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Old 03-14-2015, 06:24 PM   #1
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Rising gas prices

I've just started two petitions on We The People of whitehouse.gov, related to financial speculators manipulating gas prices, and ethanol, two topics near and dear to my heart. You can check out the petitions at the links below. If you agree with them, please sign them, and pass them on. If a petition gets 150 signatures it becomes publicly listed on the website, and if it gets 100,000 signatures, the Obama administration must officially respond to it.

Thank you!
----------------------
You can view and sign the first petition here:



http://wh.gov/iDJUx


Repeal the Renewable Fuel Standard which requires ethanol to be blended into gasoline.


A small number of big corn growers are making huge profits from the requirement to put ethanol into gasoline, at the expense of the majority of the American people. Diverting corn to make ethanol fuel is negatively affecting food prices, which is unconscionable at a time when so many people are going hungry. Ethanol in gasoline harms older cars because it is corrosive and absorbs water from the air. It also costs Americans more money because cars get lower mileage on ethanol-gas than pure gasoline because ethanol contains less combustion energy. It takes energy to make ethanol, so it does not really save any oil. Gasoline consumption is declining in the U.S. and oil production is increasing - there is no need for this illogical ethanol requirement.

----------------------------------------------------------------

You can view and sign the second petition here:


http://wh.gov/iDJR3


Take any and all measures to end the financial speculation which is manipulating the price of oil.


Financial speculators control the price of oil, not consumer supply and demand, which is causing extreme price fluctuations and artificially high costs. Oil is a strategic resource that underlies the cost of everything. Financial manipulation has hurt the American people, and damaged the economy. This is an unconscionable transfer of wealth from the many to the few. The only way there will be any stability is if the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 and The Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 are repealed, and along with them, ending the 16 to 1 leverage allowed by current margin rules for oil futures trading; require that all purchasers oil futures contracts take physical delivery of the oil; and require that all oil futures trading be on a regulated exchange.
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Old 03-14-2015, 07:49 PM   #2
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I've just started two petitions on We The People of whitehouse.gov, related to financial speculators manipulating gas prices, and ethanol, two topics near and dear to my heart. You can check out the petitions at the links below. If you agree with them, please sign them, and pass them on. If a petition gets 150 signatures it becomes publicly listed on the website, and if it gets 100,000 signatures, the Obama administration must officially respond to it.

Thank you!
----------------------
You can view and sign the first petition here:



http://wh.gov/iDJUx


Repeal the Renewable Fuel Standard which requires ethanol to be blended into gasoline.


A small number of big corn growers are making huge profits from the requirement to put ethanol into gasoline, at the expense of the majority of the American people. Diverting corn to make ethanol fuel is negatively affecting food prices, which is unconscionable at a time when so many people are going hungry. Ethanol in gasoline harms older cars because it is corrosive and absorbs water from the air. It also costs Americans more money because cars get lower mileage on ethanol-gas than pure gasoline because ethanol contains less combustion energy. It takes energy to make ethanol, so it does not really save any oil. Gasoline consumption is declining in the U.S. and oil production is increasing - there is no need for this illogical ethanol requirement.

----------------------------------------------------------------

You can view and sign the second petition here:


http://wh.gov/iDJR3


Take any and all measures to end the financial speculation which is manipulating the price of oil.


Financial speculators control the price of oil, not consumer supply and demand, which is causing extreme price fluctuations and artificially high costs. Oil is a strategic resource that underlies the cost of everything. Financial manipulation has hurt the American people, and damaged the economy. This is an unconscionable transfer of wealth from the many to the few. The only way there will be any stability is if the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 and The Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 are repealed, and along with them, ending the 16 to 1 leverage allowed by current margin rules for oil futures trading; require that all purchasers oil futures contracts take physical delivery of the oil; and require that all oil futures trading be on a regulated exchange.
I take a contrary view.

Better to convert corn into gasoline, rather than into corn syrup that is killing the peoples of western world with obesity, and it is in everything from fizzy drinks to bread to Heath foods.

