Coming back from Europe, I have realized that America still has hope. In fact, I believe we will be in good shape if we tread carefully. We are actually quite fortunate:
Homes in Paris and London are still hopelessly expensive for most families. Even with high prices, many homes lack basic necessities such as air-conditioning or multiple bathrooms.
Why would someone choose to be stranded with rowdy youths or drunkards every day in subway trains?
Most European countries think that social engineering is the answer to all problems. I think they are absolutely wrong, unless they think frequent strikes are part of the productivity miracle. With sky-high tax rates, are than reasons (other than escalation of commitment) why productive people still want to stay there?
(Of course, there are exceptions. For example, Switzerland is still clean, efficient, and beautiful. Incidentally, it has some of the best tax policies in Europe.)
Anyway, it is nice to know that we will do fine.
- Peter P
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>> Peter P, I tend to agree with you
I totally agree with The Original Bankster ......
Europeans Protest Fuel Taxes But Accept High Prices
Rising Cost of Gas Ignites Little Ire;
By GUY CHAZAN in London and MARCUS WALKER in Berlin
May 28, 2008; Page A8
With gasoline costing upward of $9 a gallon in parts of Europe, protests are putting governments under pressure to cut the taxes that make up much of the price of fuel.
Hundreds of truck drivers converged on London Tuesday, jamming a major road and forcing police to divert motorists. In France, fishermen continued to block ports and oil depots, while their counterparts in Spain and Italy signaled they would join the protest. French President Nicolas Sarkozy responded by calling for a Europe-wide cap on fuel sales tax.
So far, however, the real puzzle is that the soaring fuel costs -- which make U.S. pump prices look cheap by comparison -- haven't caught fire as a major political issue in Europe. The reasons for that, analysts say, range from simple fatalism to a growing green consciousness that makes some Europeans feel they should be cutting back on car travel anyhow.
Elsewhere, rising fuel prices have provoked outbursts of public anger. In Indonesia, fuel prices shot up by more than a quarter last weekend as authorities cut subsidies that were costing the state budget billions of dollars. Students and fishermen took to the streets, clashing with police and blocking roads. Malaysia sought to defend its heavy subsidies this week by banning drivers of foreign-registered vehicles from buying gas near its borders with Thailand and Singapore, where fuel can cost twice as much.
In the U.S., record-high pump prices are now front and center of the political debate. Presidential contenders Sens. Hillary Clinton and John McCain have called for a gas-tax holiday over the summer to cushion the impact for consumers. Lawmakers have proposed revoking billions of dollars in tax breaks to big oil companies and slapping a 25% tax on their windfall profits.
The government, however, may be able to tough out the protests, which are so far relatively low key. "There was a lot of public anger back in 2000, but I don't detect that level of sympathy for the truck drivers now," said Geoff Dossetter, a spokesman for the Freight Transport Association. "Now there's just this dumb acceptance of the price of fuel."
That is mirrored in other European countries. In Germany, only a few percent of voters see fuel prices as a major political issue, says Manfred Güllner, head of opinion-polling institute Forsa. That is partly because of fatalism, but also because of the big role green issues play in German politics and society, some Germans believe.
"The environmental awareness has become so entrenched here that people think it's better to reduce fuel consumption" than to protest, says Asmus Kurig, a schoolteacher from Karlsruhe in southern Germany. The German government has been able to reject repeated calls by opposition politicians to cut fuel taxes, saying there is no scope in the budget. But in a concession to motorists, Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet has postponed a planned overhaul of the annual car tax that would have hit owners of older cars.
Officials at the European Commission in Brussels said they were perplexed by Mr. Sarkozy's call on French radio Tuesday for a Europe-wide cut in fuel taxes, because it would need agreement from all 27 European Union states to waive rules that put a floor under sales taxes. They also said it would be a bad idea. "We would be saying that [oil producers] can raise prices and this will be paid for by the taxes of Europeans," said a Commission spokesman.
Today, I happpened to catch this discussion on CNBC involving the topic of whether homes are priced to buy. I found the video on their webstie, so I thought I'd post it. Sorry, this is off topic, but I think you'll enjoy it.
FollowBefriend (4)117 threads17,655 comments
Environmental awareness? I agree.
Czech President Vaclav Klaus said Tuesday he is ready to debate Al Gore about global warming, as he presented the English version of his latest book that argues environmentalism poses a threat to basic human freedoms.
