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Heroes Community > Other Side of the Monitor > Thread: About Politics: Greens
Thread: About Politics: Greens This thread is 10 pages long: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 · «PREV / NEXT»
mvassilev
mvassilev


Responsible
Undefeatable Hero
posted April 20, 2009 11:01 PM

The explanation for that is not hard to find. Even though gas prices rose, people's incomes rose even more, so they could afford more gas.
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Corribus
Corribus

Hero of Order
The Abyss Staring Back at You
posted April 20, 2009 11:10 PM

Quote:
For now, I'm only advocating a carbon tax (maybe paired with cap-and-trade). The childbirth tax would be completely different, because it would make people pay for something for which they're not responsible. The polluter should be the one who is paying - and the parents are not responsible for the child's pollution.

Well the parents are responsible for contributing to overpopulation and everything that goes with it.  It's irresponsible for a couple to have 12 children, don't you think?

And in any case, just about every action you do contributes to pollution to some degree - even the mere act of breathing puts greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere.  Shall we tax each breath a person takes?

Absurd?  Of course, but where do decide to draw the line?

Quote:
As for your point about taxes, it's a valid one, but don't you think it makes more sense to tax bad things (like pollution) than good things (like working)?

Look, you want to have a dialogue about taxing pollution?  Fine, I'm not closed to the possibility - even though I think it's rather arbitrary and will end up solving very little (because we all know that saving the environment wouldn't be the real purpose of it) - but you know as well as I that the government's not going to levy a carbon tax in lieu of taxing something else.  They will levy a carbon tax in addition to everything else they're already taxing.

What I'm against is more taxes, under the vexing pretense that it's being done out of altruism, to cripple earners who are already crippled by unreasonable taxes, to pay for government programs that are worthless and only benefit a small portion of the overall population.  You want a pollution tax?  Fine - first repeal one of the other 10,000 useless, unreasonable taxes and then we'll talk.
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mvassilev
mvassilev


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Undefeatable Hero
posted April 20, 2009 11:20 PM

Quote:
It's irresponsible for a couple to have 12 children, don't you think?
Yes, but they pay for the polluting things they buy, not for having to buy the stuff in the first place. To use an analogy (yes, I'm too dependent on analogies; comes from arguing with TheDeath), when you buy a toaster, you don't pay for the electricity it uses unless you plug it in. Same with the children.

Quote:
Absurd?  Of course, but where do decide to draw the line?
Actually, that's not as hard as you'd think. You draw the line at the point where the cost of enforcing the tax (and all other associated costs) is greater than the cost of the externality. So a gas tax is a relatively simple and inexpensive (in terms of collection) tax. A tax on breathing - not so.

As for the taxes, yes, I understand that - you're right. And it's a problem. But if I had the choice between, say, raising the income tax or raising the gas tax, I would pick the second option.
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JollyJoker
JollyJoker


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Undefeatable Hero
posted April 20, 2009 11:24 PM

Quote:
The explanation for that is not hard to find. Even though gas prices rose, people's incomes rose even more, so they could afford more gas.

ABut why WOULD they afford more - and why should their behaviour change?

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mvassilev
mvassilev


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Undefeatable Hero
posted April 20, 2009 11:26 PM

They can afford more because their incomes are rising. Thus, they can afford to drive more, since they're not as constrained by the cost.
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Corribus
Corribus

Hero of Order
The Abyss Staring Back at You
posted April 20, 2009 11:32 PM
Edited by Corribus at 23:40, 20 Apr 2009.

Quote:
Yes, but they pay for the polluting things they buy, not for having to buy the stuff in the first place. To use an analogy (yes, I'm too dependent on analogies; comes from arguing with TheDeath), when you buy a toaster, you don't pay for the electricity it uses unless you plug it in. Same with the children.

Nice analogy.  But who needs 12 toasters?

EDIT: Ooops, somehow didn't post the 2nd half!

Quote:
Actually, that's not as hard as you'd think. You draw the line at the point where the cost of enforcing the tax (and all other associated costs) is greater than the cost of the externality. So a gas tax is a relatively simple and inexpensive (in terms of collection) tax. A tax on breathing - not so.

