Off Topic Messages

Thu Apr 27, 2006 7:23 am

Cryogenic wrote:Just be thankful when there are people worse off than you.

I'm never thankful because there are people "worse off" than me. I know that gas prices are high everywhere. I know that some people are having trouble just keeping enough gas in their tank to get to work. I feel for them and am in no way thankful that they are in worse shape than anyone.

And I'm one American who does not do too much ranting.

Thu Apr 27, 2006 7:29 am

Rob wrote:
Cryogenic wrote:Just be thankful when there are people worse off than you.

I'm never thankful because there are people "worse off" than me. I know that gas prices are high everywhere. I know that some people are having trouble just keeping enough gas in their tank to get to work. I feel for them and am in no way thankful that they are in worse shape than anyone.


I said: "Just be thankful when there are people worse off than you". When -- not "that". Big difference.

Rob wrote:And I'm one American who does not do too much ranting.


I'm gonna start ranting about your lack of ranting in a moment. :wink:

Re: Fill 'er up?

Thu Apr 27, 2006 10:22 am

Rob wrote:
TJ wrote:
Rob wrote:I paid $2.88 per gallon today compared to $2.68 a week ago. As much as hated it, I know that some of you are paying even more. Luckily, I only live 20 minutes from work and usually can get by on one stop at the gas station a week.
How much are you paying for gas where you are?

For a Brit, those figures are just depressing

It was down to $2.83 tonight. Hang in there.


:lol: OK, I'll do my best :wink:

Sat Apr 29, 2006 7:18 am

It gives Ol' Scatter a chuckle to see my British friends on this thread who are outraged at exhorbitant taxes......... while on any nunber of other threads they seem to experience spontaneous orgasms while discussing their "free" health care and all other multitudinous "free" social services.

I guess it isn't so "free" after all ,eh?? :lol:

If you're going to so vocally support the nanny-state, you should embrace with equal ardor the taxes (petrol and otherwise) which are taken to provide that largess.

Otherwise, it's sheer hypocrisy.


Discuss.............

Sat Apr 29, 2006 9:03 am

Scatter wrote:It gives Ol' Scatter a chuckle to see my British friends on this thread who are outraged at exhorbitant taxes......... while on any nunber of other threads they seem to experience spontaneous orgasms while discussing their "free" health care and all other multitudinous "free" social services.

I guess it isn't so "free" after all ,eh?? :lol:

If you're going to so vocally support the nanny-state, you should embrace with equal ardor the taxes (petrol and otherwise) which are taken to provide that largess.

Otherwise, it's sheer hypocrisy.


Discuss.............


No it isn't. What do the National Health Service or other social benefits have to do with bloody tax on petrol? The two are entirely unrelated areas of the public purse. Some of us don't consider free health care to be an example of the 'nanny state' in action. The notion of a 'nanny state' is one that unreasonably intervenes in areas of our lives that the Government has no business being involved in. If I get hit by a car or have a heart attack, should I be outraged at the hospital staff for daring to take care of me with no charge?

In fact, while there is almost universal support in Britain for the National Health Service and a strong safety net for the less fortunate, there is widespread disdain for the concept of 'nanny state'. Besides, I've yet to meet anyone who spends their time in a state of intense joy over national health care. It's just an accepted and welcome part of our lives.

I fail to see how if someone supports taxation to pay for certain services, they are a hypocrite for not supporting all forms of taxation, however excessive. That's not unlike me saying that if you support no Government intervention in one area, you are a hypocrite for expecting assistance in another. It's a very flimsy argument and I suspect you know that.

Sat Apr 29, 2006 9:39 am

TJ wrote:
Scatter wrote:It gives Ol' Scatter a chuckle to see my British friends on this thread who are outraged at exhorbitant taxes......... while on any nunber of other threads they seem to experience spontaneous orgasms while discussing their "free" health care and all other multitudinous "free" social services.

I guess it isn't so "free" after all ,eh?? :lol:

If you're going to so vocally support the nanny-state, you should embrace with equal ardor the taxes (petrol and otherwise) which are taken to provide that largess.