Looks like the Czech president is absolutely right on the issue.
Klaus said a free market should be used to address environmental concerns and said he opposed as unrealistic regulations or greenhouse gas capping systems designed to reduce the impact of climate change.
FollowBefriend287 comments GammaRaze's website
People care about the environment enough on their own. And, as caring people who want to live in clean and unpolluted surroundings, they will do the right thing.
Considering that we still have commons, I am reluctantly OK with government stepping to prevent pollution of common areas like lakes, rivers etc. but the global warming crowd seems to have a deeper, more sinister agenda.
Their main objective seems to be power and control over other people's lives and to take people's freedoms away in the name of "saving the planet." I admire Klaus for a being a politician and still taking a counter-current stance. I don't buy Gore's messiah act one bit. I am totally cereal :)
I just don't know why Europeans are so scared about the environment. In Paris, I have seen four "Smart" cars in formation. Was that a Smug Pride Parade?
I am reluctantly OK with government stepping to prevent pollution of common areas like lakes, rivers etc.
I agree, so long as the regulations are reasonable. For example, polluters can be charged a clean-up fee.
Which car would you rather be in? Smart or S-class?
(Crash test video)
Don't mention pig, I immediately thought of Iberiberico ham. And I am hungry.
Joking or not, it is irrelevant. The human civilization is a farce.
The original bankster is environmentally unfriendly because:
(a) he consumes oxygen and releases carbon dioxide and
(b) he is full of hot air which aggravates the global warming problem.
full of hot air which aggravates the global warming problem
Perhaps we are proud to be selfish.
With Free Market, self-serving individuals collectively produce the greatest good for all. This is paradoxical yet reasonable.
Consumption is not wrong. Besides, Nature does not care about equality. It just operates.
What you said did not bother me a bit. Humanity has been a tragedy from day one.
And don't lecture us on world hunger.
Environmentalism is just a form of "I've got mine so screw you" to developing countries.
FollowBefriend25 threads1,690 comments SQT15's website
Why all the hate toward Peter P? You don't have to agree with him, but why the insults? Peter's never rude and he isn't a troll. He's been a regular here longer than anyone and he's never been anything but a gentleman.
He has a lot of valid points to make. Personally, I think insults are the last resort of someone who doesn't have a real argument.
A must read on this topic about the Conservative Nanny State of the U.S.
SQT, thanks for your support. How are you doing lately?
There are several types of conservatives. I have no doubt that some believe in the Nanny State.
I wonder what TOB is doing about world hunger.
Bap has always been an ally. :) Thanks!
Yep, if we had sticked with what we *needed*, we would still be cavemen.
Humanity is about wants, not needs. We must grow beyond ourselves. That is our motivation to exist.
Long Live The Original Bankster ....
I definitely get were you're going with your post. I've lived outside the U.S. and I am grateful for how good we have it here. As far as world hunger, obesity and all the other issues that TOB brings up, they're not exactly exclusive to the U.S. Obesity rates are skyrocketing all over the world. I don't think it's a U.S. problem, but rather a problem among any country that has more than it needs. The U.S., without getting into any politics, gives big when giving aid to foreign countries.
I think U.S. bashing is just plain fashionable among some groups. I think it's a waste of time and energy. The fact is, most people I know who do the bashing do not give money and time to charities the way they should. My parents were always big ones to complain about U.S. policy but were incredibly selfish and look where they ended up. The best people I know don't complain. They do what they need to do to make the world a better place by putting their money where their mouth is.
They do what they need to do to make the world a better place by putting their money where their mouth is.
For example, multinationals are often vilified as exploiters. However, they do bring commercial opportunities to developing nations. It may look horrible to pay third world laborers only a few bucks a day, but it is inhumane to deny those people the chance to gain productive employment.
I often hear people in the USA tell me how Nike or some company like that only pays its laborers in the third a few dollars a day but in most of the third world, that is good money.
Morons like the OB would rather have the poor people in third world countries starve from unemployment than have the voluntary choice of working for a company of their choice. This is their idea of compassion.
To understand how much TOB really cares about the "poor" countries, just go through the archives and read what he has written about India.
He is just a whiny loser troll.
Morons like the OB would rather have the poor people in third world countries starve from unemployment than have the voluntary choice of working for a company of their choice.
So he can say that we let people in third world countries starve.
