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How much does the cost of gasoline affect your spending habits?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on May 26, 2005

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Photo of Pat Fox

“A lot. I live in Topeka and my family is all spread out, so we don’t get to see each other as much. I also eat out a lot less and buy less clothing.”

Photo of Laci Burnsworth

“Now that I’m spending more for gas, I’m spending less on other things I need for my car. I also buy a lot less of the accessories that they have on display at convenience stores.”

Photo of Chris Orlando

“I don’t eat out as often. I don’t rent as many movies or go clubbing as often either.”

Photo of Brent Crandon

“I would say somewhat, but minimally. It probably did initially more than it does now that it has come down a little bit.”


questionme 11 years, 8 months ago

don't blame GW for the gas prices. blame everyone and their dog who drive the SUVs that get 7-10 mpg. the gas companies are targeting the middle class because they are their prime market. who else drives these outragous, obnoxous vehicles? only the middle class can afford these cars. as any business person knows, you try to maximize the most of your target market, and i think they are doing a pretty darn good job of it, while screwing everyone else.

bush has no doings in this. blame your neighbor and their gas guzzling atrocities.

Fangorn 11 years, 8 months ago

merrill: Would you state your source for your assertions regarding the middle class bearing the bulk of the tax burden? I have read a number of studies that contradict your post quite drastically. I will try to locate that file before I post actual numbers. I don't want to try from memory and be inaccurate.

crohan1978 11 years, 8 months ago

Yup, always GW fault! GIVE ME A BREAK! I'm in the middle class, and personally, I don't think I am getting screwed by Bush, if anything, I have faired better under him. Its the dems that want to tax and tax and tax for everything, because no one can have personal responsibility, they think were all idiots and need the government to help us do everything. So, if you want to talk about getting screwed look at your own party buddy, and leave GW alone.

Fangorn 11 years, 8 months ago

oh...yes...right...the question. I don't believe my spending habits have changed due to the rise in gasoline prices. Losing my job last year had already had a considerable effect.

ms_canada 11 years, 8 months ago

bob - dare I ask for what you use the ammunition? :-) Perhaps for hitting empties on the fence rail? :-)

Richard Heckler 11 years, 8 months ago

Time to buy a Toyoto Prius(70mpg),Corolla(40 mpg) or Scion(38 mpg). Once GW finishes screwing the middle class there may not be money for new vehicles. It is after all the middle class who keeps the economy rolling and pays the governments bills...they should get the tax breaks.

I know wealthier citizens have many loopholes and there are not enough to accomplish what the middle class achieves revenue wise.

The lower income don't make enough to generate revenue to even pay the lifetime medical coverage our DC elected officials take for granted...if only all taxpayers could be so lucky.

neopolss 11 years, 8 months ago

I may not be a fan of the current administration (or any for that matter), but this has nothing to do with it. This is all in the hands of the consumer. I've said time and agin that power of consumer needs to dictate, not regulation or restricting choice. If the average consumer continues to buy theses beasts on wheels, gas prices will go up. It's really simple logic. The last time gas was cheap would be the mid eighties. It so happens to be the time that the Japanese were dominating the auto market with mid size and compact fuel efficiant cars.

If you want lower prices, trade in. Not only will your mid size vehicle hold its value better for a trade-in, you'll do yourself a favor in savings. I'm saving for a hybrid. They are simply awesome cars to drive (and eerily quiet).

Hong_Kong_Phooey 11 years, 8 months ago

neopolss: The last time gas was cheap was not the mid-eighties. Try right around 1999 when gas was about 93 cents per gallon.

Don't blame the SUV's for increased gas prices. That's retarded. If you want to blame them for something, blame them for having incredibly poor emissions standards so that they pollute the environment more than your average sedan or sportscar. Of course, if you're going to blame the SUV's you have to blame the trucks too - they are both lumped in the same category for emissions standards. If you want to talk about the increased gas prices, talk about the suppliers of the gasoline and oil - try OPEC.

