest, I can think of scenarios where a 55 MPH speed limit would require adding more trucks to do a given job in a given amount of time, which is not that unusual in the trucking business. The added trucks would more that offset any savings in fuel.

2. Which is more polluting, a 385-mile trip which takes five-and-a-half hours at 70 mph, or seven hours at 55 mph?

Pollution comes from the fuel that's burned to dive a given distance. Thus, if a vehicle gets higher mileage at 55 MPH then it will use less fuel, and thus, pollute less than if driven the same distance at 70 or 75 MPH.

Remember, I oppose the blanket one size fits all 55 MPH, but if Congress has to interfere then I'm making the case that a selective speed limit would save more fuel and have less negative impacts. I welcome someone debunking my claim using reasoned and general arguments.

Rather than blockquoting, I... (Below threshold)
Jamie:

Rather than blockquoting, I'll just tackle those points in order:

1. Now you're projecting. Exactly where did I propose that I think everyone ought to be driving 55? I don't want the 55 mph speed limit back in force for anyone. You, on the other hand, want it applied, so long as it's not applied to you.

2. I don't impose anything on anyone by my choice. I know the thing to which you're referring is gasoline prices, but making you pay $10 more to fill up is small change compared to the increase I see per tank. And no, that's not at all a parallel to Herman's statement. If I CHOOSE to drive 55 and save gas, I'm free to do so, just as I'm free to drive 70-75 so long as it's within the speed limit. You can choose to do the same without making it law.

3. Ok, perhaps I'm getting dizzy from the circular logic here...Let's say I get 10% better gas mileage at 55 than at 70. That's an increase of approximately 1.5 miles per gallon, and just under two-thirds of a gallon saved per 100 miles. If a vehicle that gets 28 mpg gets the same savings of 10% at 55, that equates to a savings of just under one-third of a gallon saved per 100 miles. So for every 2 "high mileage" vehicles you exclude, you just negated the savings from one SUV that you slowed down.

4. Point taken, that current laws regarding traffic aren't necessarily applied uniformly. Some of these do serve a good purpose, some, IMHO, don't. Funny that you mention HOV lanes...how well has that curbed consumption? How easy is that to enforce?

5. Do you suggest that by claiming my children as dependents I'm MAKING money by having so many?? Or that I'm somehow putting others at a disadvantage? Those are the only two scenarios that make sense to your claim that I'm a hypocrite. I'm not at all opposed to you taking advantage of whatever means you have at your disposal to make life easier, but that's not what you're proposing. You're for putting others at a DISadvantage to increase your own advantage. You're for overtly punishing those who don't do the "responsible" thing, even if it's not an option for them.

That's ok, though. Your last paragraph put your POV into perfect perspective. It's not about saving gas, or reducing carbon emissions, or trying to curb the gas price increases. It's about you feeling superior to others, because you "did your part."

The hopping around seems to... (Below threshold)
l:

The hopping around seems to miss the central point of the original post. Fortunately for our government we as citizens don't have a handle on how many and how much in taxes we really pay. That is what made me laugh about Huckabees 33 cents on the dollar, (23% of the total), flat tax. Combined with whatever the locals nick you for this 40 plus cents would soon go over 50. Are you prepared to pay 15 bucks for a ten dollar item?

You, on the other ... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
You, on the other hand, want it applied, so long as it's not applied to you.

Wrong! I don't want the 55 mph speed limit either. Read my post #10. If, however, congress feels it must do something (see the link a the top of post #10), then a better ideas is a selective speed limit.

I don't impose anything on anyone by my choice. I know the thing to which you're referring is gasoline prices, but making you pay $10 more to fill up is small change compared to the increase I see per tank.

What's your point? You pay more because of the choices you made. My using a tiny bit less gas by driving 55 MPH can have no effect if my using a lot less gas by driving a high mileage vehicle had not effect. That's why I said I have done my part. I have already cut my fuel consumption in half.

And no, that's not at all a parallel to Herman's statement.

Sorry, but that phrase means that if X is forced to do something than Y should also be forced to do the same thing. It ignores the reality that Y has already done far more voluntarily then X would have to do by some law.

