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COMMENTARY Possible Energy Futures, Part 1

AMERICA CAN SOLVE PROBLEMS

Posted: April 3, 2011 at 5:39 a.m.

Rising gasoline prices and Japan’s nuclear calamity remind us that we have an energy problem.

This story is only available from our archives.

Opinion, Pages 13 on 04/03/2011

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"The plan requires new direct-current transmission lines to get electricity to the rest of the country, and large facilities to store energy near power plants. With intelligent energy research and development, these goals are reachable."

Professor Hobson, storing photovoltaic energy in batteries seems impractical, but using the electrons to hydrolyze water, then using the stored hydrogen to generate power in fuel cells may be more efficient. Any comment?

Deficiencies in political will and brains is the primary problem.

Where there's a will, there's a way, and research will show the way, but hoping for conservative politicians to get on-board with any braininess is a real long-shot.

Posted by: FrankLloydLeft

April 3, 2011 at 10:55 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

ART: "an authoritative and detailed January 2008 Scientific American article titled “Solar Grand Plan.”>>

That was a really good article I thought.

I found it online free if anyone would like to read it:

http://www.colorado.edu/physics/phys3...

FRANK: "'hydrolyze water, then using the stored hydrogen to generate power in fuel cells may be more efficient.">>

My opinion. When you make hydrogen (if you are speaking of electrolysis) you end up losing about 1/3 of the energy in the process. Then to compress it and cool it, you lose almost as much again (hydrogen has diffuse it has almost no energy until you compress it). Storing it or transporting it is also very tricky. And then getting the expensive and delicate fuel cell membrane to last very long is also another hurdle (but we've made a lot of progress).

The actual conversion of hydrogen to electricity via fuel cell is very efficient, I think more than 90%, and the exhaust is water, which is nice feature. But by this time in the process, we've already paid our energy dues earlier along the way with the losses.

We are really going to miss the ease "up came a bubble'in crude" and the energy density petroleum provided. There is no easy replacement, and we are about half way through the inheritance.

D.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 4, 2011 at 12:37 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

And now our new Representative from Rogers wants to take ethanol out of the "pipeline". Certainly corn derived is a problem but his bill also removes the incentive for non-foodstuff based ethanol as well. Photosynthesis IS solar energy too. Let's be a little (or lots) more intelligent in our legislation.

Posted by: ajm

April 4, 2011 at 6:43 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Art = Let's come back to the real world for a minute. It is fun to dream and push the envelope of eutopia, but realism needs to factor into this equation. When you went to Berkley for this conference, i assume you flew. (I also assume the University and thereby the taxpayer payed for your flight). How do you propose we make airplanes that run on solar energy? So you are truly ready for our economy to pay double our current energy costs? Guess that is not a big deal for a professor who walks to school, but for those of us who have businesses that require delivery of products to consumers that is psycho! Stop and think for a minute about how many jobs require the use of fossil fuels. There are currently no viable alternatives for powering tractor-trailers, buses, airplanes, and high volume delivery vehicles. Until you can show me how we can economically replace these delivery systems with an alternative, you are still living in a Prius World.

You are a physics professor and believe that we can truly store enough solar energy to power the United States for days in batteries? Hundreds of thousands of megawatts stored in batteries is so far out of reach it is laughable. Then go the next step and see how many tons of batteries it would take to fly a 747 for 45 miles. Guess there are no more trips to California for you.

Posted by: commonsense96

April 9, 2011 at 11:17 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

SFA, you say Art suggests storing enough solar to power the US for days, in batteries.

But a simple word search shows that the word "batteries" does not appear once in his article. Perhaps you should read the Scientific American article to which he refers. I provided a link above.

I am a skeptic, so, like you, I am not interested in energy foo foo stories or pie in the sky. When we run out of the non-renewables we will be left with some variation of what Art is referring to. We can either do it earlier (smart) or later (dumb). But we are going to have to do it. Sooner also provides economic benefits due to the up coming demand for such technology.

You say the notion of doubling "our current energy costs" is "psycho." We're way past a correction that involves doubling. In the late 90's oil bottomed out at $10 a barrel. During most of the 90's it was in the mid, upper teens. Today it's $112.

Do the math.

You chide him for "living in a Prius World."

We all live in the same world, and that world is filled with millions of Prius (available worldwide for 10 years now). I assure you it is quite enjoyable driving 50 miles on a single gallon of gas. If a moderate proportion of Americans took advantage of technology that achieved mileage like this, we wouldn't need to import oil from countries that hate us. And that would be a good thing.

As Art correctly says, our greatest and easiest source of energy is to tap the vast amounts being wasted via mind boggling, idiotic, waste. The world watches in astonishment as American stomps around as if this is a God given birthright. Example:

Question to president GW Bush's spokesperson:

Q: "Does the President believe that, given the amount of energy Americans consume per capita, how much it exceeds any other citizen in any other country in the world, does the President believe we need to correct our lifestyles to address the energy problem?

MR. FLEISCHER: That's a big no. The President believes that it's an American way of life, and that it should be the goal of policy makers to protect the American way of life. The American way of life is a blessed one. And we have a bounty of resources in this country. What we need to do is make certain that we're able to get those resources in an efficient way..."

--Ari Fleischer, Press briefing, May 7, 2001

For years we, idiotically, rewarded SUV owners with lavish tax credits if they would purchase extra large, extra heavy, gas guzzlers. So now our roads are choked with these testaments to human stupidity. That was a boo boo.

Conservation is smart. Conservatives should latch onto this idea and stop fighting against it.

D.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 10, 2011 at 12:06 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Fayfreethinker - You are correct that i had not read the article referenced. The 'battery' reference was a generalization concerning energy storage. I agree that we need to explore all alternative energy options so long as they make economic sense and are not driven by one-sided ideology without debate.

On the 'Psycho' argument, my point still stands. Art references $8 gasoline and 3x pricing for electrical energy via taxation to force a change. He touts this as a 'market oriented' way to force the change. This thought process is Government Control vs. market orientation. Capitalism that built this country is not based on Government mandated taxation to force market oriented change. Open and free markets work because there is a supply and demand. Whenever we force changes in these markets by government influence, we create a false economic environment that is supported by taxpayers.

On the Prius argument, we have millions of Americans who make their living driving trucks, flying airplanes, engineering trains, and driving vans to deliver goods and services across the US. There is no economically viable technology I am aware of to transport these services via a non-oil based means. This is a key point in the 'energy independence' discussion. Placing taxation and fees on these productive members of our society is only going to drive up the cost of goods in our society and decrease economic activity. Art leads the reader to believe that increased taxation on energy will decrease our energy dependence on foreign sources and increase revenue to the US. This is simply not true.