As far as I know, GW wanted to open up the north for more oil exploration so we wouldn't have to rely on middle eastern countries for oil (if I recall correctly, they supply about 75% of our oil). The Dem's were extremely opposed to this idea. However, if we can ween ourselves off of the Arab teat, we would be able to lower gas prices.

Jay Bird 11 years, 8 months ago

Wanted to be the first one out there. Why didn't they ask this when gas was over 2 buck for the cheap stuff? Hell yeah we spend less when it cost over $30 to fill our cars. God forbid you have an older car with a big V8. I hope gas prices keep going down, but who knows. You'd think that if we're winning the war in Iraq, we'd have cheaper gas as a spoil of war.

It's not the SUV's. Did everyone forget about muscle cars, big 4x4 trucks, and the almighty full size Van. I hate big SUV's like everyone else. Nothing ticks me off faster than some stupid soccer mom, who can barely see over the dash, driving this big suburban and almost running down everything in the damage path they call a road. I think you should have a special DL for suv's. You need one for motorcycles. Little ol' Mom thnks that because she can drive a honda, then she can drive an suv.

Maybe we should all have go karts. It'll make the round abouts more fun.

Reader 11 years, 8 months ago

You Know, It Really Hasn't Been The Gasoline Prices Keeping My Family From Spending Any Extra Money, Because We Don't Have Any "EXTRA MONEY". It's Been All The Necessities Of Life, Utilities! Natural Gas, We Might As Well Had Left The Windows Open, As We Kept Our Thermostat Down To The Minimum. Water, (Espcecially The Sewer Cost. Mine Went From $30 (Or So) To $70 A Month. Now We Have A Water Bill Of $115.00 A Month) And Living In North Lawrence, I Know I'm Being Taken For A Ride. Electricity, I'm Really Afraid Of Trying To Cool Down My House This Summer. We'll See. All The Necessities For Living A Comfortable Life Are Going Up, Everything, Expect My Paycheck! Man! Now That The City Has Ownership Of The Cementary, I Only Hope I Can Afford To Be Buried There Too!

jonas 11 years, 8 months ago

My spending habits have changed very little. . . but I must admit to being a very poor budgeter.

sunflower_sue 11 years, 8 months ago

Alright Happy, lay off the Moms! I can drive a honda...I can also back a grain truck into a tiny slot between two flimsy grain bins. (I'm sure there are NO bad male drivers out there [read as sarcasm]).

Back to the question, I probably spend more on gas per year than all the posters, so far, put together. Yeah, it makes a huge impact. What I want to know is how many of you out there actually support the American economy and by the 10% ethanol mix? I do! Please answer, I'd really like to know!!!!!!

sunflower_sue 11 years, 8 months ago

OMB, thanks for the vote of confidence but you didn't answer my question. You flatterer, you!

lunacydetector 11 years, 8 months ago

lawrence historically has higher gasoline prices than topuka and kansas city (because lawrence doesn't have a pipeline? - Or, think of some other given b.s. excuse). it just like housing. high gas prices, so people will ride their bike or walk, and expensive housing so people will move away. anything for an inconvenience. it's a conspiracy i tell ya'.

i need to take a vacation to Heresasukka(sic?) Japan on the taxpayers' dime. fuel costs no object for the expensive airline ticketS.

sunflower_sue 11 years, 8 months ago

OMB, BTW, this morning it was left overs from our "Hooray, we're out of school" formal tea party. (Cheesecake, lemon tart, pecan pie, brownies, cherry tart, etc....) Might as well eat those calories for breakfast. (We will go have our cavities filled next week)

justathought 11 years, 8 months ago

nope. I fill up my big ol soccer mom honda van once a week and we hardly ever leave lawrence. We walk alot. Good to have legs that work...and kids who aren't fat.

