Discussion in 'Environmental Discussion' started by pewd, Jun 22, 2008.
Obviously you are not keeping up with SciFi Channel movies. opcorn::rofl::rofl::rofl:
Just my 2 cents worth, but i find it sad and a commentary on some people who posted that they are happy with $4.00 and above gas prices. With all the people out of work, with all the young married couples trying to make a life for themselves and their children some of you gleefully talk about its for own good. When people in the Northeast ( over 8 million heat with oil, oil heat runs higher than gasoline) are freezing to death i hope you feel as smug and sanctimonius. Not everyone can afford new hybrids or listens to NPR. Flame away, will be proud to be flamed by the few the proud the selfish. This reply is not intended for everyone on this thread.
Quite a number of posters have indicated that they are relieved that high prices are starting to fix a critical problem of dangerous overdependence on oil. Are you grouping these forward thinking posters with some who enjoy seeing people in financial distress?
I remember how they live, I am one of a single income family, truck driver's 8 children. OK, we never took a cent in welfare but I remember poor. I know there is poverty also in the world but I do remember poor.
There is a recognition that things have to change. As I said above, I empathize with those "who can't afford a Prius or listen to NPR" (How that's relevant I don't know BTW).
Right now our current administration's only answer has been and continues to be, "Drill more" Many minds way more learned than mine have concluded that this is not a solution. If you are old enough to remember the "oil shock/energy crisis" of ~1973, you may remember all the talk about alternative energy, getting off foreign oil, blah, blah, blah! How much was done? Almost nothing, and what innovation came, was the result of forward thinking people who realized the problem early on. Some of us have made choices along the way that has had an effect on our use of energy.
The fact is yes, with the current infrastructure people need to heat with oil. The point here is if we had had some true leadership (D&R) in the intervening years we would not have the pressing need to burn precious oil to heat our homes.
It has been early adopters, (passive solar, PV solar, smaller more efficient cars and appliances and yes Prius drivers) who have pushed the envelope of the technology. If we had had reasonable CAFE standards along the way, the average fleet efficiency would be way better than it is.
We cannot forget the poor as we so often do, but rather we need to institute policies that allow everyone to be more efficient with their use of energy. For example, utility rebates to purchase home insulation, more efficient appliances. This is a win/win because the utility can reduce peak load capacity, and the consumer wins with lower bills. Build and maintain "real" public transit so that the poor don't need to drive as much. To too many people this smacks of "socialism". In my mind it is just good social policy. As I have said too many times, federal, state and local governments are all (genericly) going broke because A: too much of our money goes off shore to pay for oil, and B: All the rest is going to Iraq! There is little money to spend to help share the burden of $4.50 gas.
We live (in north america) in a society that the top tier continues to get more and give back less (in taxes) while the vast middle class pays more and more of the costs of society. The really poor just continue to drop through the cracks and their ranks continue to grow by most measures.
Take for example health care. We pay about twice the g-8 average with no better results for our health care. The bottom get (poor) care at charity hospitals, the well off are insured from most eventualities, and the vast middle class pay an increasing share of the care for both. We can't have a single payer system,,,it is socialism! Well right now we have capitalism run amok! A huge percentage of our health care dollars now go for insurance company profits, as well as the built in overhead of too many account clerks whose primary job is to find a way to deny coverage to those that have paid the premium all these years. It is criminal.
I realize that I have strayed off topic. Am I happy that gas is $4.50 a gallon? Not really, but am I aware that in a macro sense it is a good thing? You bet.
With little apology,
Well said, Icarus mate. That about sums up my view. It's not about schadenfreude it's about the hope that we'll actually solve our problems, not paper over the cracks.
If government can't run something as simple as Social Security, what makes you think they can do better with Health Care??
A neighbor of mine is a Canadian Doctor who transplanted to US in 1977 because he couldn't run his practice and pay is medical school loan in Canada.
I'm surround by medical professionals, my family has 7 doctors, 5 nurses and 4 administrators.
One of my nieces is OBGYN here in Tx. When she is on call she delivers on average 3 Mexican babies pro bono and she's 300 miles from the border.
Hospital must provide care, no matter the expense or insurance status.
One of my nephews is with VA hospital.. They never turn away veterans, even though there is a means test.
Yes things are expensive, but a lot of the expense is lawsuits and pro bono care.
Your talking to a dual resident of Canada and the US. There is no question that there are differences between the system and I would be the first to suggest that the Canadian system has major flaws, depending on the province you reside in. The worst problem is the wait times for cutting edge care. The flip side of that, no one goes bankrupt over a hospital visit in Canada. Second, on a per capita basis, Canadians pay about 1/2 as much as Americans do for health care in toto. By almost any measure, Americans are not twice as healthy as Canadians. If the Canadians would pay 75% of what Americans pay, who would be better off?
