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New Providence Road pedway project among City Council actions

Monday, April 18, 2011 | 9:08 p.m. CDT; updated 11:45 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Map of the proposed Providence Pedway.

COLUMBIA — The Columbia City Council approved plans for a pedway project on Providence Road at its meeting Monday night.

The project includes building an 8- to 10-foot-wide sidewalk on the east side of Providence Road from Wilkes Boulevard to Vandiver Drive. It is one of many projects funded by GetAbout Columbia, a $22 million federal grant to promote non-motorized transportation.

Other council items

  • The council voted unanimously to allow companies designated "manufacturers" a three-year phase-in of the new sewer rates voted on at the March 21 council meeting. While the ordinance designates "manufacturers" as those employing more than 25 people, Public Works director John Glascock said companies with fewer employees could also apply for a manufacturer designation.
  • The council tabled a bill that would increase parking meter rates, parking garage hourly rates and hours of enforcement until the first meeting in June. The Special Business District board had requested more time to consider the potential impact of the changes.
  • The council took the first step in dissolving the Gans Road and U.S. 63 Transportation Development District by nullifying a development agreement between the city and various entities owned by Elvin Sapp. The council voted unanimously in favor of the bill.
  • The council authorized construction of the Avenue of the Columns streetscape project along Broadway and Eighth Street. The project includes landscaping, planting trees and installing brick or stone and lighting. Public improvement funds and contributions from adjacent property owners will fund the project. Any additional funds needed would come from other downtown projects' funding.
  • The council authorized an employment agreement for the new city manager, Mike Matthes. Matthes will start May 1, and his salary will be $150,000 a year.
  • The council heard a report about a downtown taxi pilot program. There will be designated taxi "pick-up and drop off zones" from May through July with six of the eight local taxi companies participating.


Related Articles

The sidewalk will connect the Providence Bikeway from Wilkes Boulevard and the Providence Road project from Vandiver Drive. The goal of the project, as with other GetAbout Columbia projects, is to connect the city with a number of trails in order to promote non-motorized travel, according to city staff documents.

The cost for the project was estimated to be $435,000. No one from the public spoke during the public hearing, and there was no discussion among council members. The council approved the plans unanimously.


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Comments

fred smith April 19, 2011 | 6:29 a.m.

To be so frivolous with money in hard economic times such as these is indeed scandalous.

I would wager that the same evil few who would rail against a corporation using its OWN money as wastefully on its employees will have only praises for this wasteful spending. Why no uproar by such folks when the money is wasted by local government? There is a word for that.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith April 19, 2011 | 6:46 a.m.

Fred:

As pointed out (jokingly) to our friend John Schultz in a post yesterday, there's NO problem here: money grows on trees. Some exertion is required to pick the money off the trees but otherwise there's no problem, because the trees bear endlessly. However, some "pickers" have begun to notice that when they go to spend that picked money its becoming worth less and less. Guess we'll need to plant more money trees.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle April 19, 2011 | 8:32 a.m.

I'll point out that the $22M grant was awarded in mid-2000's, when we were *NOT* in "hard economic times". In fact, just 5 years ago, few people had ANY problem with government red ink. Quote then vice president: "Deficits don't matter." What a difference a presidential election makes, huh.

I'll also point out that we aren't really in "economic hard times" anyway. There's plenty of money circulating out there. Corporate profits are better than ever, and executive compensation at these companies continues to set new records. It's difficult to get a sense of "hard economic times" when you look at the stock market.

As a cyclist, I certainly don't consider this a "waste of money." But that's not because me and a thousand others are going to use this infrastructure for it's stated "increase non-motorized transportation" goal. It's real value is community recreational infrastructure. That benefits EVERYONE.

I use the trails almost every day to ride to work and back. Others like me make up about 1-2% of total trail use. The rest is just recreation: someplace reasonably safe and inviting for a walk, jog, or recreational bike ride. They are an incredibly valuable community resource - for general recreation, not necessarily 'biking to work.'

Again, the money came from previous "good" economic times, when deficits didn't matter. GetAbout should be commended for managing the funds well enough that they still have some, not chastised for finally spending it when the time is right.

This is great stuff for the city. If you can't see that, you're blind.

(Report Comment)
John M. Nowell, III April 19, 2011 | 8:39 a.m.

The use of other people's money aside, I'm sure the 8-10 foot wide sidewalk will improve the water shed run off into the Hinkson Creek as well. Seems like a contradiction of purpose.

Imagine if an individual or business such as Wal*Mart wanted to pave a concrete parking lot, the same people who approved the Ped way would obstruct the project and table the decision for 2 years in an attempt to make them lose interest and just go away.

The lession here is government is good, capitalism is bad.

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 19, 2011 | 8:59 a.m.

fred - Long ago, I read a quote attributed to a bureaucrat (not one in particular, probably all):

"It's government money! It isn't as if it belongs to someone!"

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking April 19, 2011 | 9:10 a.m.

John M. Nowell III wrote:

"I'm sure the 8-10 foot wide sidewalk will improve the water shed run off into the Hinkson Creek as well."

It's less of an issue than roadway because roadway gets all the oil, fluid, and metal spills from cars, where the pedway doesn't.

fred smith wrote:

"To be so frivolous with money in hard economic times such as these is indeed scandalous."

Acccording to FHWA, $436,000 is about enough to add less than 400 feet of one additional lane to I-70. When you're talking transportation infrastructure, ithe pedway's a bargain.

http://www.railstotrails.org/resources/d...

Your ability to drive is entirely based on the availability (and to a lesser extent price) of one, single, material. It's a material that is becoming more and more expensive, and this doesn't seem to be changing. We need other ways for people to get around other than driving alone, which is the most inefficient form of transportation other than the private jet.

DK

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith April 19, 2011 | 9:30 a.m.

Well, guys, while we debate the niceties of bicycles and the Sierra Club (Hinkson Creek), have you noticed what has just happened internationally? Finally, someone has gone on record and said "The Emperor Has No Clothes." (We old folks have more time during the day to track these things than you do.) Gold hit a new high, so did silver.

Standard & Poors has questioned the ratings of United States bonds. Financial markets, from Tokyo to New York, shuddered.

Once investors believe "The Emperor Has No Clothes" just about anything can happen - and probably will.

This was bound to happen sooner or later, but now at least everyone can stop pretending. Pretending is normally associated with children.

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 19, 2011 | 9:54 a.m.

"Pretending is normally associated with children." - And, Democrats.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams April 19, 2011 | 10:05 a.m.

Derrick: Since you've commented on "money" and how/where it's spent, I thought you might like to read this article:

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/em-priv...
____________________________

Ellis is right....except for the part about folks will stop pretending. Cessation of pretending comes from knowledge (in children, too) and, in this case, public knowledge of financial things is abysmal. Folks just don't understand how much trouble we are in.....an individual may be far away from the first tumbling domino, but I've found that the tumbling always reaches the end of the domino train. Branches out, too.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith April 19, 2011 | 10:20 a.m.

No Frank, while I might LIKE to say that pretending is only associated with Democrats I cannot in good conscience do so. Profligate spenders are profligate spenders, regardless of their political affiliation. I don't think it fair to single out Democrats.

Rather than couch these matters in political party terms I prefer to refer to "adults" verses "children." We have far more children in this country than the census data suggest. :)

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking April 19, 2011 | 10:27 a.m.

Ellis Smith wrote:

"Finally, someone has gone on record and said "The Emperor Has No Clothes.""

Heard about this yesterday - only a matter of time before someone noticed that borrowing half of government spending isn't sustainable. Deficits before have typically been in the 5-15% range.

The trouble is deciding what to do about it. Neither tax increases nor spending cuts are being proposed that will make any difference in our situation, and I regard the Ryan proposal as suspect for a number of reasons (none involving partisan politics).

Get ready for an interesting ride (and make sure everything you own is paid for).

DK

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams April 19, 2011 | 10:54 a.m.

Mark advises, "...and make sure everything you own is paid for."
_______________________

Yep. I checked that off my "to-do" list 8 years ago. I can't remember the last time I paid interest to anyone.

Debt that does NOT make you additional money is a bad thing.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams April 19, 2011 | 10:57 a.m.

Further, Mark adds, "Neither tax increases nor spending cuts are being proposed that will make any difference in our situation."
___________________________

Payday loan time?

(Report Comment)
Christopher Foote April 19, 2011 | 11:29 a.m.

1) I fail to see how not investing in infrastructure is the smart thing to do.

2) The cost of borrowing is extremely low right now.

3) Our unemployment rate is approaching 9% (depending on the metric that you use).
We should be generating jobs, by building our way out of this recession through infrastructure improvements. The housing bubble has created a large number of unemployed construction workers.
http://data.bls.gov/pdq/SurveyOutputServ...

With respect to the deficit, if the President vetoes every bill that lands on his desk, the budget will be balanced in the near and medium turn (i.e. by 2019):
http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/120xx/doc1203...

Note technically the budget will be balanced, we will still have a deficit due to the interest though. However, Outlays will be smaller than Revenues.

The long term is where we encounter structural deficits, due predominantly to rising health care costs. Unfortunately, attempts to address those anger a very important voting demographic that the free market vis a vis health care wants nothing to do with.

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 19, 2011 | 11:35 a.m.

Ellis - "Rather than couch these matters in political party terms I prefer to refer to "adults" verses "children." Aren't you "pretending" that political parties had nothing to do with our problems? Haven't you simply added some words to (in my opinion) the "cop out" excuse, "both parties do it"? This didn't begin with with the W. Bush administration. To ignore the four years of balanced budgets that were planned and executed by Republicans, before Bush and to sluff them off now though they are the only ones that have Any plan, or Any Interest in clothing "the Emperor", shows, to me, acute pessimism. You had seemed more optimistic. Sorry.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire April 19, 2011 | 12:11 p.m.

sPend them to Iraq!

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle April 19, 2011 | 12:15 p.m.

A quick peek at the US DOT budget: http://www.dot.gov/budget/2011/2011budge...

A few key figures:

$16 Billion + in subsidies to the airline industry (that doesn't include the additional $40 Billion the TSA spends on the airline industry)
$43 Billion + in subsidies to auto transportation industry
$3 Billion to the rail industry
$ .5 Billion to the pipeline industry

If you want to reduce government spending, I suggest you begin by focusing on the $43 Billion figure first, then move to the $16 Billion figure, and go down the line from there.

When you've gotten those larger spending items under control, and come to the one-time $120M from 5-6 years ago that funded GetAbout's $22M, let me know.

Just be aware that since the $22M was awarded to GetAbout, we've handed the airline industry well over a quarter Trillion dollars, and the auto industry another roughly quarter Trillion dollars.

$22M / $500B = .0044%
(4.4 one thousandths of one percent)

Sure, cue the old adage about watching the pennies, and the dollars will take care of themselves. Problem is, I don't actually see that happening. I see a few pennies being pinched here and there, while the 2 biggest budget line items (military and senior healthcare) are still getting bigger, not smaller, and the airline industry is the true transportation-centric "winner" when it comes to receiving massive increases in wasteful government spending.

This angst over the GetAbout grant literally equates to complaining about the price of coffee going up a penny a day, all while you're spending about $50 a day on cigarettes and booze without a thought. It's simply not rational fiscal restraint policy.

Yesterday, we saw the S&P "warning" (as if the 2008 economic collapse didn't expose credit ratings as a complete sham anyway). Today, we hear Geithner spinning things the other way, and the stock market is back up again today. Perhaps a good question to ask is: Why have interest rates on 10-year bonds fallen since S&P's warning? The bond market obviously shrugged off the warning. Who's right? You, or them?

Answer: They are, by fiat. Now, *THAT'S* a significant economic problem that needs addressed.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield April 19, 2011 | 12:29 p.m.

How much does the city expect to spend over, say, the next 10 years to pay for the maintenance of the GetAbout-funded projects?

For example, will property owners along the new pedway be required to pay for replacing the sidewalk when it deteriorates, or will local taxpayers foot that bill?

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith April 19, 2011 | 1:52 p.m.

@ Frank Christian:

Think I'M a pessimist, Frank? Read Rose Nolen's column in this week's Missourian. Compared to Rose I am a flaming optimist!

As for "children" in the two political parties, what we're really discussing is relative numbers, not presence or absence. Reminds one of a very well-used joke - which is not suitable for entire reproduction here, but which ends with "...we established THAT with your answer to my first question, now we're simply haggling over price."

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle April 19, 2011 | 2:11 p.m.

It's obvious the GetAbout money will dry up, and trail maintenance will go wanting. I suspect that's why they like using concrete so much; it's expensive to put in, but requires very little maintenance for the first 10-20 years. Road planning and construction (for cars) is no better, and about a thousand times more expensive, BTW.

Even if we don't have the money to properly maintain the trails, and they fall into disrepair, I predict they will still see fairly heavy use in the future and be considered one of the great treasures of the city.

As a frequent user, I'll be out there with my own rake and shovel doing trail maintenance when the time comes. I'm certain I won't be the only one willing to volunteer, either.

One final point: This pedway is designed primarily to serve Hickman High School and improve traffic safety for the students. Are Hickman students old enough that they no longer qualify for the "Think of the Children!" meme, therefore we should actively discourage traffic safety improvements for them?

I don't think so. But then again, that's just me.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield April 19, 2011 | 2:21 p.m.

Unfortunately cities can't base budgets and spending forecasts on citizen promises that they'll volunteer to help with maintenance years from now. So the questions remain:

1) How much does the city expect to spend over, say, the next 10 years to pay for the maintenance of the GetAbout-funded projects?

2) Will property owners along the new pedway be required to pay for replacing the sidewalk when it deteriorates, or will local taxpayers foot that bill? Ditto for other pedways that front private properties.