acg 11 years, 8 months ago

I live in Lake Dabinawa, my daycare is in Oskie and I work in Topeka. I spend probably $50 to $60 a week in gas and I drive a supposedly economical car. My fiance works in KC, MO and he spends another $50 to $60 a week in gas. It's ridiculous and there's no end in sight. Gas is cheaper in Topeka though. $1.85 by my office, but you have to be willing to wait about half hour before you can even get close to the pump. Seeing all those folks lined up at the pumps every day, angry and waiting, brings back stories my folks told me of the gas shortage in the 70's. ( I was too young to remember it)Makes for an ominous looking future.

raven 11 years, 8 months ago

acg: where is your office, I too work in Topeka and gas is much more expensive than that by my office.

Jay Bird 11 years, 8 months ago

Sue-Yes there are bad male drivers. I think us men are mostly the ones with road rage, but, 9 out of 10 suv's I see on the road are driven by women. Most of whom have no business behind the wheel of one. And your 10% ethanol mix is hard on the plastic parts in most motors. If fact, if you read some owners manuals, it will tell you not to use them. After have quite a bit of work done on a Honda, Ford, and Chevy of mine some time back, I tend to stear clear of them. I have a Flex Fuel now and when I can find E85 fuel, I try and use that.

I still stand by the Go Kart. You have to agree, round about would be a blast in a little Kart.

enochville 11 years, 8 months ago

Two thoughts:

I often find Ethonol only available in the mid-octane fuel. It usually costs more than the low octane I usually get. Also, I've heard mixed reports on whether ethonol is as good for the engine. Any knowledgable experts out there?

I know enough about human behavior to know that we aren't very accurate in reporting on our behavior. All those who say that the higher gas prices are causing them to behave differently, I wonder if it really has or if they only think it has. I know I will get passionate defenses that they know it has affected them, but without hard data recorded in real time and analysed, it would be hard to say whether a change is real or just perceived.

sunflower_sue 11 years, 8 months ago

Happy, go here...

you will get some info on ethanol and the safety of it for your car (that is, if you have a car that was manufactured post 1980's)

I think a lot of people are misguided about ethanol, thus the fear of it. I've been using it ever since it came out at the pumps and have never had any problems. My mailman, who drives a rural route, said that he's used it for years, never had any problems, and even gets 10 more miles per fill up using the ethanol mix.

Most car manufacturers now recommend the use of ethanol mix (10%). Racecar drivers also use it 'cause they have to fill up less often (not that I'm a fan of that crazy activity).

ms_canada 11 years, 8 months ago

OMB - cute! Did you know that southern Alberta was dinosaur country. It's true. There is a great museaum there, The Royal Tyrrell, devoted to dinosaurs. Look up the Alberta Bad lands on the www. As for gas, y'all may or may not know that we buy gas by the liter. roughly 4 1/2 liters to the gal. The price at present is 82 cents/liter. That would work out to $3.69/gal. Can$ the exchange rate now is 79 cents to the US $ So if you think your gas is costly,what does that make ours? Plus, OMB, you are in oil country and so am I. Edmonton, Alberta is the oil capital of Canada. The view from my front window and slightly to the left is of the large oil refineries. Is this not ludicrous for us to pay so much for gas? Go figure! I do walk where I can but other wise have not changed my driving habits and have not figured out what my recent trip to Montana cost, I'll will have to see my VISA bill.

Carmenilla 11 years, 8 months ago

I drive a little car and get great gas mileage. The price hike only bothers me when I have to commute to school. But now that summer is here I plan to walk more and ride bikes with my family anyway. I hate driving really. People are exceptionally rude and inconsiderate while behind the wheel.

I think the travesty of the SUV is that rarely do I see a full vehicle. Its usually 1 or 2 people driving around in those huge things. At least with trucks, the cab has 2 passengers and they might be hauling something. SUVs are a waste of space.

