how long before fuel prices drop?

Discussion in 'Computer Support' started by richard, Oct 11, 2008.

  1. richard

    Whiskers Guest

    Some calculations are easier in the old money - try doing eighths or
    thirds or sixteenths with only 100 pennies in the pound! Having 960
    farthings to play with had something to be said for it. Inflation was the
    reason the old coins were no longer viable - nothing at all to do with
    rationalising anything, really. Just another spin-job.
    As long as your banana is the same size as mine, and we agree to both use
    either the length or the width, all is well.
     
    Whiskers, Oct 12, 2008
    #21
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  2. richard

    HEMI-Powered Guest

    Aardvark added these comments in the current discussion du jour
    ....
    I visited London with an Army friend while on leave from duty in
    West Germany the summer of 1971. I loved the city and her people.
    As it happened, Great Britain was in the midst of the conversion
    from old pence et al to new pence on the decimal system. I didn't
    understand that nor was I able to recognize the difference in the
    coins I was receiving in change, so you can imagine I was often
    embarrassed by giving people the wrong amoung of the wrong
    currency.

    BTW, I speak binary, octal, and hexadecimal as well. I never
    thought about bases 20 and 12 but I suppose I could have picked
    that up also back in 1971 if I'd known I needed to.

    Interesting comments you've made, I snipped most but did read them.
    Thanks.
     
    HEMI-Powered, Oct 12, 2008
    #22
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  3. richard

    HEMI-Powered Guest

    Aardvark added these comments in the current discussion du jour
    ....
    I suppose so. I doubt that anyone thinks they have enough money,
    make enough in wages, salary, or pension, nor pay as little in
    taxes as they'd like. And, no matter the country, there is no
    easy way to turn things around if the pols act contrary to
    citizens wishes except maybe to simply vote against the
    incumbents everytime on the theory they are flat on their asses
    and take your chances on new blood.

    But, I don't think so.
    That isn't the question. The question is, or ought to be, how to
    get the free market system to generate the tax revenues and not
    businesses or citizens under the load of confiscatory taxes. It
    can be easily shown by anyone with even a smattering of knowledge
    in economics that tax revenues ALWAYS go down when tax rates go
    up, but ALWAY go up when tax rates go down.

    I leave this as an exercise for the reader to prove.

    NO! It does NOT cost you zero! Who in Hell do you think is paying
    for the doctors, nurses, hospitals, equipment, everything? The
    damn tooth fairy?! Government have NO money except that which
    their citizens willingly or unwillingly cede to them. Period.
    And, absent running a currency printing press, governments also
    must make trade offs in spending. To spend more on "free" health
    care, one must for example, spend less on nation defense as ALL
    the NATO countries have done.

    Have any of the millions of good people in Europe ever considered
    what their government might've done if the 9/11 attacks had been
    on Big Ben, The Eiffel Tower, the Venice Canals, the Holland
    dikes, or any or the thousands of extremely valuable targets that
    have stood for hundreds or even thousands of years? Please tell
    me how you would do that after you gutted your strategic and
    tactical military after the end of the Cold War, which of course,
    never really ended.

    I'll take a very mildly regulated free market system and LOW
    taxes every time to free health care, free unemployment
    insurance, free retirement benefits, free anything. We call these
    things "entitlements" because people have become accustomed to
    thinking they are somehow owed a living, but they're not.
    Somebody with higher means than they are really paying for all
    this "free" stuff.
     
    HEMI-Powered, Oct 12, 2008
    #23
  4. richard

    HEMI-Powered Guest

    Whiskers added these comments in the current discussion du jour
    ....
    I've been following this sub-thread a bit and find it fascinating
    but have somehow missed how this has anything to do with the topic.
    Isn't the issue what effect taxation and currency value what is
    being discussed? Conversions are simply mechanical calculations in
    the final analysis.
     
    HEMI-Powered, Oct 12, 2008
    #24
  5. richard

    Aardvark Guest

    I intend to keep the dimensions of my banana between myself and those who
    choose to indulge in specialised indoor activities with me, thank you
    very much :)
     
    Aardvark, Oct 12, 2008
    #25
  6. richard

    Whiskers Guest

    It's called 'thread drift'. Welcome to usenet :))
     
    Whiskers, Oct 12, 2008
    #26
  7. richard

    Whiskers Guest

    May you never contract a chronic illness, be severely injured, or outlive
    the proceeds of your assets.
     
