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$100 Gas Rebate Proposal Thoughts

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Three Republican senators have attached an energy package to the emergency funding package for the war in Iraq which would give taxpayers a $100 rebate (for gas), repeal tax incentives for Big oil, and permit the Federal Trade Commission to prosecute any retail price gougers. It would also open part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil exploration as well, which is a sticking point for most Democrats and some moderate Republicans. Democrats are expected to put forward an energy plan of their own. It’s politics as usual.

On one hand I don’t want a $100 rebate, but on the other I know it’ll help a lot of people in the lower income brackets where gas prices have actually affected behavior. I think the $100 should only go to those who make under a certain income level and not to everyone… the exiting CEO of Exxon surely doesn’t need a $100 gas rebate (especially since he probably doesn’t even pay for it in the first place) on top of the several hundred million he’s pocketing in retirement. Would you turn away $100?

I, however, do want to see tax incentives repealed for Big Oil because if the government is willing to help out in times of crisis, it should also be willing to pull the plate away when Big Oil’s had enough at the buffet. In the late 90′s, Exxon’s exploration ventures came at a cost of $40/barrel when oil was selling for $20 (it’s in their 2005 annual report), so I almost understand the need for assistance. Now, though, the market environment has changed in their favor so are incentives really necessary?

Finally, why can’t the FTC prosecute price gougers anyway? Why does there need to be a law for them to do that enforcement? It seems like it should be something someone should be doing anyway.

Please share your thoughts…

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20 Responses to “$100 Gas Rebate Proposal Thoughts”

  1. CK says:

    I think the rebate is a pretty stupid idea. Putting that money into R&D to get us out of this mess would be better in my opinion. That being said I would never turn away cash the government has decided to “give” me. It’s more then easy to give it back or donate it to a worthy cause if the money ways heavy on my mind.

  2. Dus10 says:

    I think the rebate will help people, but I am not in favor of the government just handing out money. If they think people need to keep more of there money, they should just stop taking it. I do not agree, however, that wealthy people should not get rebates, if they go forward. That is a means test, and it is Marxist. If they are giving out rebates, everyone should get them.

    What should they do to promote fair policy that is good for America? I think they need to get rid of the subsidies… and not just for Big Oil, but all business. That would go a long way to fixing the problem. Also, people should get involved in providing solutions. That is just all their is too it.

  3. jim says:

    A means test is used for food stamps, so why doesn’t everyone get food stamps?

  4. A $100 tax rebate has to be one of the stupidest ideas I’ve ever heard. Why not take that $100/person and invest it in research on *legitimate* alternative energy sources? That would actually be a step toward fixing the problem. But removing tax breaks for Big Oil, on the other hand, sounds great to me. Oh, and I’m with jim on the means testing issue. Food stamps, need-based scholarships, etc. Means testing is everywhere, so why not apply it here?

  5. Nick says:

    I think the amount of a person’s rebate should be proportional to his or her car’s gas mileage. So someone driving a Toyota Prius and getting 50 MPG should get a $50 x (multiplier) rebate, while someone driving a Hummer and getting 0.04 MPG should get $0.04 x (multiplier).

    And if you walk or bike everywhere, you get a pony made of gold.

  6. Kim says:

    I totally agree that the $100 rebate should be used for research to try and not have this happen again, not for a one time relief. I know that $100 means things to different people, but for the average person/family, it’s a very small help. Let’s solve the problem people, not just put a extremely temporary band-aid on it!

  7. dakboy says:

    Remember, kids, it’s an election year and the GOP has been having trouble lately. This is a feel-good, “hey look we gave you some money” action. It’s a waste of money, trying to buy votes.

    I don’t see it helping people in lower income brackets. Many people, regardless of income bracket will likely consider it found money and blow it on DVDs or something. It really won’t provide much relief on the gas front, for anyone. Sure, your net spending may be down this month, but next month gas will be up 10 cents/gallon and where’s your rebate check then?

    My own gas usage is around $160/month. My wife’s is double that, at least, as she drives a lot for her job (fortunately, she’s reimbursed by the company). $200 in our pocket this month for a gas rebate wouldn’t mean much to us, as it’d be gone next month.

  8. Easy E says:

    I would just like to inform you that no corporation pays taxes.

    What I mean is, Companies simply pass their taxes on to consumers in the form of higher prices. So when you say they want to repeal tax incentives from oil companies what do you think will happen? The price will go up of course. The reason that the incentives were put in place was to allow the companies to sell their products and a lower cost, since removing the tax costs of production lowers the production cost.

    If you want cheaper gas, guess what, removing tax incentives is only going to make prices go up. If you really want to fix things you should support the fair tax. Then we can end this entire tangled tax system, tax incentives, and crooked politics. We will finally be able to see what our government is charging us.

    NO COMPANY PAYS TAXES, THEY PASS THE BUCK TO YOU!
    If the cost of oil goes up, the price of gas goes up. If the price of taxes go up, the price of gas goes up.

  9. NCN says:

    I believe in capitalism. I have no problem with the gas companies and oil companies making money. They invested in the infrastructure, were smart enough to convince politicians to side with them, and produce a product that everyone needs. This is smart! Instead of bashing the oil companies, we should encourage our students to think like them, act like them, and create wealth like them. As for the 100 rebate, it’s our money to begin with. All taxes come from the taxed. Heck, I say make it a 1000 dollar rebate, or a 10,000 dollar rebate. As for r/d, why in the heck should the govt be involved in r/d for ANYTHING. The “role” of the govt should be to protect us via the military, administer law via the courts, and do the bidding of the people. All of these govt programs should be done away with. Seriously. When did we ever get the idea that the govt should be in charge of fiscal policy? The market should decide. Consumers and producers. If consumers want to unite to change the demand side of an issue, I think they should. If producers want to control the supply side, that’s their business. People should stop whining about the cost of gas and THINK about how thy could make some money to change things. Great ideas are born out of necessity and visioin for a better future, not complaining about the present.