I want to join the Bob Militia, by the way.

acg 11 years, 8 months ago

Raven, unfortunately I work in north Topeka. :( It's a great neighborhood, really, if you want to see a lot of toothless freaks milling about. My office has been here for years and I keep begging them to move it because the area around it is decaying badly. Anyway, beside the point, gas is $1.85 (2cents off with Dillons card) at the Kwik Shop on North Topeka Blvd. and Morse St. and it's $1.85 at the little run down gas station next door to that. It's funny, two blocks over it's $1.96 but therein lies the half hour wait.

raven 11 years, 8 months ago

acg: I have not worked in Topeka long, so I don't really know where Morse St. is. I know where Topeka Blvd. is b/c I work near Kansas Ave. Approx. 8th and Kansas. For cheap gas a few toothless freaks won't stop me!! :)

neopolss 11 years, 8 months ago

Posted by Hong_Kong_Phooey on May 26 at 8:05 a.m.

neopolss: The last time gas was cheap was not the mid-eighties. Try right around 1999 when gas was about 93 cents per gallon.

Don't blame the SUV's for increased gas prices. That's retarded. If you want to blame them for something, blame them for having incredibly poor emissions standards so that they pollute the environment more than your average sedan or sportscar. Of course, if you're going to blame the SUV's you have to blame the trucks too - they are both lumped in the same category for emissions standards. If you want to talk about the increased gas prices, talk about the suppliers of the gasoline and oil - try OPEC.

As far as I know, GW wanted to open up the north for more oil exploration so we wouldn't have to rely on middle eastern countries for oil (if I recall correctly, they supply about 75% of our oil). The Dem's were extremely opposed to this idea. However, if we can ween ourselves off of the Arab teat, we would be able to lower gas prices.


I think you should look at the gas mileage an SUV gets. SUVs definately contribute to higher gas prices. When a large share of the American public are all driving vehicles that get less fuel mileage, demand rises, supply lowers, and prices rise. There most certainly is a contributing factor. I do agree that large trucks also contribute to this factor.

Look more into your plan for northern oil expansion. While it seems to be a good idea (from the propaganda hype), the amount needed to change the current dependance would need to be vastly significant. (Personal opinion here) I would much rather begin exploring alternatives and hybrids instead of simply creating a temporary solution by drilling our own, and destroying environment in the process.

Confrontation 11 years, 8 months ago

Forget about the SUVs. I think people who drive mini-vans should have special training. Ninety percent of my near-accidents have been with crazy mini-van drivers using the cellphone or screaming at their children. They always cut me off or pull out in front of me, because they truly think I care that they are in a larger vehicle with their brats. Male or female, the driver's gender doesn't matter. There are too many blindspots in a mini-van, and with the driver's head up his/her ***, we are all at risk. SUVs may not be much better.

Carmenilla 11 years, 8 months ago

I hate those unicycle-riding mimes. They are always juggling bowling pins or chainsaws (invisible of course) and weaving in and out of traffic. They really are distracting! I say give them their own mime unicycle lane. Make it a continuous roundabout. That'll teach them!!!

acg 11 years, 8 months ago

Raven, hop on Topeka Blvd. at 8th, head north, go over the bridge. First stop light you come to is Gordon. Second stop light is Morse. Kwik Shop is there on the right and so is that other station that's smaller. :)

Ceallach 11 years, 8 months ago

I'm trying to combine trips. I am bad about going to the store, then later on going to walmart or target, driving home then going somehwhere else. Meandering around town. Now whenever possible I actually think ahead and combine some trips.

Speaking of SUVs -- I usually just see Hummers across the road, going in the opposite direction. Last week, at a stop light I heard what I thought was a helicopter landing on my car. Next to me was a bright yellow Hummer. I never realized how huge they were until I looked up from my little Escort (I swear the my engine nearly choked as well). Talk about over compensation! Wow. I don't like to even be near them, I cannot imagine driving one.

