Democrats & Liberals Archives

Hysterical Republican Energetics

Gasoline has shot up to over $3 a gallon, and this worries Republicans. In pursuit of their agenda of kowtowing to the rich corporate patrons who put them in power, Republicans paid no heed to any of the factors that may influence the price of gasoline. Nor did they try to encourage the development of more sustainable and more environmentally friendly forms of enegy. Now that they fear the public may throw them out of office in November, they are turning hysterical.

So hysterical that they are throwing away hundred-dollar bills. Listen to the Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, the man who would like to be president:"

"Our plan would give taxpayers a hundred dollar gas tax holiday rebate check to help ease the pain that they're feeling at the pump."

A so-called conservative is giving away taxpayer money. Could you imagine the howls from Republicans if a Democrat would have suggested such a thing? No Democrat will because Democrats know such a move will not do anything to solve the problem. $100 is enough for one fill-up of a gas-guzzling SUV. Besides, we have a huge budget deficit.

This is pure Republican hysteria.

Where were the Republicans when they could have done something to ease the energy crunch?

Where were the Republicans when they were needed to pass legislation improving CAFE standards: increasing the efficiency of cars by having them run more miles for a given gallon of gasoline? Republicans - and I'm sorry to say, some Democrats - nixed this sensible move.

Where were the Republicans in August of last year when they passed the energy bill awarding $14.5 billion in tax breaks primarily to producers of oil, natural gas, coal and nuclear power? Maybe oil companies should dish out the hundred-dollar bills to consumers.

Where were the Republicans when their leader attacked Iraq? Yes, they thought that Iraqi oil would flow like a river. How could they realize that 3 years after the war, Iraq would produce less oil than before?

Where were the Republicans when their leader decided to be so antagonistic to Iran, placing Iran on an "axis of evil," making cowboy statements every day about their nuclear program, and refusing to talk to Iran about the nuclear and other issues? Another source of oil down the drain.

Where were the Republicans when their leader decided he did not like Chavez of Venezuela and tried to upset Chavez's regime? Still another source of oil down the drain.

The president and vice president are oilmen. Oil companies have contributed huge sums to get them and other Republicans elected. So the administration is friendly to these old-line energy companies. This, however, does not change the fact that the age of oil is coming to an end. Less and less oil is extracted from the ground each succeeding year. This means that the price of gasoline will go higher and higher in the future.

If conditions remain as they are, we face gallon-gas costs of $4, $5, $6 - and perhaps even $10.

Perhaps we should listen to Gorbachev:

Gorbachev -- who chairs an environmental thinktank, Green Cross International -- called on leaders of the Group of Eight (G8) industrialized nations to invest in renewable energy sources, in a statement marking the 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. He said, 'The fund could easily be raised by cutting subsidies for fossil fuels like oil and coal."

So what do we do? We must gain energy independence in two steps, one immediate, the other long term.

  • IMMEDIATE STEP: CONSERVE ENERGY - Conservation is the single best way to increase our energy supply. This may be done by passing the Vehicles and Fuel Choices for American Security Act (S. 2025 and H.R. 4409) sponsored by Senators Evan Bayh, Sam Brownback and Hillary Clinton. The acts establish targets for saving oil—as opposed to burning it—beginning with a 2.5 million barrel a day reduction in demand within 10 years, which is about what we import from the Middle East today

  • LONG-RANGE STEP: A SUSTAINABLE ENERGY DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM - A 10-year multi-billion-dollar all-out program for researching and developing sustainable energy sources
Republican hysteria will not provide us with more energy. We must do as I and many other Democrats have been recommending: Begin a program of systematic development of sustainable energy sources.

Posted by Paul Siegel at April 27, 2006 6:02 PM
Comments
Comment #143677

Why do I still bother to shake my head at stupididty? One would think I’d be used to it by now!!!??? And, pray tell, how is $100 dollars going to improve, help, make better, the prices at the PUMP??? LMAO! And, I only _THOUGHT_ ‘they’ were assinine, before

Posted by: Ro at April 27, 2006 6:12 PM
Comment #143692

Gas should be expensive to encourage alternatives and conservation. You guys keep talking about those things, but you do not seem to understand what you are advocating when you talk about alternatives or conservation. It means higher prices and nuclear energy. Hu - rah.

We need more nuclear energy and higher prices. I worry only that the price will come down before we achieve the useful goals.

Posted by: Jack at April 27, 2006 7:14 PM
Comment #143700
Bill Frist said: Our plan would give taxpayers a hundred dollar gas tax holiday rebate check to help ease the pain that they’re feeling at the pump.

What a totally asinine thing, when the National Debt is $8.4 trillion, Social Security is $12.8 trillion in the hole, PBGC is $450 billion in the hole, Medicare is trillions in the hole, deficits upto $400 billion are forecast for decades.

Lets see. Let’s say that there are 250 million drivers in the U.S. $25 billion = $100 x 250 million .

That’s not that much if you consider the National Debt grows by the much in 12 days.
That’s just for the interest on the National Debt. It’s a good thing we’re not paying interest on the $12.8 trillion plundered from Social Security, or we really would have a problem.

Another way to look at it is that $25 billion is less than the $27.3 billion of pork-barrel in 2005, and less than the $29 billion of pork-barrel in 2006.

And, here’s an example of that pork-barrel.
Visit cagw.org from more.

And, check out Allan Mollohan, the new Porker of the Month:

Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) has named Representative Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.) Porker of the Month for abusing his position on the House Appropriations Committee by securing hundreds of millions of dollars in earmarks that may have benefited him personally. In an April 8, 2006 article, the New York Times detailed how Rep. Mollohan has directed $250 million to five nonprofit organizations that he set up. To run the organizations, Rep. Mollohan has recruited friends and former aides who then contribute to his political campaigns and family foundation. The National Legal and Policy Center has filed a complaint questioning whether a spike in Rep. Mollohan’s personal fortune had any connection to earmarks that he secured, and on April 21, Rep. Mollohan stepped down from his position as the senior Democrat on the House Ethics Committee. For directing earmarks to wasteful projects that have the effect of swelling his campaign coffers and possibly his personal wealth, CAGW names Rep. Alan Mollohan Porker of the Month for April 2006.

Here’s what’s going to happen.
They will print that money, just like they are printing and borrowing the money just to make the interest payments. Interest is over $1 billion per day, and borrowing is $1 billion per day. The Debt is growing by $2 billion per day.

If anyone does not think that is a recipe for disaster, then I want some of what ever they’re takin’ so that I won’t give a damn either.

It’s a growing problem, and it is not hard to see an economic meltdown somewhere in the next 5 to 10 years.

Recessions have been occurring every 2 to 11 years for the last 46 years. How easy will the next recession be to recover from ?

Posted by: d.a.n at April 27, 2006 8:18 PM
Comment #143701

We need alternative sources of energy… and i think everyone recognizes this… except those in charge. What is $100 x number of people getting one of these checks? …. aagagagahhh!

