• 07-22-2013, 01:27 PM
    Smokey
    Gas prices around the world
    Lets see what how the other half lives.

    Venezuela, 10 cents a gallon: Thanks to government subsidies put in place by the late President Hugo Chavez, gas prices have been frozen for nearly 15 years.

    Saudi Arabia, 45 cents a gallon: As OPEC's biggest producer, it should come as no surprise that gas prices in Saudi Arabia are heavily subsidized by the government and are among the cheapest on the planet.

    Kuwait, 81 cents a gallon: Like other Middle Eastern oil producers, Kuwait heavily subsidizes its gas industry, keeping prices low for its citizens.

    Iran, $2.15 a gallon: The fourth-biggest oil producer in the world had already undertaken an effort to reduce subsidies and bring gas prices more in line with the market before U.S. and European Union sanctions took a toll on Iran's economy.

    New York City, $3.79 a gallon: You may not spend any time driving around New York City this summer, but your cab drivers and bus operators will, and what they pay to fill up their tanks affects what you pay for a ride.

    Pakistan, $3.98 a gallon: According to a Bloomberg study, Pakistanis feel the wallop of their gas prices more than citizens of any other country, spending on average the equivalent of just over a day's wages for one gallon of gas.

    Los Angeles, $3.99 a gallon: The average gallon of gas is just about to pass the $4 mark in LA, with prices in many neighborhoods having already slipped past that and some even brushing up against the $5-a-gallon barrier.

    China, $4.74 a gallon: China is already the second-biggest oil consumer in the world behind the United States, and with an emerging middle class it should only use more in the coming years.

    Canada, $4.76 a gallon: As a major oil producer with a large portion of its population regularly driving great distances, you might expect Canadian gas prices to be lower than they are.

    India, $5 a gallon: Low wages, a lack of readily available electricity or clean fuels, and ineffective government subsidies make Indian gas prices almost as hard on its citizens as those in any other nation.

    Luxembourg, $6.81 per gallon: Luxembourg has the highest per-capita income in the world, so its residents can afford to spend the nearly $7 that a gallon of gas costs on average.

    United Kingdom, $8.06 per gallon:For Americans, the United Kingdom has always been the go-to example for how things could always be worse when it comes to the cost of gas. This is the case now more than ever.

    Norway, $9.63 per gallon: Unlike other oil-rich countries around the world, the Norwegian government doesn't use its oil profits to subsidize insanely cheap gasoline. That money goes into public services instead services that include college education for Norway's citizens.

    Turkey, $9.89 per gallon: The reason? A good chunk of the population pays no taxes at all, so increasing the fuel tax has become a way for the Turkish government to make up its budget deficit gap.

    Gas prices around the world - MSN Autos
  • 07-23-2013, 07:23 AM
    Hyfi
    Interesting list. Luckily, most of the countries listed have decent transportation structures where people don't have to drive as much as here.

    I was surprised at Norway, but having friends there and a weeks visit a few years ago, they do a lot of interesting things. Like you mentioned about education, you can go all your life for free. If you get laid off, you collect until you work again. Your medical is always covered. But they pay about 50% income taxes to get all that. Might just be a good deal compared to the US and our tax base vs services received.
  • 07-23-2013, 08:33 AM
    Feanor
    As for Canada, whether you have longer distances to driver depends on where you are and where you're going, (Dah!)

    Gas prices are far from uniform across Canada. Gasoline taxes are partly provincial, and the provincial portions are set by the provinces according to their own agendas. The Province of Alberta produces by far the most gasoline and indeed has the lowest gasoline in Canada.
  • 07-23-2013, 08:41 AM
    Feanor
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Hyfi View Post
    Interesting list. Luckily, most of the countries listed have decent transportation structures where people don't have to drive as much as here.

    I was surprised at Norway, but having friends there and a weeks visit a few years ago, they do a lot of interesting things. Like you mentioned about education, you can go all your life for free. If you get laid off, you collect until you work again. Your medical is always covered. But they pay about 50% income taxes to get all that. Might just be a good deal compared to the US and our tax base vs services received.

