European-Style Gasoline Tax (i.e. significantly higher) To “Kill 4 Birds With One Stone” = (1) adequate financing for social security and universal health care, (2) reducing carbon emissions, (3) reducing the international balance-of-payments deficit, and (4) increasing national security by reducing the reliance of the U.S. and its allies on foreign oil.
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---------------------------- Original Message -------------------------------
Subject: Weekly Reading-Liberally E-mail
Date: Sat, February 12, 2011
To: Our Approximately 150 E-mail Recipients

Dear Friends,

[Information about our March 9th meeting omitted]


For our February meeting which took place this past Wednesday, we focused
on the two issues that will dominate both the 2011-2012 Congress and the
2012 Presidential Campaign -- deficit reduction and the failure to finance
2010 Health-Care Reform.

[The Congressional Budget Office rated it "deficit neutral" on the
assumptions (1) that half of the admitted cost could be taken from
Medicare which is already facing bankruptcy and therefore won't happen,
(2) that half of the admitted cost could be dumped on the states in the
form of an increased Medicaid mandate when the states are already
bankrupt, and (3) that most of the non-admitted cost in the form of higher
premiums for health insurance now required to be purchased by healthy
young people is constitutional which is under challenge in two lawsuits
brought by 27 state Attorneys General with the two U.S. District Court
Judges ruling the 2010 health-care bill is unconstitutional.]

This all against the backdrop of the Tea Party movement and the
bankruptcies of Greece, Ireland, Portugal, etc.

We requested all of you to join us in considering a third way (vs. the
obvious relish with which the two established parties want to demagogue
the tax rate for the top personal-income-tax bracket which will probably
lead to gridlock).

The third way would be to kill four birds with one stone by financing
social security and universal health care with a European-style (that is,
a dramatically higher) gasoline tax. The four birds = adequate financing
for social security and universal health care, reducing carbon emissions,
reducing the international balance-of-payments deficit, and increasing
national security by reducing the reliance of the U.S. and its allies on
foreign oil.

We take great pride that our Six-Degrees-Of-Separation E-mail proposals
(there have been nine to date) which each of you were requested to send to
the President and/or other key decision makers, and to send to all of your
friends/acquaintances to do the same in an unending chain -- have the
capability of enabling the entire U.S. citizenry to support each proposal
with only 5-6 key strokes on the computer key board of each citizen in the

Accordingly, our standards are high. Which include making such a proposal
only if we achieve unanimity or, at most, one dissent (in which case we
describe the proposal as resulting from a consensus rather than being

On Wednesday evening, we had a thorough and lively discussion, but failed
to reach a consensus among our nine participants.

Nancy Kemp was unalterably opposed to financing the 2010 Health-Care
legislation with anything but a progressive income tax.

Tom Chancellor was unalterably opposed to changing in any way the
traditional financing of social security with a payroll tax. In view of
Nancy's position, Tom's position limited group consensus to health-care

However, Bill Vogel had registered his unalterable opposition to a
European-style (i.e., dramatically higher) motor-fuel tax unless the
proposal specified the amount per gallon that would be imposed until
amended by a future Congress, rather than specifying a formula by which
the amount would be determined each year by the government.

By way of background, most European countries finance both social security
and universal health care with a sizable addition to their motor-fuel
taxes in order to "kill the four birds" listed above. As a result,
gasoline costs the typical European motorist $12-$15 per gallon.

In the U.S., the most recent statistics from the U.S. Department of
Transportation indicate annual consumption of 135 billion gallons of
gasoline and 40 billion gallons of diesel fuel. So there is no question
that the European-style model would work in the U.S.

The European model would simply project social security and universal
health-care costs for the year and divide the total cost by the number of
gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel that are projected to be consumed.
[Obviously, there would be added or subtracted a correction for any error
in the prior year's projections.]

In addition to "killing the four birds" listed above, the obvious
advantage of the European approach is that it takes away the toys with
which the politicians love to play. It is rare, even aberrational, for a
European politician to try to make a political issue out of this system --
though interestingly, French President Sarkozy is trying his best at the
moment to scare French citizens into believing that they should raise the
normal European retirement age of 60 to 62 or 63 in the case of France.

Sorry for the digression!!!

But it was necessary to explain why Bill Vogel was unable to persuade
anyone else to deviate from the European model.

Nevertheless, Bill stuck to his guns so, together with Nancy's insistence
on income-tax financing, consensus was not reached.

The reason for providing such a long report is to acquaint you with the
salient considerations so that each of you can reach your own decision on
what to do, if anything. After all, Freedom of Speech and Freedom to
Petition are still available to each of you even if our group could not
reach consensus.

If any of you should wish to launch your own six-degrees-of-separation
e-mail campaign, you could take a look at any of our past campaigns which
are posted on for how to design an
e-mail that would cascade with only 5-6 computer keyboard key strokes by
each person in the chain.

In crafting your own campaign, you will probably want your proposal to
note that there should be a phase-in period in order to accommodate the
economic recovery and in order to avoid radically reducing the value of
SUV's overnight.

Good Luck!!!

We hope to see and hear all of you on March 9th!!!

Your friend,

John K.

PS - To un-subscribe, please press "reply" and type "deletion requested."

PPS - Our sister organization, Drinking Liberally, meets on Friday
evenings for socializing with like-minded individuals from 6:30 pm > 9:30
pm at Piper Down (1492 South State Street).

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