OK - screw that - it would mean trying to find a thread of logic in all this crap. How much is your vote worth? I’m going to take my $100 and give it to the incumbent’s opponent.

Posted by: tony at April 27, 2006 8:19 PM
Comment #143702

d.a.n

I have seen you make this statement many times:

“Interest is over $1 billion per day, and borrowing is $1 billion per day. The Debt is growing by $2 billion per day.”

The debt is not growing by 2 billion per day. It is growing by $1 billion and we are paying $1 billion in interest that cannot be used for something else

Posted by: DCC at April 27, 2006 8:33 PM
Comment #143707

The best way to secure more oil is to inva- err… liberate Iran. Only thru this will our oil go down.

Posted by: Aldous at April 27, 2006 8:47 PM
Comment #143709

only a deluded numbskull could believe that invading Iran will bring oil prices down, quit sucking on your crack pipe and get therapy.

Posted by: tim at April 27, 2006 9:04 PM
Comment #143712

Screwing with Iran will cause a oil market spike that makes this one look like a sneeze.
What cracks me up reading all these politicians excuses and plans, all the posts here, is the FACT that THERE IS NO OIL SHORTAGE!
There is plenty on the market.
This is why OPEC refused to raise output. THERE IS NO NEED!!
The only thing driving up prices is futures speculators trying to make a fast buck, and greedy oil execs capitalizing on this and bumping prices.
They count on people no understanding the market.
Oil is 75$ a barrel, ONLY ON PAPER! There is NO reason to raise prices on gas that has been in the system for weeks or months.
They play, we pay.
My only suggestion would be a mob of about half a million people surrounding Exxon headquarters with torches. See how quick the prices drop.

Posted by: Norby at April 27, 2006 9:20 PM
Comment #143722

Please god dont let the dittoheads fall for the $100.00 ruse.

Posted by: j2t2 at April 27, 2006 10:12 PM
Comment #143723

Don’t forget that the $100 checks will be released to show up in your mailbox just in time for election day.

Since I rarely use my car, I hope I’ll be allowed to spent my $100 on bus fare.

Posted by: Steve K at April 27, 2006 10:12 PM
Comment #143724

Bush backing alternative ‘Green’ measures. I call that downright panic given the track record of the last 5 years. Of course, Bush & Family probably invested heavily in corporate farming stocks prior to their announcement, so, its not so surprising afterall, is it? Government office is the last safe bastion for insider traders.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 27, 2006 10:16 PM
Comment #143727
DCC wrote: d.a.n, … The debt is not growing by $2 billion per day. It is growing by $1 billion and we are paying $1 billion in interest that cannot be used for something else.

DCC,
We’re both wrong.
Borrowing is actually more than $1 billion per day.

The National Debt has grown (on average for the last six months) by $2.61 billion per day:
02/28/2006 -to- 03/31/2006: grew 101,270,777,990 to 8,371,156,293,376 = $3,616,813,500 per day
01/31/2006 -to- 02/28/2006: grew $73,815,077,787 to 8,269,885,515,386 = $2,636,252,778 per day
12/30/2005 -to- 01/31/2006: grew $25,645,896,286 to 8,196,070,437,600 = $915,924,867 per day
11/30/2005 -to- 12/30/2005: grew $78,102,335,593 to 8,170,424,541,314 = $2,789,369,128 per day
10/31/2005 -to- 11/30/2005: grew $65,198,801,506 to 8,092,322,205,721 = $2,328,528,625 per day
09/30/2005 -to- 10/31/2005: grew $94,413,742,491 to 8,027,123,404,214 = $3,371,919,375 per day

You can verify that at the U.S. Bureau of the Public Debt.

So, it just gets worse and worse.

Posted by: d.a.n at April 27, 2006 10:26 PM
Comment #143730

We can’t let this minor inconvenience distract us from the War on Terror. Iran must be dealt with. We cannot allow Iran to possess nukes. We must pressure our congressmen to attack Iran.

Posted by: Aldous at April 27, 2006 10:27 PM
Comment #143737

Right on Aldous! And while we are at it, don’t forget that madman in Argentina. And we need to counter invade Mexico for their oil. Also, those Indians in Boliva are setting on a lot of natural gas and that’s no beans. And, ohhh Cannnn-ada.

Posted by: jlw at April 27, 2006 10:44 PM
Comment #143744

jlw:

I like the way you think!!! Still, we should pace our conquests over a period of time. Do them too fast and Bush just might reinstate a Draft!!! Heaven forbid we should be sent to the Front, eh? The US needs people like us to be Generals conducting strategy, not grunts.

Posted by: Aldous at April 27, 2006 11:17 PM
Comment #143745

Oooh, ow, my stomach hurts. $100 for my troubles? What am I, a cheap prostitute? Frist should be tarred and feathered. On the other hand, $100 is a start. Now give me back all the rest of my taxes that I just paid 10 days ago, you useless bootlicker.
These people are raping our children. Getting voted out is the kindest thing that could ever happen to one of these criminal assbags.
If anyone was actually serious about gas prices and energy independence, they’d propose a 50% gas tax at the pump, to fund alternative fuels research. Watch prices flatten out after that.
So mad.

Posted by: Govt Skeptic at April 27, 2006 11:17 PM
Comment #143750


Aldous: I was a grunt for Johnson and Nixon. I am to old and broke down now. I say, just put the Green Berets and Rambo back out in the movie theaters. That should get recruitment up. Especially Rambo, he could kick some a couldn’t he. Just don’t tell the kids that he wouldn’t have lasted a week in Viet Nam.

Posted by: jlw at April 27, 2006 11:45 PM
Comment #143757

Too funny. ‘Hysterical Republican Energetics,’ indeed! According to the WSJ, it seems Republican Congressman Duke Cunningham enjoyed a ‘hospitality’ suite in DC, where wild parties and hookers entertained politicians. The funniest rumor of all (not included in the WSJ article) is that CIA Director Porter Goss is implicated, and there are pictures! The FBI is running around interviewing Washington call girls.

Can you imagine one of those interviews? Ha. Ha ha. Ha ha ha ha.

‘Hysterical Republican Energetics.’

Well, for all the lies, the Clinton/Lewinsky tryst did not involve money. It was seemy & unseely, but it was consensual. But think back- remember all those somber Republican Senators and Representatives and the speeches they gave when they voted to impeach Clinton? Remember the high flying moral oratory? What went through Goss’s mind as he cast a vote in favor of impeachment?

Oh my. Oh my. What, I must ask in the sternest possible voice, What is the true underlying motivation for Frist providing everyone with C Notes?

Posted by: phx8 at April 28, 2006 12:38 AM
Comment #143781

“We can’t let this minor inconvenience distract us from the War on Terror. Iran must be dealt with. We cannot allow Iran to possess nukes. We must pressure our congressmen to attack Iran.”

Sorry - we’ve had our INVADING License revoked… couldn’t make the payments.

Posted by: tony at April 28, 2006 6:38 AM
Comment #143784

All

I find it amusing that the Democrats here have all the answers.

