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Sin Tax

General discussions of the systemic, societal and civilisational effects of depletion.

Sin Tax

Unread postby EdwinSm » Tue 04 Jun 2019, 00:38:21

I may be behind the curve, but yesterday I saw, what was for me, a new addition to the list of "Sin Taxes" in a national news report.

After recent elections a coalition government is being formed and the programme proposal includes an increase in Sin Taxes, that is alcohol, tobacco products AND fuel for vehicles. [There has been a strong emphasis on ecological issues in the past election, with the Green Party the main gainer.]

Do you think that Vehicle taxes should be included in the list of "sin taxes"?
In light of the peak oil (dynamic) it might be a good move, and might help people accept it as an incentive to move away from fossil fuels.
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Re: Sin Tax

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Tue 04 Jun 2019, 02:38:05

EdwinSm wrote:I may be behind the curve, but yesterday I saw, what was for me, a new addition to the list of "Sin Taxes" in a national news report.

After recent elections a coalition government is being formed and the programme proposal includes an increase in Sin Taxes, that is alcohol, tobacco products AND fuel for vehicles. [There has been a strong emphasis on ecological issues in the past election, with the Green Party the main gainer.]

Do you think that Vehicle taxes should be included in the list of "sin taxes"?
In light of the peak oil (dynamic) it might be a good move, and might help people accept it as an incentive to move away from fossil fuels.

1). As the world grows more secular, the whole "sin" moniker gets less sensible / relevant.

2). If they want to have a tax system based on punishing/discouraging what is "bad" for the planet or people in general instead of (some or all of the) progressive income taxes, that's a different thing. I think it could be a very good thing, but then they should be honest about it, and set that system up, and explain how the whole thing would work.

3). Until EV's are dominant everywhere, calling an ICE car "a sin", especially where the infrastructure doesn't provide good alternatives to get around (such as in remote / rural areas), lumping them with things like cigarette taxes seems just wrong to me. (Once they are everywhere and easy to charge, get fixed, etc., that changes, assuming 400+ mile ranges become commonly available in time).

I don't mind when politicians try to solve problems, including suggesting new methods. What I mind is the lying/misnaming/moralizing to try to sell their ideas under false pretenses. I think that today, to call ICE cars a "sin" is unreasonable. They're not even close to dominant in southern CA yet, for example.
Given the track record of the perma-doomer blogs, I wouldn't bet a fast crash doomer's money on their predictions.
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Re: Sin Tax

Unread postby Newfie » Tue 04 Jun 2019, 04:00:22

Do you think that Vehicle taxes should be included in the list of "sin taxes"?


“Win” or “virtue” is a subjective assignment. Do I think vehicles should be taxed? They already are with sales taxes, at least in most if not all USA states. There is no Federal tax.

I would support a “tax” to cover the eventual safe disposal/recycling of the vehicle and manufacturing plants.

“Sin” taxes are levied to discourage a particular practice or action. What are they trying to suppress? Fuel is generally heavily taxed, but that is suppressing vehicle “use”, not simple ownership.
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Re: Sin Tax

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Tue 04 Jun 2019, 13:52:35

Newfie wrote:Fuel is generally heavily taxed, but that is suppressing vehicle “use”, not simple ownership.

In general, at least in the US, fuel taxes are theoretically used, largely, to maintain the road network drivers depend on. The theory makes sense to me, and IMO, the people who use the roads the most should pay the most tax to maintain them, and the fuel tax more or less works that way.

Of course, since people HATE paying fuel taxes, the US federal fuel tax is no longer enough to keep the roads in good repair, so there's that. If roads magically stayed fully repaired, built themselves at a verbal command, etc., then I'd see no need for fuel taxes. As it is, I don't see having users pay to maintain an expensive system they benefit from via taxes as "suppressing" vehicle usage so much as dealing with economic reality.

Oh, and BTW, EV's will tear up the roads, just like ICE's (or even more, if they're heavier). So, I think we should likely be converting the fuel tax to a mileage tax, or tax electricity used to charge EV's, especially as the proportion of EV's grows -- so all drivers are paying roughly their "fair" share. We certainly have the technology to do that; it just takes politicians having the will.
Given the track record of the perma-doomer blogs, I wouldn't bet a fast crash doomer's money on their predictions.
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Re: Sin Tax

Unread postby Newfie » Tue 04 Jun 2019, 16:18:17

Some good thoughts there.
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Re: Sin Tax

Unread postby asg70 » Tue 04 Jun 2019, 23:48:56

CARBON tax, not sin tax.
ATTN: SHORT LOST A BET AND HE WON'T EVEN ADMIT HE MADE ONE. HIS POSTS HAVE NO CREDIBILITY AND HE SHOULD NOT BE WELCOME HERE
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Re: Sin Tax

Unread postby Fredrik » Wed 05 Jun 2019, 11:00:45

EdwinSm wrote:There has been a strong emphasis on ecological issues in the past election, with the Green Party the main gainer.


By the way, where do you live?
"Only scarcity and effort make life worth living."
"A fundamental, devastating error is to set up a political system based on [individual] desires." -Pentti Linkola
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Re: Sin Tax

Unread postby evilgenius » Wed 05 Jun 2019, 11:52:39

Road usage would be ok, if it could be done without tracking where everybody went. Too much information about what people do, or that can be inferred about that from where they go, is a bad thing in the hands of any government. Governments are the political embodiment of the people. Since when have other people kept embarrassing or destructive knowledge to themselves? The very danger of that would curtail not just overtly aberrant behaviors, like people traveling to cheat on their spouses. It could cause people to come together around centers of thought that judge others for behaviors that have always been seen as merely eccentric or which are simply not part of what normal people choose to do. Shame is a powerful weapon. The current president is guilty of throwing it around in order to get what he wants, stirring up his base and solidifying them around certain issues. The way he does it is a lot like the people doing it because he does it as a result of his knowledge of what their opinions are, so that he can appeal to them. Imagine what the people themselves would do, if they had a more direct connection to the use of shame empowered by too much knowledge about the behavior of those around them.

Usage could be tracked by tracking battery levels. If a car's batteries were used for a non-traveling purpose, like powering a camping site, trailer or house, some sort of switch could be used to classify that use differently. Different uses could be classified almost like how different sorts of diesel fuel are taxed, according to what category they are in. While diesel is taxed at the pump, electricity could be taxed by amount of it put toward whatever category of use. The categories would have to be broad enough or, again, the wily nature of the people might step in and ruin the whole thing for everybody.
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Re: Sin Tax

Unread postby EdwinSm » Thu 06 Jun 2019, 08:43:06

Fredrik: Åboland

Thanks for the thoughts. I am not sure that I want to add fuel tax to the "sin tax list".

I realise that prices have to rise to drive people to more energy efficient vehicles, and personally I would love to have an ev. However, my driving now is quite limited and I guess that the energy consumption used in making a new car will be nowhere near the savings in fuel over keeping my existing petrol (gas) one. So the ecologically responsible move would be to keep the existing car until it mechanically needs replacement.

In the elections it was noted that the Green Party is primarily targeted at the urban university educated elite. As a result, its policies are often at a variance with the needs of the rural population. Eg getting people to switch to public transport is a good idea, but in sparsely populated areas this could be an extremely expensive option if the buses are driving around almost empty. [And don't get me started on the invasive species such as cormorants :x ]
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