Kurt Beck, Premier of the State of Rhineland-Palatinate and would-be Chancellor, has done it again.
Not content with making a fool of himself by claiming that nuclear power generates more greenhouse gases than burning coal, he's neglected to learn how markets work and the impact thereon of variable and fixed taxes.
Fuel prices here are horrendous - around €1.40 litre which works out at (get this..) $8.50 - in words: eight dollars and fifty cents - a US gallon.
Most of it's tax.
There's a flat tax of €.70 a litre and on top of that (plus the producer price) a further 19% GST. ( Taxes on taxes. Nice scam...)
So even if Shell gave the stuff away for FREE, you'd STILL be paying €0.83 a litre.
Or 5 bucks a gallon.
Someone came up with the idea of easing the pain (which - as you can imagine - is quite tangible...) by winding back the GST windfall by - say - 10¢ a litre.
Finance Minister wouldn't miss it - he hadn't planned his budget with it, anyway.
And Kurt says:
"There's no point in cutting the fuel price by 10¢. The multis will increase their prices straight away to compensate for it..."
Here's a picture, Kurt
No big words.
Just a picture.
We're talking about the BLUE bits, Kurt.
Not the ORANGE bits.
Not the GREY bits.
The BLUE bits.
The money that your mate, the Finance Minister, gets as GST and that keeps increasing along with the price of a barrel of Brent.
Now, the BLUE bits get bigger because the ORANGE bits get bigger ,because more people want oil and are prepared to pay more for it.
You can't DO anything about the orange bits, Kurt.
That's called market forces.
Was that too difficult, Kurt?
Didn't think so.
Now go and stand in the corner and just be quiet
29 November 2007
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Posted by John Burland at 14:38
28 November 2007
I know someone who's a moderately famous nuclear scientist. (If they name an element after you, I assume the "moderately famous" tag is appropriate. Even if its half-life is only 22 seconds.......)
We were around there for dinner the other evening and the candles on the table - - same height - extinguished within seconds of each other.
"Hmmm" he says. "I wonder why that happened"
I ventured the theory that the house was slowly filling with carbon dioxide, that the candles are an elegant alternative to canaries in mine shafts and that we should perhaps stand on the chairs in an attempt to survive.
"That's not a good idea" he said "That'll just make matters worse. You'll be putting your head deeper into the gas cloud"
Despite my dire and unsuccessful attempts in the distant past to succeed at chemistry, I'm pretty sure that carbon dioxide is heavier than air.
With some trepidation, I said so.
"Carbon is 12, oxygen is 16 times 2 is 32, total of 44 - you're RIGHT" he said.
That's the difference between brainy people and the rest of us.
We have to memorise stuff like that.
They can work it out in their heads if they need to.
Murray Gell-Mann facetiously describes the "Feynman Problem Solving Algorithm" thus:
1. Write down the problem
2. Think very hard
3. Write down the answer
Same thing, really...
Posted by John Burland at 09:17