SUV sales went thru the roof during the Clinton years according to all the stats out there…maybe they were economy SUV’s right?

The solution is staring you in the face.

You are the problem.You use too much energy.

You are the energy pig of the world.

You don’t car pool, you drive a gas guzzler,you run a hot house all winter,you don’t shut off lights,you run the a/c,you don’t recycle,your house insn’t proberly insulated,and you shop at Wal-Mart.

Ya, Wal-Mart.China’s biggest customer.The China who is now importing 5,000,000 barrels a day.That China.

Wal-Mart aside,we are the problem…always have,always will be.

If yoiu own a car that gets less than 30 miles/a gallon,shame on you.

You see no wrong paying 2 bucks a liter for sparkling water at the gourmet shop,but piss and moan about $3.00 a gallon on a resource that is 3 miles in the ground and must be harvested and refined,transported then cleaned up.

Try paying 2.85 EURO a liter (on average a fill in Italy cost 85 dollars for a tiny egg-beater Fiat Punto about 65 euro)

Before anything else,a nationial discourse need to take place about waste…..25% of our nations energy requirements could be eliminated in a flash if we all conserve.

That’s a shit load of oil saved every day.

Posted by: sicilianeagle at April 28, 2006 7:20 AM
Comment #143786

“I find it amusing that the Democrats here have all the answers.”

What a load of crap - and you know it. Is this the only way (and your only interest) to discredit the content here? Why do you get snide and beligerent simply because we voice opinions? Are opinions considered so vile on your side of the fence?

Try just adding to the debate instead spending all your energy finding “whitty” insults to sling at people. Also, why do YOU spend so much talking about others (which is obviously just simple assumptions) when you could be discussing the actual solutions? Maybe you like always being in the attack mode - your own choice - but, at least from where I sit, it completely voids your message.

Just for your info (yea, I did read your post) - I am very liberal and I drive an SUV. I also carry 1100 lbs of film and lighting gear to work and I spend as much time in mud and woods as I do on pavement. It’s part of my job… on my days off, I drive a Honda.

Seeing the world in black & white will more easily fit your arguments, but it rarely has much to do with reality.

Posted by: tony at April 28, 2006 8:29 AM
Comment #143787
SicilianEagle wrote: … You are the problem.You use too much energy.

You are absolutely correct.
In fact, I think they intentionlly build houses to be energy wasteful.

Yes, we are the problem.
And the problem stems in to everything.

Like our irresponsible, corrupt government.
We (voters) tolerate it.

We have met the enemy,
and it is us.

Posted by: d.a.n at April 28, 2006 8:36 AM
Comment #143788

OK - I shouldn’t post too much an article, but this seemed to hit the nail on the head.

“The battle to see which political party can out-pander the other on the subject of gasoline prices is embarrassing. If American consumers are having sticker shock at the pumps, it’s because of a series of policy failures that stretch back decades. The last thing the country needs now is another irresponsible quick fix.

Senate Republicans have proposed to assuage the pain of high gas prices by sending many taxpayers $100 apiece — enough for about two tanks of gas. Meanwhile, a cadre of Senate Democrats is carrying on about a temporary suspension of the federal gas tax, which is 18.4 cents per gallon, the same level it was in 1993. At best, the suspension would temporarily reduce prices a fraction, causing car owners to drive a little more. That rise in demand would send prices back up again.

Lawmakers from both houses and parties are calling for investigations into any price gouging or other rip-offs by oil companies and filling stations. It’s perfectly all right to look into these things, but no one imagines that the result will be much more than a series of photo-ops.

Suspending environmental safeguards — as President Bush proposed in his energy speech earlier this week — might send prices down a bit, at the price of dirtier air. It’s appalling that a generation after the first oil shock, in 1973, politicians are still reacting with such hysteria.

The main problem is not environmental regulations or even rapacious oil companies. It certainly isn’t the fact that the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge has been kept off limits for drilling. Americans’ outsized demand for oil and gasoline pushes up prices, and now that the economies of huge countries like China and India have taken off, there will continue to be more competition for the world’s available oil. There are policy solutions for the problem of excess demand, chief among them higher fuel economy standards. But more than five years into the Bush administration, there has been only a minuscule increase in mileage standards for S.U.V.’s and no increase for cars.

The oil companies’ mind-boggling profits have produced calls for a windfall profits tax. It would not be too difficult to set up a system that would capture a percentage of the companies’ extraordinary profits, and the money could be used for long-term solutions, like research into alternate fuels and mass transit. That would be fair. Oil companies are indeed profiting from events that have little to do with their efforts. If some of those profits were taxed and flowed into the public treasury, the money could go toward public purposes.”

NT Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/28/opinion/28fri1.html?ex=1303876800&en=783a91c3fb748d7f&ei=5089&partner=rssyahoo&emc=rss

Posted by: tony at April 28, 2006 8:38 AM
Comment #143795

What a bunch of rhetoric.

Democrats have NO solution.
Republicans have NO solution.

We don’t need the $100 and we don’t need to spend billions on research to tell us what we already know.

Public transportation is a myth in all but the largest of cities and totally impractical for most of this country. Besides, who is going to authorize the trillions of dollars to create a nationwide mass transit system.

There are solutions. Go to www.solarhouse.com.
If the government was serious about alternative energy it could help offset the cost of retrofit and new contruction systems. The cost is way down from years ago and the systems are much more efficient.

Cars are only a part of the propblem. They are much more efficient than years ago and the new hybrids are becoming very popular. But it is foolish to think that we can all trade in our SUVs, pickup trucks, and mini vans for a Mini Cooper type vehicle. This is NOT Europe.

We already have alternative fuels. Bio-deisel being one of the most promising. None of the politicians are doing anything to promote this other than some lip service. If they were serious they could fund the building of a bio-deisel refinery and enact laws mandating the recycling of products used in the manufacturing process. We already mandate the recycling of motor oil.

So many of you are all caught up in the blame game. Its the republicans fault. Or the democrats did nothing when they were in power. The truth is that none of them ever did anything to really address the nations energy consumption. They won’t this time either. You can expect some feel good legislation to make you think they are working on the problem. Until we, the voters care less about who wins the argument, and care more about real long term solutions, we can expect zero real leadership in Washington.

Posted by: jwl at April 28, 2006 9:49 AM
Comment #143797

Where were they?

They cut and ran.

The Brazilians cut also. But they cut sugar cane to make ethanol which made them energy independent.

Now their cars will run and run and run…..

Too bad the US is dumber than Brazilians…..

Posted by: texex at April 28, 2006 10:01 AM
Comment #143798

OUR TAX MONEY ISN’T ALL THE REPUBLICANS ARE GIVING AWAY…

WASHINGTON, April 27 — President Bush is expected on Friday to announce his approval of a deal under which a Dubai-owned company would take control of nine plants in the United States that manufacture parts for American military vehicles and aircraft, say two administration officials familiar with the terms of the deal.

There isn’t any U.S. company who would like to manufacture defence parts???? Please!

