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01/27/15 07:41 PM #412    


Phillip Mathewson

At great risk of severe criticism and my good friends in the class of ’59 threatening to leave this board I will put to our left leaning friends this question.  How can Nancy Pelosi’s idea of raising gas taxes increase tax revenue?  The federal tax on gas is about 16 cents a gallon.  Raising the tax would result in people driving fewer miles thus resulting in less tax revenue.  So why would she want to increase the tax per gallon?  Is my logic flawed?

01/27/15 08:38 PM #413    

Beatrice Favinger Hayduk

I never miss a posting.  Please keep it going and Phi, don't go away.

01/27/15 09:20 PM #414    


Phillip Mathewson



I just don't understand how we members of the great class of 1959 can be insulting and fighting each other at this late point in our lives.  I really don't want to be a participant or a part of that.  I'm sorry that some don't like my opinions but I'm also sorry that they don't confront me directly instead of running to the "teacher" and whining about it.

01/28/15 09:15 AM #415    


Donald Dewees

Re: Philip M post 412.  Sorry, Philip, you are wrong on this one.  Yes, a gas tax will raise the cost of gas to consumers and this will reduce their consumption.  But this will reduce tax revenue only if a 10% tax increase (for example) reduced consumption more than 10%.  One thing we know about the demand for gasoline is that it is inelastic.  That means that a 10% increase in price causes a reduction in quantity demanded less than 10% - more like 3%.  So, raising the gas tax generates lots of increased revenue because gasoline consumption does not fall very much.  Try some simple examples and you can see for yourself.


01/28/15 09:20 AM #416    


Kathleen Allen Royer

Come on, Phil. Don't quit. It's been more fun with all the responses. You brought new life to a dead forum. Keep up the good work....David says "hi." smiley

01/28/15 10:38 AM #417    


Phillip Mathewson

Donald, I guess your assumptions could be true sometimes but it is difficult to do the math when you say “gasoline consumption does not fall very much”.  Also, when you talk about a 10% increase in tax is that 10% of the present tax or 10% of the price of gas?  I think it is fair to say that when gas prices go up people drive less.  In addition when gas prices go up so do the prices of everything else.  Goods go up because transportation and manufacturing costs increase.  Services go up  because the plumber’s transportation costs increase.  These added costs are passed along to the consumer as a “hidden tax”.  It is my contention that any tax increase is detrimental to the free market.

01/28/15 07:04 PM #418    


Phillip Mathewson

No country in history has ever taxed itself into prosperity.  At least I don't know of one.

01/28/15 08:37 PM #419    


Donald Dewees

Philip, maybe this example will help with the math.  Assume that the price of gasoline is $2.40/gallon including $0.40 in state and federal taxes.  Increase the tax by $0.10 so the price with tax is $2.50/gallon.  10 cents represents 10/240 = a 4.17% increase in the after-tax price of gas.  If the short run elasticity of demand is -0.3, the quantity demanded will drop by 4.17% times 0.3 = 1.25%.  Suppose that demand was 1 million gallons at the old price of $2.40.  Tax revenue would be 1 million times $0.40 = $400,000.  After the tax increase, demand falls by 1.25% to 987,500 gallons.  Tax revenue is now 987,500 gallons times the new tax rate of $0.50/gallon = $493,750.  So, increasing the tax from 40 cents/gal to 50 cents/gal reduces consumption by 1.25% but it increases tax revenue by $93,750 which is a whopping 23.4% increase in tax revenue.

The intuition is that motorists respond modestly to price (or tax) increases, so a price (or tax) increase will substantially increase revenue in the short run (less than a year).  In the long run  (several years) consumption falls further but revenues are still greater than before the tax increase.

If you doubt my elasticity assumption, Molly Espey published a meta-study in Energy Journal in 2011, looking at over 100 studies of gasoline price elasticity and concluded that the average short-run elasticity is -0.26, a bit less than I assumed.  There is a nice readable explanation and more citations in an economics website at: .

Whether a gas tax increase is a good thing or not is a different question that reasonable people can debate.  But there is no doubt about its effect on the demand for gasoline and on tax revenues. 

01/28/15 08:54 PM #420    

David L. Carroll

Thanks Professor, but a bit condescending don't you think? 

01/28/15 09:17 PM #421    


Phillip Mathewson


Gotcha.  I understand what you are saying and I can't disagree with your premise.  I would ask why increase gas tax?  For highways and bridges?  Our government cannot or will not give us accounting on where the existing tax revenue is being spent.  I say we should reduce wasteful spending before we ask for more taxes.  We are taxed too much!

01/29/15 04:28 PM #422    

Peter Mills


Regarding the Patriots' "flat" footballs, I'm sure you're right about the pressure drop.  However, I haven't seen any information revealing where & how officials check the balls, or if there's an NFL protocol on where  the refs are supposed to do their inspections.  The logical place would be on the playing field.  If you've got more information, please let me know.

GO SEAHAWKS!!!  Flatten those Patriots!!!

Pete Mills 

01/29/15 04:34 PM #423    


Phillip Mathewson

Bad answer!  Don't give her the job...