    Whiskers, Oct 12, 2008
    #27
  8. richard

    Aardvark Guest

    Sorry about that. I should have stated the following: it costs me zero at
    the point of use, although I have already paid for it in statutory
    National Insurance deductions from my wages all my working life (I think
    N.I. contributions are 7.5% of gross pay or £80-something, whichever is
    the lesser and there is a lower level of income below which it isn't
    deducted).
     
    Aardvark, Oct 12, 2008
    #28
  9. richard

    HEMI-Powered Guest

    Whiskers added these comments in the current discussion du jour
    ....
    I have but I have taken prudent steps NOT to outlive my assets.
    That is called being financially responsible and NOT living off the
    government dole while pounding sand at Americans about how free
    everything is to you.

    Who in Hell do you think is really paying for this, never saw an
    answer. In your case, I hope your socialist "free" system survives
    the global economic meltdown. Your country has already pumped the
    equivalent of over $400B into your faltering economy in just the
    last 7-10 days and yours is but a small fraction of ours. Who is
    going to pay for that? I know it ain't you because you're living
    off some other productive person's income.
     
    HEMI-Powered, Oct 12, 2008
    #29
  10. richard

    HEMI-Powered Guest

    Whiskers added these comments in the current discussion du jour
    ....
    I speak and understand Usenet. I also understand better than most
    the macro economic issues behind the rather strange way oil and gas
    prices seem to be diverging. BTW, there was a rather wild swing in
    crude prices amidst the 1,000 point Dow rollercoaster ride on
    Friday. Since we are talking about oil, it was as high as $86 but
    closed on Friday at $78. It is harder to get updates on the weekend
    but I'm sure the futures market absent the speculators is still
    running strong right now.
     
    HEMI-Powered, Oct 12, 2008
    #30
  11. richard

    HEMI-Powered Guest

    Aardvark added these comments in the current discussion du jour
    ....

    OK. Under that definition, mine are pretty much free also. My
    company pays the big hit but I have co-pays that I often don't
    see for months until medical billings come back from my insurance
    and the co-pay can be calculated.

    Let me remind you again, that my government isn't conceptually
    any different than yours in one regard. And, that is that there
    is only so much money in the budget to go around. Fiscal
    conservatives like to brag that they don't allow deficit spending
    but modern day ones surely do. It still goes by the name of
    "print money", but of course, no money is physically being
    printed, it is being borrowed. And, in our case, we also can no
    longer say that it is OK to have a large national deficit because
    we owe it to ourselves. Yes, Americans still buy T-Bills, but the
    bulk of what has grown by my estimated - not officially
    acknowledged - from under $4 trillion in 2001 to over $9T 6 weeks
    ago to what I estimate is north of $16T now. Man, what a ride.

    We have several coincident taxation systems that are involved
    here, Aardvark. One is the IRS, Internal Revenue Service, which
    is the main means of providing individual and business tax
    revenue to our Federal government. Then we have the retirement
    entitlement program called Social Security where employees and
    employers each contribute half of about 6.6% or so until they
    retire. Finally, we have Medicare augmented by private insurance
    to cover doctors, hospitals, testing, and prescription drugs. The
    IRS system is progressive meaning that we have "brackets" where
    when one reaches certain threshold amounts of income their
    marginal tax rate jumps up by X%, so it is hard to predict what
    our equivalent would be to your numbers.

    I can, however, use myself as an illustration. I am retired but
    not yet on Social Security. I will go on that at age 62 next
    year. I won't go on Medicare until 65. Since I am no longer
    working, I am also no longer paying Social Security taxes nor is
    my former employer but my IRS marginal tax rate last year was
    around 17% as I recall. Considering what our citizens
    collectively demand of our government, including a half trillion
    dollars worth of military might, I think we get our money's
    worth.

