Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
"What's your solution for the poor, especially the rural poor, who are still driving say a 1988 Ford E-150 getting 24l/100 and can't afford any of this?"

An essential point is to separate the issue of having a low income from the issue of using excess oil. It is true (and will become especially apparent this winter in the American Northeast when the high cost of heating oil causes people to literally freeze to death) that low income people suffer first. That's one of the problems of being poor.

Society has support programs for poor people, inadequate as they may be. But it's a two-way street, so to speak. If one chooses to live in a rural area, and the cost of transportation becomes unaffordable, then the obvious answer is to travel less. That's how it was in the bad old days, and that's how it will be in the future (until our long-promised flying cars arrive).

If you read about people who lived in Kansas, say, even as recently as the 1930s, one thing that stands out is that they Just Didn't Go Anywhere. For example, read "Letters from the Dust Bowl" by Caroline Henderson. They went for weeks without visiting their "nearby" town, and years without leaving the state.

Even in the 1950s it was a big deal to go from, say, Denver to Steamboat (Rabbit Ears Pass was paved in 1950), and my well-off grandfather went to Europe exactly two times in his life: Once as a soldier in the first world war, and once as a tourist.

Basic solution to expensive transportation: Don't transport stuff.

by asdf on Sat Jun 21st, 2008 at 01:21:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I note though that these issues tend to come up solely through the lens of the middle and upper-middle class interests.

And I wonder why this is...

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Sat Jun 21st, 2008 at 01:50:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've been following your theme in the comments, but you are missing the point I was trying to make.

The objective of my suggestion was not to compensate people for doing things that were ultimately anti-social, but to lower the cost to society in general.

That there may be some who are bigger winners than others is not the central concern, in fact every policy we have is slanted this way. Take the most popular one by the Republicans, a tax break for some activity. Right now there is one which proposes a break to buy health insurance. Obviously those in the 35% bracket get more value than someone who pays no taxes. So the aim that the tax break will make health insurance more affordable is a fraud. It's a giveback to those who least need the help.

However, getting gas guzzlers off the road faster will lower demand in general which will benefit everyone since fuel prices will go down as a result (or at least rise more slowly).

Sometimes you have to create unequal incentives to promote a greater good.

There is nothing stopping you from proposing a modification of my plan that would cover those whom you highlighted.

Your objections are just another variant on the libertarian viewpoint that people should suffer from their own misfortunes, even those beyond their control.

Policies not Politics
---- Daily Landscape

by rdf (robert.feinman@gmail.com) on Sat Jun 21st, 2008 at 05:17:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not so. But the well-to-do (and this includes the US middle class) should not have their consumption (and mistakes) subsidized by (ultimately) the poor in China whose labor is used to finance that consumption and those mistakes.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill
by r------ on Sat Jun 21st, 2008 at 10:23:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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