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This has my vote in 08'

NCfanNCfan Posts: 945
edited June 2006 in A Moving Train
I'd like to see McCain, Obama and Rice team up to lead this party... just a wish!


Seeds for a Geo-Green party
by Thomas L. Friedman

The recent focus of the Republican-led Congress on divisive diversions, like gay marriage and flag burning, coupled with the unveiling of Unity '08, an Internet-based third party that plans to select its presidential candidate through online voting, has intensified the chatter that a third party, and maybe even a fourth, will emerge in the 2008 election.

Up to now, though, most of that talk has been about how a third party might galvanize voters, using the Web, rather than what it would actually galvanize them to do. I'd like to toss out an idea in the hopes that some enterprising politician or group of citizens — or Unity '08 — will develop it. It's the concept I call "Geo-Green."

What might a Geo-Green third party platform look like?

Its centerpiece would be a $1 a gallon gasoline tax, called "The Patriot Tax," which would be phased in over a year. People earning less than $50,000 a year, and those with unusual driving needs, would get a reduction on their payroll taxes as an offset.

The billions of dollars raised by the Patriot Tax would go first to shore up Social Security, second to subsidize clean mass transit in and between every major American city, third to reduce the deficit, and fourth to massively increase energy research by the National Science Foundation and the Energy and Defense Departments' research arms.

Most important, though, the Patriot Tax would increase the price of gasoline to a level that would ensure that many of the most promising alternatives — ethanol, biodiesel, coal gasification, solar energy, nuclear energy and wind — would all be economically competitive with oil and thereby reduce both our dependence on crude and our emissions of greenhouse gases.

In short: the Geo-Green party could claim that it has a plan for shoring up America's energy security, environmental security, economic security and Social Security with one move.

It could also claim that — however the Iraq war ends — the Geo-Green party has a strategy for advancing political and economic reform in the Arab-Muslim world, without another war. By stimulating all these alternatives to oil, we would gradually bring down the price, possibly as low as $25 to $30 a barrel. That, better than anything else, would force regimes like those in Iran, Sudan, Egypt, Angola, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia to open up. Countries don't reform when you tell them they should. They reform when they tell themselves they must — and only when the price of oil goes down will they tell themselves they must.

Moreover, by making America the leader in promoting clean power, the Geo-Greens would be offering a credible plan for recouping a lot of America's lost prestige in the world — prestige it lost when the Bush team trashed Kyoto. This would put America in a much better position to galvanize allies to combat jihadism.

Last, Geo-Greenism could be the foundation of a new American patriotism and educational renaissance. Under the banner "Green is the New Red, White and Blue," the Geo-Green party would seek to inspire young Americans to study math, science and engineering to help make America not only energy independent but also the dominant player in what will be the dominant industry of the 21st century: clean power and green technology.

Frankly, I wish we did not need a third party. I wish the Democrats would adopt a Geo-Green agenda as their own. (Republicans never would.) But if not, I hope it will become the soul of a third party.

"Historically, third parties arise in America when they seize a neglected issue and demonstrate that there is a real constituency for it," said Micah Sifry, author of "Spoiling for a Fight: Third-Party Politics in America." "They win by forcing that issue into the mainstream — even if the party itself is later forgotten. Conditions certainly seem ripe for such a third-party bid today."

But rather than artificially splitting the difference between the Democrats and the Republicans, Mr. Sifry added, "a successful third party has to get in front of both — with an agenda that inspires hope and with leadership that inspires trust. Fear of a dark future isn't the best motivator; hope for a better one is."

That's Geo-Greenism. To be sure, Geo-Greenism is not a complete philosophy on par with liberalism or conservatism. But it can be paired with either of them to make them more relevant to the biggest challenges of our time. Even if Geo-Greenism couldn't attract enough voters to win an election, it might attract a big enough following to frighten both Democrats and Republicans into finally doing the right things.
Post edited by Unknown User on

Comments

  • The "centerpiece" of this wonderful party is a GAS TAX????? Wow, American politics has hit a new low.
  • NCfanNCfan Posts: 945
    The "centerpiece" of this wonderful party is a GAS TAX????? Wow, American politics has hit a new low.