    BTW: There is no such thing as “blowing” money. When you spend money, you redistribute wealth via the marketplace. There are wise and unwise personal spending choices, but every dollar you spend, whether it is on pancake batter, a baseball glove, a diamond ring, a yacht, or a ping pong paddle, creates wealth. I’d rather see weath distributed via a free-flowing marketplace than via taxing and spending through the govt coffers. If we slashed taxes 50 percent, across the board, at local, state, and national levels, and did away with the various surcharges for goods and services, we’d create so much economic activity that you wouldn’t NEED food stamps, welfare, etc. (Except for those who are truly disabled and unable to fend for themselves. Please note: I believe in socail programs, but only well-managed and sensible ones. Some jackass who sits at home everyday watching Ellen and eating popcorn doesn’t deserve a dime of my hard earned cash.)

    As for proportional distribution of the rebate: RICH people should get more, not less. Jeez..they’re the ones paying the salaries, creating the jobs, investing in the future, etc. etc. It is high time we stop demanding that rich people “pay their fair share”. Rich people pay WAY more than their fair share. Discrimination is ugly, no matter who it affects. To say that someone who is rich doesn’t “need” the rebate is to miss the point. Rich people spend their money. And when they spend, EVERYBODY benefits. Who do you think makes money when Tiger Woods buys a car? The factory worker. How about when the Donald buys a piece of property? The construction worker, hotel staff, maid, etc. Rich people make our economy work! Are you telling me that a guy who runs a trucking company, employing say 100 workers deserves the SAME rebate as the woman who works in an office building, 9 to 5, or the man who sells insurance? NO way! That “rich” business man deserves WAY more of a rebate! Why? He’s contributing more to the “pot”.

    People need to stop being jealous and start thinking of ways that they can have a bigger piece of the pie. Nobody ever made a dime complaining about how the rich got rich, and how the poor got poor. Nope. To make a dime, you have to come up with a BETTER way to do what the rich man is doing, and then do it.

  10. ~Dawn says:

    Hahaha! Good one Nick!

    They can use my $100 to pay down the debt load. They need it more than I do.

  11. ~Dawn says:

    Hahaha! Good one Nick!

    They can use my $100 to pay down the debt load. They need it more than I do.

    Frugalforlife
    Queercents

  12. Anthonie says:

    NCN is absolutely right; people forget the how capitalism works. Higher gas prices will slow demand. People will begin to look at other ways of traveling, either, more fuel efficient vehicles, bikes, walking, carpooling, or working closer to home. That’s a normal response, not crying about it. If everyone got a $100 rebate, everyone would run out and fill up there tanks, demand would go up, guess what happens to gas prices? Yup, your right they go up. You were never guaranteed to get gas for cheap or anything for cheap. You are guaranteed to get a price at which the market can hold. You are responsible for your self, the people complaining need to find alternative ways to solve there own problems, instead of pointing there finger at oil companies and the government.

  13. “As for r/d, why in the heck should the govt be involved in r/d for ANYTHING. The “role” of the govt should be to protect us via the military, administer law via the courts, and do the bidding of the people.”

    NCN: Energy is a matter of national security. I agree that an important role of the government is to protect this country, but it’s unbelievably shortsighted to limit that view to military action. In fact, the development of alternative energy sources would greatly reduce the number of military conflicts that we join (or start ourselves). Do you honestly think it’s a good idea for us to be more or less completely dependent on Middle Eastern energy sources? Do you really think it’s a good idea to funnel tremendous amounts of wealth into countries that are bent on our destruction?

  14. jim says:

    The government “spends” billions on r&d in grants to universities and companies (such as supporting “orphan drugs”), which is the right thing to do.

  15. AmDollar says:

    I would tell them to keep the $100 rebate and buy a clue about long term world energy sources. I whole-heartedly believe in r&d. If our energy consumption continues the way it is, 50 years in the future think of the stress we will be in? “I remember when gas prices were only $3 a gallon.”. Give me a break.

  16. Easy E says:

    Demanding the government keep prices under control is a slipery slope to communism. Do we really want to risk our lives riding rafts to Cuba?

  17. NCN says:

    Again, we are asking the govt to do what is best done by the private sector. R/D of any kind should be handled by the market, driven by market forces. Govt barriers impede progress and actually slow down progress. Govt price controls are insane… why would anyone try to create a successful product, only to have his ability to charge for that product “capped” whenever the govt deems his particualr product “national security”. The problem is, we have be duped into believing that the govt actually does these things well! When will we wake up an realize that giving the govt money to do ANTHING besides provide basic protections is stupid!!!

  18. Jonathan says:

    Posts about gas always spark a lively debate, somehow. ;)

  19. dantheman says:

    Here’s an idea. Lets have the American people borrow more money from the Saudis, give it to themselves, and then have future generations, when gas will be at 6 or 7 dollars a gallon, pay it back. Brilliant policy!

    On a more serious note, I do think government can play a positive role in easing and moderating the shocks of the global economy on average American’s lives. If a worker loses his or her job to free trade, we shouldn’t become protectionists, but we should help retrain that worker and provide unemployment benifits. In a simmilar manner, I can understand a temporary gas tax holiday, perhaps paid for by a small windfall profits tax on oil companies (see Mike Kinsley’s Slate column for a defense of this idea). But unpaid for $100 rebates that have nothing to do with gas consumption is bad policy and insulting to the American people’s intelegence.

  20. Ryan says:

    Thanks Government! And while you’re at it, can you put me in for the last 10 seconds of the game. Great! Thanks!


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