Next, Yes, there are Docs in Canada who don't think they can make enough money move to the states. Having said that, I know a lot of Doctors who while not rich, live quite comfortably on their OHIP salary. By contrast, my US family Doctor who is a confidant, has OVER 3000 patients in his practice. He must keep four partners to cover the overhead, (including insurance) but a huge percentage of that overhead goes to pay several seperate billing clerks to bill a myriad of private and public insurance. No offense to these hard working people, but they don't make me any healthier. He struggles to make as good a living as he did when he first opened his practice. Between getting squeezed by to low medicaid/medicare payments, and having to take ~60% from HMOs or not take the patients, it falls on people like me (cash patients) to make up some of the difference. He is not rich. No family practice Doc that I know is. (I won't discuss specialists as I have little knowledge).
Next, there is little wrong with the way that Social Security is run (in general) The problem is and has been the politicians who A: Can't keep their hands off the trust fund, using it for things like what? Iraq maybe amongst others and B: don't have the political courage to fix the funding formulae. When SS started in the 1930's the average person NEVER lived to collect. As our longevity has been extended we have not adjusted.
It is a popular misconception that people pay into SS way more than they take out (net/net) The fact is that within ~5 years, you will have taken out ALL you put in PLUS accrued interest at some nominal rate. Add in medicare and it is a win win. Why is it that "socialized medicine" is so evil until we turn 65? I don't know of any family Doc who turns down medicare patients because they can't pay. (I'm sure it happens but I don't know of any case).
As for your final point,,,lawsuits and pro bono work. The reason that Doctors HAVE to do pro bono work is that there are too many people who use the ER as their only health care, as they can't afford a Doctor. For follow up care the good Doc's do indeed treat pro bono. If we had good preventative care, AND good follow up care that was paid, two things would happen. The first is the ER would no longer be the only choice available to the poor, which would serve to bring down the cost considerably, and Doctors would get paid for services regardless of the patients ability to pay so that the Docs wouldn't have to do so much pro bono. (Your relative that is a OB/GYN is a case in point! Of course immigration is a topic I don't want to open in this thread!
As to lawsuits. I would like to see you cite some reasonable study to back this up. I know it is political hype to throw that term out, but I don't know of a whole rash of "junk lawsuits"
Add in the profit of the Private hospital system, private insurance (guess what, CEO's make tens of millions annually based on bonus' that come from increased profit. Doesn't make me healthier), get rid of the wasted overhead,,,Then, spend the money we now spend in the US, or even 75% of it and I would argue that Doctors would be better off, patients would be better off and we would be, as a nation healthier. The losers would be the insurance companies and god forbid they should take a cut! Don't get me started on the big Pharma's!!!! The medicare RX bill was written by GWB''s friends at big Pharma, and guess wins! We can't even negociate with them for a bulk discount. What kind of "Capitalism" is that!
With no apology,
PS 6/25 In todays paper it is reported that out fearless leader is threatening to veto a bill that would prevent medicare from DROPPING the payments to Doctors by 10%. A bill supported by Doc, Pharmacists, and Hospitals. A Bill opposed by,,,,wait for it,,,,,,,,Insurance companies. Need I say more!
My rants on health care
Lawsuits.. drive up, CYA testing and malpractice insurance. Ex. I've got a 88 year old relative. Every time his medication (blood pressure) gets out of whack, he goes into hospital for a week or two until they get his medication stabilized. After being in hospital for a couple of weeks, his muscles atrophy and then he requires 1-3 months of rehab/therapy. Total cost $20k-30k.per visit, and he's been 5 times in past 4 years. To no avail, the family has fought with his doctors to not put him in hospital.
btw.. the obgyn has numerous legal threats for forceps scratches and cone heads as a result of child birth. lol
Sure Medicare kind of works... Everyone with a job pays it, there's no salary cap and only a few get to use it.
... and on Social Security
If social security was only meant to provide 4-5 years of payments, then what's the point if we are also going to insure people live until 90 with health care, no matter the cost?
The politicians of the past hyped social security then, just like they are doing health care now. They only tell you what they want you to know, in hopes of buying votes. As far as I'm concerned they come from the same gene pool as car salesman.
Government sets the policy and then attempts to steer us. If they had wanted SSI to be any more than it is today they would've fixed it in the past.. But instead they knew it was bad idea and only provided a means for government employees to opt out.. Leaving the rest of use to throw away 12% percent of our income into it.
What really sucks for baby boomers which are approaching retirement in the next few years, is to hear Obama talk about crucifying oil companies and increasing capital gains taxes. Baby boomers have been repeatedly told, not to count on government for retirement and that we should have our own nest eggs.
So we forfeit SSI, and now this prick Obama with a chip on his shoulder comes along and raids our retirement accounts by saying he'll increase capital gains taxes and seize big oil's profits.