Future traders only bet on the future price of oil; supply and demand sets the actual day to day price.

Let the free-market set prices!
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Old 03-14-2015, 08:32 PM   #3
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I'll apologize up front for getting on my soapbox. But, this issue raises my blood pressure by a few hundred points.

Unfortunately, it is hopelessly naïve to believe that the ‘free market’ sets the price of gas and oil. Instead of the price of oil being determined by supply and demand, the reality is that oil and currency traders control it. These speculators profit when prices move. They hate stability. They make money when prices go up or down, and often don’t care which direction (they make money being long when prices go up, and being short when they go down). Because of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 and The Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999, there are loopholes which make it insanely easy for speculators to control the price of oil.

I’m not an economist, nor a commodities trader, nor an energy scientist (though I do have graduate degrees in both Finance and Biochemistry, and 35 years ago my thesis was on biofuels). What I have had is the misfortune of having had to work with literally thousands of hedge fund managers and other speculators over the past 25 years. I’m in New York, San Francisco, or Boston pretty much every week meeting with these people. In 2007-2008 they bragged about how they drove the price of oil up to $140/barrel – and how much money they made in the process. These people were planning to push the price to $250/barrel. Many of them made comments to me along the lines of “people will get used to it”, and “what else will people do, they have to drive”. What they didn’t count on, and what was genuinely unexpected, was that the escalating price of oil contributed significantly to the last recession, to the point that even the Bush administration sent the word down the line to them to cool it with price escalations.

With most commodities, an investor has to put up half the value of the contract. Thanks to “lobbying” from “special interest groups”, with oil it’s different. With oil, speculators have 16 to 1 leverage – they only need to put up $1 to control $16 worth of oil futures, and with some banks, only 5% the value of the contract. This insane leverage makes it very easy to move the market, and they do. Thanks to this unique leverage, I've known people who bragged about taking a few hundred million of their money and turning it into billions of dollars of oil futures contracts.

The excuse for allowing this exception for oil was that it was for “farmers”, so they could lock in future fuel prices without laying out a lot of cash. The net effect was that most oil futures contracts are traded by speculators, not end-users.

Consider the extreme and rapid gyrations in the price of oil we have seen over the years. Fundamental supply and demand doesn’t work that fast, to drive prices up or down 10%-20% in days. Think about all the nonsensical window dressing excuses given for why oil prices increase – “demand in China”, “switching to winter blends”, “a refinery on the Gulf coast is down for maintenance”, “summer driving”, or the ever popular, “political instability in (insert your favorite Middle Eastern country of the week)”. In early 2015 we have seen gasoline prices increase by approximately 50% over the course of just a month. Such extreme price changes in very short periods of time are not the result of supply and demand.

The last oil price bubble collapsed in 2008 because speculators fled the markets. The price of oil then reached its true supply and demand level (at that time) of $32 a barrel. But, they made money on the way down as well by shorting oil, so don’t feel too bad for them.

I understand and agree with the goal of reducing our country’s dependence on imported oil, but either standing by and letting oil prices be artificially high, or making them that way by increasing taxes, to wean people off of oil is not the way to do it. Ethanol is also not the way to do it. It will take a comprehensive national energy policy. Like, maybe investing in solar energy instead of bailing out investment banks with TARP programs, or endless wars.

Of course, we would all like cheap gas forever, but the issue is much more important than the cost of filling our tanks. Oil is a strategic resource that underlies the cost of everything (including the fiberglass resins many of our boats are made of). Anything that is transported using oil, or made from oil feedstocks, has its price impacted by oil. Financial manipulation has hurt the American people, and damaged the economy. This is an unconscionable transfer of wealth from the many to the few, the unscrupulous hedge funds, investment banks, and oil companies.

The only way there will be any stability is if the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 and The Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 are repealed, and along with them, ending the 16 to 1 leverage allowed by current margin rules for oil futures trading; require that all purchasers of oil futures contracts take physical delivery of the oil; and require that all oil futures trading be on a regulated exchange rather than OTC or inter-bank.

