Friday, October 24, 2003
Repeat after me: Oil price rises are not a tax increase
1984 Redux: Political double speak has reached monumental proportions. Orwell explained (and predicted) that the motivation behind those who bastardize the language is to eliminate debate -- mostly about policy issues and apportionment of power. The old boy had a point.
Which brings me to my weekend peeve: Whenever Oil increases in price, you will hear it described as a “Tax.” This nonsense is spouted on Bloomberg, CNBC, CNN, Fox -- essentially anywhere the chattering headshold court. Here’s the typical thoughtless sound byte:
“With each dollar increase in the cost of a barrel of Oil, we lose almost 6 billion dollars of GDP. Price increases in Oil act as a Tax on the economy.”
There is no doubt that increased energy costs are a drag on the economy. The greater percentage of their finite resources consumers spend of gasoline and home heating oil, the less discretionary dollars they have to spend on other things. As oil prices rise, dollars which could be better spent elsewhere in the economy become unavailable. Rising energy prices are an expense, a cost, a drag on the economy.
That’s not my beef . . . It’s the disingenuous labelling the increase “a tax” which is so, well, Orwellian.
Why? We have organized ourselves in a society to collectively do what we could not accomplish as individuals. We form governments to administer these tasks, including the collection of (horror!) Taxes.
This turns out to be a good thing. Your taxes are what pays for teachers’ salaries, so your kids can get an education. Taxes build the schools, buy the books, fund the H.S. sports teams.
When oil prices go up, none of that revenue finds its way to schools. So pray tell me, how is it a tax?
Here’s another place where your tax dollars go: Police, Firefighters, EMTs. Have we already forgotten the valor of those who died trying to rescue others on September 11th? These were municipal employees; Their salaries were paid with tax dollars. So were their uniforms, police cruisers, walkie talkies, firetrucks, ladders, axes, oxygen masks, waterhoses. EMT’s use ambulances, emergency medical supplies and training -- all taxpayer supported.
When OPEC cuts production so oil prices go up . . . that money never finds its way to cops, EMTs, and firemen; It goes to the Saudis, who fund the Madras religous hate schools, which indoctrinated the terrorists who (tuition funded via Oil revenues) trained at flight schools where they learned to fly the planes that eventually took down the Twin Towers.
We haven’t even started discussing the roads those ambulances travel on, the bridges and tunnels the National Guard protects, or the harbors the Coast Guard patrols.
I find it especially galling to hear higher oil prices called a “Tax” during War time. This obnoxious denigration of tax dollars is a backhanded slap at society. It is offensive to anyone who thinks about it.
The Kevlar protecting the heart and lungs of every U.S. Military personnel in the Gulf was paid for by taxes. Each Abrams M1 tank, every F-117 stealth fighter, M16 rifle and tomahawk cruise missile is funded with tax dollars -- not higher oil prices. There are five aircraft carrier battle groups in the Gulf region; Each carrier group houses 10,000 men, has 3000 aircraft. Guess how they were paid for?
The next time you hear some Minister of Propaganda spouting this nonsense, challenge them on it. Ask them how much of this “tax” pays for teachers or cops or firefighters or soldiers in the armed forces. Force them to confront their own “Newspeak.”
Some of them aren’t even aware of what they are saying; These are the idiot Parrots with limited intellectual bandwidth. They exist in large numbers, and are dangerous when they repeat the meme.
Politely correct these people before they spread.
Much more insidious are the bastards who are fully cognizant of their word play. They need to be publicly humiliated for their linguistical crimes.
Freedom costs money. So do schools, roads, water supplies, and everything else a modern civilization requires. It behooves you to understand what does -- and does not -- pay for them.
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