Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Worried about a gas tax?

Deval Patrick is right that a gas tax would be a good way to raise additional revenue against budget shortfalls. Demand is pretty strong, but even so, a reduction in demand for gasoline has other positive public policy outcomes. A reduction in pollution is the biggest.

But, not to worry all you frothing anti-tax teabaggers: He doesn't have the votes, not even close, at least not in the House. It takes 81. Fifty would be a miracle.


globeisatrocious said...

Of course raises the cost of a loaf of bread for the little old lady living in a Dorchester triple decker, But 'pollution is the biggest'!

lovable liberal said...

Did you miss the word positive?

Silence DoGood said...

Actually I think this would appeal to some conservative tax reformers. It is a use-tax. And although a use-tax is not going to solve all of our problems, it might be good in some cases like this. It does raise awareness of fuel use reduction.

However when I turn my liberal-libertarian hat around, the libertarian side reminds that tax-as-behavior-modifier is a classic Democratic abuse of power.

lovable liberal said...

Been reading Ayn Rand's tripe again, eh?

Silence DoGood said...

Well, it is no secret that the Dems and Repubs have been building Big Government over time in a tit-for-tat approach.

Legislation is never undone. The other party just makes a new regulation to trump the old one. Regardless of politics, I think a sunset clause should be in more new laws of certain types. Then when it went out of vogue, it would go away if no one cared to re-up it.

lovable liberal said...

Sure, the percentage of GDP spent on the federal government always goes up.

Oh, it doesn't? Huh!

Silence DoGood said...

Ah - intellectualism as a sport - there is always an anecdotal factoid to supoort your point of view.

OK, OK, my turn. In 1843, the spending on the War an Drugs was $0. So that makes a 100% increase from then to now!

lovable liberal said...

If you think GDP percentage is a factoid, you're hopeless. It's the sum of all examples. It's data.

Of course, you provided a good data point - on your own intellect.

Silence DoGood said...

A misrepresented factoid at that! I assume your comment that "Oh, it doesn't? Huh!" is meant to mean that it doesn't go up.

Actually it does go up. If you look at the trend from over the last decades or better yet century, the best fit linear regression is clearly a line with a positive slope.

And it REALLY goes up during wartime. And the Dubya years gave it a nasty boost. And our sitting War Presidient is on track to make it worse.

Sorry - there is that math thing again.

lovable liberal said...

Went down under Clinton, as it tends to from time to time. It's been pretty stable for three decades. Go ahead, punk, fit your linear regression. Make my day!

Of course, it does go down after a war, disproving your claim. Oops!

There are programs that get reduced or eliminated, just not enough for you, I guess.

lovable liberal said...

One thing about linear regressions: They tend to miss inflection points.

Silence DoGood said...

Arguing this with you feels like when I argue global warming with Rush supporters.

You both focus on the anecdotal infection points that fit each of your pet theories.

Never mind - there is no way I can educate you on math in a blog.

You win - There is no elephant in the room because this part of the elephant looks small.

lovable liberal said...

It appears that the primary reason you can't educate me about math is not the setting. Rather, it's your lack of deep knowledge. You huff and puff with claims, but you never back them up.

What you would ask yourself if you knew more about fitting curves to data: Is your expectation of a linear fit driving your choice of algorithm, or are you actually looking for the best fit?

You seem to think the word 'anecdotal' ends all discussion. What are you, 19?

Still, the typo-provided idea of an "infection point" is pretty funny. At least we can share a laugh about that.

Silence DoGood said...

"You seem to think the word 'anecdotal' ends all discussion. What are you, 19?"

I used anecdotal in the correct sense. This is a common statisical error you make in this blog so you will probably stumble into it again. Pure mathematics has no expectation as you refer to.

This, assuming cause and effect from relationships, and incorrect or missing scales on graphs are the three biggest data reporting errors in the media too so you are not alone.

lovable liberal said...

Sorry, an inflection point is not an anecdote. Concluding that one exists may be a misinterpretation (although not in this case), but it is a category error to call it 'anecdotal'. Furthermore, we're talking about the domain of applied math, not pure math.

Last, you haven't made a mathematical argument. You've merely claimed there's one you could make, yet your every statement undermines your own mathematical credibility. It's great to be confident and all, but it's better to be able to back up your confidence. You've provided no evidence that you have more than high school math at your disposal.

So, 19?