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 19, 2011 | 2:41 p.m.

Ellis - We know what to expect from Rose. I would prefer to keep reading you.

You are right about Congress. The one with the mostest (majority) gets the mostest (tax payer money)and gets to spend it. Democrats have controlled the House of Representatives, 56 of the last 70 years, but we shouldn't blame them for any of our money problems. Both parties "do it". Surely, even Rose, would agree this sounds a little too tolerant and P.C.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking April 19, 2011 | 2:46 p.m.

Jimmy Bearfield wrote:

"Will property owners along the new pedway be required to pay for replacing the sidewalk when it deteriorates, or will local taxpayers foot that bill?"

Who foots the bill for when city roads deteriorate and have to be fixed? Taxpayers. They're funded by sales and property taxes, not user fees or fuel taxes. I don't see the difference between one transportation infrastructure and another.

DK

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield April 19, 2011 | 2:59 p.m.

"Who foots the bill for when city roads deteriorate and have to be fixed? Taxpayers. They're funded by sales and property taxes, not user fees or fuel taxes. I don't see the difference between one transportation infrastructure and another."

But sidewalks are not roads. Under city ordinances, as a property owner, I'm responsible for having a sidewalk in front of my house. I can either pay for its construction out of my own pocket, or the city can build it and then make me pay through a special assessment. I'm also legally responsible for keeping that sidewalk free of snow. By comparison, I'm just one of many taxpayers paying for building and maintaining the street in front of my house.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith April 19, 2011 | 3:26 p.m.

John M. Nowell, III mentioned Hinkson Creek in a post above.

This afternoon I received in my mail a magnificent opportunity, which I want to share with y'all.

On Thursday, May 19th at Sheraton Clayton Plaza Hotel a one-day course will be offered on "Storm Water Best Management Practices." Cost is $259 and includes luncheon, considered reasonable for such a course.

While the course is obviously tailored for engineers, I believe (from having attended similar courses) that an interested non-engineer could come away from it with an expanded understanding of the issues and problems. BTW, there is no quiz.

Possibly with more understanding than the Sierra Club has.

For more information, phone 715-835-5900. This is Program #11057. I thought about going but last week I spent my current budget for training in Madison, Wisconsin.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle April 19, 2011 | 5:35 p.m.

I think Jimmy brings up some good points regarding the differences between roadways and sidewalks.

My (very jaded) view of Columbia's sidewalk ordinances is that they were implemented and used (mostly by Ray Beck) as a tool to bargain for road widening. That's why West Broadway's sidewalks are in such poor shape. The city held the repair of the sidewalks over our collective heads, refusing to fix them (even when they could bill us for it) unless we agreed to widening. We didn't agree, so our sidewalks are trash.

When the city builds or re-builds urban streets, sidewalks are generally included in the package. I know the W. Broadway widening plan includes 5ft sidewalks on both sides (they will not be a "designated pedway"), and AFAIK the city isn't going to be separating out and billing us for the sidewalk portion of the work.

So, it's not like the sidewalk responsibility and maintenance ordinances are a hard rule. It seems more like a loose ordinance, designed more as an arbitrary power tool to be used by the city against land owners, when they want to.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle April 19, 2011 | 6:31 p.m.

As for actual maintenance costs, here's the city's PDF about the pros and cons of concrete, asphalt, and gravel: http://www.gocolumbiamo.com/ParksandRec/...

Key figures (estimated annual cost for maintenance, per mile):

Concrete: $745
Asphalt: $2,168
Gravel: $1,320 - non floodplain areas
Gravel: $4,226 - floodplain/washout areas

This trail will be in a non-floodplain area, and made of concrete. Maintenance costs will be minimal. Expected life of installation is 20+ years.

How much of the maintenance, snow clearing, etc. will be the responsibility of the adjacent landowners is a question the city needs to answer. The pedway will actually affect (I think) 7 properties. The single largest will be Hickman High school grounds, so that's a wash either way. But what about the bowling alley, Break Time, and Country Kitchen?

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield April 19, 2011 | 6:41 p.m.

If we are to believe that Kraft will shut down all or part of its plant because its sewer bill is increasing $5K/month, surely the city will make concessions to Country Kitchen, et al regarding pedway maintenance.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle April 19, 2011 | 7:55 p.m.

For reference, at $745 per mile per year, that works out to a cost of about $14 per 100ft of pedway (about what Country Kitchen would end up with).

Ignoring for a moment the fact that it would cost hundreds of dollars in people's time to bother tracking and accounting for this, I wouldn't be opposed to some concession.

But the reality is, for Country Kitchen, it would only take a couple of people per year winding up grabbing a bite to eat there while enjoying the trail, to offset the costs. Ditto the gas stations with people stopping for a quick treat.

OTOH, who is gonna stop in for a line of bowling (3rd largest frontage)? What would the business just north of Hickman (2nd largest frontage) get out of it?

(Report Comment)
fred smith April 20, 2011 | 9:22 a.m.

Derrick Fogle said "I'll point out that the $22M grant was awarded in mid-2000's, when we were *NOT* in "hard economic times".

First Derrick if you think our economic hard time just began this year you have not been paying attention. We have been in economic trouble for some time and I don’t care right now who got us there be it the DNC or the GOP. Fact is we are there and have been for some time and a number of us have been sounding the alarm for a long time. Even before Obama, Bush II, Clinton and Bush I. Remember the giant debt clock installed on New York’s Sixth Avenue in Manhattan? It was installed in 1989!
In 2008 that clock displayed a nation debt of 10 trillion dollars. The current president is now asking for a new debt limit of 14.3 trillion! That’s 4.3 trillion in less than 4 years. Let me see who has been in office since then? Oh yeah that’s right, Obama.
The 10 trillion dollar debt we had in 2008 was the accumulation of unpaid debt from 1790, the first year America accumulated any debt – until 2008 some 218 years or on average 64,000,000,000 per year. The debt between 08 and now has risen by 3 trillion an average 1 trillion dollars per year! We cannot afford it.
Understand that if every American gave every dime of earned income for an entire year we would just barley be able to pay this debt off, of course we’d have no country left, the place would be just a giant grave yard and we’d still have debt.
So Derrick we’ve been in this trouble for a long time. Are YOU willing to do your part and give the grant money back and forgo some bike trails until we have better economic times? Families and adults do that sort of thing all the time. Maybe you have been planning to buy a new car or house but the economy takes a turn for the worse and because of that the family decides to wait, keeping the money in the bank. It’s the grown up thing to do.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire April 20, 2011 | 1:00 p.m.

sPend them to Iraq!!!

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle April 20, 2011 | 1:09 p.m.

US Debt, the charts: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:USDebt...

Notice a sudden change in the trendline around 1982? I thought you could. We've been "in this trouble" since then. Nothing we've done: not healthcare for seniors, not the war on terror, not the war on drugs, not our military buildup or deployments, not tax cuts, not non-senior welfare; none of it has been "affordable" since then.

Adjusted for inflation, the US debt accumulated between 1982 and 1986 (same 4 year reference period) would be over $2 Trillion. That's a half a Trillion dollars a year, and debt accumulation averaged this figure (~$.5T/yr adjusted for inflation) from 1982 through 2007.

In the most recent 4 years, that rate has doubled to roughly $1T/yr. About half of this debt is due to a massive drop in tax receipts, because of the biggest economic contraction since the Great Depression. The other half is from increased government spending, i.e. the stimulus, military, welfare, medicare, and bailouts (more or less in that order). Essentially, the government took a double whammy: a huge drop in receipts plus a huge outlay to replace the money that was no longer floating around in the economy.

If you removed the affects of the recent Great Recession, the government's rate of debt accumulation wouldn't be that different than what's been going on since 1982.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle April 20, 2011 | 3:10 p.m.

Blech, that last paragraph was very poorly worded. What I meant to say is:

If you removed just the drop in revenues caused by the economic contraction, the government's rate of debt accumulation wouldn't be that different than what's been going on since 1982.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle April 20, 2011 | 5:43 p.m.

But, my previous post is just a bunch of numbers about the history of US debt buildup. It doesn't address the issue of when we are, or aren't, in "hard economic times." There are actually official metrics that tell us when the economy is contracting (recession / hard economic times) or expanding. Technically, when the GetAbout grant was awarded, we were in a period of economic expansion, not contraction. I stand by my statement that we were not in "hard economic times", even if the 'not hard times' were just a mirage caused by the mortgage debt bubble.

There is also the *perception* of "hard economic times." You can say *some* people have been ringing the alarm bells about US debt since 1982, and that's true. But it completely misses the reality of the overall mindset when the grant was awarded. Today, a repeat of the GetAbout grant would be nearly impossible, because the Great Recession, and the acceleration of debt accumulation it has caused, has finally woken a significant number of people up to the problem.

But, back in 2005, There was virtually no concern for deficit spending. For all practical purposes, it *looked* like the economy was rocking along. Very few people were paying attention to the massive run-up in mortgage debt. Kit "King of Pork" "Junk" Bond was easily able to land this $22M grant for us in an era where it seemed like everything was going up and money was flowing freely.

To turn Fred's analogy around, GetAbout and their funds are a lot more like a scenario where household income used to be more, so extra money was put into savings during that time (that's how it works in my household, anyway). Several years later, income has dropped, but the money saved during the "good" times is still there, and can still be spent.

Regardless of whether the allocation of those funds was ever "right" or not, GetAbout has done a decent job managing the funds. Not a great job, mind you. I've still got a few harsh criticisms of what they've done, including giving $3M of the grant money to Vangel. THAT was a colossal waste of money.

However, many of their infrastructure projects have made significant improvements in pedestrian and cyclist safety around town. This project will improve safety for Hickman High students.

Should I start citing instances where slighting safety to save a few bucks has ended up being a really REALLY poor decision?

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro April 20, 2011 | 6:07 p.m.

Most Hickman High School students either drive a car to school, use the bus or get dropped off to school. Few ride their bikes, year round, and few walk to class. There are already safe ways to cross the streets around Hickman, if courtesy to motorists and street crossing rules are followed.
If you want to protect the students, have a closed campus during lunch times.
A half million is a lot of money when there are already sharrows painted across our road ways and there are sidewalks where both pedestrians and cyclists can intermingle, safely.
All power to the builder who gets the money for this project.
In my opinion, however, it would be better spent painting over those bicycle logo tattoos, painted all over town, with Alfred E. Newman's face.
http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=alfr...

(Report Comment)
fred smith April 20, 2011 | 7:25 p.m.

Derrick Fogle said, "I stand by my statement that we were not in "hard economic times",

And there is our problem on display for all to see. In 1989 the US had debt of $3Trillion and a GDP of about $5 Trillion and Derrick says we were not in hard economic times. It is this sort of stick you head in the sand attitude that got us into this economic disaster we now face.

Well many of us understood then that we were in trouble and many more understand it now. Had we made the correct decisions then, which many of us thought we needed to do, we would not be in this situation now. By which I mean we would not have a debt of $14 Trillion and a GDP of roughly the same. Imagine that our debt about equal to our GDP! In 1989 it was about 2/5 of our GDP and we did nothing. Shame on us.

Well now here we are with only two choices: one of two choices: make drastic cuts in domestic spending and I mean drastic 14, 15, 18 Trillion or we go bankrupt and and take a good part of the worlds economy with us.

And Derrick, don’t worry while your out playing on your bike the adults will clean up the mess. Just don’t whine when your allowance is taken away.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle April 20, 2011 | 11:39 p.m.

Fred: debt does NOT necessarily equal hard economic times. I consider them two different metrics of money and the economy.

Yes, for 95% of the population, you're absolutely right. The last 30 years have been economic hard times: Almost no real wage growth, declining job growth, and heavy inflation in the healthcare sector eating away at what little wage gains were made.

It's highly ironic that the other 5% saw such significant gains in income and wealth over the same period of time, that I'm compelled to argue the US overall was not in an "hard economic time" circa 1995.

I accept that you're calling any period of debt expansion "hard economic times" but I think your use of the term is flawed.

Are you asserting that we were in "good" economic times in 1975, when GDP growth was right about zero, because federal debt was only $500B and 25% of GDP; yet we were in "hard" economic times in 1984 when GDP growth was over 6%, but federal debt had risen to $1.6T and 35% of GDP? That doesn't really make sense in context.

The usage of "hard economic times" that I'm familiar with means a recessionary period like 1975 when the economy did not grow, NOT an expansionary period like 1984 when we experienced strong GDP growth.

When the GetAbout grant was announced, the economy was not in a recession. GDP growth was about 2.5% (near the long-term historical average). Federal revenues were about $2.5T, expenditures were about $2.7T, and the deficit was about $200 Billion per year (far below the previous 25 year average).

It was the height of the mortgage bubble, a LOT of money was flowing through the economy, it was the smallest federal deficit seen for at least 4 years on either side of that mark. I can't bring myself to call it "hard economic times." Screwy, messed up, flawed, crazy, yes... just not "hard."

But still, I think I understand what you're saying, and I fundamentally agree. The deficits aren't, and never were, sustainable. Something needed done about them 30 years ago. It didn't happen then, it hasn't happened since. It doesn't really matter what the insanity is called, or who we blame, so I'll stop quibbling about the terms you use.

Now, we've dug so deep, currency devaluation is the only real solution. I'd just as soon get on with it.

(Report Comment)
Christopher Foote April 20, 2011 | 11:42 p.m.

@fred smith,

Under current law, the federal budget is balanced, excluding payments on the debt (interest), by 2019.

See here: http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/120xx/doc1203...

The row for primary deficit is annual revenues minus outlays. You will notice it is positive in 2019, and 2020 and 2021...