If you want to see the price of oil truly reflect the fundamentals of supply and demand, and not be subject to the whims and profit goals of hedge funds, you may want to write to your Congressman about the above issues. In this country, where we have the best government that money can buy, the only way politicians will do anything is if they are worried that they might not get re-elected.

Regarding ethanol, I completely agree with you about not wanting even more corn syrup in food. That’s a fundamental societal problem, and I don’t want to see it in more sodas and other food products than you do. But, the problem with diverting corn to ethanol is far more than just sweeteners. Corn is a basic foodstock used in so many products, not just cereals and bread products, but meats as well (since many animals get fed corn), and even milk (cows eat the corn). Studies have shown that the diversion of corn to ethanol production has indeed increased food prices. If you don’t mind paying $10 for a tortilla, it’s fine, but I do.

A big problem is that ethanol really doesn’t save any oil. All the energy that goes into farming, harvesting, and processing corn turns it into a net neutral proposition. Many studies have been done, the most optimistic suggest that it takes 1 gallon of oil to make 1.3 gallons of ethanol, and others show that it’s a net negative.

Ethanol has other problems. The energy density is much lower than gasoline, so fuel mileage is less. Our cars will go about half the distance on one gallon of ethanol compared with one gallon of gasoline, so a 10% blend will reduce mileage by a proportional amount.

Ethanol works as a fuel in Brazil because their climate allows essentially a year-round growing season and 3 harvests a year. Here in the U.S., with a single harvest, not so much.

Ethanol is also hygroscopic, it absorbs water moisture from the air, which causes all kinds of fuel system problems in older cars, and for boats with fiberglass tanks and gas engines. In older engines, it wrecks havoc on fuel lines, fuel pumps, filters, and the leaks caused by the deterioration have caused fires.

If we really want to leave things to the ‘free market’, then we should not force ethanol down people’s throats (or into their gas tanks). The reality of ethanol is that heavy lobbying efforts by a small number of people – primarily big corn growers in the Mid-West – has forced this on the rest of us. They are making money at our expense. I don’t remember a mass outcry from people about wanting to turn corn into fuel….


My little petitions are also the 'free market'. If anyone happens to agree with them, I would be grateful for and appreciate your support, and if you don't support them, you can ignore them. It's all we can do in this somewhat 'free' country we live in, make our voices heard and views known.
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Old 03-14-2015, 08:50 PM   #4
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Ethanol in Brazil is made from Sugar Cane not corn. Sugar Cane in Brazil is harvested once a year as it is in the continental US where it is grown only in Texas, Louisiana, and Florida.
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Old 03-14-2015, 08:54 PM   #5
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I'll apologize up front for getting on my soapbox. But, this issue just gets to me.




Unfortunately,it is hopelessly naïve to believe that the ‘free market’ sets the price of gasand oil. Instead of the price of oil being determined by supply and demand, thereality is that oil and currency traders control it. These speculators profitwhen prices move. They hate stability. They make money when prices go up ordown, and often don’t care which direction (they make money being long whenprices go up, and being short when they go down). Because of the CommodityFutures Modernization Act of 2000 and The Financial Services Modernization Actof 1999, there are loopholes which make it insanely easy for speculators tocontrol the price of oil.


exactly, futures traders make profit on the volatility of the market, they do not take physical delivery of barrels of gasoline! Therefore betting on the future price of a commodity will not affect the price of that commodity

I’mnot an economist, nor a commodities trader, nor an energy scientist (though Ido have graduate degrees in both Finance and Biochemistry, so I understand thefundamentals). What I have had is the misfortune of having had to work with literallythousands of hedge fund managers and other speculators over the past 25 years.I’m in New York, San Francisco, or Boston pretty much every week meeting withthese people. In 2007-2008 they bragged about how they drove the price of oilup to $140/barrel – and how much money they made in the process. These peoplewere planning to push the price to $250/barrel. Many of them made comments tome along the lines of “people will get used to it”, and “what else will peopledo, they have to drive”. What they didn’t count on, and what was genuinelyunexpected, was that the escalating price of oil contributed significantly tothe last recession, to the point that even the Bush administration sent theword down the line to them to cool it with price escalations.

