So trivial, yet it really ticks you off.

Discussion in 'The Observation Bar' started by GHT, Mar 21, 2015.

  1. tonyb

    tonyb I'll Lock Up

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    I’m receptive to the counter argument that alcohol (and pot) consumption comes at a great societal cost and for that reason stiff taxes are justifiable.

    As a longtime advocate for cannabis legalization I was almost constitutionally resistant to recognizing the dangers the drug presents to the individual and society. Further, I resisted acknowledging that normalizing pot through legalization would result in more widespread use, and an increase in its attendant ills.

    I quit smoking 14 years ago. I gave up the hooch at the same time. I’m confident that the taxes I paid on tobacco products over 35 years or so of heavy smoking don’t come close to approaching the cost of my medical care to address the damage that smoking did.

    We’ll all croak. Many (most?) of us enjoy an artificially altered state of consciousness, at least on occasion. I’m not one to deny a person that pleasure, but I’m not one to have that person push the cost of his recreation on to everyone else.

    In my drinking days I never found particularly burdensome the state of Washington’s monopoly on liquor retailing. I voted against the ballot measure that broke that monopoly, seeing how, for one thing, the taxes on liquor remained the same, so the prices didn’t come down at all.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2020
  2. tonyb

    tonyb I'll Lock Up

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    I’m reminded of a time I (almost) bought a back issue of a special-interest magazine from the publisher of that magazine. The “price” was the cover price, but the S&H was something as absurd as what that bookseller wanted to charge you. I have a hard time believing that the time it takes the office flunky to put that magazine in a flat-rate envelope, plus the cost of postage ($5.95 via Priority Mail, I think it is) in any way justified that charge.

    No thanks, I said.
     
  3. GHT

    GHT I'll Lock Up

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    Digging through cushions eh? Definitely a case of: Too much month at the end of their money.
     
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  4. GHT

    GHT I'll Lock Up

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    Tobacco is sold in the UK under stringent conditions and what you say about high taxes goes much the same for us. When I quit smoking in 1968, 20 cigarettes of a popular brand cost a fraction shy of two shillings. In 1971 our currency went decimal, two shillings translated into ten pence. Like the cent and dollar, we now had one hundred pennies to the pound. At around that time it was estimated the about 82% of the nation were smokers. Fifty years later with tax hikes pushing the cost of a similar packet of twenty cigarettes, the price wasn't far short of ten pounds and by comparison, just 17% of the nation are smokers.

    Furthermore, your perception of the cost of the damage in healthcare terms, as well as your own health, far outweighs the damage done. On our side of the pond our NHS has to pick up the tab, that's why the price is set so high. The fallout to that cheaper tobacco products get smuggled in.
     
  5. tonyb

    tonyb I'll Lock Up

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    ^^^^
    Oh yeah, the black marketeers can be relied on to exploit that opportunity.

    Among the people (quietly) opposed to pot legalization were those in the illicit trade, which was quite profitable. The now-legal product sells for less than half what the illicit weed cost pre-legalization, even with all those taxes piled on.

    I’ll admit that I’m unclear of what you mean by “Furthermore, your perception of the cost of the damage in healthcare terms, as well as your own health, far outweighs the damage done.”

    We can view as a model for damage control our experience with tobacco over the past several decades. You tax it; you make it difficult to indulge the habit (in some places it’s illegal to smoke even outdoors in public places, such as parks); you impose harsh penalties on those who sell to minors (most smokers pick up the habit in their teen years); etc. And you make clear as can be that the habit’s harmful effects aren’t really just the nanny-staters’ wish to run your life for you, no matter how much you might wish to believe that.

    Stiff taxes discourage use for many, but certainly not all. I hear that in some jurisdictions smokes are running upwards of 10 bucks a pack, yet people of modest means are still smoking a couple packs per day. So yeah, it’s a regressive tax. And so are taxes on liquor. So it’s not all to the better.

    There’s a ballot measure in Colorado that would put a stiffer tax on nicotine vaping products. I read that the kids are more into vaping than smoking these days; proponents of the tax say it will discourage the practice and perhaps save some from developing a decades-long addiction.