I will assume that as a "supply sider" you are opposed to current law which entails the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, no doc fix and no AMT adjustment. (Why these individuals, who benefit from increased government spending/tax cuts in those areas, are exempt from austerity measures is unclear).

Also in response to this:
"Imagine that our debt about equal to our GDP! In 1989 it was about 2/5 of our GDP and we did nothing. Shame on us."

Actually Bush I ("Read my lips,...") raised taxes. Than Clinton was elected, and guess what, he raised taxes. The deficit decreased every year after that, until it was running surpluses. Clinton ended up dropping the debt as a percentage of GDP by 9%. In 2001, there was a $127 billion surplus. The very next year, federal dollars were allocated for Columbia. I don't recall headlines proclaiming hard times and debt problems. In fact, I recall headlines stating that tax payers were being "over-charged" and we needed to lower taxes to their lowest levels in the modern era.
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2001/02/2...

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith April 21, 2011 | 2:24 a.m.

@ Ray Shapiro:

Nice to see you're posting again. I have been reading some folks' recent posts - some of them impressively voluminous - on various subjects and it occurs to me that Columbia may be suffering from a disease called "we may be running out of problems, so let's create some."

It's much easier and far more fun to create problems than to solve them, don't you think?

I'm eagerly waiting for May, and that traditional Missourian article about how some MU graduates can't find employment.

(Report Comment)
fred smith April 21, 2011 | 8:21 p.m.

Derrick I suppose I agree with what you are saying if we want to use conventional wisdom for what constitutes “Hard Times” but I don’t buy that wisdom; it is after all what got us into this mess to begin with. We need to steer away from a mentality that says billion and trillions of dollars in national debt is acceptable just because we are currently making the payments.

It would be like me borrowing money every month to pay my bills so I could use most of my paycheck to purchase vacation homes, boats, fast cars and other luxuries and saying its okay because I making the payments on the loan. Anyone would say that I was making a huge mistake and advise me against it. If then say five years later my debt is so big I cannot pay it off I could not say my financial hard times just began. It would be obvious that my troubles started when I began accruing debt to pay my bills while wasting the remainder of my income. That is exactly what the government does when it runs a deficit. We can not now say our financial hard times just began. They did not after all just materialize over night but took years to get where they are. They began back when the national deficit began.

So I stick by my statement that when the money for the ped project was received by the city the country was indeed in hard economic times. And I say that we need to give the money back and demand that it be put towards the national deficit. In fact, all State and municipal governments ought to give back all unspent federal grant monies with the demand that all such monies be spent on the national deficit. It is this sort of ‘new thinking’ that we need not only in Washington but also at every level of government from Mayor to President.

Christopher, as for your claim that President Clinton left a surplus behind when he left office is simply untrue. Every year for which the Clinton administration was in office we had deficit spending. The lowest year was in the year ending Sept. 2000 when the deficit was about $17 billion. The national debt also grew every year under Clinton starting at $4.4 Trillion when he took office and ending at $5.8 Trillion when he left. It’s a simple fact Chris, look it up.

Furthermore, in 1980 the top marginal tax rate was 70% and the top 1% of earners paid 19% of all income taxes. By 1986 the top marginal tax rate was 28% and the top 1% of earners paid 25% of all income taxes. Currently, the top 1% of earners in America pay 39% of all income taxes, the top 50% of earners pay 97% of all taxes. The bottom 50% of earners only pay 3% of all income taxes collected. Those are IRS numbers you can look them up yourself.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle April 21, 2011 | 10:45 p.m.

Poor economic decisions lead to hard economic times, yes, but I disagree that poor economic decisions ARE hard economic times. Most people don't start experiencing a hangover the moment they start drinking alcohol.

In the short term, poor economic decisions tend to appear like good economic times. The hard times come later. It took 20 years of poor economic decisions (running up $10T in federal debt and allowing 1% of the population to get almost all of it) before we really started feeling the hangover (the birth of the Tea Party and the Great Recession).

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking April 22, 2011 | 6:52 a.m.

Christopher Foote wrote:

"Clinton ended up dropping the debt as a percentage of GDP by 9%. In 2001, there was a $127 billion surplus."

I'd be careful about attributing the surplus to any President or act of Congress. Frank attributes it to tax cuts made before Clinton got into office. However, the period leading up to 2001 was also a period of quite low (relatively) oil prices, and a lot of lending to support the dotcom boom.

Tax rates are very poorly correlated to GDP growth, while oil prices are much more closely correlated. I used to think tax cuts stimulated economic activity also, but some research changed my mind.

DK

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 22, 2011 | 8:43 a.m.

Mark - Please,it was the tax cuts legislated by 1994 Republican Congress, After They took office. You are the researcher, I am not. Being the amateur I thought that was reason I had such a hard time finding the legislation, Taxpayer's Relief Act and Balanced Budget Act of 1997, enacted by R' Congress and reluctantly, finally, signed by B. Clinton. I have never read a word about these Acts, by anyone around here. Only, great surpluses were achieved "under Clinton".

Oil is priced against the U.S. dollar. What correlation does your research show regarding the price of our gas and the destruction, in the last two years, of our dollar?

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 22, 2011 | 9:42 a.m.

Mark F. - "What correlation does your research show regarding the price of our gas and the destruction, in the last two years, of our dollar?"

Never mind, Mark, I just heard our Prez has formed a "commission" to watch for price manipulation of oil by speculators. Problem solved! Young lady on FOX Business, said she has compiled the studies concerning "oil speculators" done by Everyone who has made those studies public, and None of them have produced a shred of evidence that speculators have caused any change in prices, any time, anywhere.

I think it is a fact, that with every "spike" in gas prices, since Carter, at least, Democrats, when they have had the power, investigated the oil companies for wrong doing, but, have never found anything wrong. Life goes on.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle April 22, 2011 | 10:38 a.m.

Everything I've read about the new commission indicates they are primarily going to investigate gas station owners and regional distributors like MFA Oil, and perhaps glance at the "big" oil companies (never long enough or hard enough to actually see anything), but... have never said anything about looking into speculation. I suspect they'll go into "Full Blinder Mode" on that.

You always hear that "Time is Money" and that's true. But today, almost everyone's time is used to manage the consumption of hundreds of times more energy than they themselves output, to produce goods and services. Therefore, "Energy is Money" is even bigger, more real, and more accurate.

I've come to the conclusion that most of our economic problems are actually energy problems. The many many $Trillions of debt around the entire globe are all leveraged against the assumption of a cheap, plentiful, incredibly dense energy source - oil.

If you believe in the wisdom of the markets, the price of oil clearly signals a looming energy crisis. If you believe in an abundance of oil out there, the price of oil clearly signals rampant market speculation. If you have any grounding in reality, you should realize it's both.

I fundamentally agree with Mark. Our economic problems are primarily an aspect of energy availability problems.

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 22, 2011 | 10:42 a.m.

"speculators have caused any change in prices, any time, anywhere.

word "caused" from above should more aptly be changed to "manipulated". Of course,they cause price changes.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle April 22, 2011 | 11:57 a.m.

When the financial crisis hit and credit markets seized up, there was no money in the financial markets to speculate on oil. The price of oil dropped about 75%, while demand only dropped about 10%.

Remember, the financial markets have completely recovered from the financial crisis, and have plenty of money again. The price of oil has very closely mirrored liquidity in the financial markets for the last 10 years or so.

But, of course, correlation is not causation, is it?

(Report Comment)
fred smith April 22, 2011 | 12:23 p.m.

An Unsustainable Path: According to the Congressional Budget Office, if Congress enacts Obama’s 2012 budget, interest payments on accumulated deficits will total $931 billion in 2021 alone. That would account for 20% of all tax receipts. Combined with spending on other mandatory programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, 95% of all tax revenues would be spoken for before Congress can allocate funds to national defense or any other essential function of government. (Source: Heritage Foundation)

The problem for the drunk and the doper began at the same point; that is with the first drink or the first dose although, they may do not realize it at the time. They certainly will not realize it in the midst of their stupor with the truth of their situation blurred by the intoxicating effects of their drug of choice. Yet, they will eventually awake to the reality of their situation when they are no longer able to afford that drug. Meanwhile the sober friends and family see it coming and stand on the sidelines shouting warnings.

Unfortunately many such persons awake to it as a result of the devastation caused to their life. America is waking up to the devastation caused by the destructive actions that we indulged in to feed our addiction. Our drug of choice being debt, our “hard times” began a long time ago; we were just to intoxicated to realize it. To bad we had not appointed a sober designated driver then as many sober friends and family advocated for one. Now we’ll just have to settle for a tow truck and ambulance.

The mentality regarding national debt MUST change. We can no longer be led like sheep into believing the country is okay when we have billions and trillions of debt. Me must realize that such over indulgence is the beginning of a hard time.

Many us understood that back in the eighties and we are not surprised by where we now find ourselves. We saw it coming while the drunks and dopers partied blindly on.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire April 22, 2011 | 12:33 p.m.

fred smith says...
"Furthermore, in 1980 the top marginal tax rate was 70% and the top 1% of earners paid 19% of all income taxes. By 1986 the top marginal tax rate was 28% and the top 1% of earners paid 25% of all income taxes. Currently, the top 1% of earners in America pay 39% of all income taxes, the top 50% of earners pay 97% of all taxes. The bottom 50% of earners only pay 3% of all income taxes collected. Those are IRS numbers you can look them up yourself."

And you are not in the top one percent. If you take out the top one percent paying 39%, then what you have is the next 49 percent paying 58%. I would guess that if I had a figure for the top five percent I could then prove to you that the remainder of the top 50% - the forty five percent who were in the top fifty but not the top five - are ALSO paying "LESS THAN THEIR FAIR SHARE" of the federal income taxes.

The difference is that inflation has produced so many dollarettes that even you stupid peasants think you're in the top one or two percent or that you are going to be at some point in the future. However, I know that you are not in the top one percent and most likely aren't in the top five. So quit whining and YOU start paying your share.

"pay 97% of all taxes."

The error of omission. A devil lurks in your details.
We CONVENIENTLY forgot about the federal payroll tax, which for all intensive purposes is regressive. (And it is a tax because the government borrows from the fund regularly to conduct daily business.)We also forgot sales tax, property tax, fuel tax, sin taxes, hotel/motel tax, and especially TIFs which seem to be a way to take money from the poor and hand directly to the rich...

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire April 22, 2011 | 12:59 p.m.

fred smith said...
Alright, Fred Smith didn't say jack.
A "heritage foundation" said this.
Let's stop and ponder what this says about the heritage foundation.

"An Unsustainable Path: According to the Congressional Budget Office, if Congress enacts Obama’s 2012 budget, interest payments on accumulated deficits will total $931 billion in 2021 alone. That would account for 20% of all tax receipts. Combined with spending on other mandatory programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, 95% of all tax revenues would be spoken for before Congress can allocate funds to national defense or any other essential function of government. (Source: Heritage Foundation)"

The heritage foundation has no problem with the fact that we have had our military deployed in some distant countries for nearly ten years without an end in sight. The heritage foundation has a problem with the government meeting the obligations it made to it's citizens when they paid taxes.
The heritage foundation would like for the function of your government to include hurting anyone who gets in the way of whoever is driving the cart. And the heritage foundation would like for the citizens who are pulling the cart to throw each under it when they become too exhausted to pull a good enough portion of the load.
And fred smith thinks that this is good enough for repeating to you.

(Report Comment)
fred smith April 22, 2011 | 2:36 p.m.

Paul,
First I agree with you that taxes such as sales tax, property tax, fuel tax, sin taxes, hotel/motel tax are all too high as I also pay those taxes. The top 1% of earners also pays those taxes and I wager they as a group also pays a very large percentage of all taxes collected from any of those categories. It would make sense, as they own the most expensive real estate as well yachts and planes, the have parties etc. Do you pay fuel tax on your plane Paul?

I will admit that I do not know enough about TIF’s to really comment but I will make the observation: that the City of Chicago has over 100 TIF districts and they seem to feel they are successful.

As for payroll taxes lets not forget about your hidden devil, which is the employer’s contributions above the employee’s contribution. In fact as long as were talking taxes of any sort lets remember that without business, big and small there would be NO taxes to collect. Think of all the workers at GM and the taxes they – the employees – pay. If the company did not exist not only would the employees not have income but also the income taxes would not be there for the Federal government to collect. Neither would the sales taxes, property taxes, fuel taxes, sin taxes, hotel/motel taxes that they pay be available. I’ll say it again; all taxes come from business.

Fact is Paul; the top 50% of earners pay the lion’s share of all taxes in America. They make it possible for us collectively to pay all the bills for things such as roads, defense and social welfare programs etc in this country. They ARE doing their share. Will YOU do your share and advocate that the leftover PED/GRANT monies are returned or will you just continue to stomp you feet and hold your breath?

How much interest will we pay on top of the $22 Million PED/GRANT? Just wondering.

(Report Comment)
fred smith April 22, 2011 | 3:00 p.m.

Paul,
I didn’t know you worked for Heritage. Oh you don’t? Maybe then you want to present some evidence for the things you claim they believe such as: “The heritage foundation would like for the function of your government to include hurting anyone who gets in the way of whoever is driving the cart.”

Such vitriolic, baseless accusations are irresponsible at best and unnecessarily inflammatory. You owe the readers of this post an apology.

Is there any program Paul that you are willing to do away with during these economic hard times? Would you advocate giving the PED money back, after all it’s only $22 Million. What one spending cut would YOU be willing to advocate for reducing the nations current deficit? Or is pointing your finger at others and stomping your feet the only trick you do. What will YOU give up to correct the deficit?