    Let me offer another alternative view so we don't argue. Usually
    our Republican presidential candiates promote some sort of
    privatization of the entitlements on the theory that people will
    seek the lowest prices if they have skin in the game. While the
    Democrats usually promote some sort of universal or socialized
    medical system. This election cycle is no different. The two
    candidates real plans are FAR different than their rhetoric,
    naturally, but if I had to peg it, I'd say that Sen. McCain's
    plan is a modified version of a flexible spending account where
    he proposes to give people $5,000 to spend as they please while
    Sen. Obama's plan is a lot more like Canadas universal healthcare
    system. I can't really say it is exactly the same because of the
    fine print involved.

    Now, are either of these guys gonna offer me "free" anything?
    Nope, ain't gonna happen. I will have to pay, as will everyone,
    one way or another. What my goal is will be to try to ensure that
    we maintain a progressive taxation system so that those in the
    middle class pay less than the poor and the wealthy pay more than
    the middle class. That is only fair in my mind. However, getting
    that to actually work without a tax code that is over 66,000
    pages long has proven to be impossible so far.

    And with that, I wish you a pleasant Sunday and I apologize if
    the stick I shoved in your eye was excessively sharp. I think we
    both misunderstood each other because the definitions and
    measurement parameters needed to be stated.
     
    HEMI-Powered, Oct 12, 2008
    #31
  12. richard

    Aardvark Guest

    It has been both fun and educational. The stick must have hit my glass
    eye, so I didn't feel a thing (said glass eye having been supplied free
    at the point of insertion by our NHS :) *).


    * I don't really have a glass eye- that was an attempt at humoUr :)
     
    Aardvark, Oct 12, 2008
    #32
  13. richard

    Aardvark Guest


    Forgot to mention: for every employee N.I. contribution there is also an
    employer's contribution which is always larger. By how much I forget, if
    I ever knew.
     
    Aardvark, Oct 12, 2008
    #33
  14. richard

    chuckcar Guest

    Their *taxes* pay for social programs full stop. Gas taxes are a small
    part of that. The price of gas is due to the lack of british supply of
    oil.
     
    chuckcar, Oct 13, 2008
    #34
  15. richard

    chuckcar Guest

    The UK doesn't produce enough oil on it's own so it has to import from
    Arabia. So just by that, it's more expensive. The US is lucky enough to
    have two adjacent countries that produce enough oil to fill most of it's
    needs. I have no idea about refining capacity in the UK.
     
    chuckcar, Oct 13, 2008
    #35
  16. richard

    chuckcar Guest

    So the price of gas has some magical bearing on the income tax of the
    people buying it why? sounds like the nonsence conservatives spout about
    lowering taxes (for the rich and corporations only) when they want to get
    elected.
     
    chuckcar, Oct 13, 2008
    #36
  17. richard

    HEMI-Powered Guest

    Aardvark added these comments in the current discussion du jour
    ....
    I got the joke. <grin> Glad you're not pissed at me. I came on
    too strong. It's just that here in the Colonies, we are strugging
    with the very core of things like is healthcare a priviledge or a
    right? Should healthcare be something that government provides as
    a part of its services or should the private sector continue with
    help from the government to reduce costs? One can make similar
    comparisons on about all the major social issues as well as core
    national defense things like should we continue in Iraq or
    withdraw? Should we make Iraq pay or let them use their oil
    profits to rebuild their own country, etc.

    It is the notion that things coming from the gubmint are somehow
    really free that gets my goat, Aardvark, because at least here
    there is a view, supported by studies of human behavior, that
    once people get hooked on "free" anything from their city,
    county, state or Federal government, they tend to want it for the
    rest of their lives.

    An easy example is our Social Security system which was never
    envisioned as a true replacement for pensions but rather
    something to help older Americans during a time of economic
    crisis. And, the retirement age was calculated by actuaries to
    allow for just a few years of benefits before they died.
    Constrast that with today's life expectancy of 80 or 85 which
    means drawing benefits for maybe 20 years. Then there's the very
    idea that SS is a trust fund implying that people actually bank
    their taxes and the match by their employer and we see people
    asking to just be given their money at retirement. Well, there is
    no trust fund. That was a euphemism at best. It has been
    estimated that when the Baby Boomers like me get on the dole
    beginning in 2010-2012 there will be only 2 people working for
    every one drawing benefits, a clearly unsustainable system. So,
    the pols will have to raise taxes, raise the retirment age,
    reduce benefits or all three. Any of these things are really bad
    for the economy.