It is true that increased fuel mileage for those simply driving human transportation will decrease our oil dependence, but this is only a portion of the feasible change based on current or proposed technology. There is a majority of our US transportation that cannot be replaced by the proposed solar energy scenario. This must be taken into account.

I have done the math. We should be talking about increases from this point forward, not historical numbers. Based on the the numbers presented in Art's article, he is proposing increases of 2-3x in energy prices in order to pay for this transformation. There is no analysis of what type of devastation this will have to our economy included in Art's article. The article proposes up to a 49 year government subsidy for his plan, government guarantees on investments for 30 years, government agreement to purchase power and provide price-support subsidies, and an 8.3% carbon tax. This hardly seems like a 'market oriented' focus to me.

I am all for alternative energy sources, but not at huge and long-term costs to our economy.


Posted by: commonsense96

April 10, 2011 at 7:10 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

SFA: "Art references $8 gasoline and 3x pricing for electrical energy via taxation to force a change.">>

Actually no, here is what he said:

"the easy and market-oriented way to do this is by requiring energy industries to pay for their environmental and health overhead, via fees and taxes. This would for example raise the price of gasoline to the $8 per gallon that other industrialized nations pay and triple the cost of fossil-fuel-generated electric power."

So, isn't it more honest and less of a distortion of the market, to NOT price in these environmental and health costs? And what about the vast subsidies we are providing. Here's one: oil companies get to take the oil for free. That's a nice perk don't you think?

The free market is wonderful at providing us with shiny things we like at excellent prices, but lets not forget there are a great many things it doesn't do well. It doesn't give a flip about the elderly, the poor, the orphans, minorities, the handicapped and it doesn't care about our environment. We don't want to be so devoted to the church of the Free Market that we forget to preserve the actual laboratory that we so enjoy doing our human experiment in.

SFA: "He touts this as a 'market oriented' way to force the change.">>

Yes he does. And those peer countries he points to (who, because of these adjustments are much more efficient than us) seem to be doing quite well even with their higher priced energy.
Let's be blunt, we are addicted and drunk on cheap, heavily subsidized energy. And we can't fudge it anymore because oil (for instance) is a world priced commodity. Time to be smart and begin the adjustment to accurately priced energy (and we could it with food too).

SFA: "Art leads the reader to believe that increased taxation on energy will decrease our energy dependence on foreign sources...>>

a) No, as shown above, he is talking about pricing in it's cost more accurately.

b) He is absolutely right that this will cause increased efficiency (and suddenly make the renewable non-petroleum alternatives more viable) and will, absolutely, necessarily decrease our dependence on foreign sources.

SFA; "[human transport] is only a portion of the feasible change">>

It's a huge portion and it was made larger by our subsidy encouraging the purchase of gas guzzlers.

SFA: "I have done the math.">>

Good. Then you realize oil has increased nearly ten fold in ten years. We will have to absorb in increase at the consumer end. That's just reality. Encouraging people, with tax credits, to buy extra heavy gas guzzlers, that was a distortion of reality.

SFA: "This hardly seems like a 'market oriented' focus to me.">>

We can get efficient early (smart) and get used to the increasing costs of energy, or we can do it late, get caught with our pants down, and wait until the market hits us upside the head (which it is doing now).

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 10, 2011 at 11:23 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

As to decreased energy usage (via whatever method) causing "devastation... to our economy," observe Japan's example:

"Japan's energy consumption per person is now almost half that of the United States...

Japan now imports 16 percent less oil than it did in 1973, although the economy has more than doubled. Billions of dollars were invested in converting oil-reliant electricity-generation systems into ones powered by natural gas, coal, nuclear energy or alternative fuels. Japan, for instance, now accounts for 48 percent of the globe's solar power generation - compared with 15 percent in the United States."

www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content... (broken link)

Japan is the size of Montana, is far less sunny than us and is nearly tied for second largest economy on the planet (with 25x the population, China just passed them).

We can do better.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 10, 2011 at 11:33 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Japan is also more broke than we are. We'll see if they get a Grecian style financial meltdown soon, since I'm sure no one will come running with a bailout.

If you keep charging stuff on the credit card, you can make nifty claims about having 48% of worldwide solar production.

I don't think we want to use Japan as a financial model, no matter what they're doing with energy.

Also, Japan doesn't have the resources we have. We don't have to import coal, and we import very little natural gas. Japan imports lots of both....because they don't have much. Those elevated costs to acquire that energy make renewables more competitive.

Let's also not forget that because of population density, Japanese citizens on average live in smaller dwellings and fewer have cars...both contributing to those energy numbers.

And oil may have gone up by a factor of 10 in the last decade, but the price at the pump hasn't gone up by that much....not anywhere close. People are whining about it, but that's really all it is. Whining.

Energy should be priced according to its real world market pricing, plus some applicable tax for infrastructure (like road taxes) and environmental impact...if we can be realistic about the environmental impact. Then let the market work.

Posted by: x3

April 10, 2011 at 1:52 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

SFA1, there are already prototype airplanes that are solar-powered. Whether this line of engineering will prove feasible in the long run, we don't know yet.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/na...
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/09/wor...
http://www.alternative-energy-news.in...

Posted by: Coralie

April 10, 2011 at 4:20 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

SFA1 refers to "those of us who have businesses that require delivery of products to consumers."
One idea that has been successfully implemented in UK is a computerized system that allows truckers to pick up partial loads so that the truck is not driving half empty (or empty) much of the time. Saves diesel, saves money for trucking companies.

Posted by: Coralie

April 10, 2011 at 4:24 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

SFA1 says "There is no economically viable technology I am aware of to transport these services via a non-oil based means."
What did they use in early America? Canals and barges.
European countries are making more use of barges for cargo transport.
They could easily be solar powered.

Posted by: Coralie

April 10, 2011 at 4:29 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

X3: Japan is also more broke than we are.">>

Japan isn't broke and neither are we. Best to avoid falling for the current republican talking point canard created to distract from the fact that they are mostly out of power and would like to use what little they have to bung up Obama's agenda. The US has wealth that vastly exceeds its debt and thus is not in any sense "broke." But even in the context of the world, we're not even close to broke. In a list of nations sorted by public debt as a percentage of GDP, the US comes in 36th. I've posted more reference and detail on this here:

http://fayfreethinkers.com/forums/vie...

The US entire debt is approaching one year of GDP. Like many Americans, my entire personal debt vastly exceeds my yearly income, and I'm not broke either.

X3: We'll see if they get a Grecian style financial meltdown>>

An argument that Greece is broke would be more persuasive. Also Iceland and Ireland are in serious trouble. Why? They removed regulations, privatized their banking systems and let the free market do it's thing (see documentary of the year, Inside Job).
The free market doesn't care about countries or people or standard of living or polluting the environment or devastating the planet a century from now. It only cares about making money, and usually for the next quarter. We have to be smarter than to let such a mindless greed system run our planet.