By the way, no I am not in the top 1% of earners and never claimed to be. I’m not even in the to 20% but even if I were in the bottom 1% I would still advocate for the things that I do as they make sense.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire April 22, 2011 | 6:17 p.m.

"Such vitriolic, baseless accusations are irresponsible at best and unnecessarily inflammatory. You owe the readers of this post an apology."

There was nothing vitriolic and especially nothing baseless about my statement. I merely read the statement issued by your think tank and expressed it more plainly. Perhaps the heritage foundation owes the readers an apology.

'As for payroll taxes lets not forget about your hidden devil, which is the employer’s contributions above the employee’s contribution."

I certainly didn't forget. You will say that the employer paid the tax and I will say the employee paid it. I say the employee paid it because it is exactly that much less wage that the employee will be able to obtain from the employer in most circumstances. One might also say that the consumer pays the tax because the employer must pass the cost on somehow. Yes, the employer pays it, but then either pays the employee a bit less or charges the customer a bit more.
If that tax were to disappear the employer, seeking to compete, would either charge a bit less or pay the employee a bit more, depending on what was needed. In the event that the employer elected to simply collect more profit, it is likely that a competing employer would either undercut the price of the item or would hire the best employees for a little more money. Don't pretend you can't see that.

Also, without employees you would, for the most part not have any businesses to speak of.

"Is there any program Paul that you are willing to do away with during these economic hard times?"

Well just when I didn't think anybody would ask, I am obliged to say a warm thank you for surprising me. Why yes! I would really like to end the programs that are being conducted in Iraq. At least ninety percent of them. Then I want to end the similar and less successful program in Afghanistan. Why is it that we never talk about the thousand pound rhinoceros that is walking all over your coffee table?

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire April 22, 2011 | 6:20 p.m.

"By the way, no I am not in the top 1% of earners and never claimed to be. I’m not even in the to 20% but even if I were in the bottom 1% I would still advocate for the things that I do as they make sense."

Ok. I just checked. Here:
http://www.ntu.org/tax-basics/who-pays-i...

The top ten percent paid just about seventy percent of the federal income taxes in 08. Since you aren't in the top twenty you are also not in the top ten. Since you aren't in the top ten percent you are in the ninety percent who only pay for thirty percent of the taxes. So obviously you aren't carrying your load. I'm going to have to ask you to pay more, and especially if you are to be getting on here bellyaching about the fact.

To console you, I subtracted some numbers and it looks like the people who were in the top twenty five percent and not in the top ten percent - about fifteen percent - paid a little over sixteen percent of it in 2008. So if you can just make a little more money you may be able to have a clear conscience someday. The same subtraction means that the twenty five percent of the people who were in the top half but not the top one quarter only paid ten percent of the taxes. I most certainly hope you don't fall into that group. But I think that is the group that contains the profoundest of the complainers.

(Report Comment)
fred smith April 22, 2011 | 7:28 p.m.

Paul said, “There was nothing vitriolic and especially nothing baseless about my statement.”

Actually Paul the tone of every thing you have said in this thread is vitriolic and the comment that: “The heritage foundation would like for the function of your government to include hurting anyone who gets in the way of whoever is driving the cart.” certainly is baseless.

As for your ridiculous argument about payroll taxes you conveniently sidestep the fact that if the company did not exist there would be NOTHING to tax and you would have to pay for your precious little foot path without their help. The US government produces NO wealth it only CONSUMES or CONFISCATES wealth, which is produced by business.

Paul said, “One might also say that the consumer pays the tax because the employer must pass the cost on somehow. Yes, the employer pays it, but then either pays the employee a bit less or charges the customer a bit more.”

You’re not thinking here Paul. Yes the consumer pays for it as you say but where do they get their money with which to purchase the goods or service? From their employer, that’s where, who made a way for them to earn a wage with which they could purchase things.

Paul said, “If that tax were to disappear the employer, seeking to compete, would either charge a bit less or pay the employee a bit more, depending on what was needed. In the event that the employer elected to simply collect more profit, it is likely that a competing employer would either undercut the price of the item or would hire the best employees for a little more money. Don't pretend you can't see that.” That’s right Paul, now you’re catching on. That’s called competition and I’m glad you see how it holds prices down and keeps wages up. It is the power of a free market, capitalistic system. Best system in the world.

You failed to answer my last question Paul what would YOU give up to resolve our current economic situation? Would you give up your precious little foot path? Would YOU advocate sending back the mere $22 million dollars or at least the unspent portion of it?

As for what percentage of earners I fall into that is simply none of your business and I will thank you to keep your nose where it belongs regarding my personal life. However, like I said, if I were in the bottom 1% of earners I would still advocate for the things I have in this thread simply because they make sense and are good for America's economic future.

(Report Comment)
fred smith April 22, 2011 | 7:57 p.m.

Paul said, "So if you can just make a little more money you may be able to have a clear conscience someday."

My conscience is clear, Paul.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle April 22, 2011 | 9:43 p.m.

"If there were no [anything that actually exists], then..." has got to be THE. LAMEST. straw man argument ever. I also call such mental garbage "negative infinities".

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle April 22, 2011 | 10:03 p.m.

This article addresses the 'taxation fairness' issue: http://www.tnr.com/blog/jonathan-chait/8...

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 23, 2011 | 7:50 a.m.

Thanks, Derrick, You and New Republic gave me my first laff, this morning.

I first heard the "payroll" tax garbage from Lester Thoreau of MIT, when he used to debate Wm. F. Buckley Jr., Francis Kirkpatrick and others, in the 70's.

Kind of exciting, wondering if our SS deposits, paid by every worker would be the NR ploy. It was. Thanks again.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle April 23, 2011 | 12:11 p.m.

Luckily, I had reasons to laugh this AM well before reading your response. For the record, I don't totally buy in to the analysis presented there. But the "Rich people pay all the taxes, and half the population pays none" mantra is nothing but mentally and morally crippled garbage.

The argument about who actually pays payroll taxes is laughable. The payroll tax is just a sales tax on buying someone's labor. The employer writes the check to the government. The employer pays that tax, plain and simple.

I think payroll taxes should be eliminated, and personal income and business profit taxes should be adjusted to compensate. Of course this gives you the opening to lambast me for not wanting to lower taxes or cut spending, which is only half true. It's ludicrous to think we can tax cut our way out of government deficits, so... no, I don't really want to cut taxes further. The law of diminishing returns, coupled with apparent lackluster performance of the latest tax cuts, makes a compelling case that we've already milked that cow to death.

But, I do want to cut spending. 10% from SS, 20% from medicare, 30% from military, 40% from non-senior welfare, and 25% from everything else. That would *almost* balance the budget. I'll allow the idea that economic recovery will do the rest.

(Report Comment)
fred smith April 23, 2011 | 2:44 p.m.

"I won't insult your intelligence by suggesting that you really believe what you just said." William F. Buckley, Jr.

Derrick said, "If there were no [anything that actually exists], then..." has got to be THE. LAMEST. straw man argument ever. I also call such mental garbage "negative infinities".

Although my argument is not a straw man I will let your comment slide; but that said do not side step the question that my statement begs be answered. If ALL tax monies collected are not the result of business then from whence do they come?

Second, Paul had suggested that we pull out of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan a typical Liberal reaction – funny Obama, the biggest liberal read socialist, doesn’t see it that way but fine, bring all the troop home today. I’ll agree to that, but such action will not resolve our economic problems and not by a long shot. So Paul what will you give up, your precious footpath?

That’s the problem with liberals/children, compromise to them always means the grown-ups give and the children take, never are the children required to give up anything. They just stomp feet and whine over the fact that someone has more than they do. However, they never admit the reason for that is the person with more worked for it.

“The rich don’t pay enough in taxes.” Now there’s a straw man argument if ever there was one and it takes thought and the ability to reason to see it I admit. But let me ask this: If the bottom 50% of earners pay only 3% of all income taxes what % of services do they consume? I’ll wager it’s higher than 3%. Is that fair, is it equitable?

And what about the 100’s of billions of dollars of fraud these social programs produce? Paul, Frank, Derrick will any of you demand the cheaters be given less or removed from the program for stealing. I sure all of you would rile over a company cheating on its taxes, you’d be crying in the streets, stomping your feet and holding your breath. Okay how about a little fair play, what about the cheats on the social welfare program who receive all their assistance without contributing a dime. Should they be made to stop?

Finally, no one in this thread has said what he or she would give up to see the deficit reduced. Paul lamented the wars should end in Iraq and Afghanistan, so I’ll agree with that, bring the troops home tomorrow. I’ll even go further and agree to a 10% decrease in overall military spending beyond the direct cost of the war. The only condition is that the soldiers pay not be cut. Now I’ve anted up, what about the rest of you.

What will you toss into the pot, from YOUR SIDE of the spending aisle? And remember I just gave billions so don’t be cheap.

http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/so...

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/author...

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 23, 2011 | 3:00 p.m.

DF - You never fail me. To give the astounding answer you want to seal the question for me and we,you change the question, as did NR. The question as stated by NR was, "Thus you will see the endlessly circulated right-wing talking point that nearly half of all Americans pay no income taxes." Oh, I see,tho you referenced NR, you are now taking the question to your upper level of thot and this must include all taxes. Sales tax, which no one pays unless they purchase something taxable. And, of course the "payroll" tax, referred to, by you, as "a sales tax on buying someone's labor." Here as liberals always seem to do, you start the discussion where it is convenient for you, not at the base of the question, or problem which is generally required to arrive at an honest answer. The payroll tax may have evolved as you describe it, thru deceit and sleight of hand, (Johnson stealing, it for Vietnam by executive order) that is in no way what it was intended to be. Congress, mainly, Democrats have taken all the money, because they could. Now the debt can be reconciled, with "I think payroll taxes should be eliminated" etc. Al Gore would prefer keep taking "payroll" tax and use it for an "energy" tax that would help the people enormously, would it not? If you do not "buy into" this old Democrat charade why present it as gospel. Sorry, wrong word, wasn't it?

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle April 23, 2011 | 3:31 p.m.

Fred, I have already given up using a car for routine transportation. I've already given up buying TV's. I've already *almost* given up consuming meat. I've already given up a few degrees of warmth in the winter, and many more degrees of coolness in the summer. All these things are subsidized by the governments, or create trade deficits.

So, what have you *already* given up, yourself?

As for what I would still be willing to give up: 4+ lane roads, the ability to drive 70mph everywhere, the option to park in huge garages all over town. All these things are also subsidized by the government.

I would give up the War on Terror, the War on Drugs, Homeland Security and the TSA. I already limit my purchases of foreign made junk, but I could make more contributions there.

I'd even be willing to give up another 3% of my salary. That's what we want the "rich" to do, I'll join them.

Now, did I miss your list, or is it your turn?

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle April 23, 2011 | 3:59 p.m.

Frank: Point-to-point reply...

FC: "You never fail me."
H4X: Thank you.

FC: "To give the astounding answer you want to seal the question for me and we,you change the question, as did NR."
H4X: Um, how did I do that?

FC: "The question as stated by NR was, "Thus you will see the endlessly circulated right-wing talking point that nearly half of all Americans pay no income taxes." "
H4X: I usually refrain from dinging people for grammer, but that's not a question. It's a statement.

FC: "Oh, I see,tho you referenced NR, you are now taking the question to your upper level of thot and this must include all taxes."
H4X: Yes, I am. Please explain why looking at all taxes, instead of one or two of them, is not a reasonable approach to discussions about taxation.

FC: "Sales tax, which no one pays unless they purchase something taxable."
H4X: Can you live without buying anything taxable?

FC: "And, of course the "payroll" tax, referred to, by you, as "a sales tax on buying someone's labor." Here as liberals always seem to do, you start the discussion where it is convenient for you, not at the base of the question, or problem which is generally required to arrive at an honest answer."
H4X: Sorry if I misunderstood. I thought there was some discussion about who actually pays the payroll tax. I offered my opinion. How is that 'starting the discussion where it's convenient for me'?

FC: "The payroll tax may have evolved as you describe it, thru deceit and sleight of hand..."
H4X: Wait... what?!? You're almost agreeing with me?

FC: "...(Johnson stealing, it for Vietnam by executive order) that is in no way what it was intended to be. Congress, mainly, Democrats have taken all the money, because they could."
H4X: Off-topic partisanship.

FC: "Now the debt can be reconciled, with "I think payroll taxes should be eliminated" etc."
H4X: BZZZT! Absolutely wrong. I never said debt could be reconciled by eliminating payroll taxes. The reason I want to eliminate payroll taxes is to lower the cost to the employer of simply hiring someone. I actually stated, later in the post, exactly what I think actually would reconcile the debt. That's something you refuse to do, BTW.

FC: "Al Gore would prefer keep taking "payroll" tax and use it for an "energy" tax that would help the people enormously, would it not?"
H4X: I'm not Al Gore. I don't speak for him, and he doesn't speak for me. I've stated my opposition to cap-and-trade numerous times in the past.

FC: "If you do not "buy into" this old Democrat charade why present it as gospel. Sorry, wrong word, wasn't it?"
H4X: I didn't present it as gospel. I presented it as an article that addresses the topic. I consider it food for thought, not a bible. It still ignores some taxes. But it's still more accurate than looking at only federal income taxes.

Your turn.

(Report Comment)
fred smith April 23, 2011 | 4:08 p.m.

Derrick I: drive less, go to the movies, out with my wife less, run the tires on my car longer, vacation less, purchase less goods and services in general. I also save less. My children have fewer opportunities for college, I heat my house less and cool it less, and in general all commerce through my house has been reduced.

The reason: because I pay ever increasing, property, income, sales, and vehicle etc taxes, which reduce my ability to participate in the economy.