    Those dumb, liberty-hating Norwegians. Don't they know that big government is bad?!?

    I guess Norwegian incomes must be low ... uhmm, oh wait: according to this source, the Norwegian median household income is $32,405/yr, while that of the USA is only $29,056. (Damn! that can't be right: we all know that "socialism" is evil.)
  • 07-23-2013, 09:25 AM
    ForeverAutumn
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Feanor View Post
    As for Canada, whether you have longer distances to driver depends on where you are and where you're going, (Dah!)

    Gas prices are far from uniform across Canada. Gasoline taxes are partly provincial, and the provincial portions are set by the provinces according to their own agendas. The Province of Alberta produces by far the most gasoline and indeed has the lowest gasoline in Canada.

    Geez, they vary by municipality not just provincially. Gas prices in Orillia (about an hour's drive) are often more than ten cents a litre cheaper than in Toronto.
  • 07-23-2013, 10:04 AM
    JohnMichael
    I drive a small economy car that was paid for 8 years ago. Mileage in the high 30's and with no car payments I am driving fairly cheaply. I also take advantage of fuel discount programs. On the other hand I am old enough to remember gas at 27 cents a gallon. If I lived in England I would be walking much more.
  • 07-23-2013, 10:40 AM
    Feanor
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ForeverAutumn View Post
    Geez, they vary by municipality not just provincially {in Canada}. Gas prices in Orillia (about an hour's drive) are often more than ten cents a litre cheaper than in Toronto.

    True ... damned true!

    Gas prices are 3-8 cents/litre lower in St. Thomas, 20 minutes south of London.
  • 07-23-2013, 07:40 PM
    Smokey
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Feanor View Post
    Those dumb, liberty-hating Norwegians. Don't they know that big government is bad?!?I guess Norwegian incomes must be low ... uhmm, oh wait: according to this source, the Norwegian median household income is $32,405/yr, while that of the USA is only $29,056. (Damn! that can't be right: we all know that "socialism" is evil.)

    Going to college for free is so cool. Somebody figured that instead of some fat cat buying a summer villa in French Morroco with all the oil profit, they can channel that revenue for poeple to get free college education. Ofcourse that would be politically incorrect :)
  • 07-24-2013, 05:52 AM
    Feanor
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Smokey View Post
    Going to college for free is so cool. Somebody figured that instead of some fat cat buying a summer villa in French Morroco with all the oil profit, they can channel that revenue for poeple to get free college education. Ofcourse that would be politically incorrect :)

    Well not politically incorrect in Norway it seems.

    But surely taking the fat cat's money is "punishing success" as Newt Gingrich would put it? Surely the fat cat's success is only due to his innovation & hard work, and letting him keep his money -- indeed, giving him even more -- to invest will end with something trickling down to the rest of us? Surely VAST incentive is necessary to get people to work hard & invest? (But don't mention the incentive effect in the context of raising the Minimum Wage.)
  • 07-24-2013, 05:54 AM
    bobsticks
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Feanor View Post
    Those dumb, liberty-hating Norwegians. Don't they know that big government is bad?!?

    I guess Norwegian incomes must be low ... uhmm, oh wait: according to this source, the Norwegian median household income is $32,405/yr, while that of the USA is only $29,056. (Damn! that can't be right: we all know that "socialism" is evil.)

    ...and Norway is such an impactful world power.

    Following Detroit's example we here see the cities of Camden, Cincinnati, Chicago, Portland, Honolulu, and the entire state of California teetering on the verge of financial collapse under the weight public pensions and healthcare. It might be wise to acknowledge that there are some drawbacks to big government within certain economic cycles.
  • 07-24-2013, 06:44 AM
    ForeverAutumn
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by bobsticks View Post
    ...and Norway is such an impactful world power.

    Following Detroit's example we here see the cities of Camden, Cincinnati, Chicago, Portland, Honolulu, and the entire state of California teetering on the verge of financial collapse under the weight public pensions and healthcare. It might be wise to acknowledge that there are some drawbacks to big government within certain economic cycles.

    So that begs the question...would providing free education, an equal opportunity to advance one's career, and universal health care reduce the current weight on public pensions, healthcare and other social services?

