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quote:With gas at 2.50 per gallon Hummers are still popular
quote:Originally posted by VAlibrarianMy position on petroleum is that the United States government actually needs to abandon free market principles and undertake policies that will change behaviors. Sorry if that makes me a socialist, but in my view trusting American consumers to make wise choices simply will not do it. With gas at 2.50 per gallon Hummers are still popular. They should be illegal, or taxed so heavily that they are no longer attractive. I would like us to all be free of governmental interference in our personal choices, but I would rather see my grandchildren have a future.
quote:Originally posted by daveshortsThis was the reason that the UK goverment had for taxing fuel prices so heavily, in the 70's the economy nearly ground to a halt due to high oil prices, so the government decided to adapt teh economy to high oil prices slowly and gently by taxing it. I think this is one of the more far sighted things UK polititians have done for a while.
quote:The market is a big game, and there is nothing intrinsically good about it. What the market does immensely well is to optimise, depending on the rules and the constraints it will optimise in different directions, the role of government is to set the rules so it optimises to a good state not a bad one - on it's own the market can go wrong, look at the great depression for example.
quote:This would have been more convincing if Gordon Brown had been more willing to reduce petrol taxes in the face of rising crude prices, instead of merely stabilising taxes (i.e. removing the escalator), and that only after fierce public protest. Ofcourse, it is not fair to tarnish the motives of the politicians of the 1970's with the actions of the politicians of the 21st century, but looking at politicians as a collective over that time, the actions are far from consistent with your attribution of motive.
quote:Originally posted by daveshortsThat entirely depends whether you think that oil prices will rise more or less sharply in the future. If you think the former, then the oil price escalator should have been left on, to adjust the economy to even higher oil prices gently rather than in a horrible speculative thump as will probably happen if you leave it to the market. There is an arguement for cutting taxes, temperarily if you think the price rises are a tempory blip, but only then.
quote:Oh and yes raising revenue is a motive beind it, but probably a not unreasonable one...
quote:I also think they should apply taxes and benifits as smooth functions rather than in unpleasent jumps, with conditions applied that if you earn money you should be richer by at least half of it - this is a lot easier using smooth functions that the present mess...