And good for you: giving up 3% of your income, that’s great. I’ve included a link to the Treasury web site for you to do that. (See here: https://www.pay.gov/paygov/forms/formIns...)

I’m glad you have agreed to do that and I’m sure you’ll follow the link over there and give that 3% right away. I personally feel as though I pay enough but thanks for your help.

Now, Derrick and I have anted up, what about the rest of you.

(Report Comment)
fred smith April 23, 2011 | 4:31 p.m.

Derrick said, "H4X: Yes, I am. Please explain why looking at all taxes, instead of one or two of them, is not a reasonable approach to discussions about taxation."

Just to be clear, the discussion regarding taxes began with the % of income taxes collected by government from the top 50% of earners, which is 97%. The problem with adding every other form of tax to the debate is that the top 50% of earners ALSO PAYS those taxes. In other words we are all equal there, it is in income taxes that we see the disparity.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle April 23, 2011 | 5:13 p.m.

Actually, Frank, the discussion started with the pedway on Providence road.

Fred Smith was the first to bring percentages of federal income taxes paid by income level into the discussion on April 21, 2011 at 8:21 p.m. Looking only at federal income taxes is like "Blinders on DuJour" when it comes to taxes people pay. It's either myopic, or deceptive, and I'm going to call people out on that when I can.

Fred: I went first last time. Like any good gentleman, I'll allow someone else to go first next time. For the 3% solution to help (even that won't FIX the problem), EVERYONE has to do it, rich and poor alike.

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 23, 2011 | 5:16 p.m.

DF - Have to make this short. I'm preparing to DRIVE to my daughters home for dinner. It will probably be pork or chicken due to high price of beef. She'll also have vegtables, tho, I'm sure.

Your grammar ding was superfluous. I pasted the conservative statement in question as NR presented it.

"explain why looking at all taxes" This discussion is about the NR article and how They added other tax as the only to negate the fact that nearly 1/2 of American families pay no income tax.

Can you live without buying anything taxable. Not pertinent, tho folks living as you have touted could certainly come close.

"who actually pays the payroll tax." The employee must allow it withheld from earnings from work offered by employer and employer is required to match the amount and remit it to SS Adminis. Quite simple. Your intellectual dissertation is also superfluous.

"I think payroll taxes should be eliminated" etc." This being done, in my opinion would settle the question, does the Gov't own all the money? The answer would be yes. The debt to SS trust Fund would be a memory.

"I'm not Al Gore." I only asked if you thought using our money for a energy tax was good. I will state again, I can depend on our elected officials and not you to reconcile the debt.

"I consider it food for thought, not a bible." Please leave the charade out of your next "food for thought" offering.

Have to run. Happy easter

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking April 23, 2011 | 5:25 p.m.

fred smith wrote:

"The reason: because I pay ever increasing, property, income, sales, and vehicle etc taxes, which reduce my ability to participate in the economy."

Except the taxes you pay don't vanish from the economy. They pay employee's salaries, which they spend on all manner of consumer goods, and they are spent with private firms to build public works like roads and parking garages (ahem..). Whether you participate directly, or the government does, doesn't stop the money from being used productively.

Why do you think that government spending is somehow worse than private spending? Most of the industry in China is owned and run by their government, and their economy is outperforming ours. What the money is spent on is what matters, not who spends it.

DK

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle April 23, 2011 | 5:25 p.m.

Fred: Income isn't equal, either.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle April 23, 2011 | 5:26 p.m.

Frank: Drive safe, have a good trip!

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking April 23, 2011 | 5:31 p.m.

frank christian wrote:

"This being done, in my opinion would settle the question, does the Gov't own all the money? The answer would be yes. The debt to SS trust Fund would be a memory."

But the government doesn't own all the money. They don't even own a little bit of it. Banks loan money into existence out of thin air, and this is a huge part of our bubble problem.

It would be a very painful process, but we have to greatly slow the ability of financial institutions to do this. It works in an era of growing resources (e. g. oil), but wreaks havoc in an era of stagnating growth.

DK

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle April 23, 2011 | 6:52 p.m.

Mark: Interesting point about govt. vs. private spending.

I haven't seen this recently, but 6-12 months ago I kept running across the talking point that federal government spending was responsible for half of all domestic employment. The popularity of the "Half of all..." meme aside, federal government spending is only about a quarter of the economy, but... it creates half of all employment?

I don't believe the "half of" employment talking point is accurate, but if it's any more than half true (and I do believe it is more than half true), it means that government spending is more effective than private spending at creating jobs.

Now, there are a lot of problems with that line of reasoning, not the least of which include the fact that government sponsored employment doesn't actually produce any real new wealth.

Or, does it? It's certainly a discussion worth having.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire April 23, 2011 | 7:15 p.m.

fred smith said...
"I’ll agree to that, but such action will not resolve our economic problems and not by a long shot."

Without those two problems there would not have been a deficit problem. If you believe what you wrote than you have no idea of the cost. And I'm only talking in terms of your government's economic cost. I'm not discussing any other cost and I probably should be. Even from an economic perspective because some of the externalized costs do return later as economic costs and they are probably impossible to measure.

"So Paul what will you give up, your precious footpath?"

MY precious footpath? I ride my bike in the street. I might never use it once. It will, however, make the town a nicer place to live or visit. I do get annoyed listening to unthoughtful motorists complain about how the federal government diverted a tiny portion of the amount that is spent annually on the construction and maintenance of roads toward building roads for something other than motor vehicles. You don't see me on here asking you to "give up your precious highway".

And since we started discussing taxes along with this... Who do you think get's more use out of all that money the government spends on the roads? The top ten percent or the bottom ten?
I might ask the same regarding who benefits more from your various government's diversion of your taxes into higher education. I can almost assure you that the bottom ten percent gained much less benefit from the money that this state spent on MU than the top ten percent. Then I also want you to remember that some of the top ten percent WERE in the bottom ten percent when they were enrolled in the college. Do you think we should have hit them for some more taxes at that time? And how about the junior enlisted people who are living in harm's way so that they eventually can be in the bottom ten percent working their way through a school? Should the junior enlisted people pay more taxes?

And then I should also ask if it might be possible that BUSINESS might benefit from the government spending some confiscated income on such basic infrastructure items such as roads and esoteric items like education? I am under the impression that this IS an actual possibility.

"They just stomp feet and whine over the fact that someone has more than they do."

Please point it out to me the next time you see me do that. Right now, it sounds more like you. I'm sorry that someone gets a sidewalk. But man you would really cry if you saw the airstrips they were pouring in IRAQ!!!

(Report Comment)
fred smith April 23, 2011 | 8:39 p.m.

Derrick said, “Fred: I went first last time. Like any good gentleman, I'll allow someone else to go first next time. For the 3% solution to help (even that won't FIX the problem), EVERYONE has to do it, rich and poor alike.”

No, Derrick you do not get to dance around it. I’ve been paying higher and higher taxes every year since I can remember because of the type of reasoning you have presented in this thread, which means I already went first. It is now time for you to catch up. But, I never seriously thought you would. In fact for all the crying about “We need to pay more taxes” I’ve never seen a liberal/socialist step forward and voluntarily pay more. It’s just give me, give me, give me. Well, NO!

Derrick said, “Looking only at federal income taxes is like "Blinders on DuJour" when it comes to taxes people pay. It's either myopic, or deceptive, and I'm going to call people out on that when I can.”

No, Derrick it’s not myopic or deceptive but it is focused. And when we get the subject of income tax settled we can then move on to the separate issues of property tax, sales tax etc. This way one will not obscure or skew the other.

Derrick said, “Fred: Income isn't equal, either.”

Really Derrick, are you just coming to that conclusion? Because you know it has been that way only FOREVER. And it will be that way until the end of time. Or are you advocating that we all receive the same amount of income? Because if you are I hope you realize that sort of thing has been tried. It has also failed every time.

(Report Comment)
fred smith April 23, 2011 | 8:43 p.m.

Paul said, “Without those two problems there would not have been a deficit problem.

Really Paul, I guess the $5 Trillion debt we had when Clinton left office, was not a deficit problem? I’m sure you would agree the $10 Trillion when Bush left eight years later constituted a problem. Lets put it another way, if we subtract the $5 Trillion that the debt increased from the time G.W. came and left from the %14 Trillion we still currently have that would leave $9 Trillion in deficit. Not a problem, Paul.

Paul said, “I might ask the same regarding who benefits more from your various government's diversion of your taxes into higher education. I can almost assure you that the bottom ten percent gained much less benefit from the money that this state spent on MU than the top ten percent.

Actually Paul the top ten percent would not be eligible for pell grants or other forms of student aide so I believe that the bottom ten percent would benefit most from those “various government diversions.”

Paul said, “And then I should also ask if it might be possible that BUSINESS might benefit from the government spending some confiscated income on such basic infrastructure items such as roads…”

I actually answered this earlier. We ALL benefit from better roads in that it reduces the cost of delivering goods and services to the market place, which in turn means we all, pay less. Also such roadways allow for the rapid deployment of police, fire and rescue. The tourism industry is also benefits bring in dollars. The enhanced commerce also allows for greater Federal tax revenues. In fact, I can not think of a single person who does not benefit from the taxes spent on public roadways.

As for who benefits from a new footpath? Not near as many people as benefit from roadways.

Paul said, “And how about the junior enlisted people who are living in harm's way so that they eventually can be in the bottom ten percent working their way through a school? Should the junior enlisted people pay more taxes?”

Yes. If we are going to keep the income tax, which really should be abolished, then I believe we should all pay the same amount. Ten percent for everybody, you make a dollar you pay a dime. No deductions for anything, no property tax deductions, no charitable giving deductions, no child credits – nothing.
Paul said, “I'm sorry that someone gets a sidewalk. But man you would really cry if you saw the airstrips they were pouring in IRAQ!!!”

No Paul, no complaints from me here, God Bless the American soldier and all they do!

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 23, 2011 | 10:17 p.m.

Mark - You are so off base With your monetary theory, I wouldn't know where to begin. Our gov't and the lending policies it foisted on our lenders caused the melt down, then the TARP funds provided by gov't to the banks the gov't wished to succeed allowed them to suceed. The gov't decided GE, (not a bank) should be granted TARP funds. etc., etc. The Fed Reserve, with blessing of leader of our gov't. is "printing" money hand over fist and promising inflation possibly unmatched in our history. Try to grasp, it is not,"we have to greatly slow the ability of financial institutions to do this." It is the Government that is doing this! Your numbers show that the Chinese economy is doing better than ours. Forget for awhile, your own Spartan way of life and look to see how the Chinese People are doing compared to us. (And, don't bother with a guilt trip for me about the energy We use.)

Your idea that gov't spending is no different than private is unbelievable and "Now, there are a lot of problems with that line of reasoning, not the least of which include the fact that government sponsored employment doesn't actually produce any real new wealth.

Or, does it? It's certainly a discussion worth having." When you start that discussion, it will be time for me to "bail out".

Try to get us the effect of our recently weakened dollar on the price of our gasoline, before then.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle April 24, 2011 | 12:31 a.m.

Fred says it's 'focused' as he stares at one tree in the middle of a forest. He sees no forest. I've never seen a conservative / capitalist pay more than they have to, either.

I don't know what you're doing wrong, but I haven't been paying higher and higher taxes. Do you think your federal income taxes have gone up during Obama's presidency? During the previous Bush II administration? I think you need to explain exactly where your higher taxes are coming from, because I don't believe you.

I've been paying more and more for private sector goods and services, but I'm far better insulated against rising energy costs than most (Mark has us all beat to heck on that). Unlike you, my 'cutbacks' have mostly been voluntary and proactive. I saw the energy crisis coming over 30 years ago, so I made decisions and structured my lifestyle to minimize the impact of that.

I've been aware of the train wreck of trickle-down economics for 30 years. While I can't completely insulate myself against the effects, I've probably done far better than most. I've avoided debt as much as possible. I've only been unemployed for a single 2-week stretch as an adult, and that was almost 30 years ago. I've kept my income ahead of inflation, and have developed skills and acquired equipment that facilitate moonlighting. Fancy that - I've given myself the ability to raise income, instead of having to cut costs.

In other words, if you're facing hard economic times right now, it's your own darn fault, not mine.

Yes, I'm aware that inequality is systemic. Some inequality is even good; it kinda makes the economy spin. But I don't know why people have such a hard time wrapping their head around the law of diminishing returns. And at the levels we're at now, the return has gone past diminished, to damaging.

BTW, a flat 10% from everyone, no loopholes, would cut federal tax receipts by another 35%. It would barely even pay for your beloved military programs, let alone anything else. Guess again.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle April 24, 2011 | 9:33 a.m.

So Frank, you don't thing the military produces any real new wealth, or perhaps facilitates it by providing security?

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 24, 2011 | 10:10 a.m.

DF - "you don't thing the military produces any real new wealth,"

GERONIMO !!!

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle April 24, 2011 | 10:26 a.m.

In other words, you know you're wrong. Goodbye.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking April 24, 2011 | 3:55 p.m.

frank christian wrote:

"Your idea that gov't spending is no different than private is unbelievable"

Why specifically?

Derrick beat me to the mention of military spending, but let's examine that in more detail.

DOD has contracts with private firms to the tune of about two hundred billion/year. Some of these firms owe their existence to DOD, and for them to cease spending with these companies would mean they would dry up and blow away, along with the jobs they provide.

Soldier pay might be considered a drag on the economy unless you consider what they do. If all of them were pulled out of Iraq tomorrow, and civil war erupted the next day, what do you think would happen to gas prices (there, I've brought that into the discussion)?