    Of course taxes would have to go up for some people, but they wouldn't be paying to educate their children or for health insurance so their net income might not change that much.

    And let's assume, for the sake of argument, that the government is capable of running these programs wisely (we're getting into Utopia territory, I know).
  • 07-24-2013, 07:35 AM
    Feanor
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by bobsticks View Post
    ...and Norway is such an impactful world power.

    Following Detroit's example we here see the cities of Camden, Cincinnati, Chicago, Portland, Honolulu, and the entire state of California teetering on the verge of financial collapse under the weight public pensions and healthcare. It might be wise to acknowledge that there are some drawbacks to big government within certain economic cycles.

    The sheer "bigness" of government isn't the problem. That is, it isn't the scope & size of government per se that is the issue.

    Here's were we agree. In the past powerful unions in some sectors made extravagant demands of their employers. For their part, their employers were able -- then -- to meet those demands because (i) they had the financial wherewithal and (ii) they preferred to meet demands rather than face the disruptions that would ensue from resisting them. Now times have changed and employers in those sectors no longer have the wherewithal to satisfy extravagant demands -- even those that were agree upon decades ago.

    However "Big Government" was by no means the only employer that yielded to excessive union demands. The auto industry is a huge example of a private sector employer that did so and it isn't the only one.

    Maybe the unions became powerful labor monopolies and, maybe, they are still too powerful in the public sector. However the solution is to deal realistically with the unions demands. The solution isn't to restrict the useful role that governments can & ought to play in fostering the well-being of the nation and its people.

    Take some comfort knowing that here in Canada we have pretty much the same issue. Public sector unions remain very strong relative to the remaining private sector unions, let alone ununionized workers. Consequently the wages of their members have taken off relative to other workers; (ironically it's especially those who aren't allowed to strike). E.g. police, firefighters, and EMS technicians in Ontario now have salaries averaging over $90k/yr. School teachers, once considered poorly paid, are also now averaging around $90k/yr. This is a problem but I don't see that the solution is for the government to get out of policing, firefighting, EMS, or public schooling.
  • 07-24-2013, 01:20 PM
    Smokey
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ForeverAutumn View Post
    Of course taxes would have to go up for some people, but they wouldn't be paying to educate their children or for health insurance so their net income might not change that much.

    According to Obama universal healthcare which will be launched next year, anybody making over $50k a year have to pay $3000 a year for health insurance. I am sure if we had a free universal health care supported by taxes, the taxes will be much lower than $3000 a year.
  • 07-24-2013, 01:31 PM
    ForeverAutumn
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Smokey View Post
    According to Obama universal healthcare which will be launched next year, anybody making over $50k a year have to pay $3000 a year for health insurance. I am sure if we had a free universal health care supported by taxes, the taxes will be much lower than $3000 a year.

    So will it just be a flat rate, and the same rate, for anyone earning over $50K? If so, I don't agree with that method. That means that someone earning $50K will be paying a higher per cent of their income than someone earning, say, $100K. A more fair method would be to charge everyone a per cent of their income, not a fixed, flat rate.
  • 07-24-2013, 02:56 PM
    Feanor
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Smokey View Post
    According to Obama universal healthcare which will be launched next year, anybody making over $50k a year have to pay $3000 a year for health insurance. I am sure if we had a free universal health care supported by taxes, the taxes will be much lower than $3000 a year.

    Here in the Great White North healthcare in all provinces is currently paid from general taxes revenues. This strikes me as the way to go. In this case anyone's contribution to healthcare is directly proportional to the other taxes they pay; (I also believe in progressive income with few exceptions and the same rate for capital gains). I definitely don't see that employers ought to pay for health insurance.
  • 07-24-2013, 03:54 PM
    Smokey
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ForeverAutumn View Post
    A more fair method would be to charge everyone a per cent of their income, not a fixed, flat rate.

    The progressive tax rate seems to apply if you make less than $50k a year. I copy&paste this info:

    The amount of the subsidy you're eligible for will depend on your income. Those with incomes of up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level ($43,560 for an individual and $89,400 for a family of four in 2011) are eligible for premium assistance credits.