Only the idiots and Marxist of the world would not understand the ramifications of those actions. Capital Gains taxes are a form of double taxation, that's why they've been kept low. Companies have already paid income tax on profits, then the shareholders have to pay taxes again on the same profit, but you'll never hear a politician say that.
I assure you 95% of the population that has a retirement account with a mutual fund owns XOM (Exxon mobile). So what's going to happen to the value of ones retirement account when XOM's profits are seized? What effect will that have on XOM's suppliers and their stock value?
The worst part, it makes companies and people leave the USA so they aren't subject to US laws. Then what are you going to tax?
Why doesn't Obama just go seize the oil from the evil oil sheiks (OPEC)?
one final note..
There's a high price associated with strenght.. defense represents 7% of our GDP verses Canada's 1.2%
The 2005 U.S. military budget is almost as much as the rest of the world's defense spending combined  and is over eight times larger than the official military budget of China..
Maybe you Canadian would like to make donations to our heatlh care system..
I'm curious if any of you have read that book I referenced in the opening post?
And my point was things have to change - if we force the prices back down through political action, then we're just deferring the inevitable problem and pain - we must change - we can't keep burning carbon at this rate or we'll destroy the planet. If the oil prices go back down, there will be no financial incentive for companies to produce the innovative changes we need to solve our environmental issues.
You won't develop technology to build and sell a wind turbine / plug in car / solar array if you can't make a profit doing so.
No offense, but I"M TRIED OF PICKING THE TAB FOR THE WORLD"S PROBLEMS. Let some other country do the research and development. Why must it always be the USA?
So we produce more carbon than others.. we at least are helping humanity move forward.
Medical, technical, disaster relief, military aid, humanitarian relief etc. etc.:lalala:
Haven't other countries been paying over $4 for many years now. What have they been doing with their excess profits or taxes..???
I won't even comment on you rant a post or two above!
Why should the US pick up the tab???? Are you serious? Isn't it clear that we have been living way high on the hog for a century at the expense of most of the rest of the world? We consume a hugely disporportional share of the worlds resources as though we were entitled to them by divine right. From the banana plantations of central america, to the oil fields of the mid east, and on and on! As a result, we are also dispropotionaly for both the over use of oil, AND our contribution to greenhouse gasses.
As for humanitarian aid, we do indeed do good things, but on a per capita basis we are no better and in many ways less then the other g-8. We also put huge strings on lots of our aid, including programs that help american farmers to feed the hungry, but at the express purpose of driving our local farmers. Or how about family planning and population information that we won't give unless it only suggests abstinece only? How moral is that?
Military aid??? Tell me when in the last 40 years where military aid has made the US safe and promoted real democracy? Marcos? Pakistan? Saudi Arabia? Iran in the '50's? Iraq in the 80's? Get real. Our military aid has been used as a stick to control our agenda, as long as the military leaders obey us. In almost any case I can think of, the law of unintended consiquenses has ruled. Our friend is now our enemy, is now our friend. Only along the way we have spent billions of our taxpayer dollars for no gain in our standard of living or security. If we had spent a small percentage of this money on things like funding pre-natal care, addiction treatment, general health care, education at all levels and yes R&D in alternative energy, we would be safe, more respected in the world, and we would be leaders in clean at home energy.
As for other countries contributing. The Germans have made a vast commitment to reducing their contribution to greenhouse gasses. As such they have made a choice, as a matter of public policy, to fund solar at every available opportunity. As a result, they have become leaders both in the quantity of installations, but also in the number of jobs created, and R&D.
You may be tired of picking up the tab. The truth is that we as a society have NOT been picking up the tab for a century. We have not paid for the pollution we have cause, acid rain killing lakes, massive hydro projects killing fish. We have not even paid for many of the things we think we have paid for. With the deficit spending we are borrowing it from our children and their children' children.
I for one am tired of borrowing from future generations to perpetuate my lifestyle. I have done (almost) everything I can do to reduce my impact for future generation. Lo and behold, my lifestyle nor my pocket book have not suffered as a result. It is time for you and your friend to really study and read and understand what is going on in the world.
PS:Though I said I wasn't going to comment on your other post: You still haven't cited anything to back up our argument that lawsuits raise health care costs.
No offense, but your 88 year old relative, nor your OBGY is not evidence, it is anecdote. If you want to convince me, cite some evidence.
Social security was intended to be a late in life safety net. The point is that the politicians have not had the political will to keep the numbers actuarilly correct to keep pace with changing demographics.
Why should capital gains be taxed at a lower rate than income earned through work? Explain please.
Please cite your comment about "95% of people have a retirement account with a mutual fund with XOM in it" Where did you get this stat or did you just make it up? The average American has a total net worth, including equity in their home of ~$50,000. If you take out the house (which is falling fast in many markets), it gets near zero!If you look at the distribution of wealth in this country, it is very much disporportionaltly held by the very wealth who have benefited greatly from the current tax policy.