That line of argument is fine, and at least shows that your criterium isn't arbitrary (something I loathe) but it undermines the idealogical goal of the tax.  If the tax is really being imposed to limit polution, then it shouldn't matter if the government incurs extra cost to enforce it.  The goal of the tax is to limit pollution, right?  Not to net a positive cash flow.  Or at least, that's the implication.

In other words, what you (the government passing the tax in the manner you've suggested) seem to be saying is that, "We're in favor of helping the enivronment, but only so long as we can make a profit while doing so."  Seems to diminish the supposed altruistic motivation behind the tax.
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TheDeath
TheDeath


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with serious business
posted April 20, 2009 11:46 PM

Quote:
And they're wrong. Because pornography and drinking have no inherent externalities. Polluting activities do.
Tell that to drunk driver victims.

Quote:
And in any case, just about every action you do contributes to pollution to some degree - even the mere act of breathing puts greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere.  Shall we tax each breath a person takes?

Absurd?  Of course, but where do decide to draw the line?
Well greenhouse gases are NOT bad, in a certain amount they are beneficial. The problem is, obviously, when there's too much.

So, if someone increases that output with something, it will add up. Obviously since he'll need to breathe as well, it won't be just that "something" but added up.

5+1 is higher than 5.

but no, I don't advocate a so-called carbon tax because... let's just say, it'll solve nothing. Especially not for the environment.
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Corribus
Corribus

Hero of Order
The Abyss Staring Back at You
posted April 20, 2009 11:49 PM

Quote:
Well greenhouse gases are NOT bad, in a certain amount they are beneficial. The problem is, obviously, when there's too much.

So, if someone increases that output with something, it will add up. Obviously since he'll need to breathe as well, it won't be just that "something" but added up.

I'm sorry, Death-san, but I don't really understand what you're trying to say here.  Could you clarify?

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TheDeath
TheDeath


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posted April 20, 2009 11:57 PM

Say, theoretically and hypothetically speaking, 5 "units" of greenhouse is "ok" (well maybe even beneficial). Anything more is 'bad', and obviously with 6 being insignificant and not black&white (i.e 10 is a lot worse than 6 for example).

Suppose breathing generates 3 such units, so it falls in the ok area.

Suppose some guy now makes 5 such units with something (anything you want: tiny factory, car, any device whatsoever, etc...)

Does the guy fall in the "ok" area? Not quite. He has to breathe as well. It adds up, that would be, 5+3 = 8. Oops.

well of course this is over-simplified and obviously exaggerated for breathing -- but I hope you get the point.
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Corribus
Corribus

Hero of Order
The Abyss Staring Back at You
posted April 21, 2009 01:12 AM

Well I understand your math, and your additive argument, but what exactly are you trying to say by using it?  I mean, the overall point?
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mvassilev
mvassilev


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Undefeatable Hero
posted April 21, 2009 01:41 AM
Edited by mvassilev at 03:02, 21 Apr 2009.

Corribus:
Quote:
who needs 12 toasters?
The same person who had 12 children.

Quote:
If the tax is really being imposed to limit polution, then it shouldn't matter if the government incurs extra cost to enforce it.
The thing is, taxes themselves are not free to collect and enforce. And if the tax funds itself (and what's the use of a tax that doesn't at least fund itself!), in some cases, it would have to be higher than the cost of the pollution. That would be detrimental.

Quote:
Seems to diminish the supposed altruistic motivation behind the tax.
There's no altruistic motivation here - at least, not for me.

TheDeath:
Well, yeah. Obviously. We're talking about harmful amounts of greenhouse gases.

As for drunk drivers, they're not an externality. If you release pollution into the atmosphere, that's an externality. If you take radioactive sludge and you throw it at someone, that's not an externality.
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JollyJoker
JollyJoker


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posted April 21, 2009 07:03 AM

Quote:
They can afford more because their incomes are rising. Thus, they can afford to drive more, since they're not as constrained by the cost.