Otherwise, it's sheer hypocrisy.


Discuss.............


No it isn't. What do the National Health Service or other social benefits have to do with bloody tax on petrol? The two are entirely unrelated areas of the public purse. Some of us don't consider free health care to be an example of the 'nanny state' in action. The notion of a 'nanny state' is one that unreasonably intervenes in areas of our lives that the Government has no business being involved in. If I get hit by a car or have a heart attack, should I be outraged at the hospital staff for daring to take care of me with no charge?

In fact, while there is almost universal support in Britain for the National Health Service and a strong safety net for the less fortunate, there is widespread disdain for the concept of 'nanny state'. Besides, I've yet to meet anyone who spends their time in a state of intense joy over national health care. It's just an accepted and welcome part of our lives.

I fail to see how if someone supports taxation to pay for certain services, they are a hypocrite for not supporting all forms of taxation, however excessive. That's not unlike me saying that if you support no Government intervention in one area, you are a hypocrite for expecting assistance in another. It's a very flimsy argument and I suspect you know that.




TJ.......are you seriously trying to convince us that of all the exhorbitant taxes collected from petrol , none are used to fund the healthcare system?? And besides that , I have heard repeated whining about British taxes on this MB that never mentioned petrol at all. Where do those tax pounds go??


That is as myopic and naive as the Americans who think that Social Securty taxes are used just to fund Social Security.

The fact is, taxes are not in reality segmented and compartmentalized that way, and I expect (and hope ) you know that.

Besides, your point is ill-taken since I never singled out Petrol taxes alone as the source for healthcare. If you'll look back,I clearly said all taxes "petrol and OTHERWISE".

Brit taxes are high on EVERYTHING because a governmnet that promises to provide nearly everything for you, must by necessity take most everything from you to fund itself.

The point is.........if you want to be consistent, you can't love the generous social services you enjoy while griping about the collection of taxes used to fund the system.

If you love the services, you should have equal ardor for the confiscatory rates necessary to fund them.Because, ultimately, without those sky-high tax rates, those services do not exist.

Tax day should be like Christmas morning for you.......... :wink:

Sat Apr 29, 2006 9:59 pm

Image

I've believed for years that the United States would have a more intelligent energy policy if gas were pegged around $3 a gallon.

I've never believed a gallon of hydrocarbons pumped from halfway around the world should cost less -- sometimes less than half -- what a gallon of milk costs from a dairy in your state.

As the chart shows, we've been getting a bargain on gas for a long time. Because this chart is based on annual averages that smooth out temporary spikes, it's not even a sure thing that we'e going to match the highs of the early 1980s this year.

I think the world needs to be more thoughtful about the money it's spending to prop up regimes, whether it's Iran or Saudi Arabia.

Ultimately, I'd love to break the economies of those shameful nations by ending the world's slavery to their oil.

Whether it's widespread use of hybrids or something more dramatic, it's probably not going to happen unless we understand the true cost of oil (and that includes an extremely expensive foreign policy).

Paying more at the pump will help us do that. The cars and technology are on the road today that will help the United States dramatically reduce its use of oil.

Recently, SUVs, minivans and pikup trucks have made up half the auto sales in the United States. When SUVs' city mileage trudges along in the 12-mpg range while any decent traditional sedan can coast to 26-mpg (not to speak of hybrids), it's pretty easy to see how we've gotten ourselves into this mess.

I'm not talking about putting everybody in a pedal cart, but is it too much to expect people not to commute in a Sherman tank?

Sun Apr 30, 2006 2:16 am

Steve_M wrote:
Scatter, I dont know what propoganda there is that you've bought into but you obviously have IF you believe that those things you mention in the Uk are free. They are not and never have been. I'm also confident that they never will be

Steve.........I was just employing a little irony. I certainly know that the healthcare isn't free. The tax complaints by some could lead one to believe otherwise of some of my British friends (and I don't mean that facetiously.........).


Quite simply, the proper and logically consistent formula should be as follows;

I love universal healthcare.

Confiscatory tax rates are the only means of funding the universal healthcare which I love.