    Get ’em while they’re young, dontcha know.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2020
  6. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    I lan to the view that some people do take more risks thinking a mask makes them invulnerable, but that's a world of difference from the notion that a mask does nothing. It has been shown in research tests tat even a basic cotton bandana can cut the risk of transmission by as much as 50%. I guess it's a bit like saying a motorcycle helmet can't stop you having an accident, but you are very significantly less likely to die of a head injury if you do wear one. Where it does differ - and where the problem reallyl ies imo - is that too many people seem to think of the mask as protecting themselves - and therefore feel entitled to flaunt the rules, claiming only to be risking themselves. The problem is that the primary purpose of the mask is to prevent the spread from especially asymptomatic people to others. I wish they expained that better - though alasit seemsthere are still the selfish types who would still see avoiding risk to other people as no reason to comply.

    Quite so. Good she's not in the kidney issues zone. My little Marlene spent the last eight monthsof her life on kidney meds (bless her. she ate her tablet right off my hand after the first two weeks). She might have lived years longer, but she was born with abnormally tiny kidneys for a cat, so that's how it goes. I hope your girl is picking up now. Many cats, if they take to the meds / diet can have a very long life. A friend's late ginger tom had a bit of a dodgy system all his life and had to take meds for his last few years, but he still made it to almost eighteen, and had a godo quality of life right up until very shortly before the end.

    There are a few points they could have ended it, but so far (five series in) I've yet to be disappointed they kept it going. The writer hassaid he'd like to end it with the first air raid siren of WW2 sounding over Birmingham. Me, I felt an appropriate ending would be Tommy's son's conscription papers arriving, heralding the start of the cycle all over again. I'm cheery like that. ;)

    About ten years ago some place in Belfast restyled itself as a "crisp sandwich cafe". No idea if it's still there. Not had one in years, but I do recall it was a favoured lunch of mine during a prolonged period of writing a decade ago. I doubt the wife would allow it to happen now! ;)

    I'm indifferent to the VAT vs Sales Tax concept - gotta pay either way.... It does, however, drive me up the wall when in the US, having to remember everything costs more than it actually says it does on the label.... I assume when that's your cultural norm you don't notice it, but I found it a real pain!

    They harmonised the mechanism with VAT (all to do with the single market), but the actual level at which VAT is set remains up to individual nations. I've never been aware of it being lower than 15% in the UK, though it has varied between that, 17.5% and 20% in the last couple of decades. I certinly wouldn't miss paying it myself, though to be fair I also want the services it pays for!

    The EU gave the airlines fair warning; the airlines refused to play fair, so the law waschanged to force them to give the full price of the flight upfront. My sole regret (though I understand the reasoning) is that the EU courts decided that hold baggage charges could legitimately be separate, the trade off being that those who don't need hold baggage as a service don't need to pay for it. To my mind, the real racket is what they charge for "exces baggage". A couple of years ago we flew to Aberdeen from Gatwick. They wanted to charge us £90 in excess baggage for something like 4kgs over. We bought a nice carry-on bag for £40 (which we still have and use regularly), moved some bits around and got the plane with no extra charge.

    What drives me mental about flying are the idiots who think they're being clever by being too cheap to pay twenty quid to put their bag in the hold... then you see them in Boots, airside, spending well over that on shampoo, sun cream, and all the other liquids they couldn't bring through security. Then they force their way to the front of the queue and take up all the space in the overheads (or squash your stuff if you are lucky to get in first) with their right-to-the-limits hand luggage (a 737 was never designed for any passenger to have more than a coat and handbag or small briefcase). And as if that's not enough, as soon as the plane lands, they want to stand up in the aisle, meaning that if you aren't in the window seat you're forced to stand up to let them out - and usually there isn't the room to sit down again.

    Honestly, commercial air ptravle could make a Sartrist of the Dalai Lama.

    Depends how you define free, really. That ad wold probably pass muster here in the UK (the Advetising Standard Authority is pretty titght on these things) as long as it was clear that the free belt was contingent on a further purchase. If you only found the latter out when you got to the website to order, that would be a no-no. Equally, if they charged you an unreasonable amount for P&P of a 'just pay the postage' item, you'd be in trouble. It seemsa reasonable standard to me, but then there will always be those blinded by the ide of 'free' to the fact that it really isn't.
     
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  7. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    Interesting psychology. I too often rail about "booking fees", but if I felt there was actually something being done for that money rather than just a gouge it might be different. Don't even get me started on the GBP4.00 "handling" fee - which you have to pay for many evnets in the UK irrespective of whether you have tickets posted out, pick the up at the box office, or even print your own.... And as for every single theatre in the UK levying another GBP1.00 "Restoration Charge"....