01/29/15 07:17 PM #424    


Phillip Mathewson

I don't think our country wants him for two moe years.

01/29/15 07:26 PM #425    


Phillip Mathewson

How can anyone vote Democrat when this is what you get?  OK, I'll shut up...

01/29/15 09:08 PM #426    


Phillip Mathewson

I'd say we (the class of '59) are what some would call "older people".  Oprah says we have to die...

She's not being very kind to our great class of 1959 is she?


01/29/15 09:37 PM #427    


Phillip Mathewson

So did you vote?  Things might have turned out differently if you had....

01/30/15 07:14 AM #428    

Joseph Kiray

Phil, this should make your day
Once upon a time, in old New Mexico ...
The year    was 1947. Some of you will recall that on  July 8, 1947, a little more    than 66 years ago, numerous witnesses claim that an Unidentified Flying    Object, (UFO), with five aliens aboard, crashed onto a sheep and mule ranch    just outside  Roswell ,  New Mexico .
This    is a well-known incident that many say has long been covered-up by the U.S.    Air Force, as well as other Federal Agencies and    Organizations..
However,    what you may NOT know is that in the month of April, year 1948, nine months    after the historic day, the following people were born:
Barrack    Obama  Sr.
Albert    A. Gore, Jr.
Hillary    Rodham
William    J. Clinton
John    F. Kerry
Howard    Dean
Nancy    Pelosi
Dianne    Feinstein
Charles    E. Schumer
Barbara    Boxer
Joe    Biden
This    is the obvious consequence of aliens breeding with sheep and jack-asses.
I    truly hope this bit of information clears up a lot of things for you. It    certainly did for me.
And    now you can stop wondering why they support the bill to help Illegal    Aliens .

01/30/15 09:12 AM #429    


James Flanagan

A non-political video of an older man singing a very good song, "You Raise Me Up" inn the streets. Enjoy  Jim

This wonderful older gentleman received the attention of older and young people enjoying his song and respect.


Go to full screen when the video starts and turn up the sound.

01/30/15 09:16 AM #430    


Donald Dewees

David Carroll, I did not mean to be condescending.  I thought that Philip asked a reasonable question that deserved a thorough answer.  Sometimes people disagree about policy because they disagree about the facts so I cited a couple of sources to indicate that I was not just making up numbers.

I am prepared to plead guilty to the lesser offence of being pedantic.  Been there  .  .  .


01/30/15 10:02 AM #431    


Phillip Mathewson


I am a firm believer in the law of supply and demand.  That said, I also realize that it is far easier to give up cable TV, beer, or vacations than it is to give up driving.  You usually have to drive to get to work and back but you don't need beer to do so.  So I agree that the supply/demand curves are skewed when you compare necessities to non-necessities.  I do tend to agree with you that an increased tax on gas would probably result in increased tax revenue.  But there is a point where it wouldn't.  As an extreme example let's put a tax of $15 a gallon on gas.  Then what would happen?  I'd guess that most would start walking or riding bicycles. They certainly wouldn't be driving to the beach. IMHO



01/30/15 10:59 AM #432    

David L. Carroll

Don - Forgiven.  It was a good example based explanation. 

01/30/15 03:12 PM #433    


James Flanagan

I saw this a few years ago but enjoyed seeing it again. Quite a colection of famous stars singing "God Bless America"  Enjoy   Jim

John Wayne Special      


This is one I think you will really enjoy.
It’s so special because they’re all pretty much gone now.
Enjoy --- and pass it on to your friends. 
John Wayne 1970

01/30/15 09:09 PM #434    


Phillip Mathewson

Well, at least one of the terrorists that Obama released from Gitmo is back trying to kill Americans.  What are we thinking?

01/30/15 09:28 PM #435    


Phillip Mathewson

Anyone remember this in history class?  Anyone?  Anyone?

I do...

01/30/15 11:35 PM #436    

William Sickels

Wow!  It has been amazing how our class forum went from a half dozen entries a month to a dozen a day.  Penny is right, Phil, you stirred it up and all for the good-congratulations.  I was tempted MANY times to jump into the foray,however; when the name calling started I backed off. That, unfortunately, is a sign of the times as the entire country has been pitted against each other for the first time, I believe, in our lives. Now it appears that there is discussion on the forum and exchanging of ideas which I feel is healthy.  Congrats to Donald Dewess and James Flanagan too, as you all seem to keep the engine fired up. Don I congratulate you for your articulate and careful presentation of your positions and Phil I love your passion.

OK I'm ready to share!