Adolf Hitler brought Germany back from the worst depression a modern country has ever faced with military spending. Our economy benefitted tremendously from fighting two world wars not on our own soil. Military spending, by the government, is good for economies. What makes other forms of spending bad?

DK

(Report Comment)
fred smith April 24, 2011 | 7:09 p.m.

Derrick said, “Fred says it's 'focused' as he stares at one tree in the middle of a forest. He sees no forest. I've never seen a conservative / capitalist pay more than they have to, either.”

That’s right Derrick focused. A forest is a collection of trees and when you take them down you do it one at a time. Unless you’re an arsonist in which case you just burn the whole thing down. And you have seen conservative/capitalist pay more every time a liberal/socialist puts the ‘gun’ of the power to tax to their backs.

Derrick said, “I don't know what you're doing wrong, but I haven't been paying higher and higher taxes.”

Well Derrick in 1980 the top marginal tax rates in the country were between 14% on the low and 70% on the high. Thanks to Reagan they went down bottoming out in 1990 then being 15% at the low and 28% at the top. Since then they are now 10% at the low and 35 % at the high. That is an increase in taxes at the high end of 7%. As for the low end even though the numbers appear to have gone done they income limits on the lower tax rates were reduced from $45 thousand and 15% down to $16,050 thousand current limit.

Perhaps in your world of gumdrops and candy canes that is not a tax increase but in the real world it is. I have also lived in threes states during that time, two being my principal residence, and I have witnessed and participated in property tax increases, gas tax increases, sales tax increases, licensing fee increases etc. All of which have reduced my disposable income i.e. my ability to purchase and save; the later category, which restricts my ability to assist my children with school and my wife and I to retire. So wake-up and smell the coffee Derrick. The tax and send policies that you advocate have real impact on the quality of my life by pulling it down at every turn.

http://www.ntu.org/tax-basics/history-of...

(Report Comment)
fred smith April 24, 2011 | 7:12 p.m.

I won’t say much about the Reagan tax policy or trickle down except it generated an enormous influx of monies into the Federal coffers. The problem with any deficits of the time was not due to tax policy but spending excesses created and passed by the Democrat controlled congress.

Federal revenue in billions under Reagan: 1980 - 517, 1981 - 599, 1982 - 617, 1983 - 600, 1984 - 660, 1985 - 734, 1986 - 769, 1987 - 854, 1988 - 909, 1989 – 991

Federal Spending in billions under Reagan: 1980 - 590, 1981 -678, 1982 -745, 1983 - 808, 1984 -851, 1985 -946, 1986 -990, 1987 -1004, 1988 -1064, 1989 – 1143.

There was no problem with federal revenue under the Reagan tax cuts the problem was all the SPENDING with democrats holding the purse strings.

Derrick said, “BTW, a flat 10% from everyone, no loopholes, would cut federal tax receipts by another 35%.”

Yeah Derrick, they told Reagan the same thing.

Derrick said, “I don't believe the "half of" employment talking point is accurate, but if it's any more than half true (and I do believe it is more than half true), it means that government spending is more effective than private spending at creating jobs.

Then you don’t mind a spending increase to the military and all the spending in Iraq and Afghanistan as it’s government spending. Just think of all the jobs!

(Report Comment)
fred smith April 24, 2011 | 8:02 p.m.

Derrick said, "I've kept my income ahead of inflation, and have developed skills and acquired equipment that facilitate moonlighting. Fancy that - I've given myself the ability to raise income, instead of having to cut costs."

I commend you for all of it. Now next time your are tempted to raise taxes to pay for some social welfare program or silly footpath you have new options. First, you could gather your friends together and get second jobs to pay for the footpath. Second, you could suggest to those looking to the social welfare programs to get part time jobs. I'm proud of you Derrick – you’ll be voting conservative before you know it.

(Report Comment)
fred smith April 24, 2011 | 11:01 p.m.

Derrick said "I'll point out that the $22M grant was awarded in mid-2000's, when we were *NOT* in "hard economic times".

Derrick also said, "I've been aware of the train wreck of trickle-down economics for 30 years."

Just curious what was it, train wreck or good economic times? Or is it whatever it needs to be to prop-up the present argument?

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking April 25, 2011 | 8:14 a.m.

fred smith wrote:

"Yeah Derrick, they told Reagan the same thing."

10% of our GDP (not just taxable income) is only about $1.4 trillion. That wouldn't even cover the deficit.

DK

(Report Comment)
fred smith April 25, 2011 | 8:25 a.m.

Mark in case you have not noticed income taxes are not the only taxes collected in the US. Just thought you might like to know. Also, if we would do the adult thing and only spend what we have there would be no deficit.

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 25, 2011 | 9:25 a.m.

Mark F. - Seems odd to me that you two (DF), to show the wonders of Gov't spending should only try to do it with one of the few areas where Gov't is Supposed to be spending money, the Defense of our Nation against attack from outside. "DOD has contracts with private firms to the tune of about two hundred billion/year" Could this be why the progressive liberals hate defense so badly; they see all that money going back to the private sector, out of their control?

Why not make your Gov't spending point with the hundreds of billions of "stimulus" dollars borrowed and spent by this Gov't to "save" the jobs of union, public employees?

This in a nut shell, is what is wrong with Gov't spending and why it must be held to a minimum. It most always is "targeted" somewhere and it is human nature to direct it where it will best benefit those in control of the Gov't. I believe this may be the only instance where the progressive liberal allows "human nature" to influence their agenda.

You folks always seem to display your concerns for "Gov'ts", "economies". You have noted "China's economy is doing better than ours, even mention the hated Hitler Nazis as doing a great job with their forced labor, confiscation of property and rejection of human rights, save those that benefit the "economy" and the "Gov't". When you are concocting your numerical charts and graphs, please think of the "people", once in a while.

And then, there is the possibility that you believe only "Gov't" can help "people". Is it something you guys eat?

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 25, 2011 | 12:34 p.m.

fred smith - Fred, Mark just cannot accept the fact the "stimulus" of allowing all our people to keep a little more of their own money can cause increased production enough to allow a responsible gov't to balance it's Budget, reduce its debt and create the strong, prosperous, USA, we used to know.

He and his cohorts have re-arranged their numbers to all shapes and forms, but, cannot make them show this fact. Worse yet they prefer to allow this destruction, we now know, to continue because of the "threat" of "trickle down". To allow the "rich" and their for profit projects, to make work and wealth for everyone, including gov't is outside their ability to comprehend. If we can keep those with their thought away from our gov't we'll be OK. If not, we as a nation are "dead"

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire April 25, 2011 | 2:43 p.m.

And fRANK and fRED who hate paying their taxes sooo much would now like to rewrite the spending patterns of various cities across our nation so that there are no suitable methods of transport for people who don't pay the TAX TAX TAX TAX TAX TAX TAX TAX TAX TAX TAX TAX TAX TAX TAX TAX to operate a motor vehicle and the TAX TAX TAX TAX TAX TAX TAX TAX TAX TAX TAX TAX TAX TAX to put fuel in it.

And while they are against the government subsidizing any other form of transportation, they are fairly oblivious to the amount of subsidy their transportation has incurred.

So you go on and drive your cars and talk yourselves up as some sort of people who don't want to pay taxes and I'll go on and ride my bike and be the real thing that you want to be but can't because you're too old/feeble/crippled/geriatric/snobbish/stupid/lazy/obese/unhealthy/uninspired/uncaring/whatever excuse you want to use. Happy motoring.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire April 25, 2011 | 2:49 p.m.

See here? This is a picture of people who are not paying TAXES.

http://www.columbiamissourian.com/storie...

And I'll bet that at least one of you is one of those pathetic beings who was on here/there a year or two ago persistently crying about how bicyclers should be made to buy license plates and insurance just like their sorry selves.

(Report Comment)
fred smith April 25, 2011 | 3:31 p.m.

Paul said, "And while they are against the government subsidizing any other form of transportation, they are fairly oblivious to the amount of subsidy their transportation has incurred."
Paul I have answered this twice already but I’ll say it one more time, as I believe you were dizzy from riding your bike and didn’t understand. Everyone in the country benefits from a good roadway system. It allows for more efficient delivery of goods and services which means the amount we, YOU and I pay for those services is reduced. Also, fire, rescue and police have quicker response times.
The name calling begins which is a typical liberal/childish way of responding when losing an argument. Go take a bike ride maybe you’ll feel better, but don’t forget you slicker.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire April 25, 2011 | 3:49 p.m.

Yep. I thought you would like that.

(Report Comment)
Christopher Foote April 25, 2011 | 4:58 p.m.

@Fred,

I think a similar argument ("Everyone in the country benefits from a good roadway system".) could be made for alternative transportation. Let's assume roadways are as valuable as you suggest, wouldn't initiatives that made them more efficient be beneficial to society? Less traffic = shorter arrival times for emergency vehicles, less wear and tear on highways and thus less maintenance costs, shorter commute times, less pollution, etc...

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 25, 2011 | 7:16 p.m.

Christopher F. - "wouldn't initiatives that made them more efficient be beneficial to society? Less traffic"

I have gotten into two sentences here, but could you elaborate with a description of "initiatives" and "Less traffic"? It could make your intent for the post, more apparent. Thanks.

(Report Comment)
fred smith April 25, 2011 | 8:34 p.m.

Christopher Foote said, “I think a similar argument ("Everyone in the country benefits from a good roadway system".) could be made for alternative transportation. Let's assume roadways are as valuable as you suggest, wouldn't initiatives that made them more efficient be beneficial to society? Less traffic = shorter arrival times for emergency vehicles, less wear and tear on highways and thus less maintenance costs, shorter commute times, less pollution, etc...”

First, roadways are beneficial to all. Just stop and think how much it would cost to deliver the materials to build your house if we had to deliver them to your building site via an ox cart.

As to less commute time, commuting by train takes at least as much time as by auto. Remember that I have to get up by 5 to take the 8:15 into the city and get to work by nine. Sorry, good song. But the point still stands, I have to get up clean the snow off the car, drive to the railway, find and pay for a place to park. At the other end of the train ride I need to take a taxi, bus or walk to the office. All of which does not add up to shorter commute time.

Second, your problem is you have two competing transportation systems rail and auto. Remember when this country was young rail played a big roll. Eventually however, it was replaced. Why? Because the automobile proved to be more efficient with its ability to convey, goods, services and people door to door, causing rail for all practical purposes to vanished.

Dial 911 then watch the train come to your door, or watch the postman deliver mail via rail.

(Report Comment)
fred smith April 25, 2011 | 8:36 p.m.

Because rail is impractical to the point of being incapable in terms of doing the essential it was replaced with a nimbler more responsive and therefore efficient system. Roadways provide everything and more that rail does. Rail cannot provide all of what roadways offer.

As to saving money I don’t think so. First, the need to maintain the roadways would continue. Roads must be plowed or bladed whether one vehicle or a hundred use them. Second the cost of maintenance is easier born by one hundred than it is by one. If we were to reduce all auto traffic tomorrow we would also reduce the revenues from gasoline taxes which pays at least in part the cost of road maintenance. Where would this money come from? In addition, people surrendering their automobiles for the rail would also reduce the excise tax collected. How would we replace that money?

All the while we would need to pay for rail expansion. Additional cars and rail lines would be needed to carry the additional traffic. Hundreds of stations or stops would need to be built to be able to pick up or drop off passengers at least within the vicinity of their destination. Imagine what all these additional stops would do to commute times. We would undoubtedly expect the riders to pay this cost, which would be astronomical. Yet, at the same time we would still be taxing them in some way to make up for lost gasoline tax receipts.

I do not see where we would have any substantial savings.

Also, living in Missouri most people are familiar with rails or train tracks. But how many of you are familiar with large rail yards? I remember when I lived on the East Coast driving into New York City and seeing the rail yards. You want to talk about a scourge on the landscape. Drilling platforms are less obtrusive and damaging to the landscape and ecology.

The automobile is overall more efficient that the train and therefor is the backbone of the US transportation system and will be for decades yet to come. If you really want to replace it you must develop a system as nimble and responsive to the individual and collective needs of society.

(Report Comment)
Christopher Foote April 25, 2011 | 9:00 p.m.

@fred,

I think you missed my point. Specifically, alternative transportations remove cars from congested infrastructure. Decreasing auto use would increase the value of a public good, namely roads. It doesn't really matter what the alternative is (trains, bikes, etc...,) as long as it reduces auto use. If enough people choose alternatives than the relatively small subsidy to pedway may in the long run save government money via increased efficiency of roadways. It costs a lot of money to build highways, reducing usage (via promoting alternatives) seems more cost effective than increasing capacity. Not to mention that it is in our financial and national security interests to consume less oil.

(Report Comment)
fred smith April 25, 2011 | 9:09 p.m.

Frank said, "... Fred, Mark just cannot accept the fact the "stimulus" of allowing all our people to keep a little more of their own money can cause increased production enough to allow a responsible gov't to balance it's Budget, reduce its debt and create the strong, prosperous, USA, we used to know."

I agree Frank, but I do not worry about those who cannot accept as much as those who WILL NOT accept. The latter is by far the more dangerous group in America. Such as them are not really concerned with improving anything except their control over our lives.

(Report Comment)
fred smith April 25, 2011 | 10:04 p.m.

Christopher I do understand your point but I believe your missing mine.

If we were to take all personal vehicle traffic off the roads tomorrow we would certainly create a more efficient delivery system for trucks and emergency responders, yes.

Christopher said, “alternative transportations remove cars from congested infrastructure. Decreasing auto use would increase the value of a public good, namely roads.”