    Care to expand on your critique?
  • know1know1 Posts: 6,593
    The "centerpiece" of this wonderful party is a GAS TAX????? Wow, American politics has hit a new low.

    Exactly. The last thing this country needs is more taxes. It's a big red flag when one of the first things they mentioned is increased taxes. How about a platform of lowering taxes and reducing government waste?
    The only people we should try to get even with...
    ...are those who've helped us.

    Right 'round the corner could be bigger than ourselves.
  • I'd happily pay it if we put it to good use.
    Or if it just got people to drive less.
    Teamwork. Rawk. Pwnage. Infinite Possibilities. YIELD. Hells yeah.
  • NCfan wrote:
    Care to expand on your critique?

    It just seems a bit silly to build an entire party around a foundation of a gas tax.

    It also seems a bit odd to then claim that this gas tax will have the following effects:

    - Stop the purchase of gas
    - Fund the government's activities based on the purchase of gas

    Doesn't that seem to be a bit conflicting?
  • NCfanNCfan Posts: 945
    know1 wrote:
    Exactly. The last thing this country needs is more taxes. It's a big red flag when one of the first things they mentioned is increased taxes. How about a platform of lowering taxes and reducing government waste?

    Can you explain why? I agree that government waste is a big problem, but being realistic - I think we can make much more headway through the gas tax.
  • 1970RR1970RR Posts: 281
    The name "Patriot Tax" alone is enough reason to be against this.
  • NCfanNCfan Posts: 945
    It just seems a bit silly to build an entire party around a foundation of a gas tax.

    It also seems a bit odd to then claim that this gas tax will have the following effects:

    - Stop the purchase of gas
    - Fund the government's activities based on the purchase of gas

    Doesn't that seem to be a bit conflicting?

    I didn't read where Friedman claimed to "stop the purchase of gas". Obviously this is all theoretical, and somebody would need to actually build this platform. Therefore, the details aren't worked out.

    But you need to realize that this tax doesn't exist now. In essence it would be extra money. So I don't think we would necessarily have to rely on these funds, just as we don't now.

    Is this all you have to offer, or do you just not like the idea "just because"?
  • 1970RR wrote:
    The name "Patriot Tax" alone is enough reason to be against this.

    I prefer "colossal salary grab", with all due credit to the Simpsons writers.
  • NCfanNCfan Posts: 945
    1970RR wrote:
    The name "Patriot Tax" alone is enough reason to be against this.

    Don't you think that is a bit short-sighted. The author just threw that out there as political fodder bait. He wants some politician to take up this cuase, and to call this tax a "patriot tax" is just politics, the same as "The Patriot Act".

    Can you get past the name, and actually think about these policies and the positive/negative effects they would have on our country/world?
  • it was a backhanded slap at the patriot act...
    Teamwork. Rawk. Pwnage. Infinite Possibilities. YIELD. Hells yeah.
  • 1970RR1970RR Posts: 281
    NCfan wrote:
    Don't you think that is a bit short-sighted. The author just threw that out there as political fodder bait. He wants some politician to take up this cuase, and to call this tax a "patriot tax" is just politics, the same as "The Patriot Act".

    Can you get past the name, and actually think about these policies and the positive/negative effects they would have on our country/world?
    We all know that calling it the PATRIOT Act was not politics. It was just a coincidence that "Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism" happened to have an acronym of patriot. Our elected officials would never pander like that.

    As for the plan, I am with Know1 - I would prefer a platform calling for a significant reduction in spending and taxes, not an increase. And its never "extra money", its money taken from the people that earned it.
  • mammasanmammasan Posts: 5,656
    Giving more money to a government that can barely balance a check book is not a solution I'm willing to support. This GEO-Green party has some great ideas but the simple fact rtemains that the federal government will end up wasting a huge percentage of this new income. Before we create a new tax to generate more funds for the government we have to tackle the lack of fiscal responsibility in Washington. Once the power is back in our hands than we can move forward with new taxes or a whole new tax system.
    "When one gets in bed with government, one must expect the diseases it spreads." - Ron Paul
  • soulsingingsoulsinging Posts: 13,211
    there's also the problem that no candidate in america will ever get elected on a platform that calls for making gas more expensive.
  • NCfan wrote:
    I didn't read where Friedman claimed to "stop the purchase of gas". Obviously this is all theoretical, and somebody would need to actually build this platform. Therefore, the details aren't worked out.