Posted by: Lynne at April 28, 2006 10:10 AM
Comment #143802

jwl,

Nice website.
I’m planning to build something like that.
It will also use underground heat exchangers to pre-heat/pre-cool air and water.

These $250 per month electric bills and $310 per month property tax just isn’t worth it.

Yesterday, I bought only 10 gallons of gasoline (half a tank) for $30 .

Our energy vulnerability is one of the FIVE major factors (of many factors ) for a potential economic meltdown:

  • [1] FISCAL and MORAL BANKRUPTCY: $8.4 trillion National Debt and $54 trillion total nation-wide debt, decreasing options, lost opportunities, falling dollar (not backed up by real value), printing too much money, inflation, trade deficits, and the failure to stop the debt from growing ever larger. We are selfishly and irresponsibly piling centuries of debt onto future generations.

  • [2] GENERATIONAL STORM: 77 million aging baby boomers (that all vote), making less, spending less, pay less tax, expecting to draw from already troubled Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, & welfare.
  • [3] ENTITLEMENT

  • SHORTFALLS: looming Social Security shortfalls; Medicare, Medicaid, & welfare deficits and short falls are already here. The number of tax-payers per entitlement recipient is shrinking.
    [4] LIMITED GROWTH & INCREASING FOREIGN COMPETITION: limited capacity for growth due to declining quality of education, a generally less educated population failing to develop new technologies, coupled with a steady increase of foreign competition; capitalism run amuck; corporatism and corpocrisy; governments controlled by a few with vast wealth and power.
  • [5] ENERGY VULNERABILITY: Of all the responsible, insightful things government could have done, bought-and-paid-for incumbent politicians failed miserably to research and foster alternate energy sources, more energy efficient homes, automobiles, etc.

Posted by: d.a.n at April 28, 2006 10:25 AM
Comment #143804

I think it is safe to say that every american wants to lower our dependancy on oil and seek alternative energy sources. With that in mind consider the following.

As long as the politicians and the partisans keep us bickering with each other, the longer they can do nothing while lining their pockets with campaign contributions from special interests. That includes democrats and republicans and industries other than the oil companies. Many products other than gasoline come from oil.

If the politicains were talking about investing billions in alternative energy and really cutting our dependancy on oil, the price of oil would drop like a rock. Do any of you think the oil producing nations, the oil companies and the commodities traders will stand on the current price of oil if Washington was SERIOUSLY talking about replacing the demand for their products with alternatives? We would be back to $1.00 a gallon gas before you could say fill ‘er up.

Posted by: jwl at April 28, 2006 10:35 AM
Comment #143805

Tony

Believe me,Republicans don’t have a clue either.That’s the point.When big business is involved,all Dems are Repubs turn into two dollar whores

That said,I stand by what I said…we (you and I and every “normal” American,are part of the most wastful society in the history of mankind.

This transcends politics..it has to do with a culture,a mind set of waste.

That’s what I meant.Energy should’nt be apoliticial issue.
It’s a survival issue,I think.
Sorry for getting your nose bent out of shape.

Posted by: siciliian eagle at April 28, 2006 10:40 AM
Comment #143810

The Mighty Eagle’s solution:

1.Strict conservation by every Americian.Mandatory 15% energy reduction per household.Mandatory 15% reduction in gasoline usage.Violation:a huge fine

2.Compulsatory milage minimums on all cars sold in the USA including old ones.Violation more fines

3.A mandatory cut of 10% per year on all imported oil for 5 years

4.A nationial commitment to make this nation energy independent in 10 years.

The Eagle volunteers to be Energy Eagle and sees that it happens.

Windpower..think windpower.Water power..think water power.Grain..think grain.Hydrogen..think hydrogen.

Posted by: sicilian eagle at April 28, 2006 11:00 AM
Comment #143812

Jwl-

We are looking at Sips construction for our new house. 1/2 the energy costs will more than pay for the increase in construction costs over the life of the house.

As to this not being Europe, one of our French Ex-Pats in the office has been over about year. His car? A 1972 Coupe D’Ville Convt. Why? Because he can…..

As for us we traded our Expedition and sold our horse trailer. The Murano we replaced it with gets 7 mpg better and has already handled a 500 mile vacation for the 5 of us. The horses don’t seem to mind staying at home anyway. I’m riding my motorcycle at least 2 times to work each week (48mpg).

None of this was driven by cafe standards or forced upon me by the way. The government never entered into any of my decisions, and while I’ll happily spend the $100 that they took from me if they decide to give it back, it won’t affect any of my behaviors. Just as my French friend drives his Caddy, people will naturally use the resources at hand given the current economic conditions (supply and price). There is very little government can do to change that scenario.


Posted by: George in SC at April 28, 2006 11:03 AM
Comment #143813


Dad, I need $80 for a pair of jeans.

Why, are your friends wearing them?

Everybody is wearing them! How could I possibly show my face in school without them?

Ah, the magic of Madison avenue.

Posted by: jlw at April 28, 2006 11:05 AM
Comment #143814

“Sorry for getting your nose bent out of shape.”

It’s basically this: If we follow the politicians lead and start slinging mud with them, they win. We loose.

Posted by: tony at April 28, 2006 11:09 AM
Comment #143820

Geoge,

Congrats to you…but don’t you think the government could assist in energy conservation by requiring higher fuel standards from our auto manufacturers? Don’t you think instead of giving the oil industry billions of dollars in tax credit they could give that credit to production of fuel cell technology?

Posted by: Tom L at April 28, 2006 11:29 AM
Comment #143822

George,

I disagree. Government can do something contructive. If the average cost of a conventional HVAC system is $10,000 installed and and solar heat, hot water, and photovoltaic system costs 4 times that amount, most people will go the cheaper route without some incentive to do otherwise. The system would pay for itself in approximately 10 years given an average utility bill of $250 per month, but again, without some incentive, most folks will opt for the lower monthly payment, more square footage or a better lot. Most people don’t even stay in a home for the amount of time required to recoup the added costs.

If the government provided a substantial incentive to choose energy effieciency over granite countertops, four car garages and the like, we might be a little less dependant on foreign oil. The house in Maine is proof of what can be done with todays technology. If Washington can shift demand for oil to demand for alternative energy, oil prices will fall, we become more independant, the environment will be cleaner, we won’t have to build more refineries or nuclear power plants and it is a long term solution.

The government already provides tax incentives to oil companies and we pay farmers not to grow crops. Move the tax incentives to alternative energy users and let the farmers produce products that can be used to make bio-diesel. Its just plain common sense.

Posted by: jwl at April 28, 2006 11:48 AM
Comment #143825

Paul, great article. I couldn’t agree more.
Did you by any chance see this photo from yesterday? Photographers caught Hastert and other GOP Congressmen getting out of hydrogen fueled cars which they’d driven to a news conference on the high cost of gasoline, only to stop and get back into their own SUV’s for the trip back to the Capitol Building.

Steve K:
“Since I rarely use my car, I hope I’ll be allowed to spent my $100 on bus fare.”