X3: "no one will come running with a bailout [for Japan].">>

Yes, because a collapse of the (nearly) 2nd largest economy in the world wouldn't wipe out the world financial system. You are 100% wrong. Japan is too big to fail, bigtime.

X3: "because of population density, Japanese... live in smaller dwellings">>

They had high density in 1973, and the point is they've *reduced* their oil dependency while at the same time doubling their economy. That's incredible. Now that the cost of oil has increased over 10x, their smart investment in efficiency is paying back huge rewards. Our investment in stupidity is doing the opposite of that.

X3: "Energy should be priced according to its real world market pricing,">>

This is Art Hobson's argument precisely.

D.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 10, 2011 at 6:10 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Coralie, are you nuts? Those barges are diesel. If they could "easily be solar" then so could everything else.

In "early America" they were coal.

Try again.

"One idea that has been successfully implemented in UK is a computerized system that allows truckers to pick up partial loads so that the truck is not driving half empty (or empty) much of the time. Saves diesel, saves money for trucking companies. "

Yeah, on a broader scale, that idea is called capitalism. It works.

Posted by: x3

April 10, 2011 at 6:13 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

"The US has wealth that vastly exceeds its debt and thus is not in any sense "broke.""

What do you mean when you say "the US"? Because the debt is the GOVERNMENT, which has NO wealth whatsoever. The fact that the citizens and businesses can produce it doesn't mean the government has access to it. The government can't just confiscate the wealth of the country to pay the debt.

"In a list of nations sorted by public debt as a percentage of GDP, the US comes in 36th. "

True, but not as relevant as you make it out to be. We have individual STATES in the US with higher GDP/capita than most of the nations that have a higher debt/GDP ratio than we do. The fact of the matter is that at some point, our debt will be a huge problem, and there is no bailout for us. Someone has to make the minimum payment.

"The US entire debt is approaching one year of GDP. Like many Americans, my entire personal debt vastly exceeds my yearly income, and I'm not broke either."

Gold is the money of kings; silver is the money of gentlemen; barter is the money of peasants; but debt is the money of slaves.

Your personal debt is not a problem as long as you have money to pay the interest and still live your life. As soon as you lose your job, you'll find out why being in debt up to your eyeballs is a bad idea.

"An argument that Greece is broke would be more persuasive. "

Well, they had to get a bailout from the EU...which equates to bankruptcy. Sounds like "broke" to me.

"Yes, because a collapse of the (nearly) 2nd largest economy in the world wouldn't wipe out the world financial system. You are 100% wrong. Japan is too big to fail, bigtime."

Japan is too big to fail? Who will rescue them? Too big to fail? Only as long as there's a bigger fish. That implies that the USA CAN'T fail. It's not me who is 100% wrong. And they aren't (nearly) the 2nd largest economy. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_...

"The free market doesn't care about countries or people or standard of living or polluting the environment or devastating the planet a century from now."

No, governments don't care about that. China is a communist country but has far worse problems that you describe than the US or any other capitalistic countries do.

"They had high density in 1973, and the point is they've *reduced* their oil dependency while at the same time doubling their economy. That's incredible. Now that the cost of oil has increased over 10x, their smart investment in efficiency is paying back huge rewards. Our investment in stupidity is doing the opposite of that."

What rewards?

"This is Art Hobson's argument precisely."

What's the weather like on your planet? Having the government manipulate prices is exactly the OPPOSITE of a free market solution.

Posted by: x3

April 10, 2011 at 7:09 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

X3: "What do you mean when you say "the US"?

"the United States." Pretty straightforward.

X3: "Because the debt is the GOVERNMENT,>>

The government is simply the representation of the people. Their debts, are our debts. Collectively. I am sure they covered this in your school.

X3: "The government can't just confiscate the wealth of the country to pay the debt.">>

Of course it can, and does, every, single, day.

X3: "at some point, our debt will be a huge problem,">>

Yes, the trends are not sustainable. This is not relevant to your claim that we are broke. We are not, not even close. Best to be accurate with language.

X3: "As soon as you lose your job,...debt up to your eyeballs is a bad idea.">>

Is the US about to "lose it's job"? I hadn't heard.

X3: "Japan is too big to fail?">>

Correct.

X3: "[Japan isn't] (nearly) the 2nd largest economy.">>

Wrong. Japan, as a country, has the third largest economy in the world. Your link is busted, try this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_...)

China (2nd place country with $5,745,133m), just passed Japan (3rd place with $5,390,897m) a few months ago.

X3: "[Japan oil use decline and efficiency] What rewards?">>

What part of... oil cost has gone up $10x, and Japan has cut its use 13% in in 38 years, is giving you trouble? You don't comprehend the reward they reap from such efficiency?

X3; "Having the government manipulate prices is exactly the OPPOSITE of a free market solution.">>

Try reading Art's article for comprehension. As I quote above, he said: "the easy and market-oriented way to do this is by requiring energy industries to pay for their environmental and health overhead, via fees and taxes."

Right now those overhead costs are being artificially subsidized and hidden. This will change. It's really hard to hide $112 oil.

D.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 10, 2011 at 10:09 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

FFT : " So, isn't it more honest and less of a distortion of the market, to NOT price in these environmental and health costs?"

Who do we think will pay the extra $4 per gallon and 3x energy costs? If you tax the producer, that tax will be passed on to the consumer. Leaving the true costs out of the debate only distorts the issue of what the effects will be on our economy.

FFT: (the government)"doesn't give a flip about the elderly, the poor..."

Now you do the math and research. The poor have access to food stamps ($650/month/family of four), government assisted housing, EITC, WIC, LIHEAP (averaging $153/month), free breakfast and lunch for school kids. There are a total of 29 housing programs and 38 health care programs available. "Poor" is usually around $30-45K per year depending on the program. A family of 5 making $30K will have more NET income than a family of 5 making $40K per year. I have done the math.

FFT: Those peer countries he points to (who, because of these adjustments are much more efficient than us) seem to be doing quite well even with their higher priced energy.

Are we really going to hold the rest of the world up as our model? If so, let's examine Greece, Spain, Britain, etc. All with significant financial crisis in their countries.

FFT:
a) No, as shown above, he is talking about pricing in it's cost more accurately.

Accuracy means actual costs, not government imposed taxation to force change. Can't conveniently leave that part out.

FFT:
b) He is absolutely right that this will cause increased efficiency (and suddenly make the renewable non-petroleum alternatives more viable) and will, absolutely, necessarily decrease our dependence on foreign sources.

This is forced changed, not market-driven change. If i can have control of the taxation policy in the US, i could ensure you ride a mule to work every day. We can force any type of behavior.

FFT:
(Human transportation) is a huge portion a (of energy consumption).

Human transportation is 45% of our gasoline usage. What about the other 55% of gasoline usage and the majority of diesel usage?