    Ok. How do you "build a platform" from a conflicting theory?
    But you need to realize that this tax doesn't exist now. In essence it would be extra money. So I don't think we would necessarily have to rely on these funds, just as we don't now.

    This tax does exist now, it's just a dollar less than these guys want it to be. Here in NC, I'm already paying about $.60 per gallon in taxes.

    The assumption that a $1 increase in the gas tax will lower the dependence on gas is somewhat short-sighted, though it would certainly lower demand for gas which in turn would lower purchases of gas. But lowering gas purchases and eliminating oil dependence are two different things.
    Is this all you have to offer, or do you just not like the idea "just because"?

    This gas tax will produce $146,000,000,000 per year, minus a significant amount of exemptions that would probably cut the figure roughly in half, with that number climbing or shriking relative to the purchase of gas. That amount of money cannot "shore up social security", reduce the deficit, and subsidize public transportation in major metro areas, as it claims.

    Furthermore, you cannot create value for one product by simply raising the cost of another. Ethanol, biodiesel, coal gasification, solar energy, nuclear energy and wind power don't become cheaper or move valuable just because you raised the price of gasolene. They simply become more attractive from a price standpoint.

    Finally, the suggestion that a gas tax alone will suddenly reform the Middle East or restore America's "prestige" is laughable. We're paying more in gas taxes than ever today, and the Middle East is not reforming because of those taxes and our "prestige" has probably never been lower.
  • know1know1 Posts: 6,593
    NCfan wrote:
    Can you explain why? I agree that government waste is a big problem, but being realistic - I think we can make much more headway through the gas tax.

    You answered it yourself. This party should cut out the waste first - then there would be no need for an additional tax.

    When one of the primary things they seem to be doing is raising a tax, then it makes me think they are more of a fundraising entity than a political party.

    Now if they want to slash some of the involuntary taxes we have now and REPLACE those with a consumption tax such as the gas tax then I'd at least be more open to listening. Of course, they really need to cut the waste first and foremost.
    The only people we should try to get even with...
    ...are those who've helped us.

    Right 'round the corner could be bigger than ourselves.
  • Oops, I forgot this one:

    "Last, Geo-Greenism could be the foundation of a new American patriotism and educational renaissance. Under the banner "Green is the New Red, White and Blue," the Geo-Green party would seek to inspire young Americans to study math, science and engineering to help make America not only energy independent but also the dominant player in what will be the dominant industry of the 21st century: clean power and green technology."

    I'm interested how the Geo-Green party would seek to "inspire" those young Americans to study math, science and engineering. Judging from their "centerpiece" I'd guess they'd probably just implement a tax on the arts, music and gym supplies. Maybe I'll start a party whose centerpiece is a tax on "banners".
  • mtildenmtilden Posts: 62
    know1 wrote:
    You answered it yourself. This party should cut out the waste first - then there would be no need for an additional tax.

    When one of the primary things they seem to be doing is raising a tax, then it makes me think they are more of a fundraising entity than a political party.

    Now if they want to slash some of the involuntary taxes we have now and REPLACE those with a consumption tax such as the gas tax then I'd at least be more open to listening. Of course, they really need to cut the waste first and foremost.

    That's true. There's enough money in the system right now to give the leftiest of lefties everything we want, but its all being pissed away on pet pork projects and bloated defense budgets that have no accountability on where that money is going and how its being used.
    "Go fuck yourself"
    -Dick Cheney

    "Are you taking over or are you taking orders"
    -Joe Strummer 1952-2002

    "All the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting."
    -George Orwell
  • NCfanNCfan Posts: 945
    Ok. How do you "build a platform" from a conflicting theory?



    This tax does exist now, it's just a dollar less than these guys want it to be. Here in NC, I'm already paying about $.60 per gallon in taxes.

    The assumption that a $1 increase in the gas tax will lower the dependence on gas is somewhat short-sighted, though it would certainly lower demand for gas which in turn would lower purchases of gas. But lowering gas purchases and eliminating oil dependence are two different things.