Richard Heckler 11 years, 8 months ago


It's pretty much speculation due to the fact that the middle class is the largest group of taxpayers. Aren't they still in the high tax bracket?

raven 11 years, 8 months ago

acg: Thanks for the tip, I always fill up on Fridays, so I should be set for tomorrow. I usually head the other way in Topeka, drive around on 21st. Gas isn't that cheap over there!!!

Richard Heckler 11 years, 8 months ago

Fangorn and anyone interested in some tax stuff:

There are more middle class taxpayers on the planet which says to me it's them that pick up the tab. It's very likely that same segment owns the most cars which could deal a heavy blow as consumers to the petro industry. One of the quickest ways to reduce dependency would be for the middle class to turn in the gas guzzlers for a Prius.

Some of you are correct about OPEC... they see no reason to cut prices so long as americans will pay. This is not a secret. OPEC and american oil companies are in this together. Both are recording record profits. The radio stated that every time a barrel of oil reaches a $1 increase Exxon/Mobil profits increase $500 million. Gasoline supply is manipulated by our very own.

Oil to the north is a very limited supply and could not be available for ten years.

melissamouse 11 years, 8 months ago

The gas prices haven't really bothered me because I drive a Prius and have for a few years. I wish everyone did.

Hong_Kong_Phooey 11 years, 8 months ago

Regardless of who is to blame for the increased gas prices, my hope is that the citizen's of this country will realize that there are other modes of transportation out there besides a car/truck/suv.

Maybe the increased gas prices (which, when I lived in Korea, gas was $4 per LITER - so quit whining) will cause an increase in public transportation such as buses and the building of light rails. For the life of me, I can't understand why the most developed country in the world doesn't have a light rail system.

Ceallach 11 years, 8 months ago

H_K_P: Will the light rail be able to navigate our round-abouts?

wichita_reader 11 years, 8 months ago

If I ventured to guess why the USA doesn't have a light rail system, it would be because of the extremely powerful lobbies of the petroleum, automobile, and insurance industries. Either that or extreme lack of foresight, but I think the former has much more to do with it than the latter.

kansas 11 years, 8 months ago

Hong Kong, first of all, when you compare foreign gas prices to our (American) gas prices, you are comparing apples to oranges. We travel way more in this country than Korea, our prices should be lower. Higher volume=lower price. Also, as of yet, this country doesn't tax gasoline to death like other countries do. I'm glad U.S. gas prices aren't what they are in parts of Europe and Asia, but I believe gas prices could and should be lower. so don't give me the Korean gas prices crapola, ok? Also, like the two Bob's have said........light rail/government rail would cost mucho bucks! Who's gonna pay for that??!! You, Hong kong??!! Well, go ahead, if it makes you feel any better! I don't want to! I pay enough in taxes as it is, thank you!

Richard Heckler 11 years, 8 months ago

Aside from the pump price how expensive is gasoline considering the Iraq war, military protection for oil lines across the globe, drug enforcement funds(DEA) being diverted to the american oil corporations for oil security as well plus subsidies...we may well be at $105 per barrel today.

Two days ago I listened as Bush pledged more money for the drug war cause the new afghani leader was going to squash the poppy growers in about 6 years....sounds like a load of crap to me. We've been trying for 40 years. Just more money for the oil barons.

Fangorn 11 years, 8 months ago

[Sorry for the long post. I had to catch up in the discussion and wanted to reply/remark on some posts.]

Sunflower_sue: I always use ethanol in both our vehicles. It's made from corn. I grew up in Nebraska. What can I say?

Enochville: All Kwik Shops have ethanol. If you have a Dillons Plus Shopper Card, you get 10¢ off a gallon. That way it's actually cheaper than the lower octane fuel. I've used ethanol for a long time and I've never had any fuel related problems with my cars.