FFT: On doing the math comment: "Good. Then you realize oil has increased nearly ten fold in ten years."

Stay on track here. You have not addressed my point "We should be talking about increases from this point forward, not historical numbers. Based on the the numbers presented in Art's article, he is proposing increases of 2-3x in energy prices in order to pay for this transformation. There is no analysis of what type of devastation this will have to our economy included in Art's article. The article proposes up to a 49 year government subsidy for his plan, government guarantees on investments for 30 years, government agreement to purchase power and provide price-support subsidies, and an 8.3% carbon tax." Why did you skip this point? Particularly the point on no analysis of the devastation on our economy?

Posted by: commonsense96

April 11, 2011 at 10:51 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

FFT: "And what about the vast subsidies we are providing. Here's one: oil companies get to take the oil for free. That's a nice perk don't you think?"

Actually there are oil royalties, exploration and drilling costs, research and development costs, transportation costs (pipelines/tankers), refining costs, etc. If your point is that the basic oil coming out of the ground is 'free', you must at least assign oil royalties to the equation (typically 1/8 the selling price paid to the mineral rights owner). In many cases in the US this royalty is paid to the Government for drilling on US land.

I am not defending oil companies here, but let's be clear about costs versus free. There is a cost of goods for producing oil.

Posted by: commonsense96

April 11, 2011 at 11:17 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Coralie - you do realize we are talking about planes that transport hundreds of passengers/plane and tens of tons of cargo/plane? These experimental planes you reference are only carrying one or two pilots and their own weight. I don't see the feasibility of a UPS cargo plane running on solar power. Maybe that can happen in the very distant future, but until then we are dependent on oil driven air transportation. The same applies for diesel driven freight trains, tractor-trailers, and buses. There is no promising technology that will address this type of transportation outside of nuclear power. I doubt much of the flying public is interested in a nuclear powered plane.

Posted by: commonsense96

April 11, 2011 at 11:27 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

FFT: "The government is simply the representation of the people. Their debts, are our debts. Collectively. I am sure they covered this in your school."

The simple fact that you use the words "their" and "our" in your reply shows that you believe the government is not the people. The current debt equals $46,666 for every person in the US. Now - if you believe your statement (their debts are our debts", you and your children are in for over $46K in debt each. If you are part of the 50% of US citizens that do not pay taxes, then you probably don't care. Since you were so condescending with X3 about his education, lets ask this question...do you pay taxes, or are you in the 50% who do not? As for me, I don't want a $45K debt for me and each of my family members that we are responsible for.

As for us being broke as a country, how do you define "broke". If we are "not even close", then where is the tipping point? Our per capita GDP is $47,400. We currently have debts per capita of $45,000. If we aren't broke, then how close are we? Let's see your definition.

Posted by: commonsense96

April 11, 2011 at 11:52 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

ART - I noticed you have not weighed-in on the debate around your article. Is there a reason for this? We would really like to hear your comments.

Posted by: commonsense96

April 11, 2011 at 11:57 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

SFA: "If you tax the producer, that tax will be passed on to the consumer.">>

Not necessarily. Some of that can come out of the shorts of the oil companies. Note, in just the past decade, "the big five oil companies – BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Shell – made nearly $1 trillion in profits."

Is it really necessary or sensible that a single oil executive receive compensation of $450 million dollars? Probably not:

http://thinkprogress.org/2011/04/05/b...

SFA: "the issue of what the effects will be on our economy.">>

Hey, we are about to observe firsthand what having artificially cheap, subsidized oil/energy has done to our efficiency, leaving us now, unlike our peer countries, *extremely* vulnerable to $112 oil. We have been extremely foolish and wasteful. The conservatives were wrong.

"FFT: (the government)"doesn't give a flip about the elderly, the poor..."

No, you misquoted me. I said "free markets" here, not "the government." Big difference.

SFA: "The poor have access to food stamps ($650/month/family of four),">>

That sounds like a real good time.

SFA: "Poor" is usually around $30-45K per year...">>

Not really:

"Based on 2008 data, 24.9 percent of Arkansas children live in poverty...
In 2008, a family of four earning less than $21,000 a year was considered to be living in poverty." http://tinyurl.com/5vkyshc

That's poor and that's 1/4 of the state's children living in poverty. Do you have a point?

SFA: "Are we really going to hold the rest of the world up as our model?">>

Absolutely. I'am a pragmatist, interested in what works and I don't care if we need to learn it from Canada or Europe or any peer country that is doing it better than us.

SFA: "[Art's plan] is forced changed, not market-driven change.">>

Most of our markets are phony. Our food prices are hugely subsidized to keep food cheap. Our energy prices are far too low and do not account for a vast amount of costs. And even more directly we have been subsidizing, waste and inefficiency with direct tax credits to the wealthy if they will buy extra heavy inefficient gas guzzlers. Now we pay for that stupidity.

SFA: "Human transportation is 45% of our gasoline usage.">>

As I said, huge. If we could double the efficiency of this segment alone, we could completely remove/save all of the oil we currently import from Saudi Arabia, TWICE over.
And without touching a single trucker's driving habits.

SFA: "We should be talking about increases from this point forward, not historical numbers.">>

You want to remove from the equation the fact that oil has gone up 10x in 10 years? And we have absorbed that and still have an economy? This is important context I won't be ignoring.

con't...

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 11, 2011 at 11:59 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

SFA: "Art... is proposing increases of 2-3x in energy prices in order to pay for this transformation.">>

A pittance compared to what has already happened at the wholesale level, and compared to what may happen on it's own anyway. We're a little late to the efficiency party. Thanks conservatives. Time to admit it, Jimmy Carter was right.

SFA: "There is no analysis of what type of devastation this will have to our economy>>

The plan in the article he references talks about taking decades to implement, 2050 as I remember. We will have to be far more efficient by that time regardless.

SFA: "The article proposes up to... [big snip] and an 8.3% carbon tax." Why did you skip this point?>>

Personally, I don't think the things outlined in the article are going to happen, so I am not going to defend all of the claims it makes. It is much more likely we'll wait until the poop hits the fan and then react. That's the dumb way but, oh well.
As to the carbon tax, bring it. Should have done it a decade ago.

SFA: "Particularly the point on no analysis of the devastation on our economy?">>

You really ought to get over this notion that the economy and markets are some kind of creature to be worshiped. There are many many more important things. The market and economy are going to have to absorb higher energy costs regardless and any plan is going to have to take into account the survival of "the market."