    This gas tax will produce $146,000,000,000 per year, minus a significant amount of exemptions that would probably cut the figure roughly in half, with that number climbing or shriking relative to the purchase of gas. That amount of money cannot "shore up social security", reduce the deficit, and subsidize public transportation in major metro areas, as it claims.

    Furthermore, you cannot create value for one product by simply raising the cost of another. Ethanol, biodiesel, coal gasification, solar energy, nuclear energy and wind power don't become cheaper or move valuable just because you raised the price of gasolene. They simply become more attractive from a price standpoint.

    Finally, the suggestion that a gas tax alone will suddenly reform the Middle East or restore America's "prestige" is laughable. We're paying more in gas taxes than ever today, and the Middle East is not reforming because of those taxes and our "prestige" has probably never been lower.


    Again, I don't see where the theory conflicts. The point is not to raise money, the point is to ween the American people off of foriegn oil and to clean up the enviornment.

    Of couse we should do something positive with the profits from the tax, but the point is to change behavior, not create revenue - do you understand that? It's not flawed.

    You live in Chapel Hill, so I presume you must understand the meaning of the word "value". Yes, you CAN raise the value of other sources of energy by increasing the price of gasoline. You say, "they simply become more attactive from a price standpoint". I can't think of a better example of value than this. Are you trying to argue just for the sake of argument?

    Nobody is suggesting that a gas tax alone with change the Middle East. It's just a bold policy that will undoubtedly help. And you can't argue with that.

    Yeah, I live in North Carolina too. I understand high gas taxes, and that despite what we pay at the pump - the Middle East isn't changing.

    Evidently I need to explain to you why that is, and how this policy will change that - since you offered this moot point.

    Americans spending behaviour on fuel hasn't changed, despite the high fuel costs and that is why the Middle East is not only changing. It is becoming harder to change daily, because leaders are reaping windfall profits.

    The whole point of the gas tax is to get people to change their habits. Ex. by more fuel-efficient cars, and force auto-makers to follow market demand and quit producing so many gas-guzzling vehicles.

    Once America quits importing so much oil, the price will fall. Thus, the profits of oil-producing nations will fall, forcing them to diversify their economies.

    That is the short version, but I think you should get the point. Or then again, you might not.
  • NCfanNCfan Posts: 945
    mammasan wrote:
    Giving more money to a government that can barely balance a check book is not a solution I'm willing to support. This GEO-Green party has some great ideas but the simple fact rtemains that the federal government will end up wasting a huge percentage of this new income. Before we create a new tax to generate more funds for the government we have to tackle the lack of fiscal responsibility in Washington. Once the power is back in our hands than we can move forward with new taxes or a whole new tax system.

    This isn't about giving the government money. Sure, that will be a good thing if they put it to good use. But that is a side issue. The point is to alter the oil addiction of Americans. I think this is a imensly important issue becuase it effects so many parts of out life - the economy, environment, stagnating Middle Eastern economies, which produce illegitamate and equally stagnate governments.

    I can't think of a better way to get Americans to quit buying so much oil than to raise the price of it to a point where they can't afford to buy it. No, I'm not big on a tax, but people aren't going to change unless they are forced to.
  • mammasanmammasan Posts: 5,656
    NCfan wrote:
    This isn't about giving the government money. Sure, that will be a good thing if they put it to good use. But that is a side issue. The point is to alter the oil addiction of Americans. I think this is a imensly important issue becuase it effects so many parts of out life - the economy, environment, stagnating Middle Eastern economies, which produce illegitamate and equally stagnate governments.

    I can't think of a better way to get Americans to quit buying so much oil than to raise the price of it to a point where they can't afford to buy it. No, I'm not big on a tax, but people aren't going to change unless they are forced to.


    Raising the price of gas is not going to ween us off oil simply because there is no viable alternative that is massed produced to replace oil. It is going to take a lot of time to get the other alternatives into place to replace oil so untill they are in place raising the price of gas with a high tax will only mean that people will be paying more for gas and other products that would be directly or indirectly affected by the tax.
    "When one gets in bed with government, one must expect the diseases it spreads." - Ron Paul
  • NCfan wrote:
    Again, I don't see where the theory conflicts. The point is not to raise money, the point is to ween the American people off of foriegn oil and to clean up the enviornment.

