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Ethanol is making a point that Big Oil is receiving subsidies and ethanol isn't

Ethanol is holding one huge, sarcastic birthday party for Big Oil in celebration of its oldest subsidy enacted 100 years ago.

The 100th birthday for oil's oldest subsidy -- which began in 1913 -- will be prepared by the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA), which promotes Iowa ethanol and biodiesel growth, and the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE), which encourages the production and use of ethanol.

“And it dawned on us a few months ago that this is in fact the 100th birthday for oil subsidies and this calls for a party, and I think people can assume our tongues are firmly planted in our cheeks when we say we’re going to celebrate that fact,” said Monte Shaw, executive director of IRFA.

Why is the ethanol industry doing this? According to Shaw, the ethanol blenders tax credit expired in 2011, and ethanol has been forced to continue on without any help. However, Big Oil, which is already the most profitable industry in the world, still receives subsidies. The oldest, continuous subsidy was enacted in 1913, which is the topic of the birthday party.

“What we’re saying is, they’re there," said Shaw. "And we’re sick and tired of members of Congress who don’t know any better or don’t want to know any better, saying, oh, why do you need the RFS?  Why do you this, why do you need that? Can’t you just compete on a level playing field? When the fact of the matter is, our competition has had 100 years of subsidization. They’ve had nearly 40 years of a petroleum mandate written into federal law that says unless you drive a flex-fuel vehicle, you will purchase gasoline with a minimum amount of petroleum (85% percent of petroleum). The playing field is overwhelmingly tilted to the oil industry and that has got to be a part of all discussions around the RFS."

The RFS is the Renewable Fuel Standard, which is a U.S. federal program that requires transportation fuel to have a certain amount of renewable fuels when sold in the U.S.

The birthday party, called "Century of Subsidies," will be held on Thursday, March 14, 2013 from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at 430 Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington DC.

There will be cake.

Source: Domesticfuel.com



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RE: :p
By ebakke on 3/14/2013 12:59:33 PM , Rating: 2
A tax haven is not a place where there is no taxation. It's a place where certain taxes are lower (or zero). Again, I'm aware of no such country with a limited government that doesn't rely on forced taxation. I agree that some are better than the US, but The Bahamas' 3.9%/5.9% individual/employer payroll tax is exactly the type of thing I oppose.

quote:
opt-in to would be agreeable to both of us. Perhaps that is the best compromise we can achieve.
As long as it's opt-in, it doesn't require government (or the force that governments are entrusted with). If it's opt-in, a non-profit, charity, or for-profit company can provide the service.

But that's entirely my point. If we're free to opt-in and each pick what things we wish to purchase or not, that scenario yields the most freedom and the least oppression. It is the best compromise. The only person who "loses" is the guy who wants someone else to pay for his pet project.


RE: :p
By 3DoubleD on 3/14/2013 2:04:07 PM , Rating: 2
UAE is 100% income tax free. There may be a small 5% "property tax" which I'm unclear about (refers to rentals?). They also have a 5% tax on entertainment and hotels (tourism tax really). So you could live income and sales tax free with perhaps a small property tax (maybe)... although you would probably trade other freedoms in the effort to avoid the tyranny of taxes.. so yes, it's a choice.

Cayman Islands are largely tax-free. No income tax, property tax, ect. The only tax you will likely encounter is on imports... and you might be able to get around that if you were imaginative. The country otherwise operates under British law, so you get the benefit of a reasonable government with good judicial order (unlike the UAE). It might not be a "limited government" like you say, but since you don't pay for it, it's probably better than what you have now. It also has great weather... this would be my choice. Sometimes I wish I had studied to be an accountant, could find a job there in no time. I know an accountant who lived there for several years, but he actually got tired of the tropical weather... I think he was just homesick.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxation_in_United_Ar...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cayman_Islands#Taxati...

I could list some nastier places to live where you won't have to worry about any laws (including taxation.. maybe a few bribes, which I imagine are acceptable in your view as an "investment" that directly benefits you)... but the cons may outweigh the pros on that one.