D.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 12, 2011 at 12:01 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Coralie - On the delivery of products to consumers and computer programs to improve efficiency, I believe there are many opportunities to incrementally decrease fuel consumption. Here is an expansion of my point. If you are a contractor who goes to one job-site to build a house, there are not any programs that will decrease your cost of diesel fuel to pull a trailer full of lumber to the site. That means the cost of building a house increases. Then the consumer pays for this increased cost in purchasing the house. Now multiply this example across the purchase of delivered couches, delivered UPS purchases off the internet, and delivered heating oil to houses in the northeast. The point is that these are important but minor improvements in fuel efficiency. We need a comprehensive energy policy in this country that addresses a multitude of cost and supply concerns. The democrats and Obama have been absent on this front while in control of the legislature (last 6 years) and the legislature plus white house (last 2 years).

Posted by: commonsense96

April 12, 2011 at 12:07 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

SFA: "your reply shows that you believe the government is not the people.">>

Nope. I believe, precisely and exactly that the government is the people. "We the People." I also believe X3 comment was absurd on its face. We the people are legally responsible for our government debt, obviously. The notion that we wouldn't be, is ludicrous.

SFA: "If you are part of the 50% of US citizens that do not pay taxes, then you probably don't care.">>

This is an utterly false conservative talking point. Do you want to retract, rephrase or get walked through it step by step? I've done it several times on this forum already.

SFA: "do you pay taxes,">>

Yeah, a lot.

SFA: "or are you in the 50% who do not?">>

Everyone pays taxes, and the middle class and poor pay a disproportionate large amount. Your claim is false.

SFA: "I don't want a $45K debt for me and each of my family members">>

Then you shouldn't have been voting for republicans. For 75 years, they have racked up twice the debt of the demos. Details here:

http://fayfreethinkers.com/forums/vie...

SFA: "As for us being broke as a country, how do you define "broke".">>

Dictionaries are useful here:

broke –verb
4. without money; penniless.
5. bankrupt.

We're not broke, we are not close to broke. My personal debt is about 6x my yearly income, and I'm not broke either.

SFA: "If we are "not even close", then where is the tipping point?">>

When our debt exceeds our net worth.

SFA: "Our per capita GDP is $47,400. We currently have debts per capita of $45,000.">>

That's yearly. Why would there be a relation between our total, life accumulated debt, and our product/income in just one year? There isn't. It's made up.

SFA: "If we aren't broke, then how close are we?">>

Long way.

SFA: "Let's see your definition.">>

Given above.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 12, 2011 at 12:24 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

FFT, don't dodge the tough questions with talking points and generalities. That is the trouble with liberalism in America. I have put forth several key points that you continue to step around.

Giving a 'Broke' definition from the dictionary dodges the point. What specifically is YOUR definition.

FFT: Then you shouldn't have been voting for republicans. For 75 years, they have racked up twice the debt of the demos. Details here:

Bogus argument. Everyone should learn in citizenship training that the president does not make the laws. Congress does. Your web page bases outcomes mostly on democratic vs. republican presidents. Let's look at control of the house and senate (those who actually make and pass the laws):

Over the last 33 years Democrats had control of both houses for 22 years (including the last two where we have racked up record deficits and debt). Republicans controlled both houses for 6 years, and they were split 5 years. So who has had the majority of control in passing legislation over the last 33 years?

FFT: On GDP vs. debt: "That's yearly. Why would there be a relation between our total, life accumulated debt, and our product/income in just one year? There isn't. It's made up."

Not really made up. Go to your banker and tell him you owe 7 times your yearly income, have costs that are 30% higher than your income, and that you want to continue borrowing 30% more than you make with no collateral. Also tell him you have 16x your income in unfunded liabilities. See what he tells you.

FFT: "Everyone pays taxes, and the middle class and poor pay a disproportionate large amount. Your claim is false."

Show me how. Don't let the facts get in the way of your argument. It is clearly documented that close to 50% of citizens do not pay taxes, so bring on the argument. Also make sure you cover the point that our taxation system is actually a welfare program that refunds more than is paid in for a majority of the 50% not paying taxes.

SFA: "There is no analysis of what type of devastation this will have to our economy>>

FFT: "The plan in the article he references talks about taking decades to implement, 2050 as I remember. We will have to be far more efficient by that time regardless."

Quit dodging the question. What will 3x energy prices (ie power costs at the AR household level going from $89/mth to $267/mth) do to economic activity. How will government subsidies of this technology for the next 30-40 years effect taxation and deficits in our country. How will this increase effect the poor and disadvantaged? These are real questions that need to be answered before one proposes such a plan.

FFT: "As to the carbon tax, bring it. Should have done it a decade ago."

So go ahead and add an 8.9% carbon tax to the increases above? Take your circular logic back around to the poor and disadvantaged. How will they deal with such increases in energy costs?

Posted by: commonsense96

April 12, 2011 at 1:26 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

FFT: "Most of our markets are phony. Our food prices are hugely subsidized to keep food cheap. Our energy prices are far too low and do not account for a vast amount of costs. And even more directly we have been subsidizing, waste and inefficiency with direct tax credits to the wealthy if they will buy extra heavy inefficient gas guzzlers. Now we pay for that stupidity."

Thanks for making my point. Many of our economic sub-markets are phony and subsidized. Guess which party is responsible for this? Conservatives would argue that there should be no phony markets and they should operate freely. Looks like you are coming around!

I agree that the food industry is subsidized and i also believe it should not be. Many farmers should not be farming and drive the costs of foodstuffs in this country through both taxation to pay for subsidies and inefficiencies in the industry. If we remove the subsidies, we allow the weak to move on to something they are good at. They are not subsidized in order to keep food prices down, they are subsidized to 'maintain the family farm' and support the inefficient. You cannot compare/contrast this scenario with oil/energy prices. They are apples and oranges.

Posted by: commonsense96

April 12, 2011 at 1:48 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

SFA: "Giving a 'Broke' definition from the dictionary dodges the point.">>

You are complaining that I use a dictionary definition of a word? That's ridiculous. Dictionaries reflect common usage. I use a standard definition of the word. By this definition, we are not broke. If you want to use some non-standard personal made up definition, then you're on your own.

SFA: "What specifically is YOUR definition."

Already provided.

SFA: "president does not make the laws.">>

Last I checked, he signs them. Has there been a change?

SFA: "Your web page bases outcomes mostly on democratic vs. republican presidents.">>

Careful readers will notice your weasel word "mostly." Congress was also considered, with similar results. Republicans spend more and rack up more debt. The record is clear.

SFA: "who has had the majority of control in passing legislation over the last 33 years?">>

None responsive to the referenced evidence provided demonstrating republicans, when in power, have increased the debt at a far faster rate than demos. Address this argument directly or admit you cannot.

SFA: "Go to your banker and tell him you owe 7 times your yearly income,">>

Actually, we have an excellent test of this. I just did a refi on a property a few months ago for $200k (4.6%). Turns out they found, I wasn't broke. Have you learned what the word "broke" means yet? Dictionary.com is very useful.

