“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Wave the Flag and Tax Imported Oil. Now.

OPEC considers drop in output

By Kevin Morrison and Javier Blas in London, The Financial Times
Published: September 25 2006
"Oil exporting countries may consider a cut in output after crude prices fell below $60 a barrel on Monday for the first time in six months.

The decline came as global demand fell back from its mid-year peak and tensions over Iran eased.

Ministers from the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries are understood to be concerned about the drop in oil prices, which are down almost a quarter from their recent peaks."
They have discussed the prospect of trimming production ahead of the oil cartel’s next ministerial meeting in Nigeria in December, according to OPEC officials"

Here we go again. OPEC is addicted to cash. They need it to harm US interests on a global scale and prop up corrupt repressive regimes from Saudia Arabia, Russia, Iran, Venezuela etc. Now is the time to take it away from them. We must tax imported oil to a level that maintains the current prices. This can be offset with tax reductions in social security taxes. The excess revenues can go to fund the military. It can be used to build a national highway system designed for trucks only. Oil is going to be "taxed" by OPEC market manipulation or the US Government, but it will be taxed. Which do you prefer?


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  2. On a related matter, the military is desperate for cash. I posted this over at BC.

    "Schoomaker first raised alarms with Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in June after he received new Army budget outlines from Rumsfeld's office. Those outlines called for an Army budget of about $114 billion, a $2-billion cut from previous guidelines. The cuts would grow to $7 billion a year after six years, the senior Army official said.” where to get the money?"

    This country is awash in money. It is an absolute disgrace that the privileged class does not send it's own into the military. How many sons of Congressional leaders, sons of Hollywood, graduates of Harvard or Princeton? A pittance. It is a far greater imbalance than the corrupted draft process of the sixties and seventies. 

They do not want to send their kin, fine. Let them send their money. Harvard has a 31 billion dollar endowment. The billionaires like Gates and Turner are lining up to fix the planet by donating billions because they have billions and do not know what to do with it. There has never been more conspicuous consumption or waste of energy on roads jammed with SUV’s. I am not talking about them in Iowa or Montana where they are needed, but in eastern affluent neighborhoods where they are not. If the army needs thirty billion dollars a year, tax luxury SUV’s, gas guzzler taxes, a surtax on incomes over one million dollars per annum, excess elite university endowments, a luxury tax on entertainment, music and movies. Give the working class military, a chunk of America's bling. It will be the only patriotic thing they will ever give.

  3. Wretchard responded..

    wretchard said...

    America's taxpayers provide a Public Good for all mankind by holding the international system together and keeping out chaos. Ensuring navigation of the seas. Preventing the formation of terrorist enclaves, etc, which no other single country could undertake.

    As such it invites the Free Rider problem. Here's the example that Wikipedia gives, but you could just as easily substitute the word "Europe" or whoever in the appropriate places.

    For example, consider national defense, a standard example of a pure public good. ... Public goods give such a person incentive to be a free rider.

    Suppose this purely rational person thinks about exerting some extra effort to defend the nation. The benefits to the individual of this effort would be very low, since the benefits would be distributed among all of the millions of other people in the country. Further, there is a very high possibility that he could get injured or killed during the course of his or her military service.

    On the other hand, the free rider knows that he or she cannot be excluded from the benefits of national defense, regardless of whether he or she contributes to it. There is also no way that these benefits can be split up and distributed as individual parcels to people. So the free rider would not voluntarily exert any extra effort, unless there is some inherent pleasure or material reward for doing so (such as, for example, money paid by the government, as with an all-volunteer army or mercenaries).

    The incentive is to sit on the sidelines, quaff wine and bitch. And let someone else provide the National Defense. Yet it is perfectly rational behavior, from a certain point of view. The way around the Free Rider problem is to create an overarching institution that can charge everyone for the benefit they receive. But the US is not about to levy taxes on France in exchange for real services; although the UN is perfectly read to levy taxes on everyone to provide for illusory ones. When you think about it, there's a market opportunity out there for either alliances or Empire. Since Empire is out, then it's building alliances. So if the US treats its allies better than its friends, well, its quid pro quo.

    9/26/2006 12:11:43 AM

  4. Talking about the misallocation of revenue, see:

    Some of us civilians still remember how a group of American trained foreign pilots wrecked havoc on 9/11. It appears that after five years some within the Federal bureaucracy did not get a heads-up, despite hundreds of billions spent for homeland security, at a time when the Armed Forces are starved for cash.

    Dozens of Foreign Pilots Training Illegally at US Flight Schools
    “An internal Homeland Security document obtained by ABC News, says the post 9-11 program to prevent terrorists from entering US flight schools has been marked by ‘confusion and misinterpretations.’”
    “In a July, 2006 memo, the TSA complains the program has been flawed because other agencies, including the Department of State, have provided "conflicting and ambiguous" information about whether applicants had valid visas for flight training.”
    “The result, according to officials involved in the program, is that "dozens" of foreign nationals have been able to receive pilot training and FAA licenses without full background checks.”
    “In a handful of other cases, according to officials, foreign nationals have been able to enroll in flight schools and receive pilot training without any TSA approval.”
    “The 9-11 hijackers attended 17 different American flight schools to train as pilots, according to another document obtained by ABC News.”
    TSA Memorandum of 21 July 2006

  5. Whit, Point- Counterpoint.
    (you should start by saying "2164th, you dumb shit")

    In theory, I agree with you about reallocation of govt. spending, but you and I know that will never happen. The military is grossly under funded for the burden placed upon it. It is too small and it is being funded by paying for operations out of what should be capital spending.

    When the spending does take place, it will be funded by taxes or borrowing. Borrowed money taxes everyone. The interest payments are a demand against general government revenue. When that occurs, it falls more disproportionately on the middle classes. Military service is doing the same. The elites in the US are not sending their kin into the military. Let them send their cash if we are to have the military required to support our political goals. I used the example of Harvard's endowment of $31,000,000,000. That became that big because the government chose not to tax it. That choice meant that taxes should come from another less privileged source.

    SUV’s and oil. US security is threatened by our dependence on oil. The oil is being supplied by what is no different from a cartel of drug dealers, the drug being oil. The money that goes to OPEC allows Iran to fund Hezbollah, Chavez to spend three billion dollars on purchased Russian weapons. It allows Russia to develop strategic weapons that are less vulnerable to our anti-missile system. Of course you should be allowed to drive what you like, but you should pay the true cost of doing so and that includes the military consequences of imported foreign oil. The price of the oil is manipulated by a cartel of our enemies.


  6. “The great, seldom reported story, here is the unrelenting bureaucratic guerilla warfare being waged by senior career management in the IC, especially at the CIA, against the policies of the Bush administration.”


    “[W]ho composes this determined cadre of highly positioned, apparently untouchable, IC leakers and what are their motives ?...”


  7. “The great, seldom reported story, here is the unrelenting bureaucratic guerilla warfare being waged by senior career management in the IC, especially at the CIA, against the policies of the Bush administration.”


    “[W]ho composes this determined cadre of highly positioned, apparently untouchable, IC leakers and what are their motives ?...”

  8. rufus said:

    We increased our use of Biofuels by about 2 BILLION GALLONS.

    Divided by 243 million cars equals...eight gallons per car. Enough for a big weekend in the Great Smoky Mountains but that's about it.

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