Same here Steve, but in my case, my husband and I use the subway and muni trains. The rest of the time we use a little Toyota Rav4 which gets great mileage.

David
“Bush backing alternative ‘Green’ measures. I call that downright panic given the track record of the last 5 years. Of course, Bush & Family probably invested heavily in corporate farming stocks prior to their announcement, so, its not so surprising afterall, is it? Government office is the last safe bastion for insider traders.”

I thought the same exact thing and wouldn’t be a bit surprised if we learn this is actually the case. Isn’t it sad how all that they’ve done automatically makes so many of us assume the very worst motives behind everything they do?

phx8:
“Too funny. ‘Hysterical Republican Energetics,’ indeed! According to the WSJ, it seems Republican Congressman Duke Cunningham enjoyed a ‘hospitality’ suite in DC, where wild parties and hookers entertained politicians. The funniest rumor of all (not included in the WSJ article) is that CIA Director Porter Goss is implicated, and there are pictures! The FBI is running around interviewing Washington call girls.”

I was just saying the other day: “Isn’t it about time for a good sex scandal?” And here it is! Sheesh, and they didn’t even get their own hookers — they had someone else procure the whores for them. At least Bill fell for a little slutty seduction in the oval office, these guys didn’t even get to examine the wares or seem the least bit choosy. Just more proof that I’ll never understand anything about these Republican’s.

SicEagle:
“You are the problem.You use too much energy.
You are the energy pig of the world.
You don’t car pool, you drive a gas guzzler,you run a hot house all winter,you don’t shut off lights,you run the a/c,you don’t recycle,your house insn’t proberly insulated,and you shop at Wal-Mart.”

We take the subway and walk, have a single vehicle with good milage, don’t turn the heat way up, always shut off lights, don’t have an a/c but are about to put in a heat pump system at our house for heating and cooling, always recycle (and did so years before we had convienient roadside pick up for that purpose), and never, ever shop at Walmart.

“You see no wrong paying 2 bucks a liter for sparkling water at the gourmet shop,”

I buy mine in bulk at Costco, so it doesn’t cost anywhere near that much per liter. Does this mean I get to pluck an eagle feather for my Liberal cap?

tony:
“Why do you get snide and beligerent simply because we voice opinions? Are opinions considered so vile on your side of the fence”?

Obviously yes — unless of course they’re the “right” and “agreed upon” opinions and talking points.

Lynne:
“There isn’t any U.S. company who would like to manufacture defence parts???? Please!”

Yeah, it’s a real logical idea isn’t it? Let’s give a country that is a weigh station for terrorists get huge expensive contracts to make our defense parts.

Posted by: Adrienne at April 28, 2006 11:59 AM
Comment #143826
jwl wrote: As long as the politicians and the partisans keep us bickering with each other, the longer they can do nothing while lining their pockets with campaign contributions from special interests. That includes democrats and republicans and industries other than the oil companies. Many products other than gasoline come from oil.
You hit the nail on the head. Politicians are masters at fueling the bickering.


jwl wrote:
Dad, I need $80 for a pair of jeans.
Why, are your friends wearing them?
Everybody is wearing them! How could I possibly show my face in school without them?
Ah, the magic of Madison avenue.

I hate that commercial. What a spoiled brat, and the father on that commercial is a total moron. $80 bucks for a pair of jeans? I’d tell her to get a job if it’s that important.

Posted by: d.a.n at April 28, 2006 12:01 PM
Comment #143827

Tom-

Not really. Go look at the Fords, Opals, and Vauxhalls (GM) over in Europe. We could have those cars here now if the market demanded them with their efficient TDI’s getting over 40mpg. Instead our market drove the big three right around the CAFE standards and into SUV’s.

As for tax credits for fuel cell research, a better stimulus for fuel cells would be to artificially inflate the price of gas as Jack suggests. But remember that gas over in Europe is around $8/gal (last time I converted an expense report) and they are not implementing fuel cell technology. They don’t even drive many hybrids. To me that means the economic price point for fuel cell technology is higher than the European economies and much higher than anyone could politically justify an artificial increase in gas prices; probably around $10/gal or so in today’s dollars.

But hey, drive on over to Johnstown and see what Murtha is cooking in his Fuel Cell Test and Evaluation Center (FCTec). The DOD is a good customer for technology because they typically don’t care what it costs…..

Posted by: George in SC at April 28, 2006 12:02 PM
Comment #143829

Adrienne,

Great post. Completely void of anything contructive.

Posted by: jwl at April 28, 2006 12:08 PM
Comment #143831

jwl-

Why do people put granite countertops in houses? Because they can. No government incentive is going to dramatically change that dynamic. Only government coercion will work. Are you willing to support that politically (I know some in the column are)?

Posted by: George in SC at April 28, 2006 12:13 PM
Comment #143832

jwl:
“Adrienne,

Great post. Completely void of anything contructive.”

Hey, I think Paul’s article said it all. And I was just replying to all the other non-constructive posts, so why snark on me in particular?

Posted by: Adrienne at April 28, 2006 12:18 PM
Comment #143837

d.a.n.

You said, “Social Security is $12.8 trillion in the hole”.

I’m curious where you get that number?

AARP says, “the fact is, the Social Security trust funds aren’t just sound, they’re building a surplus. Today, that surplus is more than $1.4 trillion and growing. That’s a lot of money. But it’s necessary as we prepare for the boomers.”

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at April 28, 2006 12:42 PM
Comment #143841

George,

The point is this. Without incentives, most people will choose granite counter tops over solar panals. Then when their ARM adjusts making their payment increase, and their utility bills start to go through the roof because of oil prices, they start to bitch.

If the government gave you an incentive to spend the money on solar panals rather than granite countertops, the increase in energy costs wouldn’t effect you as much. You might even be able to make money by selling excess back to the utility company.

I don’t think this can be classified as government coercion. Here is an example of how this could be done.

Standard house costs: $200,000
Solar home costs: $230,000

Monthly payment at 7% ($200,000) = $1330
Monthly payment at 5.70% ($230,000) $1334

If gov’t buys down the interest rate by 1.3 percentage point the cost to the homeowner are the same and the whole country benefits by being less dependant on foriegn oil. The gov’t already subsidises interest rates with FHA and VA loans so the impact would be minimal. Especially if you removed tax incentives from the oil companies.

Posted by: jwl at April 28, 2006 12:47 PM
Comment #143844

Sorry Adrienne,

There is just so much non-productive bickering.

I would just like to focus the debate on a solution.

It seems to me that both the Dems and the Reps are more concerned about winning the argument (and political brownie points) rather than solving the problem. This is the MO of politics in this country. Divide and conquer. As long as we allow the politicians to make their own survival the most important issue, then we can not expect any real progress on the issues that effect the citizens.

There are a lot of intelligent people on this site who could use their energies to propose solutions rather that spout the party line.