in comparison to oil revenues hedge funds only control a tiny fraction of the Capital spent on the petroleum supply chain, and would have very little overall influence even if they wanted to adversely alter the natural market price


Withmost commodities, an investor has to put up half the value of the contract.Thanks to “lobbying” from “special interest groups”, with oil it’s different.With oil, speculators have 16 to 1 leverage – they only need to put up $1 tocontrol $16 worth of oil futures, and with some banks, only 5% the value of thecontract. This insane leverage makes it very easy to move the market, and theydo.
margin traders do not take delivery, but make contract for difference 'bets' instead


Theexcuse for allowing this exception for oil was that it was for “farmers”, sothey could lock in future fuel prices without laying out a lot of cash. The neteffect was that most oil futures contracts are traded by speculators, not endusers.


Considerthe extreme and rapid gyrations in the price of oil we have seen over the years.Fundamental supply and demand doesn’t work that fast, to drive prices up ordown 10%-20% in days. Think about all the nonsensical window dressing excusesgiven for why oil prices increase – “demand in China”, “switching to winterblends”, “a refinery on the Gulf coast is down for maintenance”, “summerdriving”, or the ever popular, “political instability in (insert your favoriteMiddle Eastern country of the week)”.


Inearly 2015 we have seen gasoline prices increase by approximately 50% over thecourse of just a month. Such extreme price changes in very short periods of timeare not the result of supply and demand.

OPEC is the baddie, not speculators

Thelast oil price bubble collapsed in 2008 because speculators fled the markets.The price of oil then reached its true supply and demand level of $32 a barrel.But, they made money on the way down as well by shorting oil, so don’t feel toobad for them.
although OPEC try to control the world price, eventually after a small delay the free market will decide price not OPEC


Iunderstand and agree with the goal of reducing our country’s dependence onimported oil, but either standing by and letting oil prices be artificiallyhigh, or making them that way by increasing taxes, to wean people off of oil isnot the way to do it. Ethanol is also not the way to do it. It will take acomprehensive national energy policy. Like, maybe investing in solar energyinstead of bailing out investment banks with TARP programs or endless wars.



Ofcourse, we would all like cheap gas forever, but the issue is much moreimportant than the cost of filling our tanks. Oil is a strategic resource thatunderlies the cost of everything. Anything that is transported using oil, ormade from oil feedstocks, has its price impacted by oil. Financial manipulationhas hurt the American people, and damaged the economy. This is anunconscionable transfer of wealth from the many to the few, the unscrupuloushedge funds, investment banks, and oil companies.


Theonly way there will be any stability is if the Commodity Futures ModernizationAct of 2000 and The Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 are repealed,and along with them, ending the 16 to 1 leverage allowed by current marginrules for oil futures trading; require that all purchasers of oil futurescontracts take physical delivery of the oil; and require that all oil futurestrading be on a regulated exchange rather than OTC or inter-bank.
if traders took delivery of future contract oil then they would really influence the oil price!!!!


Ifyou want to see the price of oil truly reflect the fundamentals of supply anddemand, and not be subject to the whims and profit goals of hedge funds, youmay want to write to your Congressman about the above issues. In this country,where we have the best government that money can buy, the only way politicianswill do anything is if they are worried that they might not get re-elected.


Regardingethanol, I completely agree with you about not wanting even more corn syrup infood. That’s a fundamental societal problem, and I don’t want to see it in moresodas and other food products than you do. But, the problem with diverting cornto ethanol is far more than sweeteners. Corn is a basic foodstock used in somany products, not just cereals and bread products, but meats as well (sincemany animals get fed corn), and even milk (cows eat the corn). Studies have shownthat the diversion of corn to ethanol production has indeed increased foodprices. If you don’t mind paying $10 for a tortilla, it’s fine, but I do.