SFA: "borrowing 30% more than you make with no collateral.">>

Were you under the impression that the US has "no collateral?" I assure you, you're wrong.

SFA: "It is clearly documented that close to 50% of citizens do not pay taxes,">>

Nonsense. I have prepared a little post for you, with charts. Begin your education here:

http://fayfreethinkers.com/forums/vie...

SFA: "our taxation system is actually a welfare program that refunds more than is paid">>

More rubbish. Why don't you try backing some of your claims up, specifically. Then it's more fun to knock them down.

SFA: "What will 3x energy prices... do to economic activity.">>

Make it vastly more efficient, and in the long run, productive.

SFA: "add an 8.9% carbon tax...">>

Yes. We have climate change to pay for.

SFA: "How will [the poor] deal with such increases in energy costs?">>

Easy. Tax the rich to cover it. They're way under taxed. The wealthiest 400 people have cornered as much wealth as the entire bottom 50% (155 million people). That needs to be switched around too.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 12, 2011 at 2:25 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

SFA: "Many of our economic sub-markets are phony and subsidized.">>

Right. Including energy. This is easily Art's main point.

SFA: "Guess which party is responsible for this?">>

I give up.

SFA: "Conservatives would argue that there should be no phony markets and they should operate freely.">>

I don't care what conservatives "would argue" but rather what they do. They also pretend to be a lot of things, including morally upright and fiscally conservative. Observe:

"Using the Bush White House's own numbers, the federal government under Bill Clinton grew at an annual rate of 3.4 percent. But over the past four years under George W. Bush and his Republican Congress, the federal government has grown at a staggering rate of 10.4 percent. More damning is the fact that... George Bush never once vetoed a congressional bill."
--Joe Scarborough, "Rome Wasn't Burnt in a Day”, pg. 29 (2004)

Do you remember who controlled both houses of congress at this time?

SFA: "You cannot compare/contrast this scenario with oil/energy prices.">>

I just did. Both are heavily subsidized. Energy shouldn't be subsidized or have it's hidden costs not included because this promotes profligate waste, and we can't afford further incentive for wasteful use of energy for a host of reasons, one of which is that it is really really dumb.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 12, 2011 at 2:37 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

SFA1, you say the Obama administration has not had a good energy policy. But name me one administration in the last 30 years that has.
Dozens of other countries have more effective and responsible energy policies than we do.
Also, you exaggerate how much control the Dems have had since 2006 election (they took office in early 2007, about 4 years ago, not 6).
Repugs have fought Dems tooth and nail, every step of the way. Used the filibuster and various arcane rules to a much greater degree than any party in Congress ever before.
Several of the Dem's slim majority are DINOs, such as Mark Pryor.
Congress wasn't supposed to be a perpetual war between two parties.

Posted by: Coralie

April 12, 2011 at 6:21 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

COR: "[Repubs]... have used the filibuster and various arcane rules to a much greater degree than any party in Congress ever before.">>

Two footnotes in support of Coralie's point:

***
"Republicans Break All Time Filibuster Record

December 19, 2008

Lou Gerber,

Republicans last night broke the all-time Senate record for filibusters in a two-year term when they forced the 62nd cloture vote of this session on the omnibus appropriations bill, H.R. 2764.

The previous record of 61 cloture votes in a two-year term was set in 2001-2002, the last time the GOP comprised the minority in the Senate.

The fact that the new record for legislative obstruction was set in less than one session would be similar to Roger Maris hitting 61 home runs before the mid-season break for the all-star game, instead of during the 162 game baseball season.

From refusing to allow the Senate to vote on the merits of the Employee Free Choice Act, to denying a roll call on the substance of the prescription drug bill, to preventing a vote on legislation implementing the recommendations of the 9/11 commission, GOP Senators impeded solutions to pressing problems."

http://tinyurl.com/4x38p55

And:

"Fifty four filibusters when Democrats were in the minority at that time. Then when the Republicans became the minority in 2007…boing… one hundred and twelve filibusters.

Republicans now have a defacto standing filibuster on practically everything. They’ve made so that passing anything in the Senate requires sixty votes, a super majority every time. This situation has never existed before. This was not the situation in any previous Congress ever..."

http://videocafe.crooksandliars.com/h...

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 12, 2011 at 7:02 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

On April 11, SFA1 asks me: "ART - I noticed you have not weighed in on the debate around your article. Is there a reason for this? We would really like to hear your comments."

Thanks. It's a good question. The answers are: (1) Lack of time (my main project right now is gathering info for a possible book for the general public about understanding quantum physics, plus I have the coming 6th edition of my textbook, and other stuff). (2) I get to write a NWA Times column every 3 weeks, and I figure that's enough input from me. I'd rather give others a chance to voice their own opinions, without always adding my own.

Part 2 of my planned 3-part series on energy will appear on April 24. I applaud the debate.

Posted by: ahobson08311240

April 14, 2011 at 9:18 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

SFA1 says "diesel driven freight trains, tractor-trailers, and buses. There is no promising technology that will address this type of transportation outside of nuclear power. I doubt much of the flying public is interested in a nuclear powered plane."
How would all those forms of transportation be nuclear-powered?
Your imagination is limited by what seems to be already on the shelf. Nuclear power is a very bad idea for many reasons:
1. Expensive, has to be heavily subsidized by govt. in order for investors to be interested.
2. Uranium while not a fossil fuel is also in limited supply. The alternative is breeders which create plutonium, the most toxic substance on Earth (and not a natural element) and which requires even tighter security because of terrorists.
3. Nuclear is a zero-tolerance technology in an imperfect and profit-driven world.
4. Waste problem is NOT solved and it remains for thousands of years.
5. Nuclear exports to less developed countries which are more likely to build nuclear weapons.
So it's EXPENSIVE TO BUILD, DANGEROUS TO OPERATE, has NO PLACE FOR THE WASTE, and is also subject to the problems of PROLIFERATION and TERRORISM.
Instead, what about wind-powered electric buses or trains?
And why not solar-powered barges? There are already solar-powered passenger boats.
http://www.greentraveller.co.uk/node/760
http://www.gizmag.com/go/6997/
From Wikipedia: Tûranor PlanetSolar, the world's largest solar-powered boat. Japan's biggest shipping line Nippon Yusen KK and Nippon Oil Corporation said solar panels capable of generating 40 kilowatts of electricity would be placed on top of a 60,000 tonne car carrier ship to be used by Toyota Motor Corporation.
In 2010, the Tûranor PlanetSolar, a 30 metre long, 15.2 metre wide catamaran yacht powered by 470 square metres of solar panels, was unveiled. It is set to circumnavigate the Earth and is so far the largest solar-powered boat ever built.

Posted by: Coralie

April 15, 2011 at 11:55 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Wow, I've been out of this for too long.

FFT, can you explain WHY Japan is "too big to fail"?