    But that's not what your article says:

    "The billions of dollars raised by the Patriot Tax would go first to shore up Social Security, second to subsidize clean mass transit in and between every major American city, third to reduce the deficit, and fourth to massively increase energy research by the National Science Foundation and the Energy and Defense Departments' research arms."
    Of couse we should do something positive with the profits from the tax, but the point is to change behavior, not create revenue - do you understand that? It's not flawed.

    Again, that's not what your article says. It claims both: changed behavior and created revenue. Furthermore, your article forgot that the behavior it seeks to eliminate doesn't necessarily equate to the behaviors it purports as being encouraged.
    You live in Chapel Hill, so I presume you must understand the meaning of the word "value". Yes, you CAN raise the value of other sources of energy by increasing the price of gasoline. You say, "they simply become more attactive from a price standpoint". I can't think of a better example of value than this. Are you trying to argue just for the sake of argument?

    No. You cannot make ethanol something different than ethanol by simply taxing gasolene. You cannot make it less flawed just by encouraging people to buy it. Similarly you cannot make someone invent a nuclear or wind powered car by taxing gas.
    Nobody is suggesting that a gas tax alone with change the Middle East. It's just a bold policy that will undoubtedly help. And you can't argue with that.

    It isn't a "bold policy". It's a tax. There's nothing bold about a tax.
    Yeah, I live in North Carolina too. I understand high gas taxes, and that despite what we pay at the pump - the Middle East isn't changing.

    Ok.
    Evidently I need to explain to you why that is, and how this policy will change that - since you offered this moot point.

    It's quite easy to explain this: US taxation and Middle East reform have no relation to one another. Do you think if the US stops buying gas that the Middle East will suddenly become democratic or something?
    Americans spending behaviour on fuel hasn't changed, despite the high fuel costs and that is why the Middle East is not only changing. It is becoming harder to change daily, because leaders are reaping windfall profits.

    But American spending has changed. People are buying more gas than ever, despite your taxes because gas demand is linked to travel demand, not just price.
    The whole point of the gas tax is to get people to change their habits. Ex. by more fuel-efficient cars, and force auto-makers to follow market demand and quit producing so many gas-guzzling vehicles.

    The whole point of pretty much any tax these days is to get people to change their habits. People like you have turned the IRS into Ann Landers.

    If you want people to stop buying gas, give them something else to buy that meets the same needs in a better way. Ethanol does not do this. Hydrogen does. Not only is hydrogen "cleaner" (something not too many Americans care about), but it can also be cheaper and more efficient.
    Once America quits importing so much oil, the price will fall. Thus, the profits of oil-producing nations will fall, forcing them to diversify their economies.

    Or to simply loot what's left and impose an even more autocratic regime.
  • NCfanNCfan Posts: 945
    But that's not what your article says:

    "The billions of dollars raised by the Patriot Tax would go first to shore up Social Security, second to subsidize clean mass transit in and between every major American city, third to reduce the deficit, and fourth to massively increase energy research by the National Science Foundation and the Energy and Defense Departments' research arms."



    Again, that's not what your article says. It claims both: changed behavior and created revenue. Furthermore, your article forgot that the behavior it seeks to eliminate doesn't necessarily equate to the behaviors it purports as being encouraged.



    No. You cannot make ethanol something different than ethanol by simply taxing gasolene. You cannot make it less flawed just by encouraging people to buy it. Similarly you cannot make someone invent a nuclear or wind powered car by taxing gas.



    It isn't a "bold policy". It's a tax. There's nothing bold about a tax.



    Ok.



    It's quite easy to explain this: US taxation and Middle East reform have no relation to one another. Do you think if the US stops buying gas that the Middle East will suddenly become democratic or something?



    But American spending has changed. People are buying more gas than ever, despite your taxes because gas demand is linked to travel demand, not just price.



    The whole point of pretty much any tax these days is to get people to change their habits. People like you have turned the IRS into Ann Landers.

    If you want people to stop buying gas, give them something else to buy that meets the same needs in a better way. Ethanol does not do this. Hydrogen does. Not only is hydrogen "cleaner" (something not too many Americans care about), but it can also be cheaper and more efficient.