If I CHOOSE to drive 55 and save gas, I'm free to do so, just as I'm free to drive 70-75 so long as it's within the speed limit. You can choose to do the same without making it law.

You keep ignoring the point that I'm not for bringing back the 55 mph speed limit. Try to keep that in mind. It's not a comparison between the current speed limit laws and a selective 55 mph speed limit law. It's a comparison between a blanket 55 mph speed limit law and a selective 55 mph speed limit law. Can you remember that?

Ok, perhaps I'm getting dizzy from the circular logic here...Let's say I get 10% better gas mileage at 55 than at 70. That's an increase of approximately 1.5 miles per gallon, and just under two-thirds of a gallon saved per 100 miles. If a vehicle that gets 28 mpg gets the same savings of 10% at 55, that equates to a savings of just under one-third of a gallon saved per 100 miles. So for every 2 "high mileage" vehicles you exclude, you just negated the savings from one SUV that you slowed down.

How many times do I need to make the point that the selective speed limit works by motivating people to move from their low mileage vehicles to higher mileage vehicles faster than by high gas prices alone.

The correct comparison is then to compare the 15 mpg SUV with the 28 mpg minivan. Using your figures that's a savings of 3 gallons per 100 miles, which is a 45% reduction. Thus, the savings from taking one SUV off the road is more than that of slowing 8 minivans down to 55 mph, or more than that of slowing 15 Prius hybrids down to 55 mph. And that's just on the highway. The real fuel savings is when the guy who used to drive the SUV now drives his higher mileage vehicle in the city and on roads where the speed limit is already 55 mph or less.

5. Do you suggest that by claiming my children as dependents I'm MAKING money by having so many?? Or that I'm somehow putting others at a disadvantage?

What I'm claiming is that you take advantage of laws that favor the choices you have made. You shouldn't then disparage others who want to take advantage of laws that favor the choices they have made.

That's ok, though. Your last paragraph put your POV into perfect perspective. It's not about saving gas, or reducing carbon emissions, or trying to curb the gas price increases. It's about you feeling superior to others, because you "did your part."

Doing one's part is a common theme in life. Often parents serve as volunteers in various activities their children take part in, but then stop when their children grow. The logic is that they have done their part for that organization be it school, church or boy scouts. I've done that and I bet most parents who get involved at all have also done that. You think that makes us feel superior? I say it just makes us feel we have done our part.

I figured it out and I saved more gas by trading in my v8 4x4 pickup for a much higher mileage v6 4x4 than if I traded in my v6 4x4 for a Prius hybrid. I figure I have done my part, at least for now. If that sentiment disturbs you all I can say is that I have no malice toward those who find themselves in your position. I'm hoping congress stays out of it and lets the market work. If they won't than a selective speed limit would still let you drive full speed when your kids are grown and you can get into a high mileage vehicle.

At least under my plan you wouldn't be driving in the slow lane for the rest of your life. You'll be the guy whizzing past an SUV full of kids and may think been there done that, which is like saying I've done my part.

It's a comparison ... (Below threshold)
Jamie:
It's a comparison between a blanket 55 mph speed limit law and a selective 55 mph speed limit law. Can you remember that?

Right. A comparison between imposing a blanket 55 mph law that would limit ALL drivers and one that selectively limits maybe one in four. And your argument is that since it would be more convenient to you personally, to hell with the additional gas savings of a blanket law. Got it.

Thus, the savings from taking one SUV off the road...

I thought you weren't for taking them off the road, but for slowing them down on the road. At least that's what you said when I mentioned a proposal to only allow hybrids on interstate.

The real fuel savings is when the guy who used to drive the SUV now drives his higher mileage vehicle in the city and on roads where the speed limit is already 55 mph or less.

Now think about what you just wrote (and emphasized, even). Gas savings because the "gas guzzlers" drive in places where they're forced to stop-and-go more. Right.

Look, a federally mandated speed limit is a lousy idea, no matter how it's twisted. My only beef with your proposal is that it takes a lousy idea and makes it worse by selectively imposing it upon people who are already suffering more than most with the current fuel prices. If I had an extra $20K lying around, I'd drop it on an econobox in a heartbeat, but that's just not a financial option for me right now. Even if I did have a 30mpg+ vehicle, though, I'm not for enhancing the penalty on those who must drive something larger.