Growing up in Mt. Lebanon we were certainly fortunate in so many ways.  We appreciated where we lived, more than what we had. I don't remember any racial, religious, class or envy issues. Heck, the Catholics from St Bernards and the "Farmers" from Upper St Clair were welcome with open arms.  More beautiful women to add to our fabulous gals and athletes that helped make Mt. Lebanon the powerhouse it became. Sure we loved visiting our freinds in Virginia Manor but I never felt like my family was a victim, as a matter of fact, I was happy for them and hoped someday I could earn enough to live there.  It was something to strive for.  Unknowingly, we did kind of live in a bubble.  Miine burst when I attended The Citadel in Charleston S.C., my first step into the real world.  My education became much more than classes, track and military disipline.  My room mates father had been the Grand Wizzard of the KKK in his small town outside of Columbia S.C.  Bill lived on a pecan plantation and black families, whose ancestors had been slaves, still lived on the "back forty."  For the first time in my life I heard the "N" --word almost every day from my southern classmates. As cadets we rode the bus downtown on leave. The black people rode in the back. One time I stood up to give a black lady a seat and I was roundly chastized by 15 other riders.  I stayed standing and she seating, but it wasn't pretty. There were public drinking fountains for black and white all over Charleston. Folks, my eyes were opened to Two Americas that DID exist in 1959.

Some of you may remember, I ran track.  Other than my team mates my best friend and fiersest competitor was Joe Thomas from Uniontown.  I admired him as a runner, a friend and a man--that was part of the core values we learned at Mt. Lebanon.  My plebe year, Joe sent me a letter.  When I opened the letter his picture fell out on the floor.  Three of my Southern classmates called me a "N"--lover.  One of my classmates had been the 1959 S.C. State Champion running the mile---his winning time was 4 minutes and 55 seconds, just under five minutes.  Not bad ,but I told him Joe had run the fastest highschool mile in the United States in 1959 in 4 minutes 11 seconds---he would have beaten my classmate by over 200 yards.  That was the beginning of OUR college education. 

As the four years went by in Charleston, it changed, so did the United States.By graduation, I NEVER heard the "N"---word used.  Our country was changing fast and for the better--so did my classmates.  There was no question in my Northern "Yankee" mind there were issues that had to be addressed regarding black people.  I graduated and went into the Army and saw a nearly perfect union.  Color, race nor religion mattered and there was respect for rank no matter who you were.  It didn't take long ,however: for my first glimpse of unqualified burocrats in Washington doing their best to lose a war BECAUSE OF POLITICS. I had never cared one way or the other for politics and trusted our leaders to do the right thing.  My classmates from The Citadel were being killed because Washington was countering the Generals decisions. As a Company Commander I witnessed the most outrageous wastful spending & corruption and politics in the system. Another bubble was burst and my eyes were opened wider.  When I got out five years later I was very distrustful of my own Federal Government and felt they were NOT looking out for us--it was all about partisian politics and themselves.

I realize this is way to long--I'm sorry.My personal experiences I am sharing kind of represent what has happened to the country--in my opinion. So I would like to share if you don't mind.

As I worked my way through my business life starting as a "management trainee" with PPG Industries we went through all of the racial, social and gender "issues" of the 60's, 70's and 80's. Affirmative Action had leveled the playing field--mostly for the good.   By 1990, it seemed to me the world had changed for the better from 1959.  I became President of a 100 year old company in Richmond, Va.  It seemed to me the United States had come full circle and "racial and genders" issues were pretty even--even in Southern--- Richmond.  WE were no longer TWO AMERICAS--we had become one.  When I took over my company we  had a manufacturing plant, 10 company stores and a sales force caring for 250 dealers---losing money!  Over the next ten years we quadrupled our gross sales, doubled our work force and Life was Good for my employees, my stockholders and me.  The greatest satisfaction, other than my family, was building that company.  When I retired in 2000, salaries had doubled and for many tripled. Profits were excellent, not because the Government did it for us,  but because my employees and I worked our butts off.  WE set goals and achieved them---and shared the wealth.  I searched for employees that were self motivated,  showed initiative, would take personal accountability and self responsibility and transferred that to the companies best interest and in turn theirs.  In 2000 I saw the pendulum swinging backwards.  Affirmative Action became reverse discrimination.  The Federal government was taxing and regulating my company to death.  The business climate had run amuck, the fun of running a business was gone. Banking, interest rates, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, etc. It was obvious we were heading for a crash as a nation.  Leadership at the top in Washington, or lack there of, was again letting us down.  

When was the last time you witnessed or heard a Washington politician project or propose Ethics, Principle, Virtue, Ingenuity, Initiative, Personal Responsibility, Self Motivation, Incentive and encouragement. They instead are telling us "we are victims, they are smarter than us, vote for us and we will take care of you." We should reward virtue, initiative,achievement,&success.  We should punish greed, lying, stealing and vice.  They are the poster children for the latter.

We have forgotten outr Traditional culture and Conservative values.  We had come soooo far.  We had become the envy of the world because WE WERE EXCEPTIONAL.  But not any more. We became apathetic, we trusted our Federal Government to do the right thing and they have betrayed us. Many in our class played by the rules only to have their retirements destroyed.

We now have a Federal government, RIGHT and LEFT, that just wants to grow Government.  In my opinion, we are again not two Americas but four or five. They have skillfully divided us by race, religion, gender, class and wealth, like never before in this country.  We have become secular, terrible work ethics, they want us arguing, calling each other names, staying away from our churches.  Our Federal Government wants us dependent on Them.

OK I'm done.  Some of you are the Best Friends I have on earth.  Let's pull ourselves back together. Life is SO GOOD and we don't have much left.  Let's make it happen togehter.

Most sincerely and respectfully

Bill Sickels



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