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Should We Tax the Gas?

In this day and age gasoline and carbon emitting fuels are a key product in every man and woman in the United States. But this is causing a huge amount of carbon to be released into the atmosphere, which is slowly killing the planet and all of its inhabitants. To try and stop the effects, the government has decided to make it so that not as many people use gasoline and fossil fuels. As described by the Stanford Hoover Institution, the plan is to use a tax on fuels called the revenue-neutral tax. This tax is designed to increase the price of fuels, but put the money earned by the fuel tax to decrease the taxes in other places, for example income tax.

Graph explaining the effects of a Revenue-neutral carbon tax provided by Carbon Tax Center

It is beneficial because the government is not trying to earn money but rather keep the money in the hands of the citizens. Also because of the higher gas prices the incentive to buy gas is lower which will prevent people from buying as much. This eventually leads to a decline in the use of gas, which in turns slows down the amount of carbon being released in the atmosphere. I believe this is a very good idea, because not only does it discourage customers from using fuels, but it also promotes businesses to make more fuel-efficient and hybrid cars. Not only does this help the planet from harmful carbon emissions, but it also helps the US economy because the US would not have to import foreign oil from and sell more American made cars that have a better effect on the environment.  So the tax could help bring economic growth back to the US so our import costs would not be more than out export profit. After hearing all of these examples of how this tax is great and will help the country tremendously, there are still people who do not like the idea. One opposing idea that I have heard is that ‘if the citizens are getting more money (from the decreased income taxes and such) then won’t they continue buying gasoline’. This is a good argument to the tax. But I believe I have the explanation about why the tax works rather than what the opposition says will happen. My idea centers on an idea brought up in the video Comedy, Economics, and Carbon taxes. In the video it describes a hypothetical situation about three people selling each other fuel consuming machines and as a consequence have to pay extra for medical bill because of the major air pollution. In the end the three people each sold on machine and earned 100 dollars, but had to pay 140 extra dollars in medical expenses. In conclusion each person had lost 40 dollars with out even knowing they had done so. This is a similar situation to the revenue-neutral tax.  A person finds out that the price of gas is too large, but does not necessarily think about the fact that he/she has enough money to afford it. The consumer thinks they are doing the best for themselves by not buying the pricy gas when they could.

Data given by the British Columbia Budget Website. The British Columbia is currently experimenting with the tax.

Another argument is that the law of demand clearly states that when the price of a good is raises the demand of the good is decreased. This is the case most of the time, except for inelastic good, which are goods that are bought no matter the price. This may be the case in today’s society, in which fuels are used everyday, which would make the revenue-neutral tax a flop. But there is no real evidence whether this tax actually works or not, but all eyes are turned to the British Columbia which is in the process of figuring out if it works or not.

Categories: B1 Tags: , ,

Government Made Fun?

February 28, 2013 Leave a comment
This year Government class has been the most interesting course in my high school career, thus far. The class is not about listening to the teacher lecture and taking notes, but rather thinking critically to solve problems that today’s politicians have to solve. We have done many things to learn new information but also have to think of creative ideas.  For example there was an activity called “Constitutional Hypotheticals” in which we were given a hypothetical situation and had to search through the Constitution to find whether the certain situations were in accordance with the Constitution, or not. We did the same type of assignment many other times, focusing on particular sections of the Constitution such as Fun with Article I and Fun with Article II.

Though this activity was fun and education, it was not the section I liked the most, but rather that spot would have to go to the Mock Trial we did in the last section of the course. We were studying the Judiciary for the last subject and our teacher said, “Why would you want to sit there and listen to me teach you about the judiciary. And why would I want to have to prepare a powerpoint and lecture you for the class” (for clarification purpose, this is paraphrasing what he said).  So instead of making us sit and take notes, he had us reenact a real case, one that the Supreme Court has not yet released a decision for. We were to hold a mock trial for the Fisher vs. UT case, three people volunteered to be Petitioners for Fisher and three people volunteered to be the Respondents for UT. The rest were to be the Justices in the Supreme Court, I was included in this group. We were also assigned a