And your argument ... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
And your argument is that since it would be more convenient to you personally, to hell with the additional gas savings of a blanket law. Got it.

No you don't "Got it" and it's becoming obvious you never will.

I thought you weren't for taking them off the road, but for slowing them down on the road. At least that's what you said when I mentioned a proposal to only allow hybrids on interstate.

Having to drive 55 mph while high mileage vehicles get to go the posted 70 or 75 mph will be a strong non-monetary incentive for people to dump the super sized SUVs. The effect then is to reduce the number of them on the road and even in the cities.

Now think about what you just wrote (and emphasized, even). Gas savings because the "gas guzzlers" drive in places where they're forced to stop-and-go more. Right.

I was joking about your reading comprehension before, but it now it's looking like it's a real problem. Replacing the "gas guzzlers" with higher mileage vehicles saves fuel whenever the engine is running. That's the key. Getting people to give up their "gas guzzlers". Why is that concept so hard for you to take in?

My only beef with your proposal is that it takes a lousy idea and makes it worse by selectively imposing it upon people who are already suffering more than most with the current fuel prices.

If congress mandates a blanket 55 mph speed limit you'll be driving your super sized SUV at 55 mph. If congress mandates a selective 55 mph speed limit you would still be driving your super sized SUV at 55 mph. How does that hurt you other than your envy of others who are allowed to drive their high mileage vehicles faster than you gas hog?

If I had an extra $20K lying around, I'd drop it on an econobox in a heartbeat, but that's just not a financial option for me right now.

So you never expect to be able to drive a high mileage vehicle even when your kids grow up? The last time we had a 55 mph speed limit imposed it was in effect for over 20 years. How many kids will you be hauling around in 15 years?

Even if I did have a 30mpg+ vehicle, though, I'm not for enhancing the penalty on those who must drive something larger.

There is no "enhancing the penalty" as I explained time and time again. Doesn't anything sink in?

I will admit to missing you... (Below threshold)
Jamie:

I will admit to missing your point about the surface streets and in-city driving initially, and for that I apologize. Still, your point reinforces the argument for a blanket speed limit. Better if everyone's doing it.

You're still arguing with me as if I'm in favor of a blanket 55mph law. I'm completely opposed to such. I just see your position as a worse solution, because you're giving up much of the supposed benefit of that law just so you can keep tooling merrily along at 70+mph.

So you never expect to be able to drive a high mileage vehicle even when your kids grow up? The last time we had a 55 mph speed limit imposed it was in effect for over 20 years. How many kids will you be hauling around in 15 years?

And THIS is where you and I differ fundamentally. I don't care whether I can get out from under the 55mph limit in 5, 10, or 15 years. I believe it to be fundamentally flawed to impose such a law on those who have no choice if they have a large familiy, or business needs that necessitate an inefficient (by modern standards) vehicle. The question of whether right or wrong does NOT hinge on me and my situation. Wrong and unfair is wrong and unfair, regardless who is affected.

I just see your po... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
I just see your position as a worse solution, because you're giving up much of the supposed benefit of that law just so you can keep tooling merrily along at 70+mph.

Consumer Reports city / highway fuel economy numbers for the Ford Expedition are 8 / 18. Their numbers for the Toyota Sienna are 13 / 28. Assuming the vehicles are driven an equal number of city and highway miles and that driving more than 55 mph reduces fuel consumption by 10% I come up with the following given the usual 15,000 miles per year most vehicles are driven.

In the Ford Expedition the 55 mph speed limit would save 46 gallons of fuel over the 7,500 miles assuming all the highways miles would have been on 70 + mph roads.

In the Toyota Sienna the 55 mph speed limit would save 27 gallons of fuel over the 7,500 miles assuming all the highways miles would have been on 70 + mph roads.

However, replacing the Ford Expedition with the Toyota Sienna saves 509 gallons. That means you would have to slow down nearly 19 Toyota Sienna drivers to 55 to save the same amount of fuel as convincing just one Ford Expedition driver to move to a Toyota Sienna.

Now the question is would a selective 55 mph speed limit motivate 1 in 18 large SUV driver to change to driving a minivan or something with even higher mileage? If so, then the selective 55 mph speed limit saves more fuel than a blanket 55 mph speed limit. If not, then it doesn't. I happen to think it does, but the government certainly could research this before imposing either law.