Reducing the usage of something does not mean I increase its value. Perhaps I purchase an iron but in order to assure the iron lasts longer I only use it every other time I want to iron my close. Let’s say that on the off times I use a rock to do the job. The value of the iron has just gone down because the value of the iron is in ironing the clothes and if I cannot use it it’s of no value.

Look at it this way: take any of the vacant school buildings you see around the country. They are very functional buildings that we are not using. Are they of any value to us? Not at this time because, we are not using them, but we are continuing to pay for insurance on them and maintaining them to some degree. So although we have lost value we continue to pay.

You’re asking me to use the rock. Instead what you should be doing, if you really want to reduce our dependency on the automobile. – Please, don’ argue that you want to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil. That we could do tomorrow simply by retrieving the vast oil deposits beneath our own soil. - Is create a system that offers what automobiles do.

(Report Comment)
fred smith April 25, 2011 | 10:07 p.m.

You spoke earlier about incentives. The incentives of the automobile are inherent, connivance, time management, versatility, I can drive a single vehicle that is suitable for taking my wife grocery shopping, taking my kids to school, taking me to the office, delivering my trash to the dump, carting furniture home from the store, going camping, going out to eat, driving to the ocean for vacation. That one vehicle is my pickup truck, it does all those things. Does your bike?

If not you now need a second transportation system and every time you leave your bike at home it has no value in the present situation. You then need to use your car, which like I said in my last post with roadways and trains leaves you with maintaining two transportation systems, not very efficient.

Can your bike get you to St Louis and back in one day? My truck can. In terms of transportation there is currently nothing as efficient as the automobile. Leaving that transportation system unused does not increase but rather diminishes its value.

If you really want to reduce carbon emissions into the air then work on doing that, but do not confuse it with replacing an efficient transportation system with one rife with inefficiencies.

(Report Comment)
Christopher Foote April 25, 2011 | 10:40 p.m.

@fred,

You can assign a random value to roads, call it x, this is the benefit per capita that roads confer in dollars. That value, x, decreases when the roads are congested and it increases when you alleviate congestion, either by increasing capacity or convincing people to use alternatives.

Are you arguing that regardless of auto density, x, remains constant? If not, than you accept that not driving increases the value of roads, to others who do use the road. In effect, by biking (and electing not to drive) someone is foregoing their benefit and passing it on to everyone else who continues to drive, as x increases ever so slightly due to one fewer car on the roadways.

(Report Comment)
fred smith April 26, 2011 | 12:02 a.m.

No, I do not buy your premise that x increases every time I take a car off the road.

I agreed, as I said in my last post, if you took all private automobiles off the road then you would have greater ease and therefore efficient use for police, fire, delivery vehicles etc.

But, value depends upon how you measure it.

You are saying that the value to those remaining on the road increases when traffic is reduced however, it is obvious that the value to those who do not use it is reduced. Their mobility is reduced both in terms of time used to travel any distance and the overall distances attainable. Their ability to transport goods for themselves is also reduced.

However when we look at the value of roadways in the sense which I first suggested i.e. the value to the population overall, that also is diminished. Drivers lets say realize a value of 1 when using the roads, with a cost to the public of C, the aggregate value is then the total of all drivers minus C. Reducing drivers then reduces overall value.

The same thing is true with trains. Trains loose their value as the numbers of riders is reduced. If you want to increase the value of roadways you do not do it by pushing a group of people off onto an inferior means of transportation.

However if you create a viable, cheaper full on means to replace the system we have then the value of it will diminish as the population jumps on board your newer, better alternative and roadways would go the way of the buggy.

(Report Comment)
fred smith April 26, 2011 | 12:06 a.m.

What you have not considered in your example, is how we accommodate all the additional bicycles on the road. Do we need to build bike roads? How much would they cost? Are all these bicycles going to interface with vehicle traffic? Because if they do I’ll tell you they will cause way more delays than the automobiles they replaced, especially when you consider a car is generally capable of carrying four passengers. Now if four people want to go out together I’ll have four slow moving bicycles on the road with me in place of one car. Any perceived benefit from fewer cars is now long gone. In fact, I am now in deficit.

What of gas stations, they will become fewer in number and farther apart. The convenience of my neighborhood station might go away, again I’m in deficit. When the state seeks to raise the gas tax to replace that lost to those on bicycles I will have to pay more, again I’m in deficit. Now you begin to undermine the most efficient transportation system currently available for one that is wholly substandard.

Also you mentioned that maintenance costs would be reduced. Fact is trucks cause by far the most damage to roadways. These trucks would continue to create the need for maintenance along with the aforementioned need to plow or blade, paint stripes, repair guardrails etc. I would need to see hard data to believe that reduction of maintenance cost would be anything more the marginal/negligible.

In short I do not see increased value or benefit to either the general public or me. I see only the deficit of two or God forbid three transportation systems with only one able to do the job full on.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith April 26, 2011 | 6:51 a.m.

The current discussion reminds me of cities in the Netherlands during the 1950s (and presumably the years before that). Bicycles ruled! During morning and evening rush hours bicyclists rode in "formations" with automobiles fitting in wherever they could.

How fast did commuter traffic move? Why at the speed of the bicyclists, of course! I suppose some exasperated motorist might have "lost it" and stomped on his gas pedal, taking out a number of cyclists in the process, but doing so was frowned upon. :)

It was quite a sight, especially for someone from a country where automobiles were more common on the streets and roads than bicycles.

In the late 1980s I had occasion to do business with the Dutch steel company Hoogovens AB (a very good steelmaker). Things in the Dutch cities were a bit different. Bicycles were still in evidence, but most commuters were driving very small automobiles. In Amsterdam there is even a unit of the police with tow trucks that hauls those small cars out of canals, should they skid into a canal or be knocked into a canal.

I wish I had photos of the 1950s situation; they would be a U. S. cyclist's "wet dream."

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking April 26, 2011 | 7:52 a.m.

fred smith wrote:

"In terms of transportation there is currently nothing as efficient as the automobile."

That depends on how you define efficiency. In terms of energy used to move people, cars are actually the most inefficient common form of transportation, because so much of the energy in the fuel goes into moving the vehicle.

A city bus with 4 passengers on it gets better mileage - per passenger - than the average car does being driven alone. Well utilized trains can get more than 400 miles/passenger mile.

Yes, a car is very convenient, and allows a level of instant gratification that public transportation cannot provide. But what we don't have is a viable, scalable alternative to petroleum to run them, and that will become an increasing problem in the near future.

Your car is useless without gasoline, and the instant gratification a car gives is very attractive to newly middle class people in developing coutries. This increases the possibility that you won't be able to get gasoline at some point(s) in the future. Planning for this with alternatives, even if they aren't cost effective now, will make it easier to weather shortages and still do required activities. The overall concept is called "resilience", and it means that it's better to not put all your eggs in one basket.

DK

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm April 26, 2011 | 8:10 a.m.

"I wish I had photos of the 1950s situation; they would be a U. S. cyclist's "wet dream."

It still is in both countries...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-AbPav5E...

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 26, 2011 | 8:30 a.m.

Ellis - "Netherlands during the 1950s (and presumably the years before that). Bicycles ruled!"

I saw the same thing in UK. In my, now, wife's neighborhood of "council houses", I was told and shown there was one automobile for miles around. It was used as a taxi; a resident in business. Couldn't have much "business" since a customer had to walk blocks to a corner phone to solicit him. As we know, people were leaving UK in droves. If not for my good looks and pleasing personality, I might think my wife came back with me, only to escape the hardships of her home. When we returned to UK with grand children 12 years ago, M Thatcher had sold off most public housing to the residents. Every street had autos at the curb bumper to bumper. The previous gov't never envisioned a need for garage or driveway for their "council houses".

I have personally labeled conversations like that above as "dueling intellects". In my opinion, Christophe and Mark lose again, because they are not stating their case truly. Transportation is not their concern, but rather the reductions in the resiliency of our economy necessary, to destroy our ability to lead the rest of the world to freedom and prosperity.

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 26, 2011 | 8:43 a.m.

Ellis - Don't know if you are a boater, but must ask. Have you ever cruised the canals of Europe? I know many have viewed the scenery from the large group cruises, but we found a Company that furnishes your personal boat. We cruised the canals of France and Netherlands. I drove our boat to downtown Amsterdam, had lunch and went on our way. Awesome! Memories are about "it" for us, but, those are huge.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking April 26, 2011 | 9:29 a.m.

frank christian wrote:

"Transportation is not their concern, but rather the reductions in the resiliency of our economy necessary, to destroy our ability to lead the rest of the world to freedom and prosperity."

Resiliency means, in this context, the ability to perform necessary activities in the absence of one or more inputs. An economy based upon importing large quantities of foreign oil is inherently non-resilient, and we simply don't have the domestic reserves (of conventional oil) any more to do very much about that. Reducing the need for imported petroleum through efficiency has more potential to address the problem than a program of drilling, especially since much of the new oil would just replace declining production from current wells.

DK

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire April 26, 2011 | 11:16 a.m.

Don't believe everything that you breathe.
You'll get a parking violation and a maggot on your sleeve.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith April 26, 2011 | 11:29 a.m.

@ Frank:

A firm named Tauck (Google them) in the United States offers a fair selection of European river and canal tours, with well-appointed accommodations and great meals. One set of tours covers Belgium and the Netherlands; another offers cruises up and down the Rhine; then there are cruises along all or parts of the Danube. I believe there are also some cruises on inland waterways in France. Prices are all-inclusive EXCEPT for air fare (which they will arrange for you, unless you want to do it yourself or have a travel agent do it).

My fondest memory of Amsterdam was and will always be "Mom's," A B&B located in a four-story building near the center of the city. Only servicemen with Brit, Canadian or U. S. ID were allowed to be guests at "Mom's." You had to climb lots of narrow stairs and the plumbing was Gothic but the place was spotless, and after you ate your included breakfast you didn't need to eat lunch!

By comparison, on that 1980s trip the hotel we stayed in was very expensive, had cramped rooms (not unusual for some "modern" European hotels) and my traveling companion had an expensive watch stolen out of his room. At "Mom's" there were no locks on the doors.

PS: Previous post, should have been Hoogovens BV, not Hoogovens AB (I'm getting the Netherlands and Scandinavia mixed up - too damned many initials!).

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 26, 2011 | 11:29 a.m.

Mark F. - My use of "resiliency" was as in the ability of our country and the people in it to "rebound" from a governmentally caused disaster like our housing meltdown. If Our (only our, apparently) use of oil for energy is to be the demise of our nation, why do you suppose, so many are disagreeing with the progressive liberals of the UN and elsewhere? I believe that nearly every conservative would disagree with nearly every progressive liberal in the scenario you continually espouse. Sodahead, below, refers to Congressional Research Service. Do you disagree with them?

http://www.sodahead.com/united-states/wh...
http://blog.heritage.org/2010/05/27/not-...

No progressive seems to want to describe the "initiatives" and "modest adjustments" that they deem necessary for our survival as a country. Would these prevent our grandchildren from witnessing the majesty of Grand Canyon and Yellowstone Park, because of cost of transportation?

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith April 26, 2011 | 11:44 a.m.

@ Mark & Frank:

Said it before, and will say it again: Any rational energy policy for the future will NOT place too heavy a reliance on ANY SINGLE energy source, but will continue to use a mix of sources. By now we should have learned hard lessons from our over-reliance on petroleum. Also, a wise policy will carefully allocate uses of those energies to where each source is most effective.

(Report Comment)
fred smith April 26, 2011 | 12:26 p.m.

I personally have no objections to the use of alternative energy. However we are not going to see the replacement of fossil fuels any time soon. Until such time as we do it is our responsibility to assure access to the supplies we have, not blocking access with artificial scare tactics such as the world is melting or there is no oil left anyway, in an attempt to bolster energy sources that are not yet developed to the point where they could fill the gap.
Also, if these alternative sources involve burning food as fuel I am completely against it. The cost in terms of subsidies required to make it competitive and rising food cost make it completely unacceptable.
Railroads began with steam powered locomotives and were later replaced by diesel engines. However the idea of the diesel engine was first proven capable of doing the job and once it was the industry followed. Create an alternative to oil; make it cleaner without compromise in terms of power and availability and people WILL follow.
In the mean time use alternative sources where they make sense and allow full access to the resources we have.
Paul said, “because you're too old/feeble/crippled/geriatric/snobbish/stupid/lazy/obese/unhealthy/uninspired/uncaring/whatever” He also said, “Don't believe everything that you breathe. You'll get a parking violation and a maggot on your sleeve.”
I’m not sure what either is supposed to me but I will say this they are both rude and juvenile. I will therefore thank you for refraining from such behavior, especially when speaking to me and while commenting on this post in general as there are adults here having a serious discussion.
http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/06/t......

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 26, 2011 | 1:20 p.m.

Ellis - You got me started on European boating. You should have left me alone. I not only differ in my writing, but in my lifestyle as well. I have never possessed the "herd" instinct and to be cooped up on a bus or boat with 50 or so others is not my "cup of tea. My wife and I rented our "penichette", (canal boat)at about 30ft long. Double berth in bow, helm, smaller kid's? bunk, across from head and shower. Stern contained galley/dining area with wrap around windows. 3 cylinder diesel engine took us to about 10 mph. all bikers would love the inexpensively rented, optional, bikes tied on top, in case a near by village might seem attractive. Tie up, lock up, and see the city, at your leisure. I wondered how the Locaboat Co. had fared after 9/11. They appear to do well and offer more countries to cruise, than before. We noted many sail boats "motoring" the canals.

Hope, Jake won't remove me for not buying space, but, I found the company all over again by plugging in Locaboat plaisance. We really enjoyed our trips. Have to add, a French canal went Over a river. A Dutch canal went over an 8 lane highway. Something else!

