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The Free Market, price of gas, class warfare or socialism?

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Old 02-02-2008, 12:48 PM   #1
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The Free Market, price of gas, class warfare or socialism?

GTripp and I started an interesting conversation in the Democratic Debate thread, and I think it deserves a thread of it's own per SSG's request.

When we were discussing the aspects of a presidential candidate, I mentioned that I would like to have someone who, in the broad scope of things, look out for everybody and especially the lower income citizens of America. Anyhoo, we had kind of gotten off topic and onto the price of gasoline. Oh, I know why! Because I mentioned I wanted the gas prices to be lowered. 'Tripp said (and I do understand what he's saying from the purely long term financial view of it) that the gas prices should actually be increased. I believe he said to a dollar amount of $6 a gallon and that it should be a fixed amount there.

Certainly, I can agree and disagree with that figure. 20 years from now, $6 a gallon should seem like $2 a gallon. If it's $6 a gallon for the rest of our lives, yeah, eventually everybody could live with that. But, I think when you start looking at the finer details of this, does this become a question of survival of the fittest? Or, survival of the wealthiest? My politics might be considered confusing to most, because I've always voted and felt more conservative, and mostly Republican. However, there is this little Democrat in me (can't believe I'm saying that too) that keeps whispering in my ear "what about those who are middle and lower class citizens? Do we basically kill them off?"

I've had arguments with staunch Libertarians on another forum board over the same or similar issues, and the attitude they had just seem like an elitist attitude toward the topics. The more they argued, the more colder they got toward me. I asked them about the moral ramifications of such a view point, then they went off subject and argued over the proper definition of what is "moral". The picture they painted for me is that America would be a better place with basically a handful of the richest people in the land. Everything had a price and everything was privately owned. If you couldn't afford it, you basically died, unless the church helped you out. Then they argued over taxing the church the same as any other "business" (and I won't go down that road of topic.) At the end of the day, when there was nothing else to argue, the free market would fix everything!

Anyways, with all of that said, my point is, should we kill off those who have lower to middle class salaries that are trying to "make it" in this country? We have to remember, not all areas in VA or any other state are paying college grads $40k - $70k straight out of college. Some areas (like mine) figure a decent salary is in the $30k range. However, when it comes to living expenses such as gasoline, the slightest increase sets a person way back. We have to remember, it's not just the rising price of gas we put in our vehicles, but it's the rising cost of fuel that people use to heat their homes. In my opinion, while the purely marketing view of it makes sense to increase the price of gas and then cap the cost, from a current ethical stand point, it further alienates the more civilized ares (larger cities) from the rural areas (small towns, farm towns, etc...)

I guess I'm a little more sensitive to it, because I've grown up and currently live in a rural town. Even college grads like myself aren't making enough to live comfortably. Well, I might be, but that is just because I'm single and living in a small cottage home currently. If I had a wife and kids, we would be struggling, unless she was a doctor or lawyer. I realize the other solution is to move, but that still doesn't solve the problems that rural America faces.

Anyways, sorry I've rambled on this topic. As you can tell, I'm probably a confused Republican who's having an identity crisis. Either that, or I'm just wanting an extreme make over of the USA.
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Old 02-02-2008, 01:08 PM   #2
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Re: The Free Market, price of gas, class warfare or socialism?

First thing is you have to determine what exactly is "middle class". No one can really agree on what "middle class" really is. But enough with that, I am pretty sure that I fall in the "middle class" range. And I am betting that there are a lot more "middle class" workers than there are "wealthy" people in this country. I may be wrong here but my point is that our government gets a lot of tax dollars from the "middle class". The "middle class" is the best form of capital that this great country has. Its the "middle class" that does the jobs that "wealthy" in this country makes there billions off of.

To get back to your post, the part about the democrat caring about the "middle class".
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However, there is this little Democrat in me (can't believe I'm saying that too) that keeps whispering in my ear "what about those who are middle and lower class citizens?
Well, about that, I hate to burst your bubble but Mrs. Hillary Clinton did make the comment that "If America could get rid of the "Middle class", America would rule the world." And she is supposed to be the democratic leader!?!? So far in this election race I have heard more support for the middle class out of the Republican party than I have out of the Democratic party.