Ms_Canada: How much of each liter of gas is taxes? Here we pay about 43¢ total taxes per gallon. It's a lot higher in some states and certain cities.

acg: The long gas lines of the 1970s were caused by government regulation of the price. (Again, that's the price, not the cost. They are not the same thing.) Price controls invariably cause shortages of whatever it is that's being price-controlled. Every time, every place, throughout history. A good book that covers this subject, as well as others, is "Basic Economics" by Thomas Sowell. He has degrees in economics from Harvard and Columbia. His PhD is from the Univ. of Chicago. He teaches the subject at Stanford. Here's a short excerpt:

Merrill: The information I have read on taxes was different. I haven't located the file yet. I won't do you the disservice of relying solely on memory. I appreciate your patience. (btw, the numbers I read dealt only with income taxes. Considering other taxes (sales, gas, property, etc.) would probably affect these numbers, but I'm not sure how much.)

Wichita_reader: The population density of Europe and Japan make light rail systems viable options there. In the US, NYC has its subway system, Philly has the SEPTA trains, etc. But in most of the country, we're too spread out. Light rail simply isn't practical here.

All: A little historical/economic perspective here. Gas at $2.00 a gallon in 2005 is the equivalent of 55¢ a gallon gas in 1975. Just look at the Consumer Price Index and do the math. We were so concerned about a barrel of crude oil topping $50, but in 1981 crude was $73 a barrel in 2005 dollars. What did you pay for a gallon of milk in the 1970s? It's around $3 a gallon now, but I haven't seen anyone protesting our current Calcium Crisis. I don't like paying so much for gas, but I don't see current prices as a crisis.

Fangorn 11 years, 8 months ago

Merrill: Eureka! Again, thanks for your patience. I'll provide a link at the end of this post so you can look at the data yourself. I'll summarize a few points briefly. And remember: this considers only individual income taxes, not corporate taxes, sales taxes, etc. The source for the data is the US Treasury Department.

In 2002, the top 1% of wage earners took in 16% of the total Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) in the US and paid 34% of all individual income taxes. The top 10% earned 42% of total AGI and paid 66% of all income taxes. The top 50% (household income above $28,654) earned 86% of total AGI and paid 97% of all income taxes.

The charts on the link also show data for the top 5% and 25% levels. One informative chart shows how the percent of total income tax paid by each level has changed from 1980 to 2002. [Anyone really, really committed to the myth that the rich paid less in taxes under President Reagan should avoid the link and go read a book by Paul Ehrlich or Al Franken.]

Liberty 11 years, 8 months ago

What I hear is that places like China and India are trading in their bicycles and mopeds for cars. China and India are the most densly populated places on earth. That is taking up the slack out of the available processed oil. It will continue for some time to come before ability to refine crude and pump that much crude oil catches up with demand. Result is higher prices. However, there is enough crude oil in Prudoe Bay (Alaska) to supply the USA for the next 200 years. This supply of oil in Alaska is as large or larger than the Saudi oil fields. Go figure.

Hong_Kong_Phooey 11 years, 8 months ago

Kansas: As usual, you only saw one of the options I presented in my post. Light rail was not the only mode of public transportation I mentioned. The fact is, people in this country are way too attached to their cars. Plus, whether you like the reasons or not, gas in other countries is way more expensive than here. Your assertion that we "travel way more in this country" than in Korea seems to me to be a little ignorant. Have you ever been to Korea? Have you ever been outside of the country? Most people, day in and day out, don't travel outside of the city that they live in here. That being the case, people in Korea probably travel about the same distance on a daily basis.

Liberty 11 years, 8 months ago

Sounds like Fangorn is trying to say that we are experiencing the I word. (Inflation of our fiat money system).

kansas 11 years, 8 months ago

H_K, don't call me ignorant. People in this country travel waaaaay more in the summertime than most Koreans travel in a year! So give me a break! Stop comparing Korea to the U.S., you idiot! And once again, don't make the silly, ridiculous, assinine comparison of what Koreans pay for gas versus what we here in the US pay, okay?

sunflower_sue 11 years, 8 months ago

Since only a few of you commented on my ethanol question (and I'm shocked as heck that with the mention of alternative modes of transportation that alternative fuels weren't discussed more)...I'm gonna post my link on ethanol one more time:

It'll take 5 minutes max to read and a couple of you might learn something new. Not too late to be a wasted day! THINK RENEWABLE RESOURCES!!!!!!!