Fisher v. UT Source: Policymic

Supreme Court Justice to act as, I was Samuel Alito. We read our Justices’ bio to figure how our Justice would act and then wrote questions to ask the two sides of the court case. When the Mock Trial began I took the role I was given and ran with it. I was probably the one who asked the most questions, to both sides. I asked so many different questions, I even played Devil’s Advocate. By the end of the trial I was so into it that I could not stop thinking about the case for most of the day. Even though I have no interest into going into politics or law, I do like to question people and argue cases. When I was able to question the Petitioners’ and Respondents’ arguments, I was having a great time getting the information I wanted to know out of the two sides. At the end of the case we all voted like the Supreme Court would, it was a very educational and exciting experience.

This year’ Government course has been the most interesting and thought provoking class. The unique way it is taught is new to me. Because the class is centered around the Internet, it is a very effective way to teach todays’ high schoolers. I believe if the class were to be taught in a more traditional way, I would not have learned as much nor would I have enjoyed the it as much.

Categories: Learning

An Urgent Deadline, an Apathetic Response

February 22, 2013 Leave a comment

After the New Year’s Fiscal Cliff situation many Americans were in a panic. What was going to happen to my lives? What will change? How will I live if we fall off the Cliff? While many other people were dreading the day, my government class and myself where anxious to see what Congress would do about the problem. Our class was doing a project that allowed us to make our own solution and I (along with many others) were wondering if our solutions were close to what Congress and the President would come up with. After many hours of watching the TV, waiting for updates the solution was released to the public. There were higher taxes, as expected, but not the spending cuts that needed to happen. Instead Congress delayed the decision until March 1st. Now it is close to the deadline, again, and Congress is not working, as they should to solve they problem they left to do later. Though Congress leaders know that there is no definite deadline when bills need to be passed. Instead leaders say that the “cuts can be phased in over time” says Alan Silverleib and Ted Barnett from CNN. But with how opposed to each other’s ideas the two parties are, Washington will need as much time as they can get to finally reach a decision.

Spending cuts in national budget

Photo Source: Conservative News Central

Spending cuts in national budget

Though Congress might not be as urgent as they should be, neither are the people of America. Is the $85 billion necessary spending cuts not important? There are not stories on every news channel about the March 1st deadline. Instead the new is filled with stories about other events that everyone would rather listen to. There are more significant things in the eyes of the public, such as gun control, Oscar Pistorius’ homicide trial, and other more recent news. If the public is not interested, the news channels and papers will not publish much on some topics even if it needs to be talked about. “Congress isn’t even in session this week” revealed CNN, why would they not be in session when time is running out?

Though Congress is not meeting, there is no doubt that there is talk of solutions. There are Committee meetings, and President Obama probably has the topic on his list of things that need to be talked about. But the two parties have probably not come together to talk of a solution that will satisfy both sides. President Obama expresses his want for collaboration between the two parties at a White House event when he addressed the Republicans asking them if, “they [were] willing to compromise.” Obama and his administration want to There need to be meetings now, so another repeat of the December Obama and Boehner discussions that didn’t end well for either side.

As a student, reading an article about Congress not worried about a deadline makes me confused. Now, in my high school career, deadlines and due dates direct my life. When I hear of this attitude about an important subject it confuses me. But I then it makes me think of all the things I have not learned yet about the “real world” that is thrust upon a young adult after he or she graduates high school or college. Even when I learn these things there will still be things I don’t know about the world of politics, which keep changes through the years as new events occur every day. Though there may be things I have not learned yet, there are many things that I have learned in just the passed year that have changed the way I view the world around me. Now that I have an understanding of government I have my own views, instead of just agreeing with everything my parents say about current events. I now can develop my own opinions and tell them to the world. As updates come out about the March 1st deadline, there is no doubt that I will be there to insert my own ideas and see how the people in Washington solve the problems of today.

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