[FoRK] Poverty In America: A Special Report

J. Andrew Rogers andrew at jarbox.org
Sun Sep 18 14:10:22 PDT 2011

On Sep 18, 2011, at 1:10 PM, Simon Wistow wrote:
> On Sun, Sep 18, 2011 at 12:54:47PM -0700, Adam L Beberg said:
>> The U.S. health care system is deeply, deeply broken and Obamacare is 
>> going to make things even worse.
> Can you expand on the latter point? The batshit intricacies of the USs 
> healthcare system are fascinating but essentially unknowable to me. 

Short version: it made the batshit intricacies even worse and more detached from reality, a bit like the worst of  all worlds. Ironically, the one thing most experts seem to agree on is that it will significantly raise costs as it is phased in, some of which is already being felt. 

>> *Right now, the average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States 
>> is $3.649.  That is 94 cents higher than 12 months earlier and it is a 
>> brand new record for this time of the year.
> Petrol prices in the UK are currently the equivalent of $8.07 a gallon. 
> And this is not some sudden, astronomically huge price hike.

US taxes on petrol are well under $1 per gallon most places. It is sufficient along with license and registration fees to pay for roads and highways. Consequently the percentage price movement to the consumer as a function of the global petrol trade is higher.

Not a huge deal in itself except that most people in the US live in areas where it is difficult to do anything or go anywhere without burning a significant amount of petrol because of zoning and low neighborhood density. Both the magnitude and inelasticity of the petrol consumption have a significant impact on average household expenses. There is no practical way to significantly reduce fuel consumption for many Americans.

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