So the answer is, yes, there are places on this planet where you can not pay taxes. Staying where you are is a choice and by doing so makes you a citizen and willing participant in the laws of the country, even if you disagree with some of them on principle. It also makes you part of the democratic process, whereby if you are part of the majority, you get what you want, and if you are part of the minority, you have to go along with the majority. If that is oppression, then democracy is oppressive at it's very core. However, within the framework of democracy, if you decide that you find taxation so intolerable, then I encourage you to run for office. It would be a nice change to see someone who actually believes what they stand for.


RE: :p
By ebakke on 3/14/2013 3:12:55 PM , Rating: 2
We're still not talking the same language.
quote:
So you could live income and sales tax free with perhaps a small property tax (maybe)... although you would probably trade other freedoms in the effort to avoid the tyranny of taxes.. so yes, it's a choice.
The argument you're making is that if I want to live around another group of people who aren't chopping each other up in the streets (like in some 3rd world countries) then I must accept either a loss of economic freedom (from taxation) or I must accept the loss of other freedoms. How is this acceptable to anyone? How is this acceptable to you?

Taxes are not the thing I oppose. They're merely an instrument, a tool, a mechanism. (Albeit, the most common one in "civilized" societies.) The thing I oppose is force. I don't want to be forced to do anything and I don't want to force others to do anything.
quote:
I could list some nastier places to live where you won't have to worry about any laws
Which is not what I want. As I keep saying, I want the smallest set of laws that protects me against others forcing their will upon me, and protects others from me forcing my will upon them.
quote:
If that is oppression, then democracy is oppressive at it's very core.
And now we're getting somewhere! If 51% of the population can do whatever they want simply because they're the majority, how is that not oppression on the minority? What if it's 85% to 15%? What if it's 99% to 1%? The only hope against it in a republic such as ours is to have clear cut, hard limits on what the government is allowed to do. You might have 99% of the people in agreement that we should round up all of the ______ and kill them, but that's infringing on the freedom of someone else. Same applies if you get a majority or super majority to decide that it's ok to confiscate the wealth of the minority. And now we're right back to my desire for the minimum set of laws that protects each of us from the rest of us.


RE: :p
By 3DoubleD on 3/14/2013 4:10:16 PM , Rating: 2
Obviously the UAE was unacceptable, but you didn't say what was wrong with the Cayman Islands. As far as I can tell, it's a libertarian heaven on Earth - at least by far the best. I'm not saying you should move there, I'm just saying it is probably a much better fit for your values than where you live now - and I mean in regards to what types of government oppression directly affects you, not necessarily that the government or constitution conforms with your ideals.

Honestly, it sounds like you need to start a new country (revolution in the Cayman Islands?). You have a vision of a country so different than any other in existence that, short of a revolution, you are unlikely to see it in your lifetime. Even if you managed to get elected to your government, form a massive following, you'd have to drastically amend your constitution, which short of being some charismatic figure like Hitler (I'm not comparing you to Hitler, just saying he was incredibly effective at dramatically swaying people's opinions), you'd have a tough time doing it.

Your way might be better. It has never been tried before, who knows. It could also be a catastrophic failure (even worse than what we exist with now). You would be going into the unknown on that one, and since it is unknown, you will continue to have difficult persuading people to share your view. Democracy as it is, for all of its faults, has been an incredibly successful system. Never in human history has education, quality of life, art, science, or human rights ever flourished so greatly.

Unfortunately for you, on a personal level politics ends up being more of a belief system than a completely rational choice. How could we possibly vote rationally on issues so far outside of our comprehension. Even a veteran, PhD economist will say he doesn't fully understand the economy, how could a lay person vote rationally for the person the policy that is best for the economy (including voting for non-interference). Since we must vote based on beliefs (which are sometimes (or often?) poorly founded), any bit of evidence that one choice may be better than another is so much more important. And this is why it is unfortunate for you, we have centuries of success under the current version of democracy.

To convince people to change your countries constitution in the way you describe you would need to assure them that they will be happier, healthier, richer, and more secure than before. Without a shred of evidence (that I am aware of that is, I could be mistaken), only armed with your feeling that today's democracy is unfair, that would be incredibly difficult. Maybe you have a vision of a democracy (or something else entirely) that will exist 100 or 500 years from now, who knows.