    Healthcare, though, is far more expensive.

    But, to bring this thread drift back to oil and gas prices, I
    should mention that our gas tax system may be different than
    many/most/all of the European Union country's notions. I really
    don't know. Our Federal gas taxes were origiginally tacked on to
    pay for building and maintaining highways, including the
    Interstate highway system. Today, though, with fuel efficiency
    rising but miles driven/year rising even faster, the pot of money
    for building and fixing roads and bridges is woefully inadequate,
    so the Feds are piloting a program that will require GPS tracking
    systems in cars as a part of a crash, speeding, and driving meter
    black box that they can use to assess road taxes on miles driven
    at the CAFE the car is rated at.

    Many/most/all, certainly mine, states asses sales taxes at a
    fixed percentage so they rise and fall with retail prices.

    The point being that having a moderate tax that is fixed in
    cents/gallon but a sales tax that rises and falls with the
    elastic retail price leads to difficulties in comparing gas
    prices here to any other country's system and also makes it that
    much tougher to correlate price changes at the well head with the
    gas pump.

    I'm happy that you've found this discussion, especially my input,
    stimulating. I have, also, and I've learned a lot.

    Have a good one!
     
    HEMI-Powered, Oct 13, 2008
    #37
  18. richard

    HEMI-Powered Guest

    Aardvark added these comments in the current discussion du jour
    ....
    Similar to our Social Security system with taxes employees and
    employers the same.

    How can you fully fund an entire medical system on taxes as low
    as around only 15-20% or so? And, don't your fellow citizens find
    that a flat tax, i.e., a fixed percentage is regressive since it
    falls most heavily on the poor and the so-called rich get to
    skate? There is great disagreement on these concepts here but
    most people believe that a progressive system where rate
    percentages rise in lumps as overall gross income rises ensures
    that the poor pay little or no taxes, the middle class is treated
    fairly and the wealthy can do the patriotic thing and pay more.

    Economics that our government and business employ have studied
    the effects of raising or lowering overall income, retirement and
    healthcare costs or lowering them as well as dividends and
    capital gains. And, while presidential administrations are simply
    loathe to admit what their own economists are saying, independent
    economists tell the truth:

    Raising taxes has ALWAYS resulted in, eventually, lower NOT
    higher revenues to the Federal government. As I hinted at
    earlier, the wealthy from made or inherited fortunes based at
    least partially on capital gains have long been able to see these
    changes coming and adjusted where they get their money from to
    minimize their taxes. It is estimated that some 7-8 trillion
    dollars with a "T" is hidden in some sort of legal off-shore
    fund, bank, or something and the amount would go up if taxes on
    capital gains or a soak the rich scheme goes into place.

    Contrast, the effects on revenue from the first Bush
    administration to Clinton to the 2nd Bush administration for just
    a moment and one can see that today's president's policy of
    lowering marginal tax rates, but cutting capital gains from 28%
    to only 15% has actually increased revenue. During the middle of
    Clinton's administration, the top 5% of income in the U.S. paid
    about 40% of the IRS taxes but today, the top 5% pays over 90%.
    How Sen. Obama expects to increase the overall tax on people
    making more than $250,000 to fund a tax cut for the other 95% and
    not have revenues sink rather than rise is beyond me. This isn't
    a partisan comment, it is simple economics and looking at
    history.

    Incidently, I took special pains to notice gas prices on the way
    to and from dinner last night at a restaurant about 9 miles or so
    away where the route was different in each direction. ALL of the
    gas stations were selling regular gas for $2.88 or $2.89. I was
    astounded until I thought about how this may have happened.

    It is, in my view, NOT a price fixing conspiracy. I believe after
    thinking about it some that this commonality to meet local
    competition is most likely the result of the major oil companies
    selling gas to franchisees is doing computer tracking of prices
    and advising their customers, the small business gas station
    owners, where to set prices to maximize profits during volitile
    price periods as well as ensure that no one gets an unfair
    competitive advantage.