Finally, yes there is a price to be paid for defense, ours ~7% of gdp vs Canada's 1.2%. I personally don't feel more secure as a result! $500 toilet seats, $800 hammers, billion dollar vtol aircraft that can't fly. Seems like a good deal to me! Think of the billions wasted over the past 5 decades that has bought us zero increase in security!
Oh, and by the way, I don't see a lot of invasion forces lining up at the Canadian border.
We are entering "Peak Everything" [Richard Heinberg. 2007] and are just waking up to the "Century of Declines." We can whine and kick and scream as we "muddle toward frugality," or we can do as Germany, realize resources are limited, wants are unlimited, human population is approaching 7 billion and act appropriately.
Germany recognizes its lack of resources and is investing intensely in renewables - solar, hydro, wind, geothermal. Photovoltaic panels are alongside highways and on rooftops. A Liter of electrons is more cost effective than a Liter of oil. I look forward to US gasoline being $10 gallon.
Because of the lack of constructive alternatives and because most people are heavily leveraged, ICE cars continue to idle, gas guzzlers have a single occupant (driver). Even with the best of intentions we cannot walk or use bicycle routes that do not exist, cannot ride electric and high speed rail not yet built (and was bought up and removed by Detroit in the 1930s and 1940s). Car drivers continue to be angry at bicyclists, even though most vehicle codes define bicycles as a vehicle and bicycles are more cost effective.
Our society suffers from "Affluenza" and it will painful for many to retrain their thinking and actions. When you come to the edge of a cliff, you can fall off or turn around and step forward. So many are stuck in a high speed one direction mode and cannot look around and change direction.
Icarus pretty much covered it. lol
So we should pickup 100% of the cost?
Never enough. What's the rest of the world doing?
They shouldn't complain. they certainly get better treatment and have more rights than a US tax paying citizen or company.
Good for them.. at least they're not sitting on their asses waiting for someone else to fix their problem.
Glad to know you care.. but we can't all be experts. We all have our own dilemmas in life to deal with.
What makes you so sure there is a future? A BFR could strike tomorrow.
Pretend I'm a politicain.. trust me..LOL
So you're saying they should have had our withholdings up to 30-40% of our paycheck by now.. That wouldn't have left much for health care.
Companies expense payroll from income, therefore they pay no corporate income tax on payroll. The individual employees pays the income taxes on their share of the payroll.
However, companies do pay income taxes on income (profits) which increases the value of the company, and causes the owners(stockholders) to pay taxes on the increase in value via capital gains tax. In essence stockholders are paying taxes on same income the company already paid taxes on.
It was a guess, XOM is a widely held bluechip company. Its in most every common mutal fund out there. If you have mutal fund its probably one of the stocks. If not then one of its suppliers will surely be listed.
So you're saying we buy more toilet seat than you.. LOL
hmmm.. and to think this is the same bunch that you want to run health care.
You never know the invasion could be from above.
Icarius, how can I get to your planet it sounds so nice.
Canadian Healthcare, keep it. It's VA hospital light. snopes.com: Canadian Health Care
Military aid??? Tell me when in the last 40 years where military aid has made the US safe and promoted real democracy
Ok, I'll name one. The first real democratic elections ever in Afganastan and Iraq. You must have missed the smiling people holding up their purple finger indicating that they had voted.
Though I said I wasn't going to comment on your other post: You still haven't cited anything to back up our argument that lawsuits raise health care costs.
HUH??? Come on, that's to easy.
Finally, yes there is a price to be paid for defense, ours ~7% of gdp vs Canada's 1.2%.
Should we really compare the Canadian Military to the US??
And really, what would happen if every house and every car in the US ran on solar energy? Our Government wouldn't allow that. Unions wouldn't allow it either. How could the Sun be taxed? Who makes the most money off a gallon of gas? The Government that's who. Not big oil, big Government. Case in point. 1964 smoking was proven to cause cancer. Was it banned, hell no! Who makes the most money off a pack off smokes, the Governement.
Now, I suppose you want my proof that smoking is bad.
We only started curbside recycling about 2 years ago. Amazingly backwards in environmental issues around here.[/quote]
I am totally stunned at reading that.Amazing.
Perfect. I'm definitely going to steal that term.
I'd love to see how the mainstream would react to $8 gas. March on Washington? You could say the politicians have it coming.
Umm, dealing with the results of our exploitation and restrictions on trade (WTO and World Bank)?
They day we stop exploiting developing countries is the day we can assume a reduction in global responsiblity. Until that day we have a moral obligation to aid those we exploit for natural resources, labor, and environmental degradation. Our negative global footprint is much to large to take a stance such as yours. In fact it is downright unethical.
Separate names with a comma.