Anyway, stick for what you believe in, but remember, it's a belief, not fact. People will continue to believe in what they know works. They aren't stupid, they just weigh the risk differently than you - you apparently acknowledge no risk in such a radically different society - so long as we are free, damn the risks. That's a really hard sell, especially when the rewards are not plenty nor obvious. Is life really that bad vs. living at another time (eg. Communism, feudal dictatorships, oligarchies, ect.). The repression of the democratic minority in modern "civilized" countries is, probably by definition, a "first world problem" - and (ironically) the majority does not deem it a pressing one in the face of much more catastrophic issues (eg. how are we (humanity) going to eventually sustain and feed 8 Billion people on this planet with finite oil reserves (and other resources) without breaking into world-wide war and committing even more grievous violations of human rights and freedoms).


RE: :p
By kslavik on 3/14/2013 5:40:04 PM , Rating: 2
quote:

Your way might be better. It has never been tried before, who knows. It could also be a catastrophic failure (even worse than what we exist with now).


You are using the same argument the slave owners used 150 years ago: Who would work on the cotton fields if we abandon the slavery, human society existed with slavery for thousands of years, how would we do with out it.

Nevertheless, human society evolved beyond forcing people to work for free and collectively decided that slavery is morally wrong, and only then it was abandoned regardless of the uncertainty of how the the hard work would be done without slaves. The same way I hope forcing people to give out fruits of their labor "for the benefits of the collective" will also be abandoned in the future because humanity will realize that using force even for the greater good is IMMORAL and doesn't justify the end result. I'm not against taxation, as long as it is voluntary and not done with a force or a threat of force.


RE: :p
By 3DoubleD on 3/14/2013 11:19:49 PM , Rating: 2
You are comparing your life with the life of a slave?!?! You have to be f*cking kidding me!!! That is by far the most ridiculous thing I have heard in recent memory.

Your situation and a slave's situation from 150 years ago share no similarities. It is such a ridiculous comparison I don't even know where to start.

I'll just say this: as I've clearly explained, you are FREE to not participate in your country's "oppressive" society. You can LEAVE. You have that FREEDOM (not a word that slaves get to use). The fact that you don't think there is anywhere suitable to go is not the fault or responsibility of the country that gives you that freedom. You are forced to do nothing. For this reason, taxes are neither theft, a breach of your freedom, nor immoral. You are mistaken my friend.

I'm all for reducing spending, reducing taxes, reducing government, but your stance seems indefensible and comparing yourself to a black slave of the 1800s is absolutely atrocious and does not help your case. You are not persecuted, beat, chained, or murdered because of the color of your skin. You are given a choice to live in a community where we give a portion of our labor for the benefit of that community. If you don't want to be a part of that community, then you are absolutely allowed to leave. There are no chains here, you will not be killed for treason.

Absolutely ridiculous.


RE: :p
By ebakke on 3/14/2013 5:43:11 PM , Rating: 2
Well this has been fun, but clearly we're never going to see eye to eye. One more.

quote:
I mean in regards to what types of government oppression directly affects you, not necessarily that the government or constitution conforms with your ideals.
I will object to any oppression by a government that supposedly represents me, and most certainly by any that I'm funding.
quote:
You have a vision of a country so different than any other in existence that, short of a revolution, you are unlikely to see it in your lifetime.
I agree that I likely won't see it. But I still think it's the best solution, and will advocate for it. And it's not just me against the world. These folks are committing to moving across the country and becoming political activists because they believe that strongly: http://freestateproject.org/
quote:
Your way might be better. It has never been tried before, who knows.
I agree, it hasn't been tried to the extend I suggest. What has been tried, doesn't last very long before a well-meaning group of people demand more power to fix some problem of the day. And as time passes more of that happens. But at the core, what I'm advocating is freedom. Liberty.
quote:
Democracy as it is, for all of its faults, has been an incredibly successful system. Never in human history has education, quality of life, art, science, or human rights ever flourished so greatly. [...] And this is why it is unfortunate for you, we have centuries of success under the current version of democracy.
Democracy isn't an economic system. It's a system of government. And one that without severe limits can bring about many of the atrocities in human history. I don't attribute the successes you've listed to democracies, but rather to free enterprise.
quote:
Even a veteran, PhD economist will say he doesn't fully understand the economy
And yet some people think politicians of all people, should be able to "control" it. Or influence it in the "right" way.
quote:
Anyway, stick for what you believe in, but remember, it's a belief, not fact.
Your attempt to discredit my opinions by casting them off as non-factual beliefs is pretty weak. If you'd like to give me a logical argument as to how/why majority rule isn't oppression of the minority, that's great. But to just claim I'm living in fantasy land doesn't win the argument; it concedes defeat.
quote:
you apparently acknowledge no risk in such a radically different society
Sure there are risks. There are risks in everything. But if I'm advocating freedom, and you think that's radically different, I ask you this: What do we risk by being free, that we do not risk by being enslaved?
quote:
Is life really that bad vs. living at another time (eg. Communism, feudal dictatorships, oligarchies, ect.).
Give it a few more years. When this house of cards collapses and the gov't either fails or executes an enormous power grab (as all previous ones have), it'll be very interesting to see how different things will be compared to times/places you listed.