Posted by: jwl at April 28, 2006 1:16 PM
Comment #143846

Jwl-

Oh I agree there is a big difference between incentives and coercion. In your case you are subsidizing solar powered houses with low rate financing, and stand corrected if providing incentives or subsidies is all you are advocating. But that’s why I used the word “dramatically” when talking about incentives making a change in the market place. Given the existing housing inventory it would take many years of new, incentivized construction to dramatically impact the housing market using your idea.

I do like Sips construction however. It’s only about 5% more than stick built but I think the efficiency will be a selling point in about 10 years. Maybe you could lobby and get me some of your cheap financing?????

Posted by: George in Sc at April 28, 2006 1:29 PM
Comment #143851

SicilianEagle:

For a change, we agree. Conservation is the single most important thing each of us can do to improve our energy independence.

Posted by: Paul Siegel at April 28, 2006 1:49 PM
Comment #143857

The use of alternative energy is nothing new in rural areas. My son heats his home entirely with a corn pellet furnace. His winter heating bill was less than $400 for a 4 bdrm home. He heats his shop entirely with used motor oil.

I don’t get the strong opposition to wind turbines. “Republican Senators Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and John Warner of Virginia fired a shot across the industry’s bow. They introduced the Environmentally Responsible Wind Power Act of 2005 (S.1034) that could seriously damage the growth of wind power in the United States. Sen. Warner was already on record in opposition to the nation’s first proposed offshore wind farm off Cape Cod, but the bill’s impact goes far beyond that project. Among other restrictions, it would prohibit use of the federal Production Tax Credit in a host of situations, effectively killing any wind project sited within 20 miles of a military base, designated world heritage site, or coastline, and give states veto power over any neighboring state’s wind farm within 20 miles of a state border.”
from: http://www.cleanedge.com/views.php?id=3598

“… an odd alliance of environmentalists, oil and gas interests and ranchers has emerged to legally thwart a wind farm planned for the Flint Hills of Kansas, one of the last pristine tallgrass prairies in the U.S.”
from: http://www.time.com/time/globalbusiness/printout/0,8816,1115667,00.html

I don’t get it. Certainly I don’t think there’s a one size fits all solution to the problem but it seems like we’re just stuck in low gear and making little to no progress.

Texex brought up Brazil. I’ve wondered for a long time, if Brazil can achieve energy independence, why can’t we? Oh yeah, that would amount to less $$$$$ for big oil. What was I thinking?

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at April 28, 2006 1:58 PM
Comment #143860

jwl:
“There are a lot of intelligent people on this site who could use their energies to propose solutions rather that spout the party line.”

There are, and they have time and again. So have I on many occasions, yet I think perhaps I suffer from a “bitter-old timer attitude” on this blog, and therefore am often reduced simply to showcasing my sarcasm, rather than take the trouble to engage in another serious discussion that will never affect any attitudes or legislation in govt. To show you what I mean, you might read this short, depressing article:
Bush sees no evidence of gasoline “rip-off”
Really, what should we expect from a president whose family is from an old oil dynasty? It’s after reading so many things like this over Bush’s tenure that I’ve become so cynical and partisan.

IMO Democrats, MANY Democrats, do have better ideas about how we should begin to solve our energy situation (and thereby begin to address global warming, also). So do several moderate Republican’s. But none of those folks are in control at the moment — hence my cynical attitude that we can all discuss this until we’re blue in the face, yet nothing is going to change until there is a changing of the guard.

Posted by: Adrienne at April 28, 2006 2:01 PM
Comment #143861

Hey KansasDem-

I’ve looked at the corn pellet furnaces myself. I can get the corn fairly cheap around here and it seems like a good supplemental source of heat.


My father-in-law uses a modern wood box for heat and hot water probably because he can get our boy to split the wood just by feeding him…..

Posted by: George in SC at April 28, 2006 2:09 PM
Comment #143869

Adrienne,

To be honest I haven’t heard any politician propose any real solution to our energy problem.

I agree that Bush and his family are so entrenched in the oil business that his perspectives and solutions are most likely skewed.

Frist is just dangling the $100 bait in an effort to make us think he cares. How much you want to bet the checks won’t get to us until just before the elections?

Schumer is so busy blowing smoke about the nail in the GOP coffin that you would think he just left the gun range. Where was he about this issue last year? He is not proposing anything. All he offers is criticism.

Kennedy supposedly wants alternative energy as long as its not off the Cape Cod coast.

Its real easy to blame oil companies in light of records profits. But you have to look at all the reasons they are so profitable. They’re not many oil companies left. Most have merged. Exxon/Mobil. BP/Amoco. The Feds had to approve these mergers. Where were all the senators and congressmen, who now are so concerned about our pain at the pump, when our government was allowing these mergers? Less competition equals higher prices. Most were probably having fund raising dinners with lobbyists from Texas.

All we have now is a dog and pony show from washington. Partisan rhetoric and photo ops. Who cares if the speaker of the house shows up in
a gas guzzling SUV. I expect him to. He, along with all the senators and congressmen are running the most powerful country in the world with the president. Do any of you expect them to ride bicycles to work? Can you see Ted Kennedy on a moped? C’mon.

we don’t need a changing of the guard. We need to clean house. We need to fix campaign laws to take bribery out of legislation. We need some regular people holding office rather than rich lawyers. We need to teach our children the constitution and why it was written the way it was.

Posted by: jwl at April 28, 2006 2:42 PM
Comment #143887

jwl:
“we don’t need a changing of the guard.”

Oh yes, we do. Bush and Cheney have been an unmitigated disaster regarding energy and the environment.

“We need to clean house. We need to fix campaign laws to take bribery out of legislation. We need some regular people holding office rather than rich lawyers. We need to teach our children the constitution and why it was written the way it was.”

I agree. However I feel it’s too simplistic to toss out everyone without first looking at the way they’ve been voting — there are a few good politicians out there who want to protect the environment and who would like to see our government search for better and cleaner energy alternatives. If you really want to know who’s who in this regard, you can check out how politicians score with: The League of Conservation Voters

Posted by: Adrienne at April 28, 2006 3:21 PM
Comment #143918
KansasDem wrote: d.a.n. You said, “Social Security is $12.8 trillion in the hole”. I’m curious where you get that number? AARP says, “the fact is, the Social Security trust funds aren’t just sound, they’re building a surplus. Today, that surplus is more than $1.4 trillion and growing. That’s a lot of money. But it’s necessary as we prepare for the boomers.” , KansasDem