If what you are saying about "Wiping out the Middle class" would be a good thing than why is our government trying to come up with an economy stimulus package for the "middle class" to help jump start the economy? I am not saying that the idea is a good idea but still they are targeting the "middle class" for this...
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Old 02-02-2008, 01:27 PM   #3
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Re: The Free Market, price of gas, class warfare or socialism?

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Well, about that, I hate to burst your bubble but Mrs. Hillary Clinton did make the comment that "If America could get rid of the "Middle class", America would rule the world." And she is supposed to be the democratic leader!?!? So far in this election race I have heard more support for the middle class out of the Republican party than I have out of the Democratic party.

If what you are saying about "Wiping out the Middle class" would be a good thing than why is our government trying to come up with an economy stimulus package for the "middle class" to help jump start the economy? I am not saying that the idea is a good idea but still they are targeting the "middle class" for this...
I think you and I agree, actually. I am against the thoughts of "wiping out the middle class". That is something that these Libertarians on another site seemed to support. I don't support that line of thinking, however. Like you said, it is the "middle class" who keeps this country afloat. Secondly, I'm in no support of Hilary Clinton at all. If I were to vote for a democrat, I'd vote for Obama.

I guess what I'm trying to get a clearer picture of is the overall thoughts of those on this board about limited gov't verses socialism. Is the overall thinking in line with wanting every American to have a chance to work to succeed, or is it survival of the fittest? By the way, I consider myself middle class as well.
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Old 02-02-2008, 01:31 PM   #4
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Re: The Free Market, price of gas, class warfare or socialism?

The idea with a fixed price floor is that it steals a luxury from those who have other forms of transportation than by personal vehicle. The grand idea is to make sure there is enough gasoline to fuel cars for those who have no other options but to drive to their jobs.

This isn't about a free market vs. a socialist market, because the free market is better in 99% of cases. This is about mandating a change in usage habits, and doing it by forcing consumers to realign their values.

The free market would be totally capable of taking care of this issue on it's own, and that would be: the middle class can no longer afford to drive on a daily basis, people near the poverty line probably can't own or lease cars, and the combination of the two leads to less spending in the market, and rampant unemployment.

Then of course, we would innovate and figure things out as we always do, but I would prefer to pay double for gas now and be forced to alter my lifestyle a bit as opposed to being unable to participate in business affairs for some time.
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Old 02-02-2008, 01:34 PM   #5
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Re: The Free Market, price of gas, class warfare or socialism?

A price floor is better than a massive gas tax because the gas companies would maintain the profits here, they would be selling less, but selling at a higher profit margin, and the overall effect on their profits would be null.

I really don't want the money from any of these changes taken out of the hands of the consumers, so a gas tax would be counter productive, IMO.
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Old 02-02-2008, 01:55 PM   #6
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Re: The Free Market, price of gas, class warfare or socialism?

Why couldn't gas be federally regulated? I'd love for someone to explain to me how Exxon is only passing the rising crude prices along to the customers when they are setting new records for profitability every year. Something doesn't smell right.
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Old 02-02-2008, 01:57 PM   #7
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Re: The Free Market, price of gas, class warfare or socialism?

The only problem with that, GTripp, is that not all areas provide alternate forms of transportation. Would you be assuming that areas where people are close enough to work where they could walk or could take the bus should not have vehicles? Wouldn't this be in direct conflict with life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?
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Old 02-02-2008, 02:02 PM   #8
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Re: The Free Market, price of gas, class warfare or socialism?

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Why couldn't gas be federally regulated? I'd love for someone to explain to me how Exxon is only passing the rising crude prices along to the customers when they are setting new records for profitability every year. Something doesn't smell right.
That's just it. These oil companies are bringing in billions of dollars of profit a year. they have more than enough profit to invest back into the company to create new fuel that Americans rely on. There is no reason to raise the prices on oil.
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Old 02-02-2008, 02:19 PM   #9
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Re: The Free Market, price of gas, class warfare or socialism?

you know what they say bleedb, if it looks like a rat, and smells like a rat... i think the first thing that should be done by anyone entering the white house is eliminate any and all tax breaks that the big oil companies enjoy. i cant, for the life of me, figure out how they pulled that off. it started with good old Ronald Regan in the white house. times were pretty good, and everyone was getting fat. why it still goes on is insane
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Old 02-02-2008, 02:43 PM   #10
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Re: The Free Market, price of gas, class warfare or socialism?