Abig problem is that ethanol really doesn’t save any oil. All the energy thatgoes into farming, harvesting, and processing corn turns it into a net neutralproposition. Many studies have been done, the most optimistic suggest that ittakes 1 gallon of oil to make 1.3 gallons of ethanol, and many others show thatit’s a net negative.


Ethanolhas other problems. The energy density is much lower than gasoline, so fuelmileage is less. Our cars will go about half the distance on one gallon ofethanol compared with one gallon of gasoline, so a 10% blend will reducemileage by a proportional amount.


Ethanolworks as a fuel in Brazil because their climate allows essentially a year-roundgrowing season and 3 harvests a year. Here in the U.S., with a single harvest,not so much.


Ethanolis also hygroscopic, it absorbs water moisture from the air, which causes allkinds of fuel system problems in older cars, and for boats with fiberglasstanks and gas engines. In older engines, it wrecks havoc on fuel lines, fuel pumps, filters, and the leaks caused by the deterioration have caused fires.


Ifwe really want to leave things to the ‘free market’, then we should not forceethanol down people’s throats (or into their gas tanks). The reality of ethanol is that heavy lobbyingefforts by a small number of people – primarily big corn growers in theMid-West – has forced this on the rest of us. They are making money at our expense. I don’t remember a mass outcryfrom people about wanting to turn corn into fuel….

I come from a farming background, and I can assure you our return on capital is 1% or less! and if subsidies did not exist farming would not be able to survive.
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Old 03-15-2015, 01:39 AM   #6
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I come from a farming background, and I can assure you our return on capital is 1% or less! and if subsidies did not exist farming would not be able to survive.
Well, they would but everybody would have to be willing to pay a hell of a lot more for food.
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Old 03-15-2015, 05:35 AM   #7
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Well, they would but everybody would have to be willing to pay a hell of a lot more for food.
Catch 22.
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Old 03-15-2015, 07:04 AM   #8
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"I come from a farming background, and I can assure you our return on capital is 1% or less! and if subsidies did not exist farming would not be able to survive."

As seen from the point of view from a farmer.

However folks would still need to eat so all that would happen is SOME prices would go up.

With no Ethanol debacle corn and sugar could go down.

Wildly subsidized , strawberries from a desert farm in CA using almost free Gov supplied water and the rice farm next door might see prices increase IF they had to pay the real cost of irrigation.

Altough the 1960 Club of Rome (all leftists) predicted mass starvation by 1980,
the farmers are as self serving claiming we will all starve if their hands are not covered with taxpayer cash , decade after decade!
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Old 03-15-2015, 07:14 AM   #9
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"I come from a farming background, and I can assure you our return on capital is 1% or less! and if subsidies did not exist farming would not be able to survive."

As seen from the point of view from a farmer.

However folks would still need to eat so all that would happen is SOME prices would go up.

With no Ethanol debacle corn and sugar could go down.

Wildly subsidized , strawberries from a desert farm in CA using almost free Gov supplied water and the rice farm next door might see prices increase IF they had to pay the real cost of irrigation.

Altough the 1960 Club of Rome (all leftists) predicted mass starvation by 1980,
the farmers are as self serving claiming we will all starve if their hands are not covered with taxpayer cash , decade after decade!
Farming is really a subsistence 'lifestyle choice'.
City folk make a very good point ' why should we pay for farmers to lose money'.

No subsidies = no farmers; it's that simple.

'...so let's import cheap food from the 3rd world and f**k the farmers'

Go right ahead, and let all the farmland return to forest.

...and city folk can grow all the food they need on roof gardens: sorted.
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Old 03-15-2015, 08:00 AM   #10
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I'll continue with the already drifting thread ......

If farmers are being subsidized then we are already paying higher prices for food than what's on the label in the grocery store. We're just not paying the total, or real, price at the grocery store, we've already paid the higher price through taxes.