    In ending, it looks to be another wild week on Wall Street with
    oil and securities futures prices here and in the major world's
    exchanges sharply up overnight. And, Great Britain has apparently
    decided to inject another $80B or so equivalent in pounds into
    your market to increase liquidity. I can't track this as well as
    here due to much less media attention to your economy or anywhere
    else in Europe but the total is getting near half a trillion U.S.
    dollars.

    Do you have any idea how large GB's economy may be vs. the U.S.?
    I'd like to say 10% but that is purely a guess, not even a SWAG.
    But, to the extent that 10-20% may be in the ballpark, half a
    trillion is REALLY large compared to the announced infusion of
    capital and the bailouts here. I think the true number here is
    many times that, though, perhaps as much as $7-9 TRILLION dollars
    if our Treasury were to use the SEC's own mark-to-market
    accounting system to value the total amount of toxic loans being
    backed up.

    Hope this new info on taxes and gas prices is of interest to you.
    If you'd like to elaborate on your systems, I am all ears.
     
    HEMI-Powered, Oct 13, 2008
    #38
  19. richard

    HEMI-Powered Guest

    chuckcar added these comments in the current discussion du jour
    ....
    My view was, and still is majorly, that gas taxes in GB are
    designed to both bring in revenue that can be used for socialist
    programs but also to discourage driving large, fuel inefficient
    cars in the crowded cities. This is similar in my myopic view to
    the central European countries. Aardvark has provided some
    insight into that which will prompt me to do more investigation.

    In your view, how much does gas cost you today vs at it's peak
    and how much do you think are taxes? Can you cite the trends in
    crude prices from wherever you get your oil from? See below but
    I'm interested in getting smarter on the global effects of crude
    prices, taxation, and currency value fluctuations on retail
    prices. For now, I simply cannot believe that the reason gas
    prices are more than twice ours - if they really are - is due to
    higher crude prices. The world's highly competitive oil producing
    countries just won't support such a variation without individual
    country taxes being a big part.

    I have other sources of info on taxation schemes in Canada,
    Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, Germany, the Netherlands,
    and similar G7/G20 countries but nothing for Japan and China
    directly. However, my "intelligence" still suggests that overall
    taxation for gas, the presumed root of retail price differences,
    ranges from 40% to maybe 60% or more of the retail price as it
    was when gas was about $4/gallon equivalent.

    This entire economic model is now destroyed by the currenct
    economic crisis gripping the entire world exactly coinciding with
    the apparent demise of the oil speculators seemingly resulting in
    lower oil and retail gas prices. So, unless European Union gas
    taxes are really a percent of wholesale or retail and not a fixed
    amount makes a BIG difference.

    And, I have completely lost track of whether EU countries still
    assess taxes based on car size,weight, engine size and power
    and/or if value added tax systems are still the norm. If all of
    my assumptions are at or near the mark, then comparing prices
    between the U.S. and Europe becomes a complex macro economic
    problem and not just a fluid unit and currency conversion
    problem.

    Anyone have any real facts here? Aardvark?

    Now, as to oil supply in the EU, depending on the country,
    domestic oil reserves are indeed small but far worse than U.S.
    dependence on OPEC is Europe's growing dependence on Russian oil.
    Should Putin engineer a resurgence of the former KGB-run USSR as
    many fear, he could easily hold Europe hostage until it abandons
    NATO and any alliances with the U.S.
     
    HEMI-Powered, Oct 13, 2008
    #39
  20. richard

    HEMI-Powered Guest

    chuckcar added these comments in the current discussion du jour
    ....
    Can't speak for you entirely, of course, but I thought you got oil
    from Russia as well as/instead of OPEC. As to the U.S. we get
    relatively little oil from Canada and South America and our own
    reserves are barely 1/8 of our appetite.

    At the time of the 1973 OPEC Oil Embargo, the U.S. was importing
    less than 25% of it's oil. Today, the number is 68% and rising,
    believed to be in the 80% range within a decade so your thesis is
    false on it's face, I'm afraid.
     
    HEMI-Powered, Oct 13, 2008
    #40
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