I'll start there.

Posted by: x3

April 15, 2011 at 8:21 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

X3: "explain WHY Japan is "too big to fail"?">>

The problem is you apparently you don't understand what the phrase means. It does not mean the country or company in question is literally, actually, to big to fail, but rather that it is too big to be *allowed* to fail (without catastrophic and unacceptable results).

And if you are going to start somewhere, why don't you begin by acknowledging the corrections of factual errors you have made above. For instance, when I said that Japan was nearly (and very recently) the second largest economy in the world, you said:

"And they [Japan] aren't (nearly) the 2nd largest economy."

But they are, reference provided above. If you can't see that the insolvency of a country that has (nearly) the second largest economy in the world, would cause a worldwide financial catastrophe, then you might want (need) to learn a bit more about this topic before you go on about it.

D.
----------
"A few examples of countries that have failed economically,... and required IMF bail outs:

UK (1976) (IMF $3.8bn)
Brazil (1998) (IMF $18 bn)
Argentina (2001) (IMF $22bn)
Iceland (2008) (IMF $2 bn plus $2.5 bn form Nordic countries, some continuing disputes)
Ireland (2010) ($85bn+, from various sources, and still rising)"

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 15, 2011 at 9:28 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

FFT: "You are complaining that I use a dictionary definition of a word? That's ridiculous... If you want to use some non-standard personal made up definition, then you're on your own."

Reread my point. We live in a real world. Address the point i made: "Go to your banker and tell him you owe 7 times your yearly income, have costs that are 30% higher than your income, and that you want to continue borrowing 30% more than you make with no collateral. Also tell him you have 16x your income in unfunded liabilities. See what he tells you." You conveniently skipped over this real world example.

On President making the laws: FFT: "Last I checked, he signs them. Has there been a change?"

What an empty response. Go back to your immigration training. Congress makes the laws. The President can sign or veto them. You give way too much credit to the presidency.

FFT: "Careful readers will notice your weasel word "mostly." Congress was also considered, with similar results. Republicans spend more and rack up more debt. The record is clear."

Again, don't let the facts get in the way of your argument. Mostly means the majority. Show me the stats.

FFT: "Actually, we have an excellent test of this. I just did a refi on a property a few months ago for $200k (4.6%). Turns out they found, I wasn't broke. Have you learned what the word "broke" means yet? Dictionary.com is very useful."

What? How does this apply to my example? So you refinanced a property??? Read the example i proposed in full context and don't distract the reader from the real debate here.

In response to SFA: "It is clearly documented that close to 50% of citizens do not pay taxes,"

FFT: "Nonsense. I have prepared a little post for you, with charts. Begin your education here:
http://fayfreethinkers.com/forums/vie...

You are referencing numbers as a percentage of income. It includes all taxes "that means income taxes, payroll taxes, state and local taxes, capital gains taxes, and so forth -- ". This is expressed as a percent of total income. Our discussion is about percentage of Federal Income Tax paid by a percentage of the earning public based on income. Your chart is not an equivalent measurement, so no basis for your argument. My point still stands.

On SFA's point that: "our taxation system is actually a welfare program that refunds more than is paid"

FFT: "More rubbish. Why don't you try backing some of your claims up, specifically. Then it's more fun to knock them down."

OK - first, you like dictionary definitions:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earned_I...

In 2008 there were a total of $44.26 Billion in EITC net refunds. This is a net tax refund above money paid in. This is a welfare program in disguise and in the article above you will note it was greatly expanded under Reagan.

Posted by: commonsense96

April 16, 2011 at 12:43 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

On SFA comment: "our taxation system is actually a welfare program that refunds more than is paid"

FFT response: "More rubbish. Why don't you try backing some of your claims up, specifically. Then it's more fun to knock them down."

Try a definition first:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earned_I...

Next, in 2008 our Government paid $44.26 billion dollars in EITC refundable tax credits. This means money above and beyond what was paid in by EITC elibible Americans.

On SFA comment: "What will 3x energy prices... do to economic activity."

FFT: "Make it vastly more efficient, and in the long run, productive."

So you are a fact based guy when it comes to your points. Show me some on this comment vs. you humble opinion.

On SFA comment: "add an 8.9% carbon tax..."

FFT: "Yes. We have climate change to pay for."

To whom? The federal government? We are the government, so we are going to pay ourselves for an unproven climate change?

On SFA comment: "How will [the poor] deal with such increases in energy costs?"

FFT: "Easy. Tax the rich to cover it. They're way under taxed. The wealthiest 400 people have cornered as much wealth as the entire bottom 50% (155 million people). That needs to be switched around too."

So you are a marxist? Karl Marx said "from those with ability to those with need". Maybe you should have immigrated to Russia or China vs. our United States. You truly do not understand what drives the economic engine in this country. Those "with ability" create jobs and drive our economic growth.

Posted by: commonsense96

April 16, 2011 at 1:14 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Coralie - You propose a typical liberal talking point..."we didn't fix it, but neither has anybody else." What kind of defense is this? Obama was on the campaign trail last week at a manufacturing plant for wind turbines. He was asked by a factory worker what he was going to do about $4 gasoline. His response? Go buy a more fuel efficient vehicle. His follow-up? It will take a couple of more years (meaning 2) for his 'green energy' programs to fix the problem. Who in their right mind believes that a president should (a) have that response to a factory worker with real concerns and (b) believe that his green energy initiatives are going to fix our energy problems in a 'couple of years'? The point is that this president does not have a clue and is condescending to Americans! You say that "Dozens of other countries have more effective and responsible energy policies than we do." Who and how? Include in your explanation what the costs are to the economy. You also state that i "exaggerate how much control the Dems have had since 2006 election" My point is much larger than the last few years. This has been a democratically controlled congress for the great majority of the last 33 years. We are not making progress. If my 'control' issue is so exaggerated, then why did Obama Care and the Economic Stimulus packages pass with conservative opposition?

Posted by: commonsense96

April 16, 2011 at 1:32 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Coralie: reread my comment you quote: "FA1 says diesel driven freight trains, tractor-trailers, and buses. There is no promising technology that will address this type of transportation outside of nuclear power. I doubt much of the flying public is interested in a nuclear powered plane."

Please re-read this. I was stating that nuclear is NOT a clear alternative to transportation energy. This was a key point of my argument. Sorry you spent so much time on this.

On the barge issue - you are referencing two instances of 60 and 32 passenger boats powered by solar. We are talking ships that carry 50,000 to 100,000 TONS of freight across thousands of miles! Not a few passengers on a small excursion.

Posted by: commonsense96

April 16, 2011 at 1:42 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

SFA: "EITC refundable tax credits.">>

These help make the system more progressive at the federal level, but they do not negate the other taxes poor people pay. I just addressed this in the Buddy thread.

