Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Why all the fuss about gas prices, Mr. WIll?
Ah, everyone's favorite columnist, George Will, cannot comprehend what all the fuss is about gas prices of nearly $3 a gallon. He was on TV this past Sunday and wrote his column in Newsweek in this week's issue about how the economy is doing so beautifully and everyone should be happy with the current situation. And, gas prices are not a problem when looked at historically. Perhaps he neglected one piece of information (besides the fact that he is wealthy and wouldn't notice any differences if gas cost $10 or more per gallon). Since Bush took office the cost of crude oil has gone from the mid $20 per barrel to the mid $60 per barrel, or an increase of about 250%, causing gas prices at the pump to increase substantially by ~50% or more. From late 2000 to 2003, for instance, the median U.S. household income decreased over 3%. He also forgets to point out that prices of other necessities, such as groceries, has also been steadily increasing, in part because of higher transportation and distribution costs because of gas prices. Needless to say, when average, middle-class folk are earning less and paying more, we don't really care about other numbers economists and politicians and pundits throw at us to try and convince us we should be smiling and bowing to them for dong a great job. The most important number that matters in real, everyday life is what the balance is in the checkbook. Perhaps that is why the vast majority of people I know are not celebrating Mr. Will's or Mr. Bush's gleeful testimony about the state of the economy. This is a prime, concrete example of wealthy elites being out of touch with us ordinary folk.