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking April 26, 2011 | 1:46 p.m.

Ellis Smith wrote:

"Also, a wise policy will carefully allocate uses of those energies to where each source is most effective."

Certainly. However, there are a lot of very smart people whose research suggest a large component of climate change is being caused by the use of carbon based fuels, and I feel this also needs to be taken into consideration.

frank christian wrote:

"My use of "resiliency" was as in the ability of our country and the people in it to "rebound" from a governmentally caused disaster like our housing meltdown."

That meltdown was aided and abetted by historically high oil prices. Every oil price spike since the US peaked has had a recession following it. Doesn't that suggest to you that our import dependence, caused by our high use, is an economic problem for us?

"If Our (only our, apparently) use of oil for energy is to be the demise of our nation,"

I have no objection to using oil. I have every objection to wasting it. We waste a tremendous amount of oil that we'll wish we had someday.

"Sodahead, below, refers to Congressional Research Service. Do you disagree with them?"

I don't know, since I haven't seen the report.

I know we have lots of reserves, but producing them is another matter entirely. You do understand they're permitting deepwater oil wells again and leasing land for oil shale production? Mountaintop removal for coal production continues in W. VA, and fracking for oil and natural gas continues even in the face of evidence that it may be contaminating groundwater. We ARE producing our own resources. Progressives, if anything, criticize Obama for not being more cautious.

fred smith wrote:

"not blocking access with artificial scare tactics such as the world is melting or there is no oil left anyway, in an attempt to bolster energy sources that are not yet developed to the point where they could fill the gap."

Our government actually does precious little of this. Fossil fuel production is a tremendous source of revenue for government. Also, every new energy source introduced has been subsidized at its outset.

Obama (actually Steven Chu) fully recognizes that we need nuclear and fossil fuels as well as renewables.

"Create an alternative to oil; make it cleaner without compromise in terms of power and availability and people WILL follow."

There isn't one. We've used the easy, cheap stuff up first. Everything else plays a poor game of catch-up. That's physics, not policy.

A lot of writers and radio hosts attract advertisers and boost ratings by blaming government for our energy problems. It's not them - they benefit from happy, economically well off constituencies also. It's just getting harder and more expensive to feed our prodigious energy appetites, and that's no one's fault but our own.

DK

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking April 26, 2011 | 2:14 p.m.

Interestingly, I can't find that abovementioned Congressional Research Service report. Can you?

http://fpc.state.gov/c18185.htm

DK

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 26, 2011 | 3:10 p.m.

Mark F. - "That meltdown was aided and abetted by historically high oil prices. I "once" read a book that stated, every recession on record since it's inception, has been caused by Federal Reserve. Not gov't, you say? Not an oil co, either say I. To automatically omit Government from all our problems costs you creditability in my eyes and I believe others as well.

"I haven't seen the report." It apparently was published 3/11/11. Hopefully, here it is.

http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?F...

"We ARE producing our own resources." What about the 20+ years of Congressional and Executive moratorium on drilling and refinery regulation that made new ones unprofitable and old ones nearly so. If we are "permitting and leasing" more, it is because of actions that W. Bush has taken. I have read that every effort to repeal and reject hampering regs on the recovery of our natural sources of energy, by Bush and R' controlled Congress were immediately reinstated upon arrival of Obama and Pelosi Congress. Except, the renewal of the Congressional drilling restriction made too public by W. Bush. "They have decided to use "permitting" to slow it down".

"A lot of writers and radio hosts attract advertisers and boost ratings by blaming government for our energy problems." I'm sorry, Mark, but that is just, Baloney.

(Report Comment)
fred smith April 26, 2011 | 3:24 p.m.

http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/06/t...

http://www.kiplinger.com/businessresourc...

Here are two articles that make the point that we have plenty of UNTAPPED oil reserves due to POLICY over environmental issues. What am I thinking; the writers are obviously just trying to appeal to the rightwing tea party crowd. But, then why do they make so much sense?

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 26, 2011 | 4:19 p.m.

Mark - "there are a lot of very smart people whose research suggest a large component of climate change is being caused by the use of carbon based fuels, and I feel this also needs to be taken into consideration."

If these "very smart" folks were Honest as well, would Senate and House R's need to write Lisa Jackson of EPA about her new GHG standards, to be imposed with no Congressional input? Their letter, in part: "issuance of New Source Performance Standards for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from new, modified, and existing power plants and refineries are a case in point.

The settlement agreements were concocted in secret, as the businesses that would have to comply with them, and the consumers that would have to pay their ultimate costs, were not consulted. That the public had a mere 30 days to comment on what EPA wrought-after the fact-provides no consolation: EPA issued a press release before the comment period even commenced announcing that it would move forward "on GHG standards for fossil fuel power plants and petroleum refineries,".

Read the letter in full then tell us Govt has little to do with our energy problem.

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 26, 2011 | 7:21 p.m.

Mark - "efficiency has more potential to address the problem than a program of drilling, especially since much of the new oil would just replace declining production from current wells."

Hate to keep "piling on",but, would the above,lend credibility to what I have read, that Canadians, just across our border from ANWR, are now and have been sucking Our oil out to sell to us? Simple, I know, but I really believe, you and the rest need to concern yourselves less with economies, government, and the planet and more with the people on it. Hopefully Yours.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire April 26, 2011 | 7:35 p.m.

"He also said, “Don't believe everything that you breathe. You'll get a parking violation and a maggot on your sleeve.”
I’m not sure what either is supposed to me but I will say this they are both rude and juvenile. I will therefore thank you for refraining from such behavior, especially when speaking to me and while commenting on this post in general as there are adults here having a serious discussion.
http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/06/t...

I think you're making that last bit up.
Your link to the American tinker seems dysfunctional.

But this one rocks...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YgSPaXgAd...

(Report Comment)
David Sautner April 27, 2011 | 1:09 p.m.

The over pass from Big Bear BLVD to Vandiver across I-70 isn't being addressed here, however. That is a dangerous intersection that a lot of folks on bicycles have to ride across daily. I wish the council had opted for a paveway that extended to Big Bear Blvd, at least.

(Report Comment)
David Sautner April 27, 2011 | 2:25 p.m.

Who pays taxes?

http://www.american.com/graphics/2007/no...

It's true the super rich do not pay their fair share in income taxes. However under the law of supply-side economics that money is given back to the economy in the form of sales taxes and business investments. This supposedly creates jobs in the U.S.. But of course the super-rich decide to invest that extra money, that they recieve from paying lower income taxes, in third world countries where they can get cheap labor and low environmental oversight.

(Report Comment)
David Sautner April 27, 2011 | 2:50 p.m.

That url doesn't seem to present the graphic here is one that does:

http://i1199.photobucket.com/albums/aa46...

(Report Comment)
fred smith April 27, 2011 | 4:52 p.m.

Paul said, "Your link to the American tinker seems dysfunctional."

The links work fine Paul if you don't edit them.

http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/06/t......

(Report Comment)
fred smith April 27, 2011 | 4:53 p.m.

It's been fun folks but sounds like this thread is dead, see you all on another topic. :)

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire April 27, 2011 | 6:21 p.m.

You might try to cut and paste the article, but then again I can't really respect someone who bases an argument on an article that happens to be an opinion column. Facts tend to disappear fairly rapidly when you base your opinion on somebody's opinion... like so many people on here seem to do.

I tend to believe that many of the people who write those opinions know exactly how many holes are in their logic.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith April 28, 2011 | 5:39 a.m.

@ Mark Foecking:

I am well aware of the need to reduce production of carbon dioxide as a product of fuel combustion, but want to again note there are a number of industrial processes which require combustion and for which no economically viable alternative is known.

A good case in point is the manufacture of a commonly used ceramic product known as Portland cement, the active ingredient in all structural concrete. I don't think we're going to phase out use of concrete any time soon! To make the cement clinker (which is then ground into finished product) use of either natural gas* or coal as fuel is required. I know of no way electricity could be used as the fuel source, at least on a commercial basis.

There are plenty of other illustrations, in ceramics and metallurgy alone, but I chose this one because most people are familiar with concrete and its many uses.

Who says we must eliminate carbon dioxide emissions altogether in order to stifle global warming, and hasn't it been said that the largest single man-made source of emissions is from motor vehicles and NOT from industrial processes?

In our zeal to arrest global warning let's be selective as to what we do. One thing industry can do is become more thermally efficient: less emissions per unit of finished product. There's incentive to do this, as it can reduce manufacturing costs as well.

*- Fuel oil also works. The largest diameter rotary cement kiln in the world is located outside Clarksville, Missouri, burning finely graded coal as fuel (unless it has recently been shut down). Portland cement manufacture in the United States tends to be under foreign ownership.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking April 28, 2011 | 8:31 a.m.

Ellis Smith wrote:

"number of industrial processes which require combustion and for which no economically viable alternative is known."

Oh, I know. I'm not suggesting we can entirely eliminate carbon emissions, or that we'll even be able to eliminate them enough to stabilize CO2 levels. I'm just pointing out to the "drill, baby, drill" crowd that there something else to consider besides how much oil (or coal, etc.) we have.

fred smith wrote:

" we have plenty of UNTAPPED oil reserves due to POLICY over environmental issues."

The kiplinger articla makes two common mistakes. The first is that it initially treats oil shale and conventional oil the same. Almost 90% of that 2.3 trillion barrels is technically not even oil, and has a very different production ccharachteristics and problems.

Alberta's tar sands have similar issues, and it's taken the oil majors thrity years to reach 1.5 million BPD. They are very water and gas intensive operations, and many organizations in CO and UT object due to the scarcity of water and desire to protect tourist areas. These are Chamber types, not radical enviros.

Second, the article was written before the current recession. THe price of oil did not stay above $50/bbl, and a lot of companies lost interest after that. If companies want to do research (and some are), there's ample land open to prove a process is economical and compatible with the environment of the area. Until that time, there's no need to open these areas to development.

I have no problem with drilling in ANWR and neither do most Alaskans (although the local Indians do), but understand the footprint of these operations will be a lot larger than the 2000 acres that some state. There will be roads and settlements also, and these structures have their own issues on permafrost. The impact to the area will be quite a bit more than 2000 acres.

DK

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking April 28, 2011 | 8:32 a.m.

frank christian wrote:

"what I have read, that Canadians, just across our border from ANWR, are now and have been sucking Our oil out to sell to us?"

Where did you read that? The longest horizontal well I've ever heard of was 8 miles long. I don't believe they can steal our oil to any significant extent.

"If these "very smart" folks were Honest as well,"

The scientists that are concerned with climate change tend to be very honest people. You don't get away with dishonesty in science for very long. The Climategate people were exonerated of fraud by 3 separate commissions.

EPA is mandated to regulate airborne pollutants under the Clean Air act, and some interpret that EPA can regulate CO2. Others don't, and that's why there's legislation in Congress now to clarify that. If regulations are imposed that are later found improper, they will be changed. Until then, EPA is just doing its job based on a fairly well accepted body of science. That's what they're for.

It is tragic that climate change has become political. Whatever your politics, if the theories are correct, we will make it very much more difficult for the world to feed itself in 20-30 years. This is too important to leave to politicians, and while it is still controversial, I think it's worth some caution, even if it causes some economic problems. Don't you? (and I know the answer to that :) )

DK

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith April 28, 2011 | 9:16 a.m.

@ Mark Foecking:

I'm well aware that YOU are knowledgeable about these matters, but not everyone else is. Those most ignorant tend to paint everything with the broadest possible brush, as the saying goes.

Industrial situations need to be examined on a case-by-case basis, including whether there is a viable substitute for the product(s) being produced (and whether the substitute requires less heat energy to produce).

Here's a real world example. If the rotary kiln (see my prior post) is a disaster in terms of thermal efficiency, the modern glass tank (the melting and refining device used to produce a variety of finished glass items) isn't a whole lot better, even with regenerative heating. The present tanks were designed for maximum output, not for optimal thermal efficiency.

The Glass Manufacturing Industry Council (GMIC) currently has a project to design a "new age" glass tank that will be more thermally efficient: still the same amount of product but with less energy input. The project is cooperative between manufacturers as well as having input from the government, glass customers and academia. Missouri University of Science & Technology, as a leader in glass technology research, is involved. Because the project is under industry council administration, all American glass manufacturers will be able to use the results without having to pay royalties.

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 28, 2011 | 11:40 a.m.

Mark F. - "The longest horizontal well I've ever heard of was 8 miles long. I don't believe they can steal our oil to any significant extent." I misread your comment about this and thought, just thought, so don't laugh, you were alluding to gravitational flow of "old oil,somehow to the "new". Looking around, I note the question has been asked before, but it is moot, since one piece states that Canada, leased and allowed exploration next to ANWR. 90 wells were drilled, some right in middle of caribou calving grounds, but when no oil was found, made two Nat'l Parks of the area and are currently among the most vocal opposing Our search of the area. Sen. Murkowski wants to use directional drilling near ANWR and states presently 8 mi max, but will increase with technology.

"The scientists that are concerned with climate change tend to be very honest people". "You don't get away with dishonesty in science for very long." "Until then, EPA is just doing its job based on a fairly well accepted body of science." This from you after ignoring, time after time, the many noted instances of Democrat controlled Federal Government interferences into any and all our efforts to obtain needed sources of energy, old, new, clean, whatever. "It is tragic that climate change has become political." The United Nations is the most political entity in the world. Who knew about "global warming and "climate change" before the UN foisted the IPCC upon us?

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire May 3, 2011 | 12:04 a.m.

Nobody fRANK. Really.

They just made it up.

All the scientists get together and change the data while you're not paying attention.

They want to destroy you because they hate your freedom.

(Report Comment)

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