For that matter, same with the "price" of petro products. What you pay at the pump is only part of the cost. You have already paid an upfront cost to get that product to the pump through your payment of taxes to provide for the defense costs to maintain the free flow of oil around the world.

This is a great convergence of hidden costs and a practice known as "Concentrated benefits and dispersed costs."
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Old 03-15-2015, 08:18 AM   #11
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I'll continue with the already drifting thread ......

If farmers are being subsidized then we are already paying higher prices for food than what's on the label in the grocery store. We're just not paying the total, or real, price at the grocery store, we've already paid the higher price through taxes.

For that matter, same with the "price" of petro products. What you pay at the pump is only part of the cost. You have already paid an upfront cost to get that product to the pump through your payment of taxes to provide for the defense costs to maintain the free flow of oil around the world.

This is a great convergence of hidden costs and a practice known as "Concentrated benefits and dispersed costs."
'The common good' could be construed as a socialist dogma for the redistribution of capital from the few to the many, although many farmers are capital rich they are income poor. Although It must appear to the man on the street who looks in the obituary columns and estate probate pages that farmers are rich.

On balance Society does indeed benefit more from farm subsidies than it costs in monetary terms, but even more important is 'food security' that it provides to an independent nation.

Imagine for one moment if the states did not have its own 'petroleum security' of the gulf and Alaskan oil fields?

Overall it's a price worth paying even if it is a quasi socialist form of redistribution.
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Old 03-15-2015, 12:07 PM   #12
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The last oil price bubble collapsed in 2008 because speculators fled the markets. The price of oil then reached its true supply and demand level (at that time) of $32 a barrel. But, they made money on the way down as well by shorting oil, so don’t feel too bad for them.
Endurance, if a speculator makes money on a price move, his counterparty loses the same amount, modulo transaction costs. It's a zero-sum game. You haven't made the case why I should care about that; I don't own any oil contracts.
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Old 03-15-2015, 12:18 PM   #13
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I simply do not understand why a business (ie farmer) should not stand on their own two feet, rather than expect subsidies from the govt. If your business is not viable without these subsidies, then maybe another business venture should be considered. Most small businesses do not ask for handouts, subsidies, tax breaks, or other. They make it on their own while playing within the rules that apply to all.
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Old 03-15-2015, 12:58 PM   #14
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I simply do not understand why a business (ie farmer) should not stand on their own two feet, rather than expect subsidies from the govt. If your business is not viable without these subsidies, then maybe another business venture should be considered. Most small businesses do not ask for handouts, subsidies, tax breaks, or other. They make it on their own while playing within the rules that apply to all.
Who will look after the countryside if there are no farmers?

Maybe farming should be considered as purely a social benefit, like public parks and areas of exceptional national importance like Yellowstone, and farmers as paid guardians of the landscape.
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Old 03-15-2015, 08:54 PM   #15
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Part of the problem with farm subsidies and tax right offs is that we have a fair number of wealthy people who own farms but don't farm. The only thing they harvest is money from the government. Would like to see farm susidies go away and tax right offs only apply to the profit of farming, no unearned income credits. I'm prepared to pay more for food. I'm also prepared to pay less for subsidies and welfare cheats.

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Old 03-16-2015, 07:23 AM   #16
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Part of the problem with farm subsidies and tax right offs is that we have a fair number of wealthy people who own farms but don't farm. The only thing they harvest is money from the government. Would like to see farm susidies go away and tax right offs only apply to the profit of farming, no unearned income credits. I'm prepared to pay more for food. I'm also prepared to pay less for subsidies and welfare cheats.

Ted
No farm subsidies would hit middle class families on marginal incomes the hardest, especially those with children to feed. I believe that welfare claimants get food stamps in the states (?) so in a some ways the poorest would be insulated from a cost of living rise.

This is perhaps one if the most contentious and important questions we have to answer in a modern democracy: the access to clean water, cheap food and shelter for its citizens.

Protectionism has not worked for countries, because tariffs are always applied in a tit for tat response between different 'low cost-high cost' economies.