    Yes, I absolutely loathe, when in the US, having to remember that everything will cost more than it says it does on the shelf. I really don't understand why they do that - who does it benefit?

    I've found it goes both ways. I often leave stuff in my Amazon basket for months at a time, and it does tend to go down as well as up over time.
     
  8. tonyb

    tonyb I'll Lock Up

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    Look on the bright side. The undertaker’s kids will have a lovely Christmas.
     
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  9. KILO NOVEMBER

    KILO NOVEMBER Practically Family

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    You pay the tax either way, but I find it salutary when the taxes I pay are right in front of my face. Hidden away in VAT, I think you become inured to how much your public servants are dinging you every time you buy something.

    For those who style themselves as sympathetic to "the people" (which always includes some people, but not others), sales and VAT are what economists call "regressive taxes". That is, it bites most deeply into that part of "the people" who must spend a very high proportion of their income (as opposed to savings) to keep body and soul together.

    One of my favorite taxes shows up every Saturday when I have breakfast at a local diner. Like most U.S. states, Virginia has a general sales and use tax, so that's on the bill, the town in which the diner is located also imposes a tax on restaurant customers. This shows up on the bill as "meals tax tax", which always makes me chuckle when I read it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2020
  10. Trenchfriend

    Trenchfriend I'll Lock Up

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    SUV, the new husband midlife-crisis car?
     
  11. tonyb

    tonyb I'll Lock Up

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    It's gotten to where the SUV and something called a "crossover" (SUV lite, pretty much) is the car of our times.
     
  12. MisterCairo

    MisterCairo I'll Lock Up

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    SUV in Canada is simply the new minivan (aka people mover). This mid-life crisis will involve a Jaguar XF in British Racing Green...
     
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  13. Zombie_61

    Zombie_61 I'll Lock Up

    Hmm, I haven't noticed this. If I'm interested in something on Amazon but not ready to buy, I put it on my Wishlist. The price usually drops as the "new" wears off, and with a little patience I can usually get whatever the item is for a more reasonable price than it originally listed for...if it doesn't sell out and disappear first.
     
  14. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    Ha, now there's a business I'd be happy to get into.... if only I didn't have to deal with the bodies. Everything else about it would be fine, but I'm not a one for dealing with the bodies.

    There's certainly a broader political argument to be had about in it in terms of fairness (a key part of long-running debates across Europe as to which products should be VAT exempt, for one thing).

    Diner culture is one of the things I loved in the US. Interesting to compare the listings of local and federal taxes, which is different in the UK for obvious reasons.

    I tend to find that as well. Ebay is interesting in that regard too - with some things I watch at fixed prices, I've noticed I'm increasingly being offered 10% and 25% and whatever off on those as listings wear on. Online sellers in general may be doing well out of the pandemic (online shopping as opposed to bricks and mortar soared here in the UK during lockdown, and that hasn't reversed since), but I suspect a lot of them individually must be hurting given many folks have less to spend right now.
     
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  15. Lean'n'mean

    Lean'n'mean My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    No, that would be the SAV. :D
     
  16. Turnip

    Turnip One Too Many

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    In Germany it’s rather the Soon Urn Vehicle, vast majority driving these things appear to be 70+, the transfer in and out is sooo very comfortable.

    Disadvantages are those bombers often to get awkwardly parked, if possible over two slots and blocking half of street, and not switching traffic lights because Karl Heinz or Hannelore can’t survey their cars anymore, stopping too early, meters away from the contact loop in the track.
     
  17. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    WHen we did our drive-in theatre over the summer, we required people calling in for tickets to specify the type of vehicle they'd be using -- it was necessary to assign larger vehicles to back rows so as not to block the view for smaller vehicles. Very very telling it was, how often the owners of monster-sized SUVs got sore because they couldn't have a spot right down front regardless of how many people they'd block behind them. One of our parking crew came to me and told me what exactly he'd been called by one of these drivers, and it wasn't "friend" or "neighbor."
     
  18. tonyb

    tonyb I'll Lock Up

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    In this climate it’s easy to argue the practicality of an SUV.
     
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  19. Trenchfriend

    Trenchfriend I'll Lock Up

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    I think we found out in Germany, why the SUV were so popular. These are the people, which can not more step out of a classic car with their ... ass. ;)
     
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  20. tonyb

    tonyb I'll Lock Up

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    An old girlfriend’s dad, who is in his 90s now (and who really shouldn’t be driving at all, in old GF’s opinion) got himself a Lincoln Navigator for just that reason.
     

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