RE: :p
By 3DoubleD on 3/15/2013 12:07:12 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
never going to see eye to eye


At this point, I agree, haha.

quote:
These folks are committing to moving across the country and becoming political activists because they believe that strongly: http://freestateproject.org/


Good for them, that's what I like to see.

quote:
I don't attribute the successes you've listed to democracies, but rather to free enterprise.


You might be right here. It's hard to decouple them fully. I'd have to do a lot of reading before I could refute that, so I'll give you that one with one caveat. Human rights and freedom have never flourished so greatly than under the current incarnation of democracy. Freedom might be the very reason you dislike today's democracy, but it is also its greatest gift. Maybe it has it's place in history... only time will tell.

quote:
And yet some people think politicians of all people, should be able to "control" it. Or influence it in the "right" way.


I think there are market regulations that absolutely prevent the market from doing harm to itself. Price fixing should not be allowed. Insider trading should not be allowed. Companies should not be allowed to merge to form a monopoly. These seem like common sense, but if an economist could explain to me otherwise, I might change my mind.

quote:
Your attempt to discredit my opinions by casting them off as non-factual beliefs is pretty weak.


I am not belittling just your political beliefs. I clearly stated that everyone has political beliefs. Everyone votes based on a belief. You do, I do, everyone. Neither of us knows how one action will affect the extremely intricate world around us. We vote by our principles, our morals, what we deem as logical. But I fully acknowledge that I cannot understand the world with absolute clarity and that when I go to vote, it is a belief - albeit one that is hard tested through debate and reasoning. You have chosen to defend the untested path with unknown risks and rewards and I am defending the tried and tested old path. That is all I am saying, I am not discrediting you at all.

quote:
What do we risk by being free, that we do not risk by being enslaved?


Again, you are going a bit overboard on that one throwing the slave word around...

What are the risks in your experiment? The risk is that we allow more grievous violations of human rights. Is the "oppression" you feel so bad, so suffocating that, as a result of your new freedoms, you would be willing to let someone die? Many people die? Do you feel no responsibility, yet think that other people should feel for your sense of oppression?

THAT is the risk. It's a moral risk. Your system of opt-in national programs might be BETTER and you save lives, but it is completely unknown! You have no proof that your country could still defend itself from invaders or defend its interest on a army funded by opt-in donations. Would innocent lives be lost due to lack of funding of your non-profit charities because people were too greedy or short-sighted? If a small country was successfully modeled under your ideal form of government and society, and it proved to be successful, then I'd be the first to sign up, I promise you.

quote:
Give it a few more years. When this house of cards collapses and the gov't either fails


You might be right. If people so adamantly refuse to work together to achieve anything, it will all come crumbling down. There are so many big problems, and we have not even begun to scratch the surface.

Anyway, it's been fun. I'll hang up my hat too. We can agree to disagree. You've given me some things to think about, and I hope, even if you've agreed with nothing I've said, have taken things away as well. Talking in a forum like this isn't exactly perfect, I think both of us would have done better in person, maybe in the pub over a couple beers. Oh well. Cheers!


RE: :p
By ebakke on 3/15/2013 12:46:56 AM , Rating: 2
I concede overreaction to your use of the word beliefs. I guess it hit a nerve. At the time, it seemed like you were essentially equating my arguments to religious beliefs. To a blind "faith" absent logic, or reasoning.

But anyway, if you're ever in MN, I'll absolutely have a few beers with you. Until then, see you in the next thread. :)


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