So subsidies are really the only way local non-competitive industries can be 'protected' in the modern globalised world we live in.

The best of a bad lot!
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Old 03-16-2015, 09:38 AM   #17
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No farm subsidies would hit middle class families on marginal incomes the hardest, especially those with children to feed. I believe that welfare claimants get food stamps in the states (?) so in a some ways the poorest would be insulated from a cost of living rise.

This is perhaps one if the most contentious and important questions we have to answer in a modern democracy: the access to clean water, cheap food and shelter for its citizens.

Protectionism has not worked for countries, because tariffs are always applied in a tit for tat response between different 'low cost-high cost' economies.

So subsidies are really the only way local non-competitive industries can be 'protected' in the modern globalised world we live in.

The best of a bad lot!
Nope, sorry, socialism doesn't work (pun intended). For 80% of the population there will always be things that they want that they can't afford. I lived hand to mouth for a portion of my life. If nobody is subsidizing your unrealistic life style, you learn to make priority choices. The concept of the government subsidizing a families necessities so that they can afford their luxury items is ridiculous. I have 2 step daughters. Each family has one child, because that's what they felt they could afford. Simple concept: live within your means and prosper. A portion of the middle and lower classes live this way in the USA debt free. Unfortunately they're not held up as models.

Ted
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Old 03-16-2015, 11:54 AM   #18
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Nope, sorry, socialism doesn't work (pun intended). For 80% of the population there will always be things that they want that they can't afford. I lived hand to mouth for a portion of my life. If nobody is subsidizing your unrealistic life style, you learn to make priority choices. The concept of the government subsidizing a families necessities so that they can afford their luxury items is ridiculous. I have 2 step daughters. Each family has one child, because that's what they felt they could afford. Simple concept: live within your means and prosper. A portion of the middle and lower classes live this way in the USA debt free. Unfortunately they're not held up as models.

Ted
It's hard to make an economic argument for nuclear power stations, the numbers simply don't add up when you take de-commissioning into account. Should they all be scraped, or is it for 'the common good' that tax payers dollars are used to subsidise the whole industry to give the US energy self sufficiency?

If nuclear electricity was billed at its real cost to people who lived in the same state as the power station, it would probably be 100 times more expensive.

The squeezed middle classes are the people we should be concerned about. The Lower classes on benefits get everything free, whereas middle class families on marginal wages have to finance their lives with debt and mortgages.

My argument is that food subsidies help those marginal households afford to feed their families, keep farm land in production, and also provide the US with an independent supply of home produce.

The demography of the farming community in Europe is in crisis, the average age of a farmer here in Ireland is 60 years old; all the young people have left for the cities and towns and the country side is deserted.

Why? It's barely possible to make a living as a farmer even with the subsidies.
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Old 03-16-2015, 12:17 PM   #19
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It's economic suicide to allow the percentage of the population on government assistance to continue to grow. Compassion is helping those trapped in the system. Insanity is not reversing the trend before the system collapses. In the USA we are promoting government dependence that is unsustainable.

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Old 03-16-2015, 12:27 PM   #20
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Seems to me we are confusing this "farming" issue.

For old-timers like me, most of us had family roots in (subsistence) farming at one time; much like we are all immigrants. The cities overtook the farming populations some hundred years ago.
During the Depression, most small farms were abandoned or sold off to "corporations" - there are but a small percentage of successful family farms - mostly "organic" or boutique farms. It's all agribusiness these days. I have little sympathy for government subs for agribusiness even if it tends to stabilize prices - let them deal directly with their investors!

Although largely a free-marketer, I don't have any trouble with some protection and support for boutique farms. I would hate to see agribusiness do to them what Rockefeller did to small oil entrepreneurs.

BTW, I can definately see where 16 to 1 leverage on oil futures is way out of line and can clearly distort the oil markets. This has been demonstrated for generations. Wish I could buy real estate with leverage like that. Heck, I would be tickled with just 10 to 1. And you can see where that recently got us....
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