Ergo, I love confiscatory tax rates, for they enable me to partake in universal healthcare.

Oddly enough, that is not the tact most employ here (ColinB aside). I hear quite a bit of whining about the tax rates that finance the universal healthcare and all other omni-tentacled social programs that are so lauded.

To love the programs is perfectly fine with me.........To each their own. Both sides of the issue have legitimate points.

But it's inconsistent to then complain about the only means available to fund such programs.



You pay seperate insurance for your healthcare i believe, in the UK we also pay it's approx 10% of our wages plus out employer also has to pay company national insurance for every employee as well. All this goes to the government that then invests it into the national health service.

Does your US healthcare insurance cost you 20% of your wages ?

Okay, so the whole of that 20% doesn't go on healthcare, but a large chunk does. There is a percentage breakdown available that does state exactly what the current share of all this is and which sectors it is distributed to, but i think that is only on the individual employees national insurance contributions, not the equivelant paid by the employer of which many in the UK are not even aware an employer is duty bound to pay. Most think it is just the employees contributions the employer pays, not that the employer has to pay that amount again on top.

Actually........to believe that the employer actually pays anything into the system on your behalf is naive.

Let me give you an example of how it actually works.

I need an employee to fill such and such a position for me.

I figure in advance how much I am able to pay in toto for such an employee..........say $40,000 per annum.

From that figure, I then deduct the taxes that I am duty-bound to pay my employee. After subtracting the taxes I already know I must pay, I arrive at the monetary figure which I am able to pay said employee.

In other words, I can afford to pay $40,000.........that is the ceiling I can afford and still remain economically viable.

Therefore, from that amount I deduct all the expenses associated with employing this person.........taxes, Social Security, Workman's Comp., etc.

So finally I arrive at the figure of, say, $36,000. THAT is the employees salary.

The employer doesn't pay those taxes........the employee does. It comes out of what he WOULD have received ($40,000) had I not had to pay into that system.

Any other means of calculating the employee's compensation (not deducting the taxes and such from the total amount I can afford to pay him/her) leaves the employer immediately bleeding red ink and risks the viability of the business and the continued employment of everyone there.

The employer contributes nothing. The appearance that the employer actually pays is simply a shell game.

The employee totes the entire load.



As for dental care, well that doesn't exist as such anymore on the NHS with many people having to pay the majority of their odontolgy fees and only a small part being paid by the state from national insurance funds. Same with opticians as well. But there is not cut in NI because of this, it's all more and more on top.

If we need a packet of pills from the doctor dont think we get it for free, whatever it is we have to pay for it with a fixed rate of about $11 every time for each thing. Again this is all on top with no recompense from the state fund we've all paid into.

We have a similar system here for seniors through Social Security.

Oddly enough, after 50 or so years of employment contributions into State-run retirement, the return on that investment is roughly 2 percent.

With even a VERY conservative investment strategy, that same money in the hands of the employee would return something in the range of 6-8% easily.


Tue May 02, 2006 11:05 pm

An interesting article: http://www.timesomline.co.uk/article/0, ... 509,00html

Wed May 03, 2006 1:29 am

Elvis sessions your point is a good one. We definitely do need to find alternative sources of energy.

However, for the US economy to work at this time oil prices need to be low because virtually everything in the economy is dependent on oil. It's unfair to compare the US and Britain because the US is geographically a much larger country and to transport good internally much more oil needs to be expended. And for the average worker it's a big deal as well. If gas gets too high it kills any commute to work. This isn't so bad in largely urban areas but in rural areas you usually have to commute to your job. And many times everyone is so spread out that you can't really carpool. If you're making $400 a week a $50 bill for gas is pretty devastating. Then in the winter throw in another $500 a month or every six weeks to fill your tank if you heat with oil.

The prices for gas in Europe are generally designed to keep people from using vehicles because of the environmental impact, not really to support healthcare. Such a system in the US is not really possible at this time. It's kind of a vicious cycle because we keep using the oil but an all at once oil decrease could lead to a collapse of the US economy.