India and China have chosen to embrace the market. Just look at their miracles. :)
Peter P, I have personally lived through the transformation in India from a soc1alist country (it was added to the country's name in the 60s!) towards a more open market in the early 90s. It is still far from being a free market but I could see the difference with even those changes.
India is reaping huge rewards now for even the minimal changes it made towards the free market. Without the free market, there is no real prosperity or freedom.
Unlike many of the ranting lunatics, I have actually lived through the different systems. I have actually lived in multiple countries. Which is why I am confident that I know what I am talking about.
Which is also why I don't have to resort to tossing out random baseless droppings from my brain and avoid answering when someone asks me to backup my own assertions, unlike TOB.
Race has very little to do with it, although TOB's lonely brain cell would like to simplify things by dividing thought along those lines.
Don't pull random links out of your ass, TOB. It is a country of a billion people. It is far from perfect because, well, it is full of people and people are far from perfect.
Your opinion about India aint worth jack $hit TOB because I'll bet you've never been there and know nothing about it and in your stupid head, that somehow makes you an expert on that country? F off.
Hey, whatever happened to not answering me because you don't respect me? I guess that only applies when I ask you to backup your own baseless assertions. When you see an opportunity to puke out nonsense, you can't resist replying to people you don't respect. LOL.
You are a waste of perfectly good oxygen.
Perfect example of the mentality induced by a myopic, self-obsessed and ego-centric cultural system. Mouthing empty husksterisms as if universal platitudes and wisdom. Typically American. Understands so little of the his own society and the nature of other societies that it makes one gag. I would manage this mind probably has a college degree, too.
The richness of European culture and landscape (being a dual citizen of the EU and the US) can not be quantified in any simple set of measures. Compared to the US which is essentially, and largely, an ecological and human disaster systematically transforming what was once a magnificent world into a shithole primarily to serve profit. The absurd and deranged notion that the mindless pursuit of self-interest produces the greatest good is self-serving crap....look around you...this mentality has created a nightmare within the built environment, within society as well as within your head.
The true measure of a culture is the quality of its people and Americans, for the most part, are losers in this realm. Obsessed with power symbols and status, gizmos and trinkets, entertainments and fat intake, they generally no nothing about living since their whole existence is essential that of a caged animals obeying all the social engineering that institutions like the RAND Corporation develop on behalf of Madison Avenue. Its funny, most every European I know that visits here sees Americans as largely very conformist, superficial and uninteresting. As for freedoms, they typical laugh as it is quite clear that America is one of the least free places on earth. Its just that the poor dumb slobs are told they are free a thousand times a day from the propaganda ministries that they have come believe wage slavery, debt peonage and consumption means freedom. HaHaHaHa.... No one else does. if our ill-fated pioneer ancestors who lacked college degrees and the internet understood those things to be the antithesis of freedom. The poorest Africans, on the whole, know more about life and the nature of it that the 'best' educated slugs in this land.
What a joke. A bad one at that.
More America bashing.
I'm sure you feel very fashionable right now. Very chic. Very superior.
One thing TOB was right about me. I need to lose weight...
As for freedoms, they typical laugh as it is quite clear that America is one of the least free places on earth.
Much of Europe does not even cherish the freedom of speech. Americans (except the far left) tend to accept (or at least tolerate) dissident opinions. Enough said.
The notion that humanity can ruin our planet is arrogant at best. Earth can absolutely shrug and move on. We are tiny.
The fact is that the environment has been constantly changing since the beginning of time. We, as a species, must learn to adapt. There is absolutely, positively no way we can resist natural changes.
Climate change? Of course. Alert me when the climate stops changing.
It is entirely possible that smug people may sponsor scientific researches.
My heart breaks.
And I thought this blog had reached its lowest point with the emergence of GC person. How mistaken I was ...
Please, leave GC alone. GC is a charming man. GC may take your woman for a ride.
Geeezus, the only time I came to read this blog after a long hiatus is this puke.
Some european states are good, although I've found that many western Europeans want to marry and come to America. Be careful. Use caution.
Tell me something about monasteries. I'm planning my exit.
FollowBefriend7 threads204 comments Pacifica, CA
"Homes are comparatively affordable in this country
Most people are not condemned to public transportation here
Tax rate is relatively low for moderate-income families on this side of the pond"
I think Peter P. is putting us on.
A blog on which home ownership is derided as being unaffordable at this time?
Condemned to public transport when gasoline is killing the economy and many people's budgets?
Come on now, 'fess up, it's a put-on, right?
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