SFA: "we are going to pay ourselves for an unproven climate change?">>

Carbon sequestration attempts and transition to renewable green energy sources etc., will have costs (followed by great benefits).

Science, especially with regard to future outcomes, doesn't provide "proof." We know with a very high degree of certainty the earth is warming rapidly and we are responsible for most of the warming.

SFA: "So you are a marxist?">>

Nope, successful capitalist. But like Jefferson, Adam Smith (and even Jesus) I understand the fairness of progressive taxation and shared sacrifice. Note:

"Another means of silently lessening the inequality of property is to exempt all from taxation below a certain point, and to tax the higher portions of property in geometrical progression as they rise. Whenever there is in any country, uncultivated lands and unemployed poor, it is clear that the laws of property have been so far extended as to violate natural right." --Thomas Jefferson

"It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion."
--Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations

Were those fellows "marxist" SFA? (Never mind Jesus, he was clearly a socialist through and through).

D.
-----------
Billionaires' guide to U.S. taxes shows Top 400 pay lower rates than you

BLOOMBERG NEWS

"The 400 U.S. taxpayers with the highest adjusted gross income paid income taxes at an actual, or “effective,” rate of just under 17 percent in 2007, down from almost 30 percent in 1995, according to the Internal Revenue Service. The effective rate for the 1.4 million people in the top 1 percent of taxpayers dropped to 23 percent in percent the year before. That means the top 400 pay a lower rate than the next 1,399,600 or so, Bloomberg Businessweek reports in its April 11 issue."

http://tinyurl.com/3ngegcu

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 16, 2011 at 1:15 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

SFA1, I never implied that solar-powered planes and boats were ready to go. They are just at the beginning of their development.
I'll bet you would have been one of those fellows who stood on the shore and guffawed about Robert Fulton's silly steamboat in 1807.
You said "There is no promising technology that will address this type of transportation outside of nuclear power." It certainly sounds like you are saying that nuclear-driven trains, tractor-trailers, and buses are the only viable alternative to current ones driven by fossil fuels.

Posted by: Coralie

April 16, 2011 at 2:49 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

SFA1, re Democratically controlled Congress for 33 years: Since 1975, the House has been held 13 times by Democrats, 7 by Republicans.
Senate 12 X Dem, 8 X Rep.
Presidency 8 Dem, 12 Rep.
http://uspolitics.about.com/od/usgove...
But you are trying to turn this into a partisan issue. That's not where I'm coming from. If we had instant voter runoff, I would vote Green.
Countries with better energy policies? Germany, New Zealand, Austria, Sweden, Switzerland, Canada
http://www.worldchanging.com/archives...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandator...

Posted by: Coralie

April 16, 2011 at 3:06 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Eletric cars with Solar charger at your homes.The thing is though there is no magic pill to solve our energy probelm and the govt. rep. are not going to solve nothing because oil and coal co. lobby. So we as people got to solve this with what we spend are money on.

Posted by: rgbynum

April 17, 2011 at 9:14 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

FFT: "Another means of silently lessening the inequality of property is to exempt all from taxation below a certain point, and to tax the higher portions of property in geometrical progression as they rise. Whenever there is in any country, uncultivated lands and unemployed poor, it is clear that the laws of property have been so far extended as to violate natural right." --Thomas Jefferson

"It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion."
--Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations

Were those fellows "marxist" SFA? (Never mind Jesus, he was clearly a socialist through and through).

SFA1: Here is the problem with your argument. I don't disagree that we should have a progressive taxation policy. However, none of the quotes you reference above state that almost 50% of the population should pay no FEDERAL INCOME TAX. The problem is that when we create a taxation policy that has almost one half of the population paying no taxes (and a large percentage of those getting a net welfare refund in taxation policy), we create a society that has no regard for the economic engine that drives our economy. If you get a net refund on your taxes, you care little about who is elected, what our deficit is, and where we are headed as a society. You tend to be in favor of more taxation of higher-income individuals. We are driving our society to a group of parasites that have no concern for the host. If you want to see this in real time, take a look at Spain, Portugal, France, Etc. It is common to see 35 hour work weeks, inflated wages, 6 week mandated vacations/year, etc. Take a look at these countries' economic situations. We are headed in that direction if we do not embrace the economic engine of entrepreneurism and capitalism that built this great country. We need a country of citizens that stands on their own two feet and is accountable for their own performance. We need a country that lives within it's own means. We need reform.

Posted by: commonsense96

April 17, 2011 at 11:05 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

SFA: "we should have a progressive taxation policy.">>

Excellent. So people who support the rich paying more are not "marxists." Good.

SFA: "none of [your] quotes... state that almost 50% of the population should pay no FEDERAL INCOME TAX.">>

Addressed in depth in the Buddy thread. They pay lot's of federal tax, and I don't care in the slightest if the tax is labeled "income" or "payroll." And now say "almost 50%."

SFA: "almost one half of the population paying no taxes..">>

Oops, you quickly slipped back into your old ways. Stop saying things that are plainly not true.

SFA: "(and a large percentage of those getting a net welfare refund in taxation policy),">>

Only at the federal level, and only for the poor (especially with kids). This only helps level off and make progressive the taxes they pay in other areas. You already agreed with progressive taxation.

SFA: "we create a society that... [tends] to be in favor of more taxation of higher-income individuals.">>

Good. Everyone should be for more taxation of the wealthy. PleasantHero just gave you a first hand example of this. Many millionaires pay zero income tax. This is a ludicrous situation. 400 people have as much wealth as 155 million people. This type of wealth inequality is EXTREMELY toxic and corrosive to a civilization. Learn about this here:

http://fayfreethinkers.com/forums/vie...

SFA: "a group of parasites that have no concern for the host.">>

When your moral/political/judgement system brings you to the point of referring to 155 million or so of your fellow citizens as "parasites," it is time to pause and reflect about whether your sources of influence and information are serving you well. Because I assure you, they are not.

SFA: "Spain, Portugal, France, Etc... common to see 35 hour work weeks,">>

Good heavens, the suffering sounds terrible.

SFA: "...6 week mandated vacations/year, etc.">>

That certainly sounds rough.

D.
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The US's high level of inequality, when compared with peer countries, has profound societal results. From the book "The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better"

"...almost every social problem common in developed societies - reduced life expectancy, child mortality, drugs, crime, homicide rates, mental illness and obesity - has a single root cause: inequality.

...countries such as the US, the UK and Portugal, where the top 20% earn seven, eight or nine times more than the lowest 20%, scored noticeably higher on all social problems at every level of society than in countries such as Sweden and Japan, where the differential is only two or three times higher at the top."

...they analysed the data from all 50 US states and found the same pattern. In states where income differentials were greatest, so were the social problems and lack of cohesion."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/200...

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 18, 2011 at 1:44 a.m. ( | suggest removal )