    ◦If your income is between 300 and 400 percent of poverty level, you will be required to spend only 9.5 percent of your income on insurance.

    ◦If your income is 133 percent of poverty level, you'll be required to spend only 3 percent of your income on health insurance.

    ◦If your income is below 133 percent of poverty level ($14000 for single and $29,050 total yearly income for a family of four), you may be eligible for Medicaid. Which mean Medicaid will pay the insurance premiums for those individuals.

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Feanor
    I definitely don't see that employers ought to pay for health insurance.

    That only apply if business have more tha 50 full time workers. That is why we see alot of small businesses hire only part time employees to keep under the rador.
  • 07-24-2013, 08:09 PM
    bobsticks
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Smokey View Post
    According to Obama universal healthcare which will be launched next year, anybody making over $50k a year have to pay $3000 a year for health insurance. I am sure if we had a free universal health care supported by taxes, the taxes will be much lower than $3000 a year.

    I'm not sure that's true at all, Smokester. My biggest criticism of the current administration is their abject refusal to address the rising costs of healthcare...I'm talking about what the manufacturers and practitioners charge you and the insurance companies...as well as what the insurance companies charge the consumer/group/government. None of this will be addressed without judicial review.
  • 07-24-2013, 08:11 PM
    bobsticks
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Feanor View Post
    )... I definitely don't see that employers ought to pay for health insurance.

    We agree on this, especially because, in the American experience, small business owners will be devastated.
  • 07-25-2013, 04:37 AM
    Feanor
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by bobsticks View Post
    I'm not sure that's true at all, Smokester. My biggest criticism of the current administration is their abject refusal to address the rising costs of healthcare...I'm talking about what the manufacturers and practitioners charge you and the insurance companies...as well as what the insurance companies charge the consumer/group/government. None of this will be addressed without judicial review.

    I completely agree ... though I'm not sure I'd single out the "current administration" to blame. Rather it is the failure of the whole US polity to come to terms to acknowledge their for-profit, private deliver healthcare model is better at delivering profits than healthcare.

    Sure, the USA has the best healthcare in the world -- but only if you can afford it. Meanwhile while healthcare cost is the highest in the world by far in terms of % of GDP, health outcomes are only mediocre. The only way to deliver better outcomes for lower cost is a universal, single payer system of some sort. (Other developed countries have various models but they are virtually all better than the US's.)

    The biggest single item in the USA's deficit projections is Medicare. This is because of: (1) the inevitable ageing of the population, and (2) the inherently out-of-control cost of healthcare in general under the private delivery, for-profit model. The solution to the former problem is outside the scope of healthcare discussion. The solution to the latter will require more than judicial review, it demands deep rethinking by politicians across the spectrum.
  • 07-25-2013, 05:50 AM
    noddin0ff
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by bobsticks View Post
    ...and Norway is such an impactful world power.

    Following Detroit's example we here see the cities of Camden, Cincinnati, Chicago, Portland, Honolulu, and the entire state of California teetering on the verge of financial collapse under the weight public pensions and healthcare. It might be wise to acknowledge that there are some drawbacks to big government within certain economic cycles.

    Lets not confuse Federal gov't (Big) with state and municipality (not big).

    The the US Big gov't will never need to fail to make good on pension or healthcare promises. The reason: the Fed can print currency. State's can't.

    My point. States are not applicable examples of big gov't and federal policy when it comes to money. Unless, of course, states start making promises to be paid in state printed currency...
  • 07-25-2013, 12:07 PM
    bobsticks
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by noddin0ff View Post
    Lets not confuse Federal gov't (Big) with state and municipality (not big).

    The the US Big gov't will never need to fail to make good on pension or healthcare promises. The reason: the Fed can print currency. State's can't.

    My point. States are not applicable examples of big gov't and federal policy when it comes to money. Unless, of course, states start making promises to be paid in state printed currency..

    Whattup n0ddy? Good to hear from you...

    My examples were meant more from the perspective of government entities making promises that are fiscally unsound perhaps especially from the perspective of population growth. You can get blood from a turnip.