    Or to simply loot what's left and impose an even more autocratic regime.


    I think you're completly wrong, and there is no way to convince you otherwise. You have taken the author completely out of context. Sure, he says that a tax will create revenue and then goes on to explain good uses of that tax.

    But you are missing the entire point of the article. I have read many, many articles and books by Friedman. I can tell you for sure, despite what you think the article claims and means - that he is calling for a policy that will change American spending habits on oil, not to create extra tax revenue. The tax revinue is a by-product.

    I have no idea what you are talking about trying to make ethanol something that it's not. Nobody is trying to do that. It is widely understood that ethanol is a better source of energy than gasoline. Even if it was a close call, the benefits received by economically undermining unfriendly governments would still make the case in favor of ethanol. You have people like Richard Branson investing tens of millions in ethanol production and even Bill Gates stepping down from MS and investing 25 million in an ethanol company too, yet you think it's all flawed? Have you seen the miracle that has taken place in Brazil over sugar-based ethanol?

    "There's nothing bold about a tax" - get out of here dude, what kind of arguement is that?

    Regardless what gasoline demand is linked to, nothing will surmount price. Simply put, if it's too expensive, people won't but as much. End of story....

    Grouping me in with the Ann Landers comment? I'm sorry you're so closed-minded!
  • NCfan wrote:
    I think you're completly wrong, and there is no way to convince you otherwise. You have taken the author completely out of context. Sure, he says that a tax will create revenue and then goes on to explain good uses of that tax.

    But the costs of his "good uses" greatly exceed the revenue created. Furthermore, his "benefits" ensure ever decreasing revenues.
    But you are missing the entire point of the article. I have read many, many articles and books by Friedman. I can tell you for sure, despite what you think the article claims and means - that he is calling for a policy that will change American spending habits on oil, not to create extra tax revenue. The tax revinue is a by-product.

    Ok. I have no doubt that Friedman is more interested in changing behavior than he is in creating revenue.
    I have no idea what you are talking about trying to make ethanol something that it's not. Nobody is trying to do that. It is widely understood that ethanol is a better source of energy than gasoline.

    Really?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethanol_fuel

    Both positive and negative, but here's my favorite part:

    "United States would have to place roughly 750 million acres of corn into production to fully meet this demand. For comparison, this is nearly double the total area currently used for all crops in the US (430 million acres) and about one third of the total land area of the United States (2.3 billion acres). [2] There are currently about 80 million acres of corn planted in the United States."
    Even if it was a close call, the benefits received by economically undermining unfriendly governments would still make the case in favor of ethanol. You have people like Richard Branson investing tens of millions in ethanol production and even Bill Gates stepping down from MS and investing 25 million in an ethanol company too, yet you think it's all flawed? Have you seen the miracle that has taken place in Brazil over sugar-based ethanol?

    I'd hardly call it a "miracle". It has had both positive and negative affects.
    "There's nothing bold about a tax" - get out of here dude, what kind of arguement is that?

    You act as if taxes are new or something groundbreaking. They are not. Why don't you just propose a gasolene prohibition?
    Regardless what gasoline demand is linked to, nothing will surmount price. Simply put, if it's too expensive, people won't but as much. End of story....

    Certainly if gas is "too expensive", people won't buy as much. And, judging from your approach here, that is the end of the story for you. But you just assume they'll buy ethanol. You just assume somehow that means and end to foreign dependence. You just assume that a $1 tax makes gas "too expensive", which it would not.

    Again, why don't you just make gasolene use illegal?
    Grouping me in with the Ann Landers comment? I'm sorry you're so closed-minded!

    Do you or do you not feel that the IRS should be in the business of "changing habits"?
  • know1know1 Posts: 6,593
    NCfan wrote:
    But you are missing the entire point of the article. I have read many, many articles and books by Friedman. I can tell you for sure, despite what you think the article claims and means - that he is calling for a policy that will change American spending habits on oil, not to create extra tax revenue. The tax revinue is a by-product.

    But why? Why do they need to create that by-product at the expense of the American public? I'm just highly suspicious of anything that takes more money away from individuals and gives it to the government.
    The only people we should try to get even with...
    ...are those who've helped us.

    Right 'round the corner could be bigger than ourselves.
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