Kanasdem,
There is overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

From the CATO Institute/FAQ # 2:
… Under the current Social Security pay-as-you-go system all of the money going into Social Security is being spent on retirees’ benefits and other government programs. How then can we put some Social Security money in private accounts and keep paying retirees’ benefits? The short answer is that Social Security is already $12.8 trillion in debt.
_________
From the CATO Institute:
Two independent panels of experts examined the trustees’ projections of how our workforce and economy will grow. The panels found the trustees’ estimates to be reasonable or maybe even a little optimistic regarding the future of the Social Security system’s financing. In other words, instead of a “phony crisis,” we might actually have something even worse than expected.
Social Security is safe today but will run deficits in just 12 years. That’s not a very long time to fix the world’s biggest government program. Moreover, the longer we wait, the worse the problem will become. For every year that we wait, Social Security reform will cost an additional $600 billion.
_________
From SFGate.com: Calling the proposal a way to stop the raid on Social Security, Rep. Jim McCrery, R-La., said the accounts would wall off the estimated $87 billion cash surplus in the giant retirement system and prevent it from being spent on other government operations, as it largely has been since Social Security payroll taxes were last raised in 1983.
_________
From The Heritage Foundation: June 24, 2005:
For 22 years, Congress has used surplus tax revenues going into Social Security to hide the real level of federal spending. Instead of saving this money to pay future benefits—as was intended—Congress used it to disguise the extent of annual budget deficits. (Source: The Heritage Foundation)
_________
From the Citizens Coalition for Social Security Restitution / restoresocialsecurity.org:

  • $1.5 trillion, earmarked for future Social Security benefits has been illegally accounted into the Federal Budget, used to fund budget shortfalls brought on by tax cuts and spent without Americans knowledge or permission. The trust fund is EMPTY!

  • Senator Hollings called this:
    “ransacking” of the trust fund, “Conspiracy” and “embezzlement” and “thievery”

  • Former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill stated to the Coalition for Financial Security on June 19, 2001 at the World trade Center:
    “….no viable assets in the Social security trust Fund”

  • Former President Clinton has said:
    “Trust Fund balances are available to finance future benefits… but only in a bookkeeping sense…they do not consist of real economic assets that can be drawn down in the future to fund benefits. Instead THEY (benefits) ARE CLAIMS ON THE TREASURY THAT, WHEN REDEEMED, WILL HAVE TO BE FINANCED BY RAISING TAXES OR BORROWING”

  • Former Director of the Congressional Budget Office June O’Neill has stated the trust fund:
    “holds no assets. Consequently, it does not generate funds to pay future benefits. These so-called trust fund assets simply reflect the accumulated sum of benefits TRANSFERRED FROM SOCIAL SECURITY over the years TO FINANCE OTHER GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS”
_________
KansasDem,
There is really NO surplus at all, since the Social Security system is $12.8 trillion in the hole. The annual surpluses always get spent, just like the so-called annual surplus of $87 billion (23-Jun-2005) got spent too. It always does. Depending on when you are retiring and hoping to draw Social Security, if it is long after 2013 , you’d better not count on it being there. Not all of it. Benefits will be slashed significantly. There is no other outcome as optimisitc as that.

Hence, Social Security is a PAY AS YOU GO system, and it is $12.8 trillion in the hole. When the government talks about National Debt, it conveniently excludes this debt of $12.8 trillion. It also excludes the $450 billion that the PBGC is in the hole. And, then there are current and forecast shortfalls in Medicare too. With all of this debt, how the heck can the government ever pay back the funds plundered from Social Security. Read up about Social Security. In the beginning, it was supposed to be a lock box. But crooked politicians didn’t like not bein’ able to get their greedy hands onto that money. So, they passed a law to borrow from it. But, it is in fact just a way to plunder it. There should be $12.8 trillion in the Social Security system, which would be enough to fund the coming 77 million baby boomers. But there isn’t. So, you see … we’re screwed. And so are future generations that are going to get stuck trying to fund all of these entitlement systems. The system will resolve itself the hard way … probably starting about 2013 . We have an economic disaster in the making, and ignoring it will only help make things worse later.

I realize there are a couple of articles out there talking about hundreds of billion in Social Security surpluses, but it’s a myth, because the Social Security funds are not separate and protected.

I’m a little suspicious of AARP’s claims, since there is overwhelming evidence to the contrary. What would motivate them to talk of $1.4 trillion in surpluses, unless they are including I.O.U.s ? But, even then, all of the I.O.U.s add up to $12.8 trillion ?

The fact is the federal government has been spending the annual surpluses every year since Social Security began in the 1940s. It has been plundered ever since and is still being plundered. There is just no other way to put it. Do some internet searches (e.g. Social AND Security AND surplus). You’re likely going to be upset by what you find.

This reminds me of the talk about surpluses in 1999. There was a momentary minor annual surplus in 1999, but it was quickly spent.
Lots of people that didn’t know about the National Debt of $5.6 trillion at the time, actually thought the U.S. government had no debt. It was laughable, and sad that so many didn’t realize the truth. There have been no real surpluses, nor has the National Debt actually shrunk since 1960.

Likewise with Social Security.
It is not a lock box.
It is currently $12.8 trillion in the hole, and government is still plundering the annual surpluses, just like last year’s (2005) $87 billion annual surplus was plundered.
The Social Security system is full of worthless I.O.U.s .

Posted by: d.a.n at April 28, 2006 4:22 PM
Comment #143945

d.a.n.

I don’t doubt for one minute that you are right about the “plundering” of the trust fund. To me that’s no different than me writing a check on my son’s corporate farming account for a personal expenditure. It’s theft, pure and simple.

But, I’d also like you to read EPI’s take on things:

“Social Security trust fund assets, currently worth over $1.5 trillion, are invested in special, non-tradable government bonds. Each year the U.S. Treasury issues these government bonds, up to the amount of the Social Security trust fund surplus, to be added to the account. The bonds earn an interest rate comparable to the market interest rate for tradable government bonds.”

http://www.epinet.org/content.cfm/issueguide_socialsecurityfacts

I’m not smart enough to know who’s right or who’s wrong on this issue. There are many conflicting views.

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at April 28, 2006 5:33 PM
Comment #143960

KansasDem,

EPI cleverly worded that.
Here’s the deception:
There is not $1.5 trillion in cash in the fund.
The Trust funds (by their own admission below) is government bonds.
The cash was used for something else.
The trust fund is full of I.O.U. (not cash money).
It is a ponzi scheme.
EPI cleverly said it is worth over $1.5 trillion. Maybe some day, if tax payers an ever come up with $1.5 trillion in cash to make good on those government bonds.

EPINET.ORG wrote: Social Security trust fund assets, currently worth over $1.5 trillion, are invested in special, non-tradable government bonds. Each year the U.S. Treasury issues these government bonds, up to the amount of the Social Security trust fund surplus, to be added to the account. The bonds earn an interest rate comparable to the market interest rate for tradable government bonds.”

There are two Social Security Trust Funds:
(1) the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) Trust Fund, and
(2) and the Disability Insurance (DI) Trust Funds.

EPINET.ORG did not lie, but they glossed right over the part about who is going to make good on those government bonds. Where’s the cash going to come from to cash in those bonds?

Hence, Social Security is PAY AS YOU GO, since government borrowed the Social Security surpluses for the last 68 years, and replaced the cash with worthless U.S. bonds that the tax payers will have to make good on.

Posted by: d.a.n at April 28, 2006 6:30 PM
Comment #143961

Also, that $1.5 trillion in bonds is still $11.3 trillion short of what the government has siphoned from Social Security for the last 68 years.