Cryogenic- Your argument is not a good one. Just because someone else has a particular situation worse doesn't lose the right to complain because better does not always equal good.

Wed May 03, 2006 7:44 am

I'm just commenting on the intent of the tax and the position that the US is in. We do indeed share the same sky. But for the US it's a Catch 22 and I imagine it is the same way in China. The problem is that we've grown in the US so dependent on oil that a radical sudden withdrawal isn't possible. We should look for more renewable and environmentally forms of energy. But at the moment we don't have those so we have to use gas and high gas prices are devastating for the US. I'm not saying that we shouldn't make long term adjustments but it is also important to take care of the short-term issues as well.

Wed May 03, 2006 8:50 am

I've always been a bit befuddled over the U.S. Govts' refusal to throw all its considerable resources into the alternative fuel arena.

I mean, we dabble........we toy.......we play economic and political footsie with the premise of discovering and develping practical alternatives to our oil dependency, but we have never committed to the task with anything close to the urgency the task demands.

As for the present situation, as bike says, there is no chance for a dramatic change of direction. We need to develop our domestic sources of oil to alleviate and extricate ourselves as much as possible from the tenuous foreign market. Environmental concerns are are addressed much better today technologically. Much of the hand-wringing is simply political posturing.

I'm a free market supporter, but the energy issue is a NATIONAL SECURITY issue, and should be treated as such.........even so far as to nationalize the oil industry as well as the alternative fuel research programs.

I hate to dredge up this old, hackneyed adage, but, "If we can send a man to the moon........."

Seriously, if the level of funding and intensive research was expended in the arena of alternative fuel that was expended on the moon landing, we may well have made significant strides by now.

The difference is, we had in Kennedy a man with the drive,vision, and iron will to see that this mission was firmly set in motion. We lack that leadership today.

Wed May 03, 2006 10:27 am

Well for one wages in places like China, the source of a lot of consumer goods, and offsets the energy costs. Also, all of Europe can fit within the United States. And there may also very well be infrastructure differences in the UK and Europe that offset the energy prices. I don't know. I do know that in the United States we are flat out tied into oil. It takes years and years to change infrastructure. You can't do it overnight. Steve I'm not disagreeing with you but I'm just stating why it's such an issue over here. I know for myself I go almost nowhere. I'm not happy working the job I'm at but I don't dare to quit because I fear a commute. It's really a problem.

Wed May 03, 2006 11:23 am

Hope you're getting a decent paycheck.

Wed May 03, 2006 11:41 am

Well Steve...........I don't know if there's oil on the moon, but I do know that the last genuine national push to accomplish the impossible was left there.

As I said, the leadership is lacking.

Pity is, we have a great deal of oil under our feet and beneath our shores which could help us out tremendously were it not for the ploitical posturing.

Then hybrid car solution sounds fine.......until you calculate that even if all cars were magically transformed into hybrids tomorrow, it would only take 5-6 years for our energy demand to be right back where it is now( if current projections hold).

As I said, the energy question has morphed into a National Security issue within the last 40 years with a vengeance. It will require National leadership on the order of what Kennedy provided to see a resulotion achieved.

Fortunately, while I have a 12 mile commute each way to work every day (which isn't too bad), and my job requires quite a bit of driving to and from job sites, the company credit card gets the beating for it.

Sat May 06, 2006 11:20 am

Wow Steve........I haven't figured out the gas expenditures per annum for myself, but I know I couldn't very well absorb the kind of hit you're taking without feeling it.

Well, I just figured mine out at about $4000-$4500 per year...........as I said, fortunately the company car/credit card saves my budget. For those who have to shoulder the load themselves, it is really a hardship.

Sat May 06, 2006 2:13 pm

I know how it is Steve........I've had a night job for three years.

Somewhat to keep ahead of my daughter's medical expenses, somewhat to put away enough to retire on without subsisting on dog food :lol:

Usually I work 16-24 hours a week at the second job. The owner is a friend of mine, so fortunately I can make my own hours.

I dearly look forward to not having to do it any more.........but that's not in the foreseeable future.