Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Where's the real savings, Steve? Plus babies, poop and Opus Dei

Day three of the 2008 election. And the Conservatives offered today a two cent per litre cut in the excise tax on diesel in an attempt to help the trucking and farming industries -- but squat for new diesel technologies.

Let's do the math. Suppose your tractor trailer has side-by-side 125 US gallon tanks (250 gallons or 946.25 litres), pretty large by industry standards, that saves the average trucker -- well, $18.93 per fill-up, but that barely covers the day's meals on a long haul and doesn't even begin to compensate for all the paperwork or e-filing requirements for inspection stations. And with diesel averaging about $1.25 here in Hamilton that give a driver -- 15.144 litres "free." If a trucker gets 5 mpg US (47.042 L per 100 km) that savings will keep a truck on the road for -- ready for it -- 19 minutes.

Less than twenty minutes. Truckers work 11 to 14 hour days -- and many have been known to keep two logs and drive even more (illegally but to make sure the goods get there on time). You think they're actually going to be happy they can stay on the road for an extra twenty minutes? Diesel has doubled in the last two years!

A symbolic cut in the excise tax is short term thinking. That's not leadership.

A long term thinker would keep the tax for old style diesel plants that pollute heavily but offer tax incentives and rebates for cleaner diesel conversion and development of diesel-electric tractors, with a 100% acceleration rate for amortization costs. Diesel trucks as well as automobiles that can run on the maximum blend of biodiesel possible or ultra low sulphur diesel (98% less polluting than the regular kind) would also get a tax break at the pump. That's leadership.

The Conservatives also keep coming up with the lie -- and they know that it's a lie -- that the Liberals want to take away the $100 per month money for the baby. Money which by the way is taxed and not indexed to inflation which actually means less money each year.

In fact, the Liberals have pledged to double it and offer an addition $30 per month for low income families. This was already included in the Green Shift plan but it had to be repeated today and has to keep being repeated. I would hope Dion commits to making it tax free like the existing child benefits and adding it to the base amount with a pledge that the floor for the family allowance will never be lower than $200 per month per child under six, ever (adjusted to inflation).

Dion is stepping up to the plate. He is a leader.

Oh, and thanks to Con webmasters who thought it necessary to have an Atlantic puffin drop shit on Dion's shoulder ... well, if they want to play nasty, then clearly Harper isn't a leader because he's ultimately responsible for his party's message, his apology notwithstanding. If the Conservatives want this to make this personal, fine. Canadians won't stand for it. People in 307 districts can't vote for Steve anyway, only his cronies. (For people who don't get the puffin reference, some time last year Deputy Lib Leader Michael Ignatieff suggested the party should adopt the puffin as its official emblem, saying that it is a noble bird.)

Oh -- and another thing, turns out one of the Conservative candidates is also a member of Opus Dei. The only Catholic group that is a personal prelature of the Pope -- in other words, it has its own dedicated bishop, the only elected one incidentally (at least in the Western church). Whether that candidate belongs to the group or not is her business, of course but the very words ring a lot of alarm bells for many Catholics (who think the group has way too much influence at the expense of interests of the rest of the laity), let alone all the conspiracy theorists out there.

Not even the Knights of Columbus has as much power within the Church as Opus Dei does, and the former is a much more respected organization. That should tell you something about the people running under the Harper banner.

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tdwebste said...

No most drivers do not keep double logs. I know because my brother is a driver. Good points, but please check your facts or dont say anything your not sure about. It makes look like you are full of it.

BlastFurnace said...

I didn't say most ... I said many. I'm sure the vast majority of holders of a CDL are responsible drivers. If even a half of one percent break the law, that's still way too many, in fact just one is.