Posted by: d.a.n at April 28, 2006 6:34 PM
Comment #143966

I see a lot of unhappy folks aut there bitchen. If we don’t like what’s going on in Washington, change it. The time is coming (November) when we can clean house and put in a brand new batch of thieves and liers. Since the common man (you and me) can’t get the $$$ to run for office, we have little choice short of revolution. Which by the way is looking better and better every day.

Posted by: fuzzwart at April 28, 2006 6:36 PM
Comment #144066

I hate to say it, but it’s pretty obvious high gas prices are good for the future of america (and the planet). This will finally force car makers to really invest in fuel-efficient vehicles, and consumers to consider buying them.

It might even convince politicians to finally pay attention to those wacky environmentalists and all their “liberal” nonsense about so-called “renewable energy.”

The absolute worst thing we could do is to build more oil refineries and plants on US soil, which is what the republicans want us to do. When oil is running out, we need to get off of it, not stay dependent on it. The sad part is that they are now trying to spin the blame on environmentalists and liberals, they say since they’ve opposed this domestic oil drilling, the gas prices are their fault. Of course, if they just listened to them and decided to put the US on renewable energy, we wouldn’t have this problem in the first place.

Posted by: mark at April 29, 2006 2:00 AM
Comment #144067

Of course, isn’t gasoline like $5 in many places in Europe? Now lots of idiots in America and on Fox news act like gasoline close to $3.00 is the end of the world.

Posted by: mark at April 29, 2006 2:01 AM
Comment #144121

d.a.n.

Makes me wonder how much the Series E Bonds in my safety deposit box are really worth.

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at April 29, 2006 11:07 AM
Comment #144134
mark wrote: Of course, isn’t gasoline like $5 in many places in Europe? Now lots of idiots in America and on Fox news act like gasoline close to $3.00 is the end of the world.
Mark, you’re right. It’s painful. Gasoline prices have not really changed much over the years compared to many things:

However, it’s a death of a thousand cuts.
Our energy vulnerabilities are part of the equation, as our pressing problems grow in number and severity, and are perpetually ignored by irresponsible incumbent politicians that won’t every tackle tough issues for fear of risking re-election.

KansasDem wrote: d.a.n. Makes me wonder how much the Series E Bonds in my safety deposit box are really worth.

I think you’ll be OK for the next 5 to 10 years, but you might want to start now trying to diversify (if you haven’t already). If the U.S. stays on the current path, it will guarantee an economic meltdown. Cuts in spending, Social Security, Medicare, and welfare benefits are inevitable. Inflation is inevitable, since the Fed will be forced to print money rather than default on interest due daily. They are already printing too much money. The entire money system is a ponzi scheme too, like the Social Security system.

KansasDem,
Series E Bonds don’t earn much (currently about 3.2%). They are subject to federal tax, but not state or local income tax.
CDs can earn more (currently, up to from 4.84% to 5.21%).
Money market rates also from 3.2% to 4%.
Many stocks can out perform both.
Remember 1999.
Many people sat on their stocks, as they continued to plummet for 2 to 3 years.
They didn’t think that could happen.
Don’t do that.
When thinks start looking dicey, be ready to move into other instruments. You can always come back later when thing improve.
Also, if you can own you home free and clear, you will not risk foreclosure and loss of your home. Even during recessions, there are rampant foreclosures. Currently, in the U.S., nationwide foreclosurs have been rising for that last 14 consecutive months, and median wages have been falling for 6 consecutive years. There are many saying everything is “good”, but it may only be a temporary lull before the storm. No one knows for sure, but it looks like things will continue along as is until 77 million baby boomer (who mostly vote) start trying to draw the Social Security and Medicare benefits from those already troubled systems that are deep in the red already.
Also, since there is no real lock boxes, or real separate accounting, it is impossible to view these systems and debts separately. Social Security (over $12.8 trillion in the hole), Medicare, PBGC ($450 billion in the hole), printing too much money, and the $8.4 trillion National Debt all affect each other. It is a death of a thousand cuts. It is decades of moral and fiscal bankruptcy. There will eventually be consequences for the average Americans.

Posted by: d.a.n at April 29, 2006 12:26 PM
Comment #144241

Jack opined, rosily:

We need more nuclear energy…

Yes, that’s worked out so well for Chernobyl, Pennsylvania, California, Japan, and Nevada.

Good Plan, Jack - what’s next: Hydrogen Zeppelins? Hand-Painted Radium Watch Dials? An Unregulated Meat-Packing Industry? “Trickle Down” Economics?

Good one. Keep that pointy Thimking Cap on!

Posted by: Betty Burke at April 29, 2006 10:03 PM
Comment #144251

d.a.n. & kansas,

The federal government borrows from many sources and pays interest on that borrowed money. The only borrowed money we don’t pay interest on is the Social Security ‘loans’. To make SS solvent, all we need to do is start paying interest on the money we’ve been using out of the trust fund.

Posted by: Marysdude at April 29, 2006 11:01 PM
Comment #144253

>>Good Plan, Jack - what’s next: Hydrogen Zeppelins? Hand-Painted Radium Watch Dials? An Unregulated Meat-Packing Industry? “Trickle Down” Economics?
Good one. Keep that pointy Thimking Cap on!

Posted by: Betty Burke at April 29, 2006 10:03 PM

Cheney/Bush mentioned Nukewler Power as the next best thing to Jello, and Jack, good parrott that he is, has been selling it ever since…

Posted by: Marysdude at April 29, 2006 11:05 PM
Comment #144309
Marysdude wrote: To make SS solvent, all we need to do is start paying interest on the money we’ve been using out of the trust fund.

Well, that would be great, but very unlikely based on decades of track record.

Heck, Social Security would be much better off if they quit borrowing (i.e. stealing) the surpluses from it. There’s supposed to be $12.8 trillion in it (Soruce: CATO Institute). Instead, it contains U.S. bonds supposedly worth $1.5 trillion (Source: epinet.org) ?

What a ponzi scheme !

If only most Americans really understood what is going on.

Posted by: d.a.n at April 30, 2006 12:32 PM
Comment #144319

>>What a ponzi scheme !
If only most Americans really understood what is going on.

Posted by: d.a.n at April 30, 2006 12:32 PM

Don’t worry, d.a.n., when the debt comes due, Congress will just print some more money. Isn’t that why we should not be concerned about our national debt? Congess can run the printing presses…

Posted by: Marysdude at April 30, 2006 1:48 PM
Comment #144347

Marysdude,
That is exactly what will happen.
To default on the debt would be disastrous.
They will have no choice but to print more money.
That will create inflation.
In fact, I would not be surprised if we see double digit inflation.
The last straw will probably be when 77 million baby boomers (conscientious voters, retiring, earning less, spending less, and paying less tax) expect to draw their benefits from already- troubled, under-funded Social Security and Medicare.
They’re going to be upset when those benefits are cut significantly, because there will be a much smaller ratio of workers to benefit recipients.

Posted by: d.a.n at April 30, 2006 4:00 PM
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