If Dr. Washington Carver was making plastic car parts out of soybeans in the 20's, why can't we make cars that run entirely from fuel made by the same beans (or corn, or whatever!) today?

Fangorn 11 years, 8 months ago

Sunflower_sue: I can answer your last question. First regarding ethanol, it's renewable but not yet entirely economical. Current processes for manufacturing it use more energy than is generated by a gallon of the stuff. I'm still going to use it because the manufacturing processes will continue to become more cost-effective and it helps the regional economy by providing a market for corn. Second regarding the development of any type of alternative fuel source, for the time being and probably for some time to come it is much cheaper to find, extract, process, distribute and use the hydrocarbon fuels so familiar to us all. As long as there is an abundant and available supply of crude oil, we will continue to use the fuels made from it. We have better, cleaner, cheaper drilling technology than we did 30 years ago. And we have more known untapped reserves (i.e. still in the ground) than some thought we had left in the entire world in the late-1970s. And more efficient processes are being developed to extract oil from heretofore unprofitable sources. Alternative fuels will be develop to some extent today and then shelved. When the cost of using fossil fuels approaches the cost of using alternative fuels, they'll be taken off the shelf and more R&D will be done. When fuel can be gotten more cheaply from bean fields than from oil fields, our old hydrocarbon monsters will be headed to the Smithsonian.

Ceallach 11 years, 8 months ago

Sunflower_Sue and All: I read the information on the link. Maybe you or others can help me out. When I bought my car I was advised to use only 87 fuel. I would gladly use ethanol but am still concerned since the Ford dealership very clearly stated that I should not use the higher octane fuels. That was in 99, has the advice changed within the last 6 years?

melissamouse 11 years, 8 months ago

kns and offtotheright... Yes, I feel bad for other people who are spending so much to fill their tanks, and of course I wish it was still $1 per gallon, but I only spend about $15 or so filling the tank. I'm amazed anyone is still driving SUV'S. And actually, I'm more upset that the price here in Topeka at least, of a Sonic coke has gone up 10 cents! So I try to go at happy hour...hard to give up a good coke.

Richard Heckler 11 years, 7 months ago


What is missing in your suggested reading is all of the IRS loopholes that are provided for the wealthiest americans. On the surface it looks pretty even however that is not reality. The middle class still pay the largest chunk percentage wise from their gross income. The middle class still pay the bills...the bottom line.

It is too bad the majority of them do not take an interest in voting as they are the most influential bloc of voters. The KU students could do the same for Lawrence.

Fangorn 11 years, 7 months ago

Merrill: Sorry about the delayed reply. I didn't think to come back and check the end of this discussion until today. I agree that there are a lot of tax exemptions ("loopholes") that are available to the wealthy that are not available to those of us of more modest means. Many of them are designed to generate capital for certain projects or initiatives on a scale that us little people can't possibly approach. But I would like to point out that the figures you read were after all the loopholing takes place. So even with all the exemptions, the very progressive nature of our tax rates ensures that those with high income actually pay a disproportionate share of the total federal income tax revenue. And regarding the "chunk percentage wise from their gross income" (many wouldn't recognize the distinction, so you're obviously paying more attention to the issue than most), take a second look at the first chart on the link in my 7:01 post. The right-most column shows the average tax rate paid at each income level. You'll notice that the proportion of income paid in taxes gets steadily higher as the income level goes up.

[I appreciate you taking the time to engage in a substantive discussion. Too often the board degenerates into sniping when opposing views are shared. I'm going to place a note in today's (Saturday's) discussion to let you know this post was made. I will check back on this discussion over the next few days in case you want to reply. I don't want to "sneek" in the last word days later without giving you an opportunity to debut/respond.]

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