The question was, why WOULD they afford more driving, and why SHOULD their behaviour change?
Sure, if something gets cheaper, you can afford more, but a thing like driving is regulated by NEED; after all, times where people drive for fun are through, aren't they? Or do you see people nowadays saying, hey, nice, my last car had a 17 mpg efficiency, and my new one has 22, so I can drive a couple of extra loops round the shopping mall and still spend only the same gas money than before?
The 2nd question is, why the trend should change - it didn't change before. Remember, the aim is to reduce the carbon production, and that can be reached only by using up a lot less fuel absolutely.

I don't understand the problem either. The cat was MANDATORY, when it came, remember? No taxes involved. A new car had to have it, period. So where's the problem?

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mvassilev
mvassilev


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Undefeatable Hero
posted April 21, 2009 02:22 PM

Quote:
The question was, why WOULD they afford more driving, and why SHOULD their behaviour change?
They know that they can afford to drive more. Now, say, they can afford to drive to Yellowstone National Park from wherever they live. More people took road trips, drove to visit faraway family, etc.
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JollyJoker
JollyJoker


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posted April 21, 2009 03:10 PM

So, you mean, because the car industry can't be bothered to reduce the output on their side, gas should be so expensive that families can't make any trips with their cars on weekends anymore to show their children the wonders of nature?

Isn't that what private cars are all about? I mean, you can take a bus or train to work, but try a family forage to the zoo, cinema, into a park or something else woth seeing by bus.
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mvassilev
mvassilev


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Undefeatable Hero
posted April 21, 2009 03:22 PM

No, if gas becomes more expensive as a percentage of a person's income, then demand for fuel-efficient cars will rise.
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JollyJoker
JollyJoker


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posted April 21, 2009 03:26 PM

The demand for fuel-efficient cars is already there and for a long time - there is ALWAYS a demand in general for things becoming cheaper, since that frees money for other things - and the consumer's eye for fuel efficiency has been sharpened some thirty years ago already.
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mvassilev
mvassilev


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Undefeatable Hero
posted April 21, 2009 03:28 PM

Clearly, the demand isn't enough. People are sighing for more fuel-efficient cars while buying SUVs (and, even worse, pick-ups). Saying, "I'd like to have x" isn't the same as demand for x.
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JollyJoker
JollyJoker


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posted April 21, 2009 04:00 PM

Because there is a demand for SUVs, Pick-Ups and big cars in general, especially when your family is big or you have to make transports/living more in the countryside. If you have a lot to transport a pick-up is handy - a compact won't serve you.

It's no solution, obviously, to make fuel so expensive, that a family with 3 children and a dog can't afford a car that fits them all. Moreover, taxes on fuel will make transportation more expensive which will lead to higher prices and inflation.

It's the same as with CFCs and fridges. Would it have been useful to simply say, well let's tax the stuff, that will lead to smaller fridges with less CFC? Answer: NO.

I repeat: if you don't want something, make laws. There are enough examples for it.
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mvassilev
mvassilev


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Undefeatable Hero
posted April 21, 2009 10:35 PM

The average family of four doesn't need an SUV. And - and I say this as someone who lives in rural Oklahoma! - most people don't use their pick-ups for heavy transport. They just like them because they're big.

A gas tax would factor the cost of pollution into driving. Because what's the problem now? The problem is that people aren't paying for the full cost of driving their vehicles. Sure, they pay insurance, fees, etc, but they're not paying for the cost they impose upon others.
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JollyJoker
JollyJoker


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posted April 21, 2009 11:19 PM
Edited by JollyJoker at 23:21, 21 Apr 2009.

What do you mean, COST? You mean, if the climate deteriorates because of carbondioxide it was ok, since people paid their dues?

People buy, what is legal to buy. Period. That's their right. It's not the people's fault that suddenly the fuel used to drive their cars have certain hazardous effects. Why should THEY suddenly suffer, when you could simply FORCE the car manufacturers via law to reduce carbondioxide production of their cars? It's not unheard of. Think of catalysators.

Oh, and since when cared capitalism what people NEED? Do you NEED a TV in every room of the flat? Or most of what you buy? Of course not. And suddenly it's an important point? People don't NEED a SUV? Well, people don't need 8 cylinders and 400 HPs either. It's capitalism, remember?
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