I believe it to be fundamentally flawed to impose such a law on those who have no choice if they have a large familiy, or business needs that necessitate an inefficient (by modern standards) vehicle.

Well I deal with the commercial vehicle question in my post #10, but it's interesting that you think you had no choice in having a large familiy. Can you explain that?

The question of whether right or wrong does NOT hinge on me and my situation. Wrong and unfair is wrong and unfair, regardless who is affected.

If congress imposes either the blanket or the selective 55 mph speed limit you'll be driving 55. It's the same congress that imposes a higher percentage of income tax on me because I don't have six kids. If a selective speed limit is wrong or unfair than a selective income tax is also wrong or unfair. I'll bet you don't refuse to take those extra tax exemptions, however. So why do you begrudge people who drive high mileage vehicle from driving at the full freeway speed?

Correction. It should be "... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Correction. It should be "driving more than 55 mph increases fuel consumption by 10%"

So why doesn't slowing d... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

So why doesn't slowing done commercial traffic to 55 mph save fuel?

If you drive on any of the interstates that would be effected by a 55 mph speed limit you'll see that 95% of the commercial traffic is made up of 18 wheelers. Commercial drivers are limited to the number of hours they can drive between rest periods, so having drivers put in more hours to make up for slower speeds is not an option.

You can think of the aggregate of all commercial trucking as a conveyor belt that delivers most of goods people consume. If you slow down the conveyor you have to add more trucks to deliver the same amount of goods in the same amount of time. The additional trucks consume more fuel than is saved by slowing down to 55 mph.

Slowing from 75 to 55 mph results in a 27% reduction in the conveyor's capacity. To offset that reduction requires adding 27% more trucks. That increase the amount of non-freight weight (the truck's weight) by 27% to maintain the same capacity. Even if each truck experiences a 20% reduction in fuel usage the total fuel needed to move the same amount of goods in the same amount of time increases by 7%.

Furthermore, the cost to deliver freight goes up by more than the 7% increase in fuel used because there are now 27% more trucks to buy, insure, man, and maintain. The higher freight costs are passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices for the goods they buy.

The blanket 55 mph speed limit was a stupid idea in the 70's and it's still a stupid idea, yet some stupid politicians are promoting it once again.

I prefer congress not imposing any 55 mph speed limit, but I have offered an alternative (post #10) which may actually save fuel without raising the price of the goods we all use. The main objection anyone has raised is one of fairness. Is it fair to force drivers of gas hogs to slow down in hopes it will motivate some of them to move to higher mileage vehicles quicker than by high gas prices alone? I think it's fair, but obviously people who would be forced to waddle along at 55 mph feel differently. However, that strong reaction encourages me that a selective 55 mph speed limit would provide strong motivation for people to dump the gas hogs.

Those who can't move to a higher mileage vehicle now likely won't always have to drive the gas hog. At least they will have the option to drive the full freeway speed just like the rest of us. Sorry, but no human law is perfect.

Mac, you've sufficiently wo... (Below threshold)
Jamie:

Mac, you've sufficiently worn me down. Your refusal to accept that slowing down ALL vehicles will save more fuel than slowing down SOME vehicles is nearly comical.

I've grown tired of explaining why your idea is even worse than the proposal from Washington, as it not only accomplishes less, it comes from a viewpoint all too common among "environmentalists": make everyone ELSE do something for the greater good.

I'm not sure at this point whether you're deluded or ignorant, but I don't have the time nor energy to further diagnose or treat the problem.

Enjoy the last word...it's yours.

I offered an idea and welco... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

I offered an idea and welcomed any reason based debate. I have given numbers using independent sources and explained in detail why the selective 55 mph speed limit is better than the blanket 55 mph speed limit. Your have failed to provide any logical counter to that idea (you just saying something is so doesn't count).

Your complaint is emotional based. You don't think it's fair to gas hog drivers, and you mix that in with calling me names and using profanities.

I'm disappointed that a guy with six kids is that immature. I expect you've heard the phase "grow up" more that once from your wife.

Get a room, you two.... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Get a room, you two.




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