Exxon/Mobil makes roughly $.07 per gallon. The tax on a gallon of gas is in the low $.50's. That tax could be increased and we could eventually push out our dependency on gasoline for cars. That would be gradual, like the steep tobacco tax. Take the increase profit and offer grants to companies doing research in energy technologies.

Furthermore, cut back on subsidizing corn. The New Deal did great work when we were coping with the Dust Bowl, and out of control food prices. Now, we can create a new legitimate market for corn based fuel. I don't think totally cutting out the subsidy would be advisable, as the government would lose some control over pricing, which is important because we all know that cows eat corn based food. Thus milk, and diary products would be effected as well. But the subsidies were designed to help the American Farmer. Not the massive American farming conglomerates that now buy up farmland, getting passive cashflow from the Government, while the value of the land increases.

Im getting off topic. Steeper increases in the tax of gasoline is good for America, and it's good for the world. The first people to feel that burden will be the lower income brackets, obviously. But a smart evolution of our culture demands it. If nothing else, it'll encourage a grassroots interest in creating more affordabel alternate fuel vehicles. Hybrids arent cheap enough yet, but we're getting there.

And i am a Republican.
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Old 02-02-2008, 03:09 PM   #11
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Re: The Free Market, price of gas, class warfare or socialism?

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Im getting off topic. Steeper increases in the tax of gasoline is good for America, and it's good for the world. The first people to feel that burden will be the lower income brackets, obviously. But a smart evolution of our culture demands it. If nothing else, it'll encourage a grassroots interest in creating more affordabel alternate fuel vehicles. Hybrids arent cheap enough yet, but we're getting there.

And i am a Republican.
Couldn't that tax money be used to help these lower income families afford to purchase these hybrid cars? Then, maybe they wouldn't feel so much of the burden?
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Old 02-02-2008, 03:52 PM   #12
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Re: The Free Market, price of gas, class warfare or socialism?

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The only problem with that, GTripp, is that not all areas provide alternate forms of transportation. Would you be assuming that areas where people are close enough to work where they could walk or could take the bus should not have vehicles? Wouldn't this be in direct conflict with life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?
Well, the people who are dependant on gas to get to their jobs would still pay double for gas. They would have to. The trade off is they can be somewhat assured that it will be there at that fixed price down the road, because the others who have options not to drive are not using more fuel than they need.

With demand down universally, the value of gas would stop the exponential increase it is headed at.

A lot of people would feel like they are getting screwed. In the mean time though, we're all screwing ourselves.
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Old 02-02-2008, 04:06 PM   #13
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Re: The Free Market, price of gas, class warfare or socialism?

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Couldn't that tax money be used to help these lower income families afford to purchase these hybrid cars? Then, maybe they wouldn't feel so much of the burden?
What you say makes sense. But what is the likelihood of the government subsidizing independent transportation for the economically challenged? I don't think the chances are very good.
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Old 02-02-2008, 04:28 PM   #14
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Re: The Free Market, price of gas, class warfare or socialism?

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Well, the people who are dependant on gas to get to their jobs would still pay double for gas. They would have to. The trade off is they can be somewhat assured that it will be there at that fixed price down the road, because the others who have options not to drive are not using more fuel than they need.

With demand down universally, the value of gas would stop the exponential increase it is headed at.

A lot of people would feel like they are getting screwed. In the mean time though, we're all screwing ourselves.
If we sky rocket the price on something we are dependent on, it will cause a worse recession than the one we're heading toward. That is definitely NOT the answer. The law of supply and demand doesn't work in this case. What works is competition. The American people deserve to have choice of fuel for their vehicles. Competition will drive down price, dependency, and demand. It will also help to keep money in the American people's pockets, allowing them to contribute to the economy of the country. Which is good for everybody.

What your'e suggesting would only henge on the hope that the rate of living expense compensation would increase at a rate that would allow for such an increase. And believe you me, the fuel companies would never cap their prices at the end user PoP(point of purchase.) The moment the average income would "catch up" to the fuel costs, the gas companies would come up with some other excuse to raise the prices again.
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Old 02-02-2008, 04:29 PM   #15
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Re: The Free Market, price of gas, class warfare or socialism?

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What you say makes sense. But what is the likelihood of the government subsidizing independent transportation for the economically challenged? I don't